Technology at Dalat

Meeting the technological demands of today’s students

Dalat campus is well equipped to meet the technological demands of today’s students. All classrooms have computers connected to the school’s network, which provides file storage and high speed Internet access to over 300 computers on campus.

As well, the school has four up-to-date computer labs, complete with data projectors and laser printers. All teachers from Grade 5 to 12 use PowerSchool to record student grades and take daily attendance. Students at DIS have access to eLearning technologies and other online courses. DIS also uses an online course management system in many of its courses. This is available through DISCourse.

Tablets at Dalat

Tablets are used in the High School and are required for all students in Grades 9 to 12. All classes integrate the iPad into the instruction that takes place every day. Click here for more details on our High School Tablet program.

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Technology Vision Statement

Technology at Dalat International School is used to support and encourage the best possible learning environment for preparing students to function effectively as God’s people in our technologically evolving world.

The Internet is a valuable source for research and educational activities. As such, Dalat International School provides Internet access for our students. In addition to using the Internet to access educational resources, many students use it to access social networking sites (Facebook, MySpace, CyWorld, etc.), online video sites (YouTube, Google Video, etc.) and gaming sites. A few students spend hours each day on these types of sites. Some of these activities, such as watching online videos, can have a negative impact for those trying to use the Internet for educational purposes.

Last year, the administration decided to block YouTube during the school day. Students were very creative in finding other sites to watch the videos they wanted to see. This year we want to go beyond preventing the problem behavior and begin training our students to develop better habits.

I shared the following illustration with the high school students. It is easy for students to imagine that Internet access is like the ocean—a free unlimited source from which everyone can take as much as they want without affecting anyone else or having to pay anything. In reality, our Internet access is more like the water utility to your home.

The water has to flow through a pipe that is only a certain size and every month you get a bill. If one person is using a lot of water, that means there is less for the others. You quickly find this out when you are taking a shower and someone flushes the toilet in the other bathroom.

To help our students learn that Internet access is not completely free and unlimited, we are implementing a weekly “Bandwidth Budget” for middle and high school students this year. Here are some questions you may have about what this means and how it will work.

Bandwidth Budget FAQ

Our bandwidth is the measurement how fast information can be sent over our Internet connection. It can be imagined as our “pipe” to the Internet. Only a certain amount of data can be sent or received every second, just like only a limited amount of water can flow through a pipe of a certain size. If more data is being requested than our “pipe” can handle, the connection will be slow for everyone.
We don’t actually measure bandwidth usage. Instead we measure the total amount of data each student downloads. All Internet access goes through our proxy server which logs the site that was visited and how much data was downloaded. Software called PaperCut then adds this up and keeps track of each student’s total.
“Bandwidth Budget” sounds better than “Amount of Data Downloaded Budget.” Also, because the more data a student downloads, the more bandwidth they are using overall, in the end it’s not much different.
Students in middle school will have a 100MB budget each week, and high school students will have 200MB budget. Students living in the campus dorms will receive an extra 100MB per week as they use the school Internet connection for “home” use as well.
Megabytes (MB) is used to measure how much information is downloaded, not the length of time. It would be possible for a student to download 100MB in less than half an hour if they were downloading a single large file. While downloading that file, they would be using much of the school’s Internet bandwidth, slowing access for everyone else. (Remember the “toilet flush” illustration above.)
Regular web browsing does not use much bandwidth and web pages are relatively small. Students should be able to browse as many sites as they want without exceeding their budget. Watching online video and downloading files are activities that would deplete the budget much more quickly.
Students will be able to access a report of their current budget status on the school’s intranet home page. We are also looking at other ways to make it easy for students to monitor their remaining budget.
A student who exceeds the weekly budget will lose access to popular social networking, online video, and gaming sites for the rest of that week. They will continue to have Internet access for research and educational purposes.
Access will be blocked until the end of the week when they receive their next weekly budget.
No, students will not be able to carry over the unused budget from one week to the next.
Students who exceed their budget will only lose access to social networking, online video, and gaming sites. They will still have access to any sites they need to complete school assignments.
No, Skype usage does not count towards the bandwidth budget, and Skype access will not be blocked.
Students will receive their initial budget on Sunday, Sept. 21.

The personal Internet use of a few students can negatively affect the Internet experience of those trying to use it for educational purposes. As a school we want to make sure that the necessary resources are always available to fulfill our educational objectives. We could try to achieve this by blocking all non-educational sites, but that would be a losing battle.

We would also much rather have our students learn to manage their time and monitor their Internet activities (Education for Life). We believe this new system will meet our need for making Internet resources available for educational use and help our students learn some valuable life skills.

E-mail me jhorton@dalat.org and I will do my best to provide an answer.

Jon Horton
Ed Tech Coordinator