DOE bids out laptops : New gizmos, Gadgets gazette Blog

Sunday, May 15, 2011

DOE bids out laptops

Guam Department of Education has invited businesses to bid for a contract to provide "an indefinite quantity" of laptops and mobile computer labs for Guam schools.

The department is looking to acquire 1,700 laptops for teachers, as well as laptops for mobile computer labs in more than a dozen schools, said Vincent Dela Cruz, data processing manager for the Department of Education.

The mobile computer labs, which will each have about 30 computers, will only be set up in 12 to 13 schools with adequate security measures.

The move seems to contradict an earlier announcement, made in April by Vince Leon Guerrero, the Calvo administration's education liaison, that laptops wouldn't be purchased for schools for at least another two years, citing security measures.


A recent spate of school vandalism and burglaries has hit various public schools, some of which have been hit multiple times, including Astumbo Middle School, C.L.Taitano Elementary School and George Washington High School.

M.U. Lujan Elementary School in Yona has been hit 19 times in the past year, and sustained at least $10,000 worth of property damage. Items taken from the school included laptops, a public announcement system, a projector, cameras and camcorders, according to the Pacific Daily News files.

About $25 million in State Fiscal Stabilization Funding, which aims to support, modernize and renovate public schools, would've been available to Guam schools for technology upgrades.

The upgrades would have included the installation of about five computers in each middle and high school class, the purchase of mobile laptop carts that can be wheeled from one elementary class to another, and the purchase of laptops for most students in middle and high schools, according to the Pacific Daily News files.

But a federal funds monitor expressed concerns in investing in the computers, citing security issues, and a third-party fiduciary agent, which oversees federal funds given to Guam DOE, said it would not allow the purchases until schools prove they have security measures in place.


Although schools with security measures such as vaults, windowless rooms with hardened walls, doors made out of metal or with security locks, are slated to receive laptops, Dela Cruz declined to say how much of the federal funding would be used on the technology upgrades.

The department hopes to acquire the computers before the start of school in August.

He said the computers are needed for teachers so they can implement an electronic student management system, which takes attendance and manages student demographics, discipline records and other student information.

"We'd like to be able to provide teachers with tools to be able to enhance teaching and learning," said Dela Cruz.

Currently not all teachers have computers, although some schools provide access to computers at a centralized location in the school, said Dela Cruz.

A survey given to school system employees in 2008 revealed that 40 percent of classrooms and offices don't have computers. Of those classrooms that did have computers, 44 percent didn't have Internet access, according to Pacific Daily News files.

Dela Cruz said maintenance and technical support for the new computers would be included in the contract with the vendor providing the computers. The technical support agreement would last three years. The intent is to have technology upgrades every three to five years, said Dela Cruz.

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