All ICCSD staff members have received several email notices over the past couple of months regarding our upcoming iPad update project, which will begin at the end of the school year. I’ve received a number of questions with regard to this project, and wanted to provide some overview information for those of you who use – or have students who use – iPads.
All ICCSD-owned iPads – this includes those purchased with building, department, grant, or PTO funds – must be turned in to your building office or the ESC tech center by June 1st, 2018. iPads will be reimaged and connected to our new management system, at which point they will be redeployed back to you. The purpose of this project is to bring all of our iPads under a unified management system that will allow us to easily deploy and recover application licenses, improve security and manageability, and to identify and fix problems with devices. Continue reading iPad Update: Summer, 2018
Five years ago, the Area Education Agencies in Iowa made the decision to provide Iowa school districts with access to the Clarity BrightBytes technology program evaluation survey. Administered to teachers and students annually by the Iowa City Community School District, the data collected provides each district with a technology program evaluation tool that provides an overview of the whole educational technology environment. This includes device and infrastructure quality, support, instructional technology, technology integration, and digital literacy, among other areas.
This year, I believe that our results are worthy of celebration, and are reflective of the outstanding work done by our IT team, innovation coaches, principals, teachers, students, and board members in pushing for and actively utilizing technologies in the district. Continue reading Celebrating Tech Program Evaluation Results
A technical limitation in Canvas does not allow two trimesters to be active at one time. As a result, district Canvas enrollment sync for third trimester is paused until Sunday evening, allowing teachers to finish second trimester grades and collect assignments without any technical problems.
This may result in students having incorrect third trimester enrollments in Canvas. PowerSchool is not impacted by this pause and students should use their PowerSchool schedule for class schedule data. Canvas enrollments should be corrected Sunday night and be ready for class on Monday morning. Canvas is working towards a solution to this inconvenience and hopes to have this problem corrected by fall. Sorry for any confusion this may cause.
In advance of winter break, I wanted to share a handful of dates when we’ll have network maintenance that will affect network, wireless, and/or internet availability within the district during the break.
January 2nd, 2018
- Switch maintenance at Liberty High and Northwest Junior High will cause network disruptions in those buildings between 6 AM and 8 AM. Network and internet services may be unavailable during this time period.
- Further work will be done throughout the day in the following buildings, but we do not expect the work to result in network outages or downtime: Alexander ES, West HS, Liberty HS, Educational Services Center, South East JH, and North Central JH.
The district recently distributed a survey regarding educational technologies to parents district-wide, and one parent reached out with questions regarding where they could get more information about our technology programs. This, combined with the fact that we recently published our 100th article and have been going strong for just over one year, leads me to conclude that it’s about time to reintroduce the Iowa City Schools’ Technology & Innovation blog!
Taking a cue from a number of teachers here in the Iowa City Schools, I’m now offering the ability to subscribe to receive text message updates when new blog entries are posted. This is separate from the email subscription option that has long been available, and will hopefully be appealing to those of you who prefer to use your phone / texting as a primary means of getting information.
In order to subscribe, just click this link: https://www.remind.com/join/h8bh9k
This service is being provided via Remind.com, which many of our teachers, students, and parents are already using for messaging. You have the option of unsubscribing at any time by replying with @LEAVE to any of the texts.
I’ll be excited to see whether this service is useful to those of you who follow the blog!
While I’m amazed that we’re already nearing the turn of the calendar to second trimester, I received a question today that reminded me that I needed to get some information to ICCSD teachers and students regarding what to expect. Specifically, what happens to Canvas courses at the end of the first Trimester?
A: All teachers and students will continue to have access to Tri 1 courses – whether they are yearlong courses or single-trimester courses – until midnight on June 30th, 2018. This will allow teachers to work on grading, students to reference previously-submitted work and materials, and so forth.
Since the courses will no longer be current, their status will change to “Past Enrollment” and won’t appear – by default – on students’ and teachers’ dashboards. Instead, users will need to click the “Courses” button on the left side of Canvas, and then “All Courses” to show both past and current enrollments. This area will also show teachers their future courses.
If you’ve read about Canvas, you may be aware that this is not the default behavior; we modified the access end dates to ensure that students and teachers can seamlessly use and reference previous course content until the end of the year.
Our internet service upgrade – scheduled for last night – has been delayed until next week after we encountered an unexpected problem. We do not have a specific date/time for the next upgrade window, but I’ll post that here as soon as we’ve completed a conference call with the involved parties.
At 5:00 PM, ICCSD network administrators, working with Iowa Communications Network (ICN) and Lightedge Solutions engineers, switched our internet connection from our current 1Gb ICN connection to the new 3Gb ICN connection. A component of this switch also includes moving from our current internally-managed Palo Alto firewall to a Lightedge-managed Fortinet firewall; staying on our existing Palo Alto hardware is not an option, as it cannot handle the 3Gb throughput required for the new connection.
The internet connection worked properly, as did all but one of the mission critical services that we had previously identified as potential points of failure during the internet service upgrade. One service, however – a VPN tunnel to a particular site – was not successfully brought online after implementation of the new firewall. We attempted troubleshooting until the close of our announced upgrade window, but with no success were forced to revert to the previous settings and service.
What should I expect moving forward?
As previously mentioned, we’ll be rescheduling the upgrade window as soon as possible, likely for next week. We’ve already identified the steps necessary to solve the issue with the site that didn’t come up, and now need to coordinate availability on the part of ICN and Lightedge. I’ll post a specific date/time as soon as we have one.
Since the upgrade was not successful, I expect that internet performance issues will continue for the coming (approximately) week. Our network administrators have been tuning quality-of-service settings over the past couple of weeks in order to prioritize critical or interruption-intolerant traffic, and will continue to do so in order to make the most of the 1Gb service we currently have.
As mentioned in my previous post on this topic, we expect all internet performance problems to be immediately resolved following the successful upgrade to 3Gb service. We appreciate your patience as we work through this process.
UPDATE: This upgrade was unsuccessful (details here); we’ll be rescheduling the upgrade for next week.
Tonight is a big night for our internet service in the Iowa City Schools; a long-planned upgrade will take place beginning at 5:00 PM (on September 27th) that will expand our service from 1Gb bandwidth to 3Gb. Here’s what you need to know: