BHS 2.0: All high school classrooms to go high tech by Jan. 1

Bloomfield Township, MI – November 19, 2007 Student learning is poised to make dramatic advancements in Bloomfield Hills Schools, now that the board of education has approved dynamic new interactive technology for its high school classrooms.

The Nov. 15 board action completes approval of a $2.1 million technology investment that will see, by Jan. 1, all 350 district classrooms outfitted with interactive whiteboards, projectors, document cameras, sound amplification and playback equipment. One powerful component is Activotes, which are wireless computer mouse-like student response devices that allow teachers to immediately adapt instruction.

High school students and faculty will begin using the new technology when they return from the December winter break. Elementary and middle school students are already benefiting from the Promethean boards, since classrooms were similarly equipped over the summer and fall.

Bloomfield Hills Schools will be the first district in Michigan to so-outfit all classrooms K-12 with the equipment, manufactured by Promethean. Estimates are that just a handful of districts in the nation are comparably enhanced.

“Teachers tell us that the impact of this technology is as dramatic as the introduction of personal computers into the classroom,” said Steven Gaynor, BHS superintendent. “Students in our elementary and middle schools who are already using this technology are highly engaged mentally, physically and emotionally. Our teachers are as excited as the kids, and are buzzing about the likely boost to student learning.”

About $500,000 of interactive equipment will be installed at Andover, Lahser and Model high schools, as well as Bowers Academy, the Bowers Farm classrooms and the Johnson Nature Center. The equipment at Andover and Lahser will be portable, so that it could be moved and reinstalled in the future if the aging high school buildings are renovated.

Bloomfield Hills Schools has provided professional development to teachers to aid their understanding and use of the systems. As with traditional lesson planning, teachers develop instruction in advance to best incorporate the technology into student learning.

Cindi Hopkins, director of technology, said that the whiteboards will make common classroom items like wall maps and televisions obsolete.

About Bloomfield Hills Schools

Bloomfield Hills Schools offers the academic, athletic, fine arts and co-curricular opportunities that inspire children, as well as the state’s very best faculty members who possess excellent academic credentials and a passion for teaching. In addition, students access many learning choices in a safe environment, including numerous high school Advanced Placement classes and Model High School and Bowers Academy; seven world languages, including Spanish in all elementary schools; customized instruction to challenge every student in the district; a comprehensive fine arts program; and a nature center, farm, and waterfront to enhance classroom experiences. Enrollment is open to residents, and to non-residents at competitive tuition rates. For more information, visit www.bloomfield.org.

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Dell technology powers American College of Radiology’s world-class education center

Round Rock, TX – November 26, 2007 Dell is partnering with the American College of Radiology to outfit a state-of-the-art interactive radiology education center.

Dell technology will power the ACR’s Education Center, where radiologists will study the latest clinical techniques and continuing education-accredited courses in a hands-on environment. The center will help radiologists gain knowledge and expertise by working on individual leading-edge workstations with a variety of world-class PACS systems that replicate their clinical practice.

“We’re committed to providing our members the most innovative and advanced educational opportunities,” said Dr. Harvey L. Neiman, ACR executive director. “Access to cutting-edge Dell technology helps ensure that America’s radiologists are trained in the latest techniques, empowering them to better serve their patients.”

The new education center, slated to open in early 2008, will be equipped with Dell PrecisionTM workstations, and will feature Dell/EMC storage and Dell PowerEdgeTM servers. ACR worked with Dell to certify a wide variety of vendors’ workstation technology on Dell hardware to help ensure participants have access to a broad spectrum of real-world systems.

“This partnership between Dell and ACR will provide radiologists across the nation access to the best technology and tools to help doctors become even more knowledgeable and experienced,” said Dr. Keith Dreyer, vice chairman of Radiology, Massachusetts General Hospital.

The ACR Education Center, located in Reston, Va., will give attendees access to the largest repository of annotated data sets and case studies as well as mentoring from an experienced faculty.

“Working with ACR gives Dell the opportunity to help to provide the best radiology education available — an important aspect of having a world-class health care system,” said James Coffin, vice president, Dell Health Care and Life Sciences. “Technology is a key pillar in achieving efficiencies and improvements in healthcare and Dell is committed to working with the industry to simplify technology and ultimately improve diagnoses and patient care.”

About Dell

Dell Inc. (NASDAQ: DELL) listens to customers and delivers innovative technology and services they trust and value. Uniquely enabled by its direct business model, Dell is a leading global systems and services company and No. 34 on the Fortune 500. For more information, visit www.dell.com, or to communicate directly with Dell via a variety of online channels, go to www.dell.com/conversations. To get Dell news direct, visit www.dell.com/RSS.

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Antigua and Barbuda go live with Island WI-FI from A.C.T. and Tropos Networks

Antigua and BarbudaNovember 29, 2007 The Caribbean Island of Antigua & Barbuda is now live with an island Wi-Fi network service provided by the Antigua Computer Technology (A.C.T.) using Tropos Networks’ MetroMesh Wi-Fi network solution. The wireless network, currently servicing more than 40% of the total population, is also being used to introduce computer-based curriculum and technology into the public schools through Mobile Computer classrooms and Fixed Internet Centers that have access to the network.

The Antigua Computer Technology Co. Ltd (A.C.T.), locally owned and based in Antigua and Barbuda, is the largest Wi-Fi Internet Service Provider in the Eastern Caribbean. According to A.C.T.’s Managing Director Mr. Salomon Doumith, “there is a lot more we at A.C.T. have to offer to the public but it is the demand for mobilization and instant access to the Internet which has led us to the full scale deployment of a Wi-Fi network.”

For the public schools, three Mobile Center classrooms are already up and running and 18 fixed Internet Centers are expected to be completed in 2007. In 2008, plans are for a total of 7,798 students to have access to A.C.T.’s Wi-Fi network. This includes 14 primary schools, with 2,796 students, and nine secondary schools, with 5,002 students. Each of the Mobile Centers is equipped with one of Tropos’ Mobile MetroMesh routers for a wireless Internet connection, 17 mobile touch PC’s, a GPS for up-to-date location of the Mobile Center, and a video phone for local communications and video conferencing.

“This is a perfect way to reach out to the public; the technology used here on our network could not have worked better. When A.C.T. began this venture, it seemed impossible to most people at the time. That is, until we made the Wi-Fi mesh network available to the public,” said Mr. Shervin Bruno, Broadcast Engineer (A.C.T).

The wireless network is available to residents and local businesses on a monthly subscription basis starting at US $50/month.

According to Andrea Joseph, Network Administrative Assistant at A.C.T, “the redundancy of the mesh network and readily available backup battery power makes it ideal for providing reliable service to schools, government and corporate institutions where uninterrupted service is crucial.”

“Although we are still a ways from reaching the coverage area mapped out for the island, the responses that we have received thus far indicate that we are pioneering economic growth and satisfying the pent up demand and needs of our citizens,” said Mr. Eustace Phillip, Telecom Manager (A.C.T.).

The network is the latest project of the “CONNECT ANTIGUA & BARBUDA INITIATIVE” introduced by the Government of Antigua and Barbuda and spearheaded by the minister of Information, Broadcasting and Telecommunications, the Honorable Dr. Edmond A. Mansoor. The program is designed to upgrade the intellectual capital of the Nation and build an open and pluralistic society – one in which all citizens and residents have access to information and knowledge.

“The selection of the Tropos MetroMesh system to enable fixed and mobile network access supporting the education and economic initiatives for Antigua and Barbuda is gratifying,” said Denise Barton, director of marketing for Tropos Networks. “We look forward to continuing to work with the local government and A.C.T. as they expand the network and introduce additional applications which enrich the lives of citizens in Antigua & Barbuda.”

About Tropos Networks, Inc.

Tropos Networks is the market leader in delivering metro-scale wireless mesh network systems. The company’s systems have been selected to unwire more major league cities than all competitors combined and are installed in 30 countries. The patented Tropos MetroMesh architecture delivers the ultimate scalability, high capacity at low cost and great user experience demanded by service providers, municipalities and network users. Tropos Networks’ unique expertise includes high-performance mesh software development, mesh RF engineering, metro-scale network planning, deployment and optimization, and navigating the municipal approval process. Tropos Networks is headquartered in Sunnyvale, California. For more information, please visit www.tropos.com, call 408-331-6800 or write to info@tropos.com.

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Birmingham mayor seeks low-cost laptops

The low-cost XO laptop computer that aims to revolutionize education worldwide could be coming to Birmingham, Ala., students for about the same low cost that officials in developing nations must pay, if a deal reported to be in negotiations goes through.

The Birmingham News reported last month that more than 15,000 children in Birmingham city schools would receive an XO laptop under a tentative agreement new mayor Larry Langford has reached with the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) foundation, the organization behind the initiative. The computers would be given to every child in grades 1-8 and would cost about $3 million, or roughly $200 apiece.

If reached, the deal would mark a significant development in OLPC’s campaign to transform instruction through the use of technology, because it would open the door for other North American cities to participate. The effort previously had targeted students in developing nations such as Uruguay, Thailand, and Brazil.

Until now, it was believed the only way U.S. residents could get their hands on XO machines was through OLPC’s “Give One, Get One” program. This limited-time offer—in which participants agree to pay $399 for the laptop, with the extra cost funding a machine for a child in a developing nation—recently was extended until Dec. 31.

Perhaps that’s why OLPC and Birmingham officials have since pulled back from discussing their own negotiations, after Langford associate John Katopodis told the Birmingham News that a deal appeared to be imminent.

“Over 15,000 children will be receiving their own personal laptops,” Katopodis, who was negotiating with OLPC on Langford’s behalf, told the city newspaper for a Nov. 13 story. “We believe providing these children with the tools to catch up will give them a head start in life, because technology is such an integral part of learning.”

OLPC spokeswoman Jackie Lustig confirmed for the Birmingham News that talks were under way with city officials. When an eSchool News reporter asked Lustig for more details, however, she had this to say: “We have no comment. It is unfortunate that this information was released before any deal was finalized.”

The laptop program is one of several projects that Langford reportedly has proposed to revitalize the city of Birmingham. Other proposed projects include a new mass transit system, a domed stadium, a college scholarship program, and new streets and sidewalks.

Langford said the $3 million needed to buy the laptops would come from private-sector donations as well as the city budget.

Birmingham schools Superintendent Stan Sims told the city’s newspaper that the proposed laptop deal “is huge … It gives our students a chance to be competitive.”

It’s unclear whether premature coverage of the deal will have an impact on negotiations. According to a report in the Birmingham Weekly, the leaking of Langford’s economic revitalization plan has caused tension between the new mayor and the city board.

During a press conference held Nov. 23, Langford accused the city council of revealing the plan without his approval and said they’d “lost his trust.”

Copies of the plan reportedly were given to the city council and were marked “Personal and Confidential. Not for Distribution,” and members were asked to vote on the proposals by Nov. 21. However, according to WRBC TV Channel 3—a local Birmingham station—city council members still need time to decide whether mass distribution of XO laptops to the city’s students is a good idea.

Though city council president Carole Smitherman said the relatively cheap cost of the laptops is a minimal amount to pay for computer technology, as of press time she reportedly needed more information before she could reach a decision.

Langford and Katopodis have teamed up in the past to provide a computer program for children, the Birmingham News reports. In 2000, with HealthSouth founder Richard Scrushy, both Langford and Katopodis formed Computer Help for Kids, a nonprofit organization to refurbish donated computers and give them to needy students.

The Internal Revenue Service reportedly has subpoenaed Jefferson County and the city of Fairfield, Ala., for checks written to the group. Langford has said he has done nothing wrong and has called the investigation politically motivated.

Assistant Editor Meris Stansbury contributed to this report.

Links:

One Laptop Per Child

City of Birmingham, Alabama

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