Clio schools enjoy high-capacity computer system
By BILL DiSESSA
Journal staff writer
The Flint Journal
June 8, 1992
CLIO - Sarah O'Leary sometimes does homework without even leaving Carter Middle School.
The seventh-grader tackles English assignments on a powerful computer network with a fiber-optic backbone and 375 computers linking teachers and students throughout the Clio School District.
"I think they (computers) are really neat," said O'Leary, 13. "They're better than writing it all out."
Educators also give high marks to the $200,000-plus system with whopping capacity, popular software such as New Print Shop, laser printers, color monitors and 16 telephone lines so teachers can access school terminals via modems from home.
"I like the flexibility," district computer coordinator Dick Wimberg said. "One big advantage is software that is consistent across the entire district. Instead of updating programs computer to computer, we can do it all at once on the network. "We no longer have to use the Genesee Intermediate School District for some administrative and grading services. The system will pay for itself within five years."
Computers are nothing new to education anymore, but Clio's system contains some impressive features such as a media center with a library card catalog and an electronic encyclopedia, Wimberg said.
Students learn about language arts, math, reading, science, keyboarding and industrial arts on computers. They also may message friends, he said, but internal security measures reduce the risk of vandalism and computer virus infections.
"One student tried to break in and change his grades last year but he was caught," Wimberg said.
The district has several secondary school computer laboratories, including one used for career training at its Arts Center.
A useful teaching tool is called LANSchool, formerly known as PC-Chalkboard PLUS. It does away with overhead projectors and students crowding around one terminal by broadcasting sessions from a teacher's terminal-to selected student workstations. Teachers also can browse students' computer work.
The network was installed by Bit by Bit Computing of Grand Blanc, which also has set up computer systems in Montrose, Flushing, Mt. Morris and Westwood Heights schools.
Company President Greg Neuffer said the network one day could be connected to equipment in other districts and students could have the same home computer access now enjoyed by teachers.