Corry Community Foundation

Grant funds new computers, upgrades technology for Hi-Ed

Apr 29, 2013 | Posted in News

By Maryann Mook

Thanks to a grant from the Corry Community Foundation, the Corry Higher Education Council will be purchasing new computers and upgrading its technology in connection with several projects in the Smith Education Building.

The Hi-Ed has been awarded a $19,000 grant from the Corry Community Foundation.

The Hi-Ed Council plans to replace sixteen 6-year-old computers in its first-floor computer lab with 13 laptop computers that will be used for the Hi-Ed's non-credit computer classes, for customized business training, and by Mercyhurst and Edinboro students in programs at the Hi-Ed.

The new laptops will update students' learning everironment to the latest Windows 8 and Office 2013 (from the Windows 7 and Office 2010 now available), said Steve Bishop, executive director of the Hi-Ed Council.

"The laptops will also feature interactive 'touch screens' that will allow students to experience the technology now being used on some computers and most protable devices, such as iPads, iPhones and Kindles," Bishop said.

As part of the project, wireless Internet will be installed to allow computer use in the building.

Here's what else the Hi-Ed is doing with the funds and ongoing project to upgrade its technological status:

  • The laptops will be stored and charged on a portable cart that will allow the Hi-Ed to hold computer classes anywhere thoughout the building, or even off-site.

"This will allow us to hold smaller classes in smaller rooms as opposed to being restricted to heating/cooling the larger computer lab for a small group of students," Bishop said. "This will also free up the existing computer lab to be used as a regular classroom, providing the Hi-Ed with much-needed space and flixibility."

  • Installing wireless Internet will also allow the Hi-Ed to more easily offer classes in the quickly growing "portable device" field, such as iPads, Kindles and more.

"Currently our instructor must set up her own wireless system in the classroom whenever we offer such classes, which is cumbersome and time-consuming," Bishop said. "Wireless Internet will also allow students to bring their own laptops to class if desired."

  • The Hi-Ed's three office computers will be upgraded to Windows 8 and Office 2013.
  • The Hi-Ed's 5-year-old server that stores its data and facilitates its network will be replaced, as has been recommended by the Hi-Ed's technology consultant to reduce the likelihood of problems.

"As for the order of things, we'll move forward in the near future on installing the wireless Internet throughout the building, and replacing our server," Bishop said. "The new laptops will likely be purchased in July or August, and the rest of the project will ripple out from there so everything's done by the start of the new school year in September."

Also, because starting in 2014, the GED test will become computer-based rather than a paper-and-pencil test, the Hi-Ed now feels a responsibility to provide basic computer intstruction to GED students so they are not intimidated by the technology. As a result, six of the computers being replaced in the computer lab will be moved to the GED instructional area and upgraded to Windows 8 and Office 2013.

Other current computers from the lab will be used as backups, or will replace even older computers in other areas of the building.

Bishop said the Hi-Ed Council is thankful for the Corry Community Foundation for awarding the grant and, therefore, the opportunity to upgrade its technology and its services.

"I have to stop and remind myself periodically how incredibly fortunate Corry is to have this amazing culture of philanthropy," Bishop said. "The late Bruce and Arlene Smith of McInnes Steel started that culture and many more have joined in through the creation of the Corry Communcity Foundation.

"It's remarkable for a community the size of Corry, and this technology project is just one example of how that philanthropy makes a real difference in terms of quality of life and making opportunities available for everyone."

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