Technology Access and Initiative Success

Several people – over Thanksgiving break, and again this morning – have posed questions to me about whether a focus on getting more technology in the classroom is well-justified.  After all, tying technology infusion in the classroom directly to student achievement, for instance, is very difficult (although the same is true of virtually any initiative, the effects of which are difficult or impossible to fully entangle from other factors impacting students, teachers, and the learning environment.   Continue reading Technology Access and Initiative Success

Student Account and Service Notification

The message (below) was emailed to all ICCSD parents, and includes information regarding accounts and services provided to students. 

In order to ensure that parents and guardians are aware of the technology services that the Iowa City Schools provide to our students, this is the first of what will be annual notifications regarding district-issued accounts. Continue reading Student Account and Service Notification

Holiday Technology Shopping for Students, Parents, and Teachers

student-discount-availableOne of the nice things about being associated with a school – whether a student, parent, or staff member – is that you can often get better deals on technology than might be available to the general public.  As we approach the holiday gift season, here are some tips for how to get deals on some products you might be looking to purchase this holiday season or before next school year. Continue reading Holiday Technology Shopping for Students, Parents, and Teachers

Malwarebytes Installation Dialog

A number of ICCSD staff members reported seeing an installation window for a product called Malwarebytes after logging in this morning.  

mwbcaptureThis is antivirus software used by the district, and users should click “Next” and choose default options to complete the installation.  The district initiated this upgrade installation several days ago, but we expected that the installation would occur without any required input from the user.  We’re looking into the cause of this installation dialog box appearing on users’ machines.  

If you receive any errors, please send the ICCSD tag number of your computer to the Help Desk (helpdesk@iowacityschools.org) and we’ll check it out.  

Bottlenecks, bottlenecks, bottlenecks!

break_the_bottlenecks_with_ideas-_use_the_suggestion_box_-_nara_-_534150Let me start this post by saying that as a technology professional, I hate bottlenecks.

In saying as much, I’m probably preaching to the choir; almost ALL of us struggle with bottlenecks in our daily lives.  Traffic jams are usually caused by a bottleneck – the reduction of lanes from 4 to 2, for instance – that results in more traffic per available lane.  bottleneck-trafficSince two cars cannot peacefully occupy the same space on the road, a reduction in lanes during a heavy traffic period means that fewer cars can move through that obstructed zone at a time, resulting in a backup as faster-moving traffic piles up behind the slower-moving obstructed zone.   Continue reading Bottlenecks, bottlenecks, bottlenecks!

ICCSD Tech Slack Chat #1: Supportability & Innovation

This is the inaugural edition of the ICCSD technology Slack chat.  This will be a recurring series, with a different topic for each chat.  Joining me for the chat today were Kelly Nelson, Denise Rehmke, and Justin Miller.  We look forward to bringing others from within and outside the technology & innovation department into our future chats.  If you have a request for a chat topic, please send it to me.  

ajkurth (Adam Kurth, Director of Technology & Innovation): Welcome everyone; I hope that you’re all having a fine Thursday afternoon.  As a reminder, the topic for today’s chat is: walking the line between supportability and innovation.

nelson.kelly (Kelly Nelson, Help Desk Manager):  I’ll kick off by expressing my enthusiasm for changing how we deploy teacher computers. I think this will simplify support tremendously. Continue reading ICCSD Tech Slack Chat #1: Supportability & Innovation

Chrome to be ICCSD Default Browser

google_chrome_icon_2011-svgIn response to numerous requests, we will be implementing a network policy on Monday, November 14th that will set Google Chrome as the default browser on all Windows computers in the district.  While this policy will go into effect on Monday, it won’t apply on a particular computer until it has been either started up or restarted. 

The effect of this change will be that HTML shortcuts and links in emails and PDF documents will open in Chrome, rather than in another browser.  You will still be able to use other browsers – such as Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Edge – by opening the browser directly.  Most users are unlikely to notice any effect of this change, as Chrome is – by far – the most heavily used web browser in the district.  For clarification, this policy change will have no impact on homepage settings or bookmarks. 

1:1, BYOD, and CYOD

Those of us who work in the field of educational technology are no strangers to acronyms1, and reading about BYOD, CYOD, 1:1, AUPs, LMS, CMS, GAFE, ITEC, STEM, STEAM, MOOC, QR, etc. can be overwhelming.  In this post, I’m going to unpack the first three on this list, in the context of our upcoming technology initiatives within the Iowa City Schools. 

1:1

district-profile-gilrs-at-compuersAs I wrote about here, the ICCSD is launching a secondary-level 1:1 initiative in 2017 (at the high school level) and 2018 (at the junior high level).  The concept of a 1:1 initiative, broadly speaking, refers to an educational technology initiative where the ratio of students to devices is reduced to 1:1 (or lower).  You can read about our deployment in greater detail in the article linked at the start of this paragraph, but in short, we will be assigning Chromebooks to each student in grades 7-12; ultimately, we will be supporting over 7,000 devices as part of this initiative.  For the most part, students will be able to take those devices home for use outside of the classroom.   Continue reading 1:1, BYOD, and CYOD

Fall 2016 Technology Plans Overview

I’m off to West High School this afternoon to talk with our social studies and world languages teachers about upcoming technology plans, and realized that I haven’t yet posted the PowerPoint that I’ve frequently used in order to provide a synopsis of our upcoming changes.  

The PDF below includes the slides from that presentation, and offers a quick update on some of the bigger changes we’re implementing here in the Iowa City Schools.  

tech-update-11-03-2016