NORTHROP - Martin Luther High School in Northrop now boasts the same type of Internet technology available in NFL stadiums.
T.J. Carter and Amber Arora, owners of CompuNET International of St. Louis Park, were at the school this week performing a major upgrade to the school's technology, an improvement prompted by the increasing number of students with personal computers in the classroom.
"They've got WiFi (wireless Internet) now, but it used to be just for the teacher, a very low density of devices," Carter said.
Increased use of laptops and notebooks in the classroom strained the existing system.
"We are upgrading the heart and soul of their network infrastructure," Carter said.
Basically, they are installing a new domain server, or "the brains of the whole operation."
Fans attending NFL games use smart phones and other electronic devices to play fantasy football, games or check emails.
The company, founded in 1988, works with public schools of all sizes, as well as private schools, providing support and instruction with technology.
Instructing a school's teaching staff about the various uses of new technology can be a two-year process, and a professional development program can be provided for each teacher.
"They get all this great stuff, but if nobody knows what to do with it; it's a waste of everybody's time and money," Carter said. "We give [teachers] the tools to be successful."
Providing ongoing support is a key. Otherwise, "the first time, there's a problem, they'll probably push it away," he said.
Although technology changes rapidly, the system's basis of installation, instruction and continued support is "guaranteed effective," Carter said. "What we're implementing today will be operational in five to seven years."
Integrating the upgraded technology will be "a learning curve for all of us," said Paul Steinhaus, Martin Luther High School principal. "This is just part of improving our academic excellence."
In the past, computer instruction included keyboarding and other basics.
"That's not part of the 21st century classroom. We don't need to teach them how to do that anymore. They already know," Carter said.