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Technology at TC
This is a brief timeline of major events in the technology history of Tampa Catholic. (Note: The order is correct, but we are still researching some dates.)
TC opens its first computer lab in what is now room 123. Mr. Kevin Yarnell is hired to teach computer courses and run the lab. It contained 25 Commodor Vic 20 computers. Each machine had 2K of ram and ran at 1 mhz. Cassette tapes were used to store data and programs. Mr. Yarnell began teaching upper classmen a course in basic computer skills geared mainly around programming in the BASIC language.
2nd Semester 1983-4
A second lab was opened in what is now room 125. A sliding partitian divided the two labs. This lab contained ten TRS-80 model 3 computers which were connected via the Radio Shack "network 2" controller. The student machines sported 64K of ram and ran at 2 mhz. (We later found a way to overclock them to 4 mhz!) Data was stored on 5.25 inch floppy disks located on the server machine. The network required verbal communication between the server operator and the student, and data transfer had to be completed one student at a time.
The network 2 was replaced by "network 3". This allowed automated control of the network so that students could easily access programs and data stored on the server's 15MB external hard drive. A word processing course was added to the curriculum using the Radio Shack program "Scripsit". A large daisy-wheel printer provided clean, typewritten copies of student work.
The Horizons system is launched. Horizons was the name given to a collection of education and game programs available on the student network. Students and Mr. Yarnell wrote most of the software for the system and adapted a few programs from outside sources. Horizons ran at TC until the network 3 was taken out of operation. At its height it boasted nearly 40 programs including a spreadsheet program, database access program, Turtle Graphics (a Logo like programming language), and Reflects Box a highly involved logic game.
The office purchases its first major computer for administrative functions. A Tandy Model II began aiding in payroll and accounts payable. This machine employed two 8.5 inch floppy disks and no hard drive. Each floppy stored 360 Kb of data.
The office begins doing its own data processing with regard to student records. During the prior years, this work had been outsourced to a local company. The system was able to handle student census data, grade reporting, and limited scheduling.
The Vic 20's are removed from service and replaced by TRS-80 computers.
The TC computer museum is started. Over the years the school gained a reputation for being able to use discarded equipment for repair and replacement. Many donations were not especially useful but were of historical significance. Thus, Mr. Yarnell began to display these pieces around the walls of the 123/125 combined room. At its height, the museum filled 80% of the wall space and contained several especially unique pieces.
TC makes the Computer Applications course a graduation requirement. After a brief phase-in period, this semester class was taught to all sophomores.
Br. Greg Selitto begins teaching the Computer Applications course with Mr. Yarnell. He is instrumental in a complete redesign of the course and the subsequent publication of "The Computer Applications Workbook". This workbook, with yearly revisions, was used for the next 10 years. It marked the first time TC faculty produced their own workbook for student use. Br. Selitto is also credited with the "modern fairy tale" word processing assignment. Over 1000 students used their word processing skills to set, and rewrite, traditional fairy tales in modern times.
TC receives its first major grant of computer equipment. Based on our success with the network 3 lab, the grant gave TC a new "network 4" and 16 workstations which brought the number of student computers to approximately 35. This network and the workstations worked well, but were eventually phased out and replaced by a steady stream of used TRS-80 model 3 and 4 computers. The network 3, at its height, contained nearly 40 computers. The 15MB harddrive served as the only storage device throughout the network's 10 years of service. It is noteworthy that the TRSDOS operating system experienced an early version of Y2K. The software would not accept any date past Jan. 1, 1987!
Mr. Yarnell begins the "Tuition Software Project". No off-the-self software product fit the needs of the school in the area of tuition billing. This project began as a few small programs and ended up being more than 4000 lines of computer code with documentation that filled a 3 ring binder to capacity. In its first version the model II computer dictated that all the programming code and data be stored on one 8.5 inch floppy with a total capacity of just 360KB. The program served the school until 1998 when a new program, compatible with other employed software, was purchased.
The Administration converts its major student data base to the
The library installs two computers for student use. Initially, the machines only ran limited software on CD Rom.
TC has always appreciated the advantages of networking computers. As the number of
The last of the TRS-80 machines are retired from service. The 15 megabyte hard drive, which had provided all the storage for nearly 10 years, was never out of service during that time. The student lab had 40 networked machines for student use at this time.
The influx of used equipment continued and Mr. Yarnell was able to construct another 30 machines for use by the Business Department for their typing course.
Fiber optic cabling is laid throughout the campus connecting the main office with the library and the three classroom buildings. The first goal of this project was to allow the guidance department to connect to the main school network so as to have access to student schedules and records.
TC embarks on a program to significantly upgrade the computer services available to students. 100 Pentium 166mhz machines are purchased and installed throughout the campus. Forty were installed in the student lab, thirty in the typing lab, and fourteen went to the library. The remaining machines were put in guidance and other administrative offices.
The Novell network is upgraded to version 4.11 thanks to a generous discount provided by Novell.
Limited Internet access is made available to students in the Library. Mr. David Pritchard writes and posts TC's first website, www.tampacatholic.com.
As part of a major remodeling of the North Building the computer and typing labs are moved and reconfigured. Room 127, the old typing room, is returned to a regular classroom. The student lab, room 123-125, is divided so that room 123 could serve as a classroom with thirty computers installed in 125. To make room for the renovations, the computer museum is dismantled and removed from the school.
A new lab was constructed upstairs in room 221 for use by other computer courses and the school publications. Each lab was networked using 10 baseT wiring and the Windows 95 networking capabilities.
More computers were purchased for use in classrooms and faculty work areas. Cat 5 cabling was run into all classrooms.
The new Business Systems and Technolgy course replaces the one semester of typing and one semester of Computer Applications that had been required previously.
TC installs school wide access to the Internet via a satelite downlink. The system is the only one of its kind installed in a school in the entire southeast United States. The wiring in the 221 lab is replaced with cat 5 and connected to new hubs giving students access to the entire school network and the Internet.
The TC Intranet is launched by Mr. Yarnell. Initially, these webpages were stored on the Internet server as a collection of shared web documents. The content was limited and the format was primarily textbased.
The wiring and hubs are replaced in the 125 lab so as to allow Internet access to the Business Tech students. Much of this work is done by the Tech. Assistants.
Enough computers are purchased to add 6 new Pentium II machines to the library and to provide a computer in all but 4 classrooms.
The internet wiring and hubs were expanded and improved to provide Internet and networking capability to nearly every machine on campus. The Intranet is moved to a new webserver to provide greater opportunities for its expansion and use. Nearly all of the work associated with the new server and software is done by Tech. Assistant Dan Korff (class of 2000).
The Y2K problem is addressed.
Y2K comes and goes with only minor problems. Mr. Yarnell announces the launching of the faculty area of the school Intranet. Since its launch in Feb. 1999, the Intranet has nearly tripled in size.
The first major revision of the TC Intranet is launched. Jonathan Strate (class of 2000) provided a new highly graphical interface and Mr. Yarnell converted the existing pages to the new format. The Intranet at this point contains over 425 seperate pages / links and requires over 125 MB of storage space.
TC employs the services of "The Homework Site" in order for faculty to post homework assignments in the Internet.
Work begins on adding interactivity to the Intranet using Active Server Pages. A test server is installed and the new pages undergo testing.
The Satellite system is replaced by a full T1 line. As part of this change, a new Windows 2000 server is installed. The Intranet is moved to this machine and the interactivity is made available to all users. A few Active Server Pages are incorporated into the Intranet. Jeff Skube (class of 2001) does much of the early programming, particularly the birthday database page.
Mr. Yarnell adds more Active Server Pages (ASP) and works to make the Intranet more easily updated. An inventory of all computers is completed and made available via ASP pages on the Intranet. Several new machines are purchased for the library after a survey revealed that most students formed their opinions about the technology at TC from the equipment in the library.
TC moves from using "The Homework Site" to faculty web pages as the vehicle to post homework and other course information on the Internet. The web pages are designed such that individual faculty members do all their work in Microsoft Word and the posting is done by the technology director. By the end of the year twenty two faculty members have web pages posted.
Through a grant from Intel, TC acquires five new computers for the physics lab. Mr. Krumbholz begins to incorporate the use of this equipment into the daily course work of students.
A wireless connection is established between the gym and the main campus. This link provides Internet, Intranet, and email access to the teachers and administration with offices in the gym.
With the help of Alumni Director Michael Groff, Mr. Yarnell launches a redesigned home page for the TC website. Mr. Groff provided the top graphic that is used as the main navigation tool throughout the site. Around the same time, the .org domain is purchased and for the next several months a second duplicate website is tested using tampacatholic.org.
April / May 2003
At their Farewell Assembly May 9th, the Senior Class Officers presented TC with a check for $10,000. This extraordinary gift equals the four new computer systems won by the school in the "Pennies for St. Jude’s" Fund Drive this winter. The seniors rallied TC Crusaders to donate more pennies than any other school. In return, WQYK radio 99.5 FM donated the Gateway computers.
The new Archbishop Joseph P. Hurley Science & Technology center opens with the beginning of the school year. The building is part of a 3.5 million dollar renovation of the academic campus. The Hurley Center became the literal center of the technology operations after new fiber optic cabling is laid such that the central hub is located in a dedicated server room. The building houses two computer labs and the media center. The labs were named “The Zeman Computer Labs” in gratitude for the generosity of Mr. Irving R. Zeman, who made a very generous donation in memory of his loving wife Mrs. Margaret Conley Zeman. Because of Mr. Zeman, the main lab has 31 state of the art computers which are used by the sophomores in their Business Systems & Technology class. The library is equipped with 30 new computers and ‘really sweet’ flat screen monitors. All the new computers run the Windows XP Pro operating system and have Microsoft’s Office XP installed for student use.
TC commits to implementing PowerSchool, a web-based student information system. The biggest initial benefit is to parents who will have the ability to access a student’s current grades via a browser and Internet connection.
2005-2006 School Year
TC begins using the PowerSchool student information system. The new system greatly improves communication about students’ academic progress between faculty and parents. The administration also benefited from the increased capability of PowerSchool over our previous software.
Fifteen faculty members were issued laptops by the school. These replaced the workstations in their rooms and is one more step in aiding the faculty as they seek to integrate technology to improve instruction.
Additional faculty members were issued laptops by the school and, with a few minor exceptions, all operating systems older than Windows XP were removed from service.
Thanks to the generosity of a donor, TC was able to purchase 7 “SmartBoards”. One board was placed in each classroom building floor and the seventh used in the Hurley Center.
TC installs a new IP phone system. The works included replacing the main network switches to increase the speed of the backbone and take better advantage of our fiber optic connections. At the same time we switched our Internet connection from the T1 line previously used to Verizon Fios. The savings from this change partly funded the phone system.
LCD projectors and speakers were mounted in all classrooms and additional “SmartBoards” were added.