Boulder upgrades 1300 classrooms with integrated technology

Boulder Valley School District, a 29,000-student public school system serving Boulder, Colorado, and its surrounding communities, is undertaking one of the most comprehensive district-wide technology improvements in the country – outfitting nearly 90 percent of its K-12 classrooms with state-of-the-art, instructional technology.

According to Chad Zemer, information technology project manager for the district, early project bids were higher than the budget would allow. “A colleague told me about Calypso,” said Zemer, “ and their bid came in at least one-third cheaper than their competitors, which allowed us to achieve nearly 90 percent project coverage.”

Calypso’s ezRoom 5000 system is an integrated classroom technology bundle designed to facilitate the use of interactive whiteboards, projectors, computers, document cameras and microphones, allowing teachers to create collaborative, media-rich, interactive learning environments.

The Calypso investment is part of an eighteen-month, $4 million initiative to upgrade classroom technology throughout the district, made possible in part from voter-approved bond and ballot referendum funds. As part of the program, most classrooms and large meeting spaces, such as media centers, in each of the district’s 50 schools will be equipped with projectors, drop-down screens and Calypso wall-mounted networked control panels, classroom amplifiers, desktop control software and A/V input and wiring jacks.

Coupled with a district-wide fiber-optic data network as a backbone, and a core video content storage and management system, the Boulder Valley School District is now ready to deliver an integrated multimedia learning experience to its student body.

“Our goal isn’t technology for technology’s sake,” Zemer said. “Our goal is to address inequities in the classroom and create an environment in which all students can see and hear what’s being taught. Our students already have one of the highest average CSAP (Colorado State Academic Profile) scores in the state, but with the new learning opportunities available to us through our technology partners like Calypso, our students can be even better.”

More than 100 classroom systems have been installed to date, with approximately 1,200 to follow in the coming months. The entire initiative is scheduled for completion by the end of 2010.