Technology Hardware

  • Tech Staff setting up laptops

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Technology should be available to all students, teachers, administrators and support staff. Access to the Internet and Intranet resources is vital.

    With the completion of the NC Annual Media and Technology Report (AMTR) in June 2015, schools report that Guilford County now owns more than 52,000 computers and wireless devices and 100% of GCS classrooms have access to the Internet 

    This section includes the following information for purchase, maintenance and replacement of technology-related hardware in the district.

    • Hardware Standards
    • Computer Replacement Plan
    • Computer Repair
    • Computer Donations
    • Annual Media & Technology Report

     

    Hardware Standards

    Technology Services continues to adopt, review and update standards for the purchase of all hardware used in the district.  Those standards are based on recommendations developed by Office of State Information Technology Services (ITS), the State of North Carolina’s Term Contract for Purchase (SC #204, #205 and #206) and approval of Guilford County Schools’ Technology Applications Review Committee (TARC).

    As of January 2016, the district has been moving toward an enterprise Technology solution.  This move will create more efficiencies, generate cost savings, as well as meet recommendations from two external audits.  The solution is to standardize on a single operating system platform.  Windows will be the standard operating system for all device purchases going forward. Talking Points Support Document

    Approved Hardware List 

    School Purchase of Computer Equipment

    To maintain compatibility and support, schools and departments interested in purchasing computer equipment must use the Approved Hardware list. Contact Technology Services (Kristie Shumate (shumatk@gcsnc.com)) for the most recent specifications and quotes. 

    The Approved Hardware list contains desktops, laptops, printers, and scanners. (In accordance with district initiatives to reduce costs, printers may only be purchased as a replacement printer or for new construction.

    AV Equipment and Cabling

    If a school or department is interested in purchasing AV equipment, they must contact Technology Services for current specifications and quotes.  Based on Guilford County Schools’ experience with the quality and ongoing support of equipment, the following are approved for purchase:

    • Mounted Interactive Projection Devices: Epson BrightLink Series (More Information)
    • Portable Short Throw Projection Devices: Epson
    • Televisions: LG commercial grade
    • Document Cameras: Lumens
    • Classroom Audio Enhancement: Light Speed
    • AV Cabling: AV over Cat6

    Wireless Equipment

    Due to the nature of wireless, it is very important to get approval from Technology Services before purchasing or implementing equipment that requires any type of wireless access (IP, RF, etc.). This includes, but is not limited to:

    • Computers and Laptop Carts
    • Mobile Laptop Carts
    • Wireless Slates
    • Response Systems
    • Calculators
    • PDA's, Phones, and other Hand-held Devices
    • Printers*
    • Routers

    * Printers - In accordance with a district initiative to reduce the printing costs, printers may only be purchased as a replacement printer or for new construction.

    Other considerations before purchasing wireless equipment can be found in the following documents:

     

    Networking Equipment

    The following will be purchased and used throughout the district:

    • Cisco switches and routers
    • Cisco wireless components

    Minimum Standards for Networked Computers -Desktops & Laptops

    Due to increasing requirements to operate new networked applications and upgrades necessary to run state-mandated software, the following minimum standards apply to any computer to be added to the Guilford County Schools’ network.

    Desktops:

    Specific models of Dell computers
    Core Duo Processors with a minimum speed of 3.50 GHz
    16 GB memory
    Internal CDRW DVD Combo
    500 GB hard drive
    Gigabit Ethernet network adaptor
    Cat 6 network cable (14' maximum length)
    19” monitor

    Laptops:

    For GCS Secured Wireless with Server Connection:

    • Specific Models of Dell Laptops (See 'School Purchase' section above)
    • 1.8 GHz processor
    • 4 GB ram
    • Windows
    • Anti-virus protection

    For GCS Secured Wireless with NO Server Connection:

    • Specific Models of Dell Laptops (See 'School Purchase' section above)
    • Any GCS owned and approved laptop model that does not meet the requirements listed in the 'For Server Connection' section listed above may be put on or moved to this wireless network and have no server connection. The decision will be based on the age, model, operating system and overall condition of the laptop.

    All other laptops will be considered 'guest' laptops and may be able to connect to the GCS Guest network, however, they must have anti-virus protection.

    Computer Replacement Plan

    In an effort to keep equipment up-to-date, Technology Services has developed a Computer Replacement Plan that defines replacement of all hardware and software in the district.  The replacement schedule outlines replacement of all computers on a school-by-school basis.  Implementation of the plan depends on funding and bond renovation projects.  The complete Computer Replacement Plan can be downloaded by selecting the following link:

    Computer Replacement Plan

    Computer Repair 

    The district operates a computer repair facility at the Technology Center to provide cost-effective repair of all computer hardware used throughout the district.  The repair technicians have A+ certifications.  The facility has gained service provider certifications with our major vendors (Dell and IBM) and now services our own warranty work.  This results in shorter turnaround for school repairs and has generated funding that is used to purchase repair parts for older machines. 

    A budget is maintained for repair parts, for operation of the vans used by the repair technicians and for the salaries of the repair technicians.  Guilford County does outsource repair of specialized equipment such as NCS scanners and the central IBM iSeries 400s. Most small items, such as print cartridges and batteries, are considered supplies and must be purchased by individual school sites.

    Requesting Repair (Help Desk System)

    All requests for repair from individual users should be coordinated through their School or Department Technology Contact Person.  These persons use a web-based Help Desk System to enter all technology-related requests - hardware issues, installation of software, additional cabling, email problems, etc.  The school contact is able to view the history log of the ticket as it progresses toward completion.  Users are notified, via email, when a ticket is assigned and completed.

    Emergencies or complete outages may be phoned directly to the Help Desk (336-370-8179).

    Computer Donations

    Guilford County Schools is happy to accept donated computers.  However, in order to perform effectively within the Guilford County Schools’ network environment, donated computers must meet performance and license requirements.

    The receiving school or department is responsible for all costs associated with placing donated computers in service.  Computers that do not meet hardware purchasing standards, or do not meet the minimum standards for networking, cannot be added to the Guilford County Schools’ network.  Such hardware may be used as a standalone machine.

    Annual Media and Technology Report

    The NC Annual Media and Technology Report (AMTR) is a legislatively mandated end-of-the-year report for all school districts in North Carolina.  The data collected, provides both the Legislature and the public, a summary of the state’s technology – equipment and connectivity.  The information is used to complete each school’s and each district’s State Report Card.

    The AMTR provides a valuable measure of each district’s progress in the area of technology.  With the completion of the 2015 AMTR, schools report that Guilford County now owns more than 52,000 computing devices and 100% of all classrooms have access to the Internet.