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FCS rolls out potential new technology at leadership conference

In an effort to keep up with the technology industry’s increasing growth, Forsyth County Schools may soon acquire augmented reality and multi-platform items to roll out in classrooms and schools throughout the county.

At FCS’s annual Leadership Retreat, which was held Monday and Tuesday at the Forsyth Conference Center at Lanier Technical College, Chief Technology and Information Officer for FCS Mike Evans, presented a number of new technologies the schools have either already purchased or are thinking about purchasing.

Sprout Pro

Sprout Pro, an interactive touch map and monitor, includes 2D and 3D scanners
By: Isabel Hughes

“We want to make sure we’re back out in front,” he said. “Fourteen, 15 years ago, we had Promethean; that was huge across the nation and in our implementation. Eight or so years ago, we started the BYOT initiative and we had tours, we had people coming to visit our classrooms to [learn] about that.

“We want to make sure we’re put back on the front – not only from a technology standpoint, but we want to be there for the instructional ways we’re using technology.”

Some of the items demonstrated at Tuesday’s session included additional 3D printers – Jennifer Caracciolo, a spokeswoman for FCS, said only CTAE career pathways currently have the printers – as well as other items, such as Sprout Pro, an interactive touch map and monitor that includes 2D and 3D scanners, and Alive Studios, an augmented reality reading and math technology for preschool through third graders.

Alive Studios

An augmented reality reading and math technology for preschool through third graders
By: Isabel Hughes

Lock box
- photo by Isabel Hughes
The initiative involves the purchase of about 26,000 Chromebooks to ensure every classroom has a minimum of 10 devices, according to Superintendent Jeff Bearden.

“It will be a game-changer for our teachers,” he said previously. “Testing is part of it, but as I visit schools, the No. 1 issue when I talk to teachers is there’s such a need for Chromebooks. In some schools, you have PTOs and stuff that can purchase additional [devices], but teachers desperately need seven, eight, 10 in each classroom.

“The vendor is going to make sure they’re pretty much ready to go once they’re delivered — our staff isn’t going to have to do anything.”

At Tuesday’s technology session, he said the new items are an attempt to keep students and teachers up-to-date in all areas of education.

“One of our No. 1 responsibilities is to make sure when our kids graduate, they’re really prepared for the world we live in,” he said. “It may be post-secondary or it may be in work as well, but if we’re using antiquated, outdated technology, we’re not preparing them and so we have to keep current.

“Our board has made the commitment and investment to keep current on all the latest technology so it fits with our program.”