The news site of Chanute High School

The Comet

The news site of Chanute High School

The Comet

The news site of Chanute High School

The Comet

Technology issues persist


    When USD 413 chose to outsource its technology needs to Kansas City-based company k12itc, the company claimed, “Your district has taken a big leap forward in technology service.”

    Students, staff, and administrators are still awaiting that leap as a plethora of technology issues have plagued the district in the opening months of the school year.

    “It has certainly been a struggle, but my hope is that it is a temporary inconvenience that will lead to a permanent improvement,” English teacher Dustin Fox, whose classes strive to use Chromebooks daily, said.

    The issues have been wide ranging: from WiFi failure to printing issues to limited storage to restrictions and loss of rights. As a result, k12itc has been a lightning rod for criticism.

    An unreliable WiFi connection has been a big issue for students and teachers. Some students say they don’t trust using Chromebooks for assignments because they might lose connection at any given time or not be able to connect at all, and a number of teachers have shied away from using as much technology in the classroom due to the frequent issues.

    For students, one of the most problematic issues has been signing up for Comet Time enrichment. It has became a reoccurring issue for students not be able to connect in a timely manner. As a result, students don’t get the chance to select their preferred Comet Time classes.

    For example, the Comet Time menu choices are sent to all students at the beginning of seminar. The document might load for 300 students, but the WiFi doesn’t connect for the rest of the student body for another 15 minutes.

    This issue leaves students who could not connect with limited choices as their desired location has often already reached its cap by the time they are able to access the document, leaving those students unable to get into the enrichment classes they enjoy or forcing them to use data on their phones.

    “When I was signing up for Comet Time I had to do it on my phone because I was unable to connect to the WiFi,” senior Selena Stich said.

    In addition to WiFi outages, teachers have cited issues with trying to meet the needs of each individual student because k12itc is more restrictive than the previous system.

    For example, teachers initially had issues assigning projects with videos due to access to YouTube being blocked and students in publications and graphic design classes are no longer able to download fonts.

    Classes that depend on storing pictures and projects on hard drives had to make special arrangements with k12itc to avoid the company’s restrictive storage options.

    “Switching to k12 has made teaching my classes difficult and has caused me a lot of frustration and anxiety,” technology teacher Jill Stevenson said.

    USD 413 Technology Director Tyler Applegate, who has been working closely with k12itc to get the issues resolved, preached patience.

    “The district technology staff has been in constant contact with k12 to address all issues,” Applegate said. “As with any change, there are roadblocks and obstacles that need to be addressed.”

    According to Applegate, k12itc visited the district last Friday and made changes in the hopes of fixing many of the problems. The company will be monitoring the system Monday morning when students sign up for their Comet Time classes.
    Many students aren’t optimistic about the issues being resolved any time soon, however.

    “I do not think that within the next two years it will get much better, but in time they could advance their system and servers to better accommodate for the challenge,” junior Trenton Lowry said.