Trimble keeps tech online

POCAHONTAS – If a computer isn’t working quite right in any of the Pocahontas Area Community School District facilities, Phil Trimble is called upon to fix the problem.

His duties extend beyond computers, though. For example, he set up the projection system used to display information on all of the high school’s graduating seniors during the May 18 commencement ceremony. Cell phones and even the digital sign in front of the combined high school and middle school building are also the responsibility of Trimble, who’s the district’s information technology coordinator.

”If it plugs in, I can be asked a question about it,” he said.

All of the school district’s technology, he said, exists to help students connect, create and share.

He said the goal is to give ”every student the opportunity to stay connected, create authentic work and to share with the world.”

”My responsibility is connecting 700 students with 7 billion people,” Trimble added. ”I want to give them every opportunity technology-wise to succeed.”

He works from an office in the high school, but he’s in charge of the technology in six buildings. In addition to the high school/middle school, they include the Pomeroy Elementary School, the school bus garage, the pre-school, Pocahontas Elementary School, and the district’s administration building.

Additionally, all 20 of the district’s buses are equipped to provide wireless Internet service.

”It’s great,” Trimble said. ”We now give students the opportunity to collaborate and create while taking a trip, going to a game or just coming to school in the morning.”

His domain includes two rooms in the high school that house servers, but there is no mainframe computer. Trimble said the district uses cloud-based data storage provided by Google Applications for Education.

Trimble’s next big project will be creating what he calls ”digital trophy cases.” They will be big screen television monitors mounted in a common area of the high school that will display information on old schools and former school systems that are now part of the Pocahontas district.

Such big screen televisions are already scattered throughout the high school and middle school to provide information and showcase student work, he said.

Trimble grew up in Fort Dodge and graduated from Fort Dodge Senior High School. After graduating, he enrolled at Iowa Central Community College. He said one of his instructors there, Ray Beets, inspired him to pursue a computer career in an educational setting.

”He talked a lot about education and I was hooked,” Trimble said.

After earning his associate’s degree from Iowa Central, he worked for the Fort Dodge Community School District for 10 years. He became the information technology coordinator for Pocahontas Area in November 2009.

Trimble doesn’t teach any classes. His work involves troubleshooting problems, maintaining current equipment and installing new systems. During the summer months, he tests the various systems and redesigns them to operate more efficiently with any newly purchased hardware.

He said that during his career, he’s witnessed dramatic growth in wireless technology. He said the speed at which data can be transmitted over a wireless system has tripled in about four years.