Archbold, OH
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Almost Half Of School Computers 6 Or 7 Years Old

Out of 534 computers in the Archbold Area School District, about half, 250, are six or seven years old.

That’s what Brent Gnagey, the school district technology coordinator, told members of the Archbold Area School Board during the Monday, Nov. 19, board meeting.

Gnagey said of the 534 computers, 127 are six years old, and 113 are seven years old. There are only 47 eight- and nine-year-old computers, but that doesn’t reflect the number of machines that were purchased at that time; rather, that’s the number left, as others have been disposed.

There are 39 two- and threeyear old computers, which Gnagey said reflects the years the technology budget underwent cuts to deal with the district’s financial difficulties.

There are 53 one-year-old machines.

The 534 machines are supported by a tech staff of about 2.4 persons, including himself, assistant, and student assistants.

He said on average, the district gets about eight years of use from a computer, but he would be more comfortable replacing machines every six years, citing “total cost of ownership.”

Total cost of ownership for a computer has to include time teachers and others try to use older machines with newer applications, or websites with new technological features.


New features cause old machines to operate painfully slowly, or stop working entirely, resulting in frustration for the user, which causes the user to shy away from technology.

Gnagey said he moves computers around to areas that fit their capabilities. For example, students learning how to use the keyboard don’t need the latest hi-tech features, so older computers are just fine. Other districts install a computer, leave it in the same place for four years, then replace it, he said.

While computers in the classroom can assist in instruction, teachers have to be up-to-date in computer skills.

“Professional development is the key,” he said.

Also discussed was going to laptop computers for teachers as opposed to desktop units. Laptops with a wireless network make it easy and convenient for teachers to do their work almost anywhere, whenever they have time.

But, laptop computers only last about four years, and require expensive replacement batteries within a year or two.

He is, however, working to establish more wireless networking capability in the high school.

Students have advanced beyond laptops and email.

Today, Gnagey said, students don’t use email. They communicate via mobile phones and text messaging.

“If they can’t text, they’re not interested,” he said.

Other Actions

Among other actions taken by the board, John Bamonte, Archbold, was appointed to the Archbold Community Library Board. His term begins Jan. 1, 2008, for seven years.

The board also approved a letter of support the community reinvestment act tax abatement agreement between the Village of Archbold and Sauder Village, for the Sauder Heritage Inn expansion.

Barb Figgins was granted a supplemental contract to coach seventh-grade girls basketball, while Sandy Babcock was granted a supplemental contract to serve as the winter concessions advisor.

The board met in two executive sessions, one lasting about 20 minutes, a second about an hour and 45 minutes. Stated reasons for the sessions were personnel matters; the second, longer session was to discuss ongoing contract negotiations.

Next board meeting is set Monday, Dec. 17, at 7 pm in the Archbold High School media center.- David Pugh

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