Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Moving On

“Moving on, is a simple thing, what it leaves behind is hard.”  Dave Mustaine

Leigh Daul finished her final day today with the IT Department at ESSD40.  Leigh first worked with the department in the Summer of 2014 as temporary help while on break from her teaching duties.  During January 2015 she accepted a full-time position as a district technology technician.  Over the next 3 years, Leigh served as a building technician at the High School, Career Center, Lewis and Westview elementary schools. 

As the High School went through the recent transformation, Leigh provided considerable IT support as her duties were focused primarily on the High School and Career Center locations.

Leigh, best wishes on the next step in your IT career.  Thank-you for all your work to provide support to the IT resources for the students and staff. 

Monday, January 29, 2018

The Past is Prologue

A recent report by the McKinsey Global Institute projects that by 2030, up to 33% of the US workforce may need to switch occupational groups.  Automation technologies such as artificial intelligence and robotics will push these changes.  Such technologies will change or replace some jobs while creating others. 

When this year's Kindergarten class graduates in 2030, some jobs that exist today will not exist anymore.  There will be jobs then that do not exist now.  The technology that drives these changes will not look exactly as it does now.

In 2005, when this year's seniors started Kindergarten the hot new technologies were the Blackberry 7100T phone, a 60GB Apple iPod Photo, and the Apple Mac Mini was introduced.  Google Maps had just launched and Jawed Karim uploaded the first YouTube video, “The San Diego Zoo”.  Samsung introduced the first phone to offer a 2-megapixel camera in the US and Microsoft launched the Xbox 360.  ESSD students experienced the World Wide Web in computer labs instead of individual tablet devices.

In the intervening years, technology has become the tool that enables a shift in the roles of teaching and learning.  Students are now empowered as active learners connecting the classroom to the real world.  Technology is deeply embedded in the daily lives of today's student.  The graduating class of 2030 will look back at the curriculum of 2018 and wonder how they managed to learn anything. 

Which technology tool a student uses has less an impact than how that tool is used.  The computer labs of 2005, the mobile tablet or smartphone of 2016, or the yet-to-be-named tech tools of 2030 all have at least one common trait:  connectivity to the World Wide Web.  How a student uses the tech tool to access, comprehend, and process the vast amount of information available has the most affect. 

Anticipating the future connectivity needs for instruction and school management is an important objective of the ESSD Technology Department.  Maintaining and expanding a robust, sufficient, internal network is always the first goal.  Then providing a large enough pipeline to the Internet to support all the web traffic required by students and staff is next. 

Plans are underway to improve the district’s network connectivity between buildings to 10Gbps and increase the total Internet connectivity to 1Gbps or more.  Fiber optic cabling is replacing copper wired between major wiring nodes in buildings.  Wireless access points are being upgraded to handle additional wireless devices and the newest Wi-Fi protocols.

By implementing continual replacement and upgrade cycles, the 2030 graduating class will have the underlying connectivity to each other and the world that will support existing technology tools and ones that are currently on someone's design board.

Friday, January 5, 2018

December 2017 by the Numbers

December 2017 brought the calendar year to a close with some low temperatures outside.  Total opened requests came in 2nd highest for the past 4 years and 4th highest since 2008.  Here are the statistics gathered from the IT service request system.


Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Continuing Connectivity

The process of learning has never really been restricted to within the four walls of a classroom. All of us from every generation continued to gain new skills and knowledge beyond the school day. For too long, though, we thought instruction ends at the classroom door. Once the end of the school day arrived, formal education was over and real life began.

Technology now provides the tools to extend instruction and learning beyond classroom walls and minutes in the classroom to almost anytime anywhere. Students equipped with an internet-connected computing device have access to instructional resources whenever and wherever an internet connection is available.

All ESSD students in grades 4 - 12 are issued a WiFi-equipped device. Every district-issued device is pre-configured with the necessary information to connect to all of the Wi-Fi access points in every district building. So, while on each campus, student devices automatically connect to the district Wi-Fi, providing each student with high-speed connectivity to internet-based resources.

Students who take their district iPad home can connect the device to their home Wi-Fi and continue access to internet-based resources.

However, for students who do not have high-speed internet access or Wi-Fi at home, continuing instructional activities at home that require the iPad is a tough barrier to overcome. There are several after-hours resources available to help with this.

Each of the district instructional buildings and administrative offices have an outdoor Wi-Fi access point available 24/7/365. All district-owned devices, including student devices, automatically connect to this access point when the device is within range.

Students who have a High School activities pass are able to enter the High School during any activity open to the public and use the Wi-Fi provided inside the building. During these activities, the concession stand is available for a drink and snack as well.

Middle School students attending intramurals and afterschool activities can use their iPads while inside the building during the activity.

Elementary bus students who take home the iPad can use it on the bus while the bus is parked in the bus lanes through the outside Wi-Fi access points.

In addition, don’t forget the public library. All Mid-Continent Public Library locations have free Wi-Fi to which students may connect their school and personal devices as well as utilize all the resources there.

As more classroom instructional processes rely on high-speed internet connectivity at home, students have a variety of options available to complete homework or for independent exploration.

November 2017 By The Numbers

November 2017 numbers brought the 2nd highest amount of opened requests in 4 years and the 3rd highest since 2008.  Here are the statistics gathered from the IT service request system.

Monday, November 6, 2017

October 2017 By The Numbers

Continuing the decline from the August high, October came in as the lowest number of new requests in 5 years.  Here are the statistics gathered from the IT service request system.