The ESU 13 Technology Department provides hardware, software, and network support to staff members of ESU 13 and to the ESU 13 member schools. In 1993 the Nebraska legislature passed LB452 mandating that Nebraska’s Educational Service Units provide tele-computing resources to schools. At that time, the panhandle ESUs formed a consortium of Panhandle Educational Service Units (PANESU) in a cooperative venture to share resources and build what has become the largest computer network in the panhandle. PANESU accomplished our goal of Internet access for each of our member schools. ESU 13 staff provides system maintenance and support, client support, anti-virus protection, and backup/restore. ESU 13 has the expertise to provide the technical training to meet the demanding needs of a technology-enriched educational environment.
In 2009, ESU 13 and its member schools connected to Network Nebraska, the statewide backbone. The process involved converting all of our schools DS-3 video circuits to Ethernet data circuits, aggregating most of the traffic at ESU 13. By 2013 over half of the ESU 13 member school districts have increased their data circuits above the original 40mgb circuit capacity to meet increasing demand for bandwidth.
ESU 13 hosts the Western Nebraska Distance Learning Consortium. This originated in 1998 as part of a Nebraska Excellence in Education grant. The grant connected 12 high schools and has since expanded to include all of the high schools in the Nebraska Panhandle. It now also encompasses two ESU sites and two colleges, WNCC and CSC. The entire DL system was upgraded in 2009 to IP video technology. There are now 25 static DL rooms and close to 50 mobile DL carts.