Archive for Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Basehor-Linwood media classes using technology in incredible ways

February 12, 2014

— Like something out of science fiction, images will jump off the pages of some of this year's publications by Basehor-Linwood High School.

Students in the media and journalism classes at BLHS are learning how to use incredible technology such as the Aurasma application, which allows people to use their smartphones or tablets to turn print media into interactive video. By simply focusing your phone or tablet's camera on a specially marked picture, your device instantly plays video in real time, adding incredible options for multimedia storytelling.

"We have really been trying to push to continue to innovate and stay on the cutting edge of technology," said journalism and graphic design teacher Kristen Loney.

Loney showcased some of the new technology her classes have been using at the Monday USD 458 school board meeting. She said students in her class are now learning how to write HTML code and implement state-of-the art graphic design tools to design the yearbook and other projects, including the posters for the school's upcoming winter play.

Meanwhile, students in the broadcasting journalism class are now live-broadcasting BLHS basketball games using three cameras the school was able to purchase with technology funds approved by the school board.

"It’s a great opportunity for the kids who are getting to use some of the equipment that would be very compatible with what KCTV-5, say, might be using," Loney said.

Technology has been a focus of discussion at several recent school board meetings as the board is beginning to approve various technology purchases. Next on the agenda is the purchase of laptops for the entire teaching staff in the district.

Superintendent David Howard said at a past board meeting that the computers currently in use by teachers are about eight years old. The district has been working with Apple in the past month and said it will vote in March about the purchase of new Macbook Airs for the staff.

The quote, according to numbers provided by the district's Director of Technology Lisa Lund, would cost $191,510. Lund said that the quote did not include a three-year Apple Care plan that would raise the cost to $211,470. Howard said the $191,510 figure would best serve the district teachers would begin receiving the new computers in April.

In other action Monday, the board:

• Discussed the change of health insurance providers in the district from Coventry to Blue Cross Blue Shield. Howard said the bid by Blue Cross Blue shield did not raise the employee contributed payments and actually lowered the premiums for most employees. Employees paying for family insurance would be the only ones seeing an increase in employee contributions, Howard said.

• Discussed the dissolution of the Leavenworth County Special Education Cooperative. Howard said the district, along with the Tonganoxie school district, will be speaking with a Kansas Department of Education committee later this month, seeking their support in separating from the cooperative.

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