Technology. The word itself has the unique ability to elicit powerful reactions ranging from shock and awe to “ooh’s and ahh’s” to the occasional groans and grumbling from those unfamiliar with what “liking a Tweet” or “creating an Instagram story” means. Since 2016, at Trinity, our goal regarding technology has been a different word: Collaboration. As Trinity’s Director of Information Technology Kevin Wangler puts it, “Every step along the way has focused on enabling collaboration among our students and faculty, preparing them for college and beyond.”
The summer of 2016 is when this collaborative approach with technology really took off. Trinity completely renovated our Library Media Center, turning it into a re-imagined library – one that focuses on collaboration and digital access, as much as it does on physical books. The following summer saw Trinity turn the “old computer lab” into the Gregory H. Brown Technology Center. According to Wangler, “What some would consider a dark, cramped area was transformed into a bright, spacious and modern hub of technology.” Large touchscreen displays serve as the focal point for each of the two computer labs, and a large collaborative space enables students to work together on all forms of technology projects, including Trinity’s Robotics Program. The summer of 2017 also saw all faculty desktop computers replaced with high-end touchscreen enabled laptops. Summer 2018 saw even more changes, as the IT department completely overhauled the network infrastructure, replacing all of the networking equipment as well replacing the entire wireless networking system. “By doing this, along with installing enterprise-grade access points in every classroom and hallway, we enabled blazing-fast collaboration between students and teachers alike,” says Wangler.
All of this brings us to the summer of 2019, or as Wangler says, “This is the summer that we’re going to be bringing all of these individual pieces together, tying up the package with a nice bow.”
Dubbed the classroom modernization project, our IT department installed high-definition projectors, 100″ display boards, and a wireless collaboration device in EVERY CLASSROOM. The broadcasting equipment in the TTV studio was replaced with HD-capable hardware that will make Trinity’s in-house television program and other broadcasts look crystal clear.
These changes have all focused on creating an environment where students can collaborate with each other, and a culture where Trinity’s staff are, “freed from the tangle of cables tethering them to their desks. They’re now free to move about the classroom,” says Wangler. He adds, “Teachers will also have an infinite whiteboard on their laptop, with opportunities for students to share their work via the projector across the wireless network. This opens up a myriad of new ways for faculty to teach and for students to learn and grow.”
Now, the question that seemingly always arises with technology is, “What’s next?” According to Wangler, it’s almost impossible to predict. “Many prognosticators have made foolish predictions over the years, including Bill Gates and Steve Jobs,” he says with a laugh, “but no one truly knows with any certainty where we are headed. Technology evolves at such a rapid pace, making it impossible to predict with any accuracy where we will be in five years, and what technology our students will need to succeed.” However, Wangler is positive about one thing. Trinity’s students aren’t going to get there alone. “By learning to collaborate during their high school years, they will be well-prepared for their college years and the careers that follow.