District Administration April 2018 - 50

DISTRICT CIO

By Ariana Fine

TECHNOLOGY FROM THE CIO PERSPECTIVE

An aquaculture challenge
Fertilizing "floating" plants with
nitrogen-rich fish feces provides real-life
chemistry, biology and engineering
lessons to high school students working in Baltimore Polytechnic Institute's
aquaponic laboratory.
Students manage four 200-gallon
tanks of tilapia and yellow perch (which
provide the fertilizer) as well as two 15foot plant beds of fruits and vegetables.
Because this required constant water
quality monitoring-for oxygen, pH,
conductivity and other factors-the
school turned to volunteer Harry Berman, a retired senior system engineer
from NASA with more than 45 years
of experience. Berman showed computer science students how to create a

"command center" with old computers
and equipment. Students wrote code,
including updates for a nitrate probe and
a program to measure dissolved carbon
dioxide-oxygen interplay.
"Although we could buy ready-made
programs, it is better to have our kids
learn real-world coding applications,"
says biology teacher Jeffrey Reeser. The
data is collected every five seconds, and
then analyzed by Reeser and his students
throughout the day.
New projects continue to arise
as students learn by trial and error.
Engineering students, for example are
currently looking at how to best support
the weight of the vegetables on the floating rafts.

PLANTING THE SEEDS OF STEM-
Students at Baltimore Polytechnic
Institute grow plants treated with
fertilizer created in the school's own
aquaponic lab.

'Appy days

Repurposing computers for K12

As technology becomes more integrated into schools,
more than half of education professionals say they
have deployed apps at their school, according to a
recent national survey by Extreme Networks, a network
software provider.
Nearly 70 percent of respondents who use apps say
they are used to share information, while 57 percent rely
on app-generated push notifications to communicate
with users.

Towson University's Educycle program teams college
students with high school interns to clean, run diagnostics
on and redistribute 'old' computers. Refurbished devices
go to Towson's student labs and to local Baltimore County,
Harford County and Baltimore City school districts, who
then install new software and operating systems.
Educycle was launched in spring 2014 after Theresa
L. Jenkins, Towson's manager for technology, facilities
and events, noticed that her high school-age daughter was
spending more time at her lab's faster computers. Paired
with the short life cycle of computers, it triggered the
repurposing idea. "I was getting 300 new computers in my
computer lab to replace 'old' computers, which were still
useful, powerful and only three years old," says Jenkins.
Together with Michael Bachman, the Office of Technology Services' director of client services, Jenkins began coordinating the program with multiple university departments.
Educycle has repurposed more than 1,350 Windows
computers and 300 Apple devices, at an estimated $1.8
million less than buying new. More than 1,500 hours of
hands-on computer work has been done by volunteers from
area elementary, middle and high schools, and from Towson
University, Hussman Center for Adults with Autism and
the Baltimore Urban League.
High schools can also donate their computers to elementaries that do not need the high-processing power, further
extending the devices' life cycles and keeping them out of
landfills longer, Bachman says.

15% Plan on
purchasing
an app

15% Use
an app developed
in house
7% Plan on

16% Have
purchased
an app

developing
an in-house
app

7% Use
something
other than
an app for
engagement

40% Have no
plan to use
an app

50 April 2018

Source: Extreme Networks

District Administration



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of District Administration April 2018

District Administration April 2018 - Cover1
District Administration April 2018 - Cover2
District Administration April 2018 - 1
District Administration April 2018 - 2
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