Technology students help system save money

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Upgrading IP schemes is similar to a telephone company breaking up an area into area codes because it runs out of phone numbers. With 6,000 devices to handle systemwide, Shelby County Schools recently took advantage of School of Technology students to get the job done, giving the students hands-on experience and saving money in the process.

For those not up on the lingo, IP stands for the &uot;Internet protocol&uot; address that allows computers to communicate with file servers and connect to the internet.

Susan Poling, technology supervisor for Shelby County Schools, said, &uot;Just as phone companies have had to subdivided the state into more area codes to increase the number of phone numbers, we are also having to expand our addressing scheme due to the increased number of computers and other networked devices such as security camera, network copiers, electronic door keypads, timeclocks and even heating and cooling controls.

&uot;Because the setup on everyone of these devices had to be adjusted to the new numbering scheme, it was going to be a huge job in terms of manhours.&uot; She said,

&uot;The Cisco program at the School of Technology and several school of technology coordinators teachers were asked to assist the technology staff in completing the project so that it could be accomplished as quickly as possible.&uot;

That project has now been completed, according to Shelby County technology personnel.

Poling said adding technically savvy students and teachers to the project saved the school system about $14,000.

&uot;Manipulating 6,000 devices, especially during the summer when buildings are being cleaned, is no small feat, and the teams have done a fantastic job,&uot; Poling said.

&uot;It was a win-win situation for both the system and the Cisco students. We saved money and the students were able to put their technology training into action.

&uot;The experience will help them not only apply what they have learned, but start them on their way to building a technical resume.&uot;

According to Poling, the students have lots of talent and the school system hopes to continue to use them in the future.

Network Administrator Walter Alexander said, &uot;It has been a tremendous benefit to have these students work with us on this project.&uot;

He said five teams worked on the project and he said the students gained &uot;real world experience.&uot;

He also said the things these students are working on are things a lot of companies will face (changing IP addresses) in the future.

Jake Stapleton, a senior at Thompson High School, said the work experience will help him when he gets out of school