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Ryan Womack busy as schools’ IT guy

Posted 8/11/21

The Times-Gazette recently had an interview with Ryan Womack, who’s beyond busy right now meeting the technology needs of 16 schools in Bedford County.

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Ryan Womack busy as schools’ IT guy

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The Times-Gazette recently had an interview with Ryan Womack, who’s beyond busy right now meeting the technology needs of 16 schools in Bedford County.

Through recent surveys, what are you all finding about families and their access to technology, broadband, etc.?

“We conducted and are utilizing the survey to assess the technology needs of Bedford County families and what needs are priority. We received a small sampling of responses from different areas in the county, but the most notable need was for laptops to utilize for virtual learning or for homework. The biggest response was from homes with multiple school age-children for needing devices; however, there was not a large response of people in need of hotspot technology.”

For those needing hot spots (which will be provided by school system to those families without internet service) are they through cellular data or how will this work?

“This is an issue that is being investigated further. There is no simple answer with just one service. Rural areas using hotspots require a cellular connection and in some areas, no providers work or different providers work in different areas.The BCS Information Technology (IT) department is continuing to work diligently on solutions and funding resources for internet access for our virtual school students who need high-speed internet access. For others, we still have the option of using outdoor WiFi at all Bedford County school locations when students need to access the internet.”

What's the best advice--concerning technology--you can give parents who may have enrolled their students in the virtual learning school?

“Knowing what their children are doing on technology and what they are supposed to be doing is key. This ensures children are acting appropriately and safely in a virtual environment. Virtual learning does not require large, expensive computers to complete, but we do suggest a Windows OS desktop or laptop computer for best compatibility. The priority for students is to concentrate on learning, and parents’ priority should be to provide an environment that supports learning; this does not require a large amount of money on the part of the student’s family.”

Will our school system be able to continue to handle virtual learning adequately with available resources?

“We are always looking to improve our technology whether students are attending in-person or virtually. Whether it be the pursuit of additional federal and state funding or other sponsorship opportunities, our goal is always to provide good educational technology for students throughout Bedford County. The challenge is that this can be an ever-changing, daily-evolving target!”

What are some needs the technology department might have at this time?

“We always welcome working with partners in the area and would appreciate growing our technology offerings for Bedford County students. Joining hands with area corporations and organizations means we are that much closer to fulfilling our mission of providing an environment that encourages every student to learn and every student to become a successful, productive citizen. If anyone is interested in partnering with us to do so, please contact the IT department at the central office at 931-684-3284 and ask for IT Manager Ryan Womack."

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