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Deal on interactive TVs upgrades technology at JCHS

Deal on interactive TVs upgrades technology at JCHS

August 19th, 2018 by Phillip Sitter in Local News

Jefferson City Public Schools reported Monday it's getting a deal on interactive TV panels for its high schools — more for less — that will phase out existing technologies.

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JCPS Chief of Learning Brian Shindorf told the Board of Education South Carolina-based interactive panel manufacturer ClearTouch didn't have 10 devices ready for the district when they said they would.

The 10 screens for the renovated third-floor classrooms of Jefferson City High School have been delivered, installed and are up and running now, but ClearTouch still offered penance for their mistake, Shindorf said Friday.

"They came back and said because they had promised the 70-inch panels for those 10 rooms and they weren't able to produce them that they're going to supply us with 75-inch panels at the same cost, no additional cost," Shindorf told the board Monday. "There is a very significant cost (difference) between 70- and 75-inch. Not only are they going to provide us those 10 panels at a reduced cost, they've agreed to provide us all future panels at the reduced cost, and so we're very pleased to be saving a lot of money,"

JCPS looked into how feasible it would be to use interactive TVs as replacements for classroom smartboards and projectors, when renovation work at JCHS began and the current projectors had to come down.

The district weighed the cost of putting the projectors back in at the high school against going all-in with interactive screens.

Shindorf said Friday the cost per interactive panel system is close to $4,000, "which includes the panel itself, as well as the wiring, mounting bracket and an attached PC. This allows the devices to be fully-functional independent of an additional external device."

The interactive TVs are expected to save the district some money on projector bulbs that would otherwise have to be replaced after an average lifespan of 1,200-1,500 hours of use per $125-$150 bulb.

The district said in January it has 1,000 projector systems — it didn't say how many were at JCHS, specifically — and about 25 percent of their bulbs have to be replaced annually.

Shindorf said Friday there's no exact count at the moment for how many panels are anticipated for JCHS and Capital City High School, "as we are waiting on the full schematics from our architects, which will determine the final numbers."

JCHS's old smartboard and projector technologies will be reused at the district's middle and elementary schools, Shindorf said.

The third floor of JCHS is the first part of the building to have had its renovations finished. Work on both high schools is anticipated to completed by January 2020, though both buildings will be open together for students in fall 2019.

Shindorf said the interactive TVs have all the wireless capabilities they hoped they would have, including that teachers can interact with them through their Chromebooks, and a security code is required to operate the panels, which only teachers have.

He added Joe Martin, the district's director of technology, had some of the interactive panels set up at the facility on Dix Road over the summer, and high school teachers came get acquainted with the devices.

"Some will tell you they were a little reluctant, not sure about it, but when they left they were excited about it," Shindorf said.