Mrs. Janosek and her Computer Apps 1 students have been busy this fall. Busy diving into the new 1-to-1 initiative at the High School and busy creating student work that goes beyond a letter grade. Students recently finished creating short tutorial videos covering Google Chrome and different G Suite apps. Students created their tutorials using Screencastify and their Asus Flip Chromebooks. These tutorials are a great example of students leveraging technology to own their learning and create a published product. I'm excited to watch the number of views increase over the next few months. Just think, people all over the world are going to use your videos to learn.
Most people don't realize just how much work is done during the summer months in a school district. In the world of technology, this is our opportunity to update, replace and problem-solve issues without worrying about down time for users. Many technology related issues require hours of researching, trial-and-error testing, and offline time to fix. With teachers, students, and faculty accessing technology nearly twenty four hours a day during the school year, the summer affords us tech guys an uninterrupted (nearly) environment. Besides the infrastructure improvements that I mentioned in my last post, every summer sees the same process as school closes. The technology in our classrooms has to be updated, cleaned, and properly stored so that our maintenance personal can empty the rooms for cleaning. We also check our physical inventories, send out equipment in need of repair, and (in some cases) move equipment between grade levels.
At the EAC, the directors, treasurer's department, and our superintendent are busy getting ready for the next fiscal year to begin. Yearly subscriptions, textbooks, learning software, equipment, etc need purchase requisitions forms created, budgets from the previous year need to be balanced and closed out, while looking at the coming year's budget is happening simultaneously.
The goal of the summer is to be ready for the school year to begin in August. While students and teachers come back refreshed, this is the time of year where directors are hopeful to catch a break from the pace of the previous months. Of course with school in full session, a break never comes, and the new problems/issues keep us hustling until Winter Break. We are here then, too.
School's are dynamic and unlike nearly every other private industry in this country. Balancing the "business of education" with the job of educating our students is a busy balancing act. It is rewarding, stressful and a very personal pursuit for the administration here in Independence to provide our community with the best opportunities.
While the server rooms here at ILS may not be as large as a Google Data Center (click image to learn more), we still handle a great deal of very important, personal and necessary data. The storage, access and maintenance of digital information in a public school is a unique challenge. Many people think that we operate just like businesses or households, but it isn't true. Everything from app purchasing to email retention has laws specific to educational settings. So many digital systems are interconnected that even the smallest decision requires a collaborative approach. Maintaining infrastructure, mobile learning devices, and classroom peripherals is a cyclical process. Technology is expensive and the lifespan of technology components is often 5 years or less. Fiscal responsibility, long term decision making and flexibility are all key factors to technology purchasing.
This summer ILS is updating several key components of our district infrastructure. These upgrades and replacements will help us ensure the maximum "up" time for our systems. Throughout the month of July and August our staff (myself and our IT specialist) will be switching out the old, for the new. There will be days where things don't work, work differently, and sometimes work perfect the first time! Until new devices and components are powered up and placed online, it is difficult to foresee all possible issues and bugs. I am confident that we will have things working properly by the students' first day.
Here are some of the changes, upgrades and improvements coming to ILS this summer:
This site is maintained by Michael Pennington, Director of Technology for Independence Local Schools. The thoughts and opinions expressed on this site DO NOT always reflect the thoughts and opinions of Independence Schools. All items contained on this website are intellectual property of their creator; whether it be celebrity, student, or myself. Reproduction is prohibited without expressed written consent. REMIX is welcomed, appreciated, and anticipated.