Kentucky Education Technology Receiving Major Upgrades
A student at Hopkins County's Hanson Elementary,
a National Blue Ribbon School, works on a project.
Two major efforts are underway to significantly upgrade Kentucky schools' technology and networking capabilities. The Kentucky Education Network (KEN) and the Instructional Device Upgrade (IDU) will lay the foundation for a 21st century education technology transformation in Kentucky. They will provide Kentucky school districts with necessary network communication improvements and new instructional workstations and devices that will pave the way for improved classroom learning and other important projects.
Efforts are well underway to implement the new KEN. Highlights of the progress so far include:
- 32 school districts now have a KEN connection;
- 92 districts will have KEN connections in place by June 30, 2007;
- 175 districts will have KEN connections by January 2008;
- 175 districts will be completed with all four phases of KEN, including the Active Directory/Exchange portion, by June 2008; and
- All districts will be completed with their internal high-speed connections between schools by December 2008 or July 2009.
The IDU initiative is also rapidly progressing. So far, 140 school districts have purchased nearly $11 million worth of IDU workstations. The Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) expects nearly $25 million to be spent by June 30, 2007. Another $25 million will become available to school districts in early July.
Several statewide education projects will benefit from the massive technology upgrade, including the following:
- Student Information System (SIS) - will enable schools to maintain student information for all state reporting requirements;
- Online Assessment - provides online Kentucky Core Content Test (KCCT) assessments to students in both the regular and special populations;
- Kentucky Instructional Data System (KIDS) - will provide the ability to track individual student data over time through a consolidated, statewide data collection and analysis system. This data warehouse will be used to reform classroom instruction and meet the reporting requirements of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act of 2001. When implemented, KIDS will provide information required by educators to make high-quality decisions about student achievement and instruction at individual or group levels, reduce reporting turnaround time and assist teachers in determining the interventions needed for each student to successfully approach the next level of learning; and
- Individual Learning Plan (ILP) - a planning tool that will identify the needs of individual learners over time through continuous assessment. The ILP will provide planning for allocation of learning resources related to individual career and academic interests.
The IDU project was funded through the 2006 General Assembly and provides $50 million in bond funding to the state’s public school districts to replace and purchase computers for use by students and teachers. Public school students, staff and faculty and KDE employees also are eligible to purchase computer hardware for personal use through the project.