DALLAS – A new window to the world will open for Dallas ISD students after the installation of 300 miles of fiber-optic cable is complete, creating a high-capacity, high-speed information network that will dramatically boost the kinds of technology teachers can use to instruct students. The project is scheduled to be complete in time for the start of the 2013-2014 school year.
“We have several technology projects under way. This is probably the single-most important project we have,” said Gray Salada, executive director of Dallas ISD Information Technology. “It really is going to allow us to transform what happens in the classroom. We are confident that teachers and their students are going to benefit greatly because of this technology.” For example, Salada said, the district has access to 42 high-definition TV channels, but does not have enough bandwidth on the existing network to allow campuses to access them. When complete, the new network will transfer data at a rate 100 times faster than currently possible and have room to grow to accommodate future needs, with no additional recurring cost. Though there is a huge increase in capability, the new network will not require an increase in staff. Each school will have direct, dedicated access to the network, rather than sharing connections as they do now. In all, more than 280 district facilities – all schools and several support facilities – will be connected.
Salada said the district is about 10 years behind its peers as far as network speed and capacity. “We’re putting in a world-class network. We’re going to leapfrog our peers,” he said. “For the things teachers need to do – online instruction, online assessments – they can’t do it without this. This is a huge project and it will be so good for our district and our kids.”