Klaudis Consulting Firm Seeks Student and Faculty Suggestions for PA’s Routine Technology Evaluation; Students Want to See More Computer Labs and Creativity

Personal websites for students, more Mac support and new kiosks were among the items on students’ techie wish-lists, voiced at a technology forum in Un-Ropes this past Tuesday. Kaludis Consulting firm arrived on campus this week to conduct over 30 forums and meetings with faculty, staff, administrators and students. The firm is based out of Washington, D.C. and works primarily with higher education to evaluate their technological needs. According to Elliott Haugen, Senior Vice President of Kaludis Consulting, the meetings will gather the opinions of “…students, faculty, and staff, regarding their requirements and expectations for technology use in the future.” Carl Jackson ’09, Webmaster and Director of The Phillipian Online, said, “This forum will be important in changing the face of technology at Andover.” Despite a low turnout at the student forum, those who attended offered many opinions regarding the future of Phillips Academy’s technology policies. Suggestions included more computer kiosks around campus, more efficient use of idle or frequently unused computers, expansion of the wireless network, more Mac support and alternatives to Blackboard. Kathleen Dalton, Instructor in History and Social Science and participant in the faculty forum, echoed the need for increased Mac support. Dalton described herself as a “Mac user in a school that has been really helpful about technology, but more staffed for PC support.” Students suggested that in addition to Dell and Lenovo computers, PA should discount Macs. Christian Anderson ’09, President of Techmasters, proposed that Phillips Academy follow the lead of M.I.T. and give each student a webpage for personal use. According to Anderson, this would foster creativity, as well as interest and knowledge in the vast field of technology. Anderson’s ideas stem from his belief that students should be more involved with technology. He said, “We need to shift the focus, so that students do technology rather than have technology happen to them.” Another suggestion from Anderson was to get a few Linux boxes, which can be used as servers. In addition to using Linux, a free and open-source operating system, many students in the forum thought that Phillips Academy should expand the amount of open-source software available for use. Scott Shambaugh ’11 suggested that all computers in the Phillips Academy network be linked into a distributed computing network. Through this network, unused computer processing power could go to other networks. Students praised the new bandwidth policy. They also appreciated the depth of technology resources on campus, such as the five computer labs on campus and diverse software collection of the Academy. Valerie Roman, Director of Technology, said, “We go through this process every four to five years, where we gather the community input on technology – what’s strong, what’s not strong and what people would like to see.” The information and opinions amassed over this past week in forums and meetings will be put to use immediately. Haugen said, “Over the next two months we will be working with the Technology Planning Committee to draft a plan for the appropriate use and support of technology across the Academy.”