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Houston's Technology Department

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The Houston Independent School District's department of technology, which oversees the integration of all technology efforts in the city's 245 public schools, has a staff of 90 and a budget of $4.2 million this year. The department has these divisions, according to officials:

Centralized Procurement--Has so far saved the district about $2.6 million by purchasing its computer hardware and software in volume.

Implementation--Assists school-building officials in choosing the right hardware and software.

Needs Assessment and Planning--Prepares manuals and takes a short-range look at what is needed this year--and a long-range look at where the technology is going in the next 10 years. A futurist with a doctoral degree is on the staff.

Special Projects--Plans new projects that are later incorporated into other divisions. Two examples are "Computers Can" and "Compu-Buy," which are programs that make it easy for parents to work with their children in educational computing at home.

Systems Design and De-velopment--Is responsible for developing software programs in administrative and instructional areas where good software is scarce, or when large numbers of software packages are needed and their cost would be prohibitive. Programs have been developed for word-processing and for teaching English as a second language.

Technical Applications--Supports both instructional and administrative uses of computers. Responsible for coordinating computer literacy and science curriculum in grades K-12.

Technology Training--Is responsible for providing competency-based training for teachers, administrators, and parents. About 350 staff members are oriented each month to the uses of the computer.

Telecommunications and Maintenance--Is responsible for networking and tying electronic equipment together for communication. Has developed an electronic-mail system. Maintains and repairs hardware. This division was established after a study showed that by 1985 this cost would be $900,000 annually if the district continued to subcontract all maintenance work.

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