Burlington’s technology staff has been hard at work this summer creating the Burlington Link or BLINK Network. The BLINK Network will allow more centralized management and access to programs through a common “cloud.”
Ultimately, Burlington faculty, staff, and students will sit at a computer or bring in their wireless computer from home and sign-on to their BLINK Account. This home screen will allow access to those programs that they need to do their jobs or complete their assignments. The BLINK Network can be accessed from any place at any time.
The district has enough capacity to provide every student with a BLINK ID and password. Imagine an electronic folder following your child throughout their school career. A shared folder will eliminate the challenge of emailing papers between students and teachers using software that is not compatible. In fact, teachers will be able to directly edit student work in a shared folder.
The BLINK “Cloud” will be the vehicle for the district to provide access to many open-source software products. There is a growing list of high quality, open-source software products that are free to use and share. I have even been reading about a growing number of open-source textbook options aligned to each states’ standards (making for much lighter backpacks) – see Mr. Larkin’s post http://burlingtonhigh.blogspot.com/2009/08/glimpse-at-schools-of-future.html .
Initially, we will be in transition from our desktop oriented environment to a “cloud” type environment. This journey is a familiar one in schools. We have moved away from chalkboards, film-loop projectors, VCR’s, and other older technology. Currently, we need to upgrade from computer-based, proprietary software to open-source, network-based options. The BLINK Network creates the foundation for this transition.
A key for us this year will be professional development and searching out software options that meet our new criteria while delivering the instructional purpose of the software that is being replaced. Stay tuned…