Academic journal article T H E Journal (Technological Horizons In Education)

Small Scanner Proves Not Just Cheaper but Better in Ind. District

Academic journal article T H E Journal (Technological Horizons In Education)

Small Scanner Proves Not Just Cheaper but Better in Ind. District

Article excerpt

Small Scanner Proves Not Just Cheaper But Better in Ind. District

To consumers who feel that, in general, they're paying more and getting less, it can be sweet indeed to experience the reverse. Jason London, a senior analyst in the computer center of Greater Clark County Schools in Jeffersonville, Ind., has.

Until recently, his district employed a full-page, trans-optic (capable of reading a two-sided form in one pass), 6'-x-3' scanner to process grades, scheduling data, warning notices, etc.--everything except attendance information--for Greater Clark County's three high schools, four middle schools and 15 elementary schools. Data was recorded on tape and transferred to a Prime superminicomputer.

The yearly maintenance cost for the scanner was $6,000 and on its way up, and there were rumors that the manufacturer would soon discontinue support altogether for the aging mode." We didn't want to be left hanging," says London, but a new scanner from the same maker was priced at $50,000.

Serendipity

So the hunt for alternatives was on. First, the district reaseessed its scanning needs, which were slightly less than whait they'd been in times past. The state, for example, had taken over the responsibility for scoring the Stanford Achievement Test.

Early in 1988, London read in T.H.E. Journal about the HEI/360 scanner available from HEI, Inc. of Victoria, Minn. An approximately 2'-x-1' desktop model, it is capable of reading 5,000 forms per hour. "The speed at which it scans forms was faster than anything we'd seen," marvels London. In contrast, he says, the district's old scanner was three times as slow and twice as expensive.

"We could buy two of the HEI systems every year for the price we'd been paying for maintenance," London says. …

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