California Educational Data Processing Association
The DataBus - Vol. 37, No. 5
August-September, 1997

The California NetDay Challenge

Classroom: Schools, technology partners gear up for next in a series of projects to enhance instructional technology.

Carole A. Teach, California NetDay

California NetDay organizers, sponsors, and volunteers around the state are currently organizing for the next statewide wiring day on October 25, 1997. California NetDay challenges:

NetDay began in California on March 9, 1996, as a volunteer effort by schools, parents, students, communities and businesses to wire California's K-12 schools as a first step toward building school networks and Internet access. NetDay is now occurring nationally, with every state involved in volunteer wiring of K-12 schools. NetDay's goal for each school is to connect five classrooms and a library/media center using Category 5 wire, the standard high-speed digital wire used in most business networks.

The California NetDay organization began receiving generous support in late July, from Oracle Corporation, which is providing full office facilities and support for the California NetDay website. With this support, California NetDay is quickly putting into place plans for a statewide California NetDay Campaign. This campaign will help to ensure schools' success with their NetDay efforts. The campaign will obtain funding to (1) purchase wiring kits for distribution to California's K-12 schools, and (2) provide "Next-Steps" workshops that will help educators learn how to take advantage of the wired classroom to benefit teaching and learning.

Many of you have been involved in NetDay activities and have been working hard to plan and implement the networking infrastructure within your schools. Because of your activities, and with the help of NetDay volunteers, about half of the schools in California have some level of wiring. This coming NetDay will focus on the estimated 6,500 public and private California schools that do not have networked computers in the classrooms. We know that with appropriate planning and support from the school district and community, NetDay gives schools a head-start in getting high-speed data wire into K-12 classrooms and connecting schools to the "information superhighway." The tools this technology offers, when used effectively by teachers and administrators, can improve our students' ability to conduct research, publish their work, become active and collaborative learners, providing teaching and learning opportunities never before possible in K-12 classrooms. Every student, in every school should be given this opportunity. Furthermore, NetDay helps to extend the efforts of education projects such as Project GoldenNet (http://www.ccsesa.org/GoldenNet/) which is being conducted by the County Superintendents Education Services Association.

The California NetDay organization is setting a goal of collecting at least $800,000, by September 30, 1997, enough to purchase and coordinate the distribution of 2,000 NetDay wiring kits to schools in need, and to organize and hold eight regional "Next-Steps" workshops.

These 2,000 wiring kits will provide high-speed category 5 wire for 12,000 classrooms with two connections per classroom. The donated wiring kits represent a savings of $800,000 when compared to the cost to individual school districts. Additional untold savings are realized in the elimination of time and paperwork in procuring the components of the wiring kits. This is a good deal for K-12 education. Moreover, the wiring kits are an incentive to schools to organize a NetDay event, thereby taking the necessary first-step in building the school network and connecting students and educators to the Internet.

The "Next-Steps" workshops will help educators realize the use and benefits of the school network, facilitating the transition from technology as an "add-on" to technology as an integral tool that becomes part of teaching strategies and the learning process.

The California NetDay organization is asking California businesses, service organizations, foundations, public and private education organizations, unions, and communities to support NetDay through contributions to the California NetDay Campaign fund, and continued volunteer support of K-12 public and private schools. The California NetDay organization will use those funds to obtain wiring kits at discounted, bulk rate prices. These wiring kits will be distributed through county offices of education and regional NetDay coordinators, who will ensure that the kits reach the schools that are in need and prepared to hold a NetDay event. County offices of education and regional NetDay coordinators will work with school districts and schools to support the NetDay efforts, including coordination of wiring experts to ensure that the wiring is properly planned, installed and tested.

Supporting businesses will assist in public relations activities to promote the NetDay campaign and workshops. Of course, schools will need to plan their NetDay events and involve their communities and local businesses in support of the effort. They should plan to appoint an organizer who will represent the school, coordinate the volunteers, keep their school information current on the NetDay website, sign-on to the NetDay Internet Roll Call, and be the contact to receive the wiring kit(s).

For further information contact California NetDay at or by telephone at 916-366-0792.

Carole A. Teach is Executive Director of California NetDay. She can be reached by e-mail at [email protected].

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