Windom Schools Light Speed Update by Wayne Wormstadt

I’m posting this on behalf of the Windom folks. They received funding from Blandin and here are some of the things they are seen and done with that funding…

Blog notes for Blandin Grant by Wayne Wormstadt, superintendent

Benefits of the grant are directly seen through the funding for the equipment to enhance our video classes at Windom.

Other benefits are the opportunities for the students with the video equipment to showcase school district and learn practical skills and influence career choices.

Helps with publicity and public access are future benefits for all involved.

The Homework helper has been a concern as the ongoing cost to support this project to connect students with teachers at home. The ongoing cost of equipment and pay for stipends makes this a very unlikely program in which to sustain after the grant is complete.

A change of course from Homework helper would be to take the funds and provide Smartboards and Webcam in our 6th grade classrooms along with the fiber connection. This would then allow our 6th graders to communicate with students in Mountain Lake and Jackson County School Districts. They currently communicate via paper and pencil through out the year and get together for projects and joint field trips. The collaboration would increase and also allow live interaction. This is important as we are part of an integration collaborative to have our students interactive with other minorities. As Mountain Lake has a significant Hmong and Hispanic population this allows our students to experience ethnic diversity. The live interaction will only increase and enhance the number of opportunities. This will be much more cost effective and sustainable beyond the grant as equipment costs will be minimized and also stipends will not be necessary within this project.

Concern on the video end is the lack of training opportunity and the time allowed to teach a complicated program. Student mastery is difficult with limited time. Resources for the school become tight with new Biennium budget projections coming out. How do we make this program more responsive to the needs of the students including mastery and maintain financial viability of the program in economic strain? An elective with 9 students using expensive equipment vs. a class of 20-25 students with little overhead costs could force us in the future to possible make this a reduction in 2-4 years depending on state funding.

light speed communityThe Blandin Foundation is supporting four standout broadband programs through the Light Speed program. The program’s purpose is to stimulate the deployment of bandwidth intensive applications that connect local institutions to area resident’s home. This post comes from a Light Speed community leader.

This entry was posted in education, LightSpeed, MN, Rural, Windom by Ann Treacy. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ann Treacy

Librarian who follows rural broadband in MN and good uses of new technology (blandinonbroadband.org), hosts a radio show on MN music (mostlyminnesota.com), supports people experiencing homelessness in Minnesota (elimstrongtowershelters.org) and helps with social justice issues through Women’s March MN.

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