Vast technology needs at Farragut High School, which include shortages for each student’s personal use plus deficiencies in its auditorium and library, was the subject of the school’s technology coordinator.
“We have, on average, 360 computers for our students, and we have an enrollment of 1,800. ... That ratio is awful,” said Mary Lin, also an advanced placement computer science teacher at FHS. She was featured speaker during Town’s Education Relations Committee meeting Tuesday, Dec. 6.
“Many of our neighboring schools have one-to-one technology [an electronic learning device provided for every student], and we are considering one-to-one technology,” Lin said. “But in kind of a different format. In order to have sustainability, we don’t want the children to take the machines home unless they don’t have machines at home. In that case, we’ll design a contract for them.”
Instead of having the same electronic learning device for every student, “we’ll get with our departments and do a needs assessment,” Lin said.
For example, “math might really like a tablet that the students can write on, and submit assignments that way,” she added. “… But our P.E. department may want just little iTouches. … We want to keep it individualized.”
In the main auditorium, “there is no technology in there,” Lin said. “We don’t have a big place where we can gather a group of people, a group of parents or the community, to do any kind of presentation. There’s no screen, there’s no projector. That’s something that we’re working on.”
Lin also pointed out the school’s library is “a traditional library,” lacking a Makerspace, which includes “a 3-D printer, maybe some robotics” where teachers could give assignments such as “simulating the way oxygen travels through the lungs” without resorting to old-fashioned poster boards. “We’re talking $100,000 there.”
Needing more chromebook carts, each costs “about $7,000 for the cart and all the chromebooks that go inside,” she added.
Second Annual FHS Technology Gala, a “black tie and blue jeans event,” begins at 6:30 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 28, in Rothchild Catering & Confer-ence Center, 8807 Kingston Pike. It features “a live auction and silent auction.” Gala tickets are $50 each. Goal is to raise $75,000.
To purchase gala tickets, go to www.knoxschools.org/farraguths/
“We would like to generate $75,000 this year,” Lin said.
One of two emcees will be Mark Packer, a news anchor at WVLT-TV 8.
Last year, “We generated $38,000, money that went directly to the school specifically for technology,” Lin said.
In addition to computers, that money purchased “iPads … an iPad cart for the general [school] population that will be in the library for teachers to check out; and we’re already finding we need so many more; two chromebook carts; Beyond the classroom, “We’re hoping to get an electronic sign at some point in time,” Lin added about a sign along Kingston Pike or Campbell Station Road next to the school’s entrance. “All of our local high schools have that kind of sign that puts announcements out there, when ballgames are or something fantastic like winning a state championship.”
The school’s students, however, continue to place high in area competitions, Lin said. “I took a group of kids to Lockheed-Martin in April of last [school] year and we placed second.”