Tech infrastructure overhaul at Toronto schools

An ambitious classroom technology migration initiative at the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) aims to put students first.

By the end of next year, TDSB will bring all computer technology in the classrooms, labs and libraries of its 576 schools onto a standard technology platform that’s supportable and sustainable over the long term. More than 10,000 classrooms will benefit from the project.

As the amalgamation of seven different Boards of Education, TDSB inherited disparate network infrastructures and has been formulating their tech consolidation since 1999, according to Jey Jeyarajan, senior manager, technical services at TDSB.

Previous Boards delivered technology services in a different manner, said Jeyarajan. “The Ministry of Education (MOE) wanted to improve student achievement. If the Ministry (of Education) is using technology to achieve the curriculum outcome, then we need to make sure that the technology framework in the classroom is reliable and available.”

The technology must be able to deliver creative programs using its tech framework, he said.

“We are trying to develop and harmonize technology frameworks inside the classroom so that schools can organize program delivery in a predictable manner,” Jeyarajan said. “Once (educators) know what is available they can start to integrate the technology into the curriculum.”

Students will be provided with a unique user ID with all of the Board accredited services based on the student’s profile. A single log on accesses all associated services. They are also furnished with “personal space” to display their work electronically and a “home drive” for personal storage.

“As the student moves from school to school to school (within the TDSB) their home drive is not going to change,” said Jeyarajan. “Also, as they move schools they may be getting different types of resources based on what (that) school offers.”

Kids will get excited about using computers to achieve their curriculum objectives, according to Jeyarajan.

The completed implementation will include around 60,000 desktops. As of February 28, 140 schools had been completed, according to TDSB. The target completion for all schools is December 6, but that is dependent on continued funding, LAN cabling requirements, and other deliverables.

Related links:

Dell Canada snags $50 million University of Toronto deal

Schools bump up bandwidth

Wireless trumps fibre at Manitoba schools

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