After a couple of false starts, we successfully completed an upgrade of our internet service through the Iowa Communications Network (ICN) just over a week ago. The most substantial impact of this change is that our internet bandwidth has been expanded from 1Gb to 3Gb, a critical improvement (more on that below).
Why was this upgrade necessary?
Once we completed the upgrade, issues we had been facing with internet performance almost immediately vanished. Prior to the upgrade, we were seeing our bandwidth max out immediately at the beginning of the school day, and it would remain that way until school was out for the day. This means that – at any given time – we had more demand for bandwidth than our service could accommodate, resulting in slow performance and intermittent drops / loading errors. You can see this in the chart at right, which shows our demand and usage prior to the upgrade. Continue reading Internet Service Upgrade Completed
Each year, I provide a report to the board that provides a high-level view of our technology program, through the lens of particular projects completed, underway, or planned. This will certainly not be the most riveting content I’ve posted to the blog, but for those of you who are interested, I’m posting a summary of that report here.
The 2016-17 school year was one of transition in the Iowa City Community School District’s Office of Technology & Innovation. As we move into winter of 2017-18, we have completed a number of major projects and still have significant initiatives underway or in planning stages. Our departmental performance metrics have generally improved slightly, though I’m excited to see how our work in terms of specific initiatives and in targeted locations will manifest itself in the coming year’s technology program evaluation. Continue reading Technology Annual Report
Check out the presentation slides for my presentation with Justin Miller, ICCSD’s Technology Operations Manager, at the ITEC conference. We’ll upload additional resources to this page as needed.
Check out the resources below for my ITEC session on right-sizing technology staffing, presented jointly with Superintendent Greg Dufoe of the ADM Community School District.
End-User Support Staffing Formula for Iowa Schools
We experienced a number of issues yesterday morning with students being unexpectedly forced to change their passwords; we avoid this type of unanticipated password change requirement due to its clear, negative impacts on instruction. We believe that we have resolved this problem as of 10 AM yesterday morning, and have begun reviewing our policies to ensure that this does not occur again.
On a related note, we’ll be beginning work next week to update our password policy to ensure that we’re safeguarding our students and staff while making sure that accounts are accessible and easy to use. This work will be driven by newly released standards from the federal government’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST); you can read the full Digital Identity Guidelines here. For a nutshell version of some of the changes between the newly-released guidelines and previous recommendations, check out this article.
I’ll be posting more information as we move ahead with the process of updating our policy.
As Labor Day passes, we’re beginning the third week of the school year in Iowa City and really starting to roll towards 2018. While this time of year is always ridiculously busy for the Technology & Innovation office – it’s not uncommon in our district and others to see support requests come in at five to six times the normal rate during the first month or so of the school year – this year has been our craziest yet. Continue reading Progress is Messy!
On August 23rd, ICCSD began issuing 1:1 Chromebooks (laptops with Chrome OS) to each student in our high schools. As we get started with this program, please check out our 1:1 Information page, which includes a program overview, policies, content filtering information, privacy information, and other useful information for students, parents/guardians, and teachers.
While I’m excited by all of the work we’re during this summer in the Iowa City Schools, a busy schedule has kept me in Iowa City this week rather than in San Antonio, the site of the 2017 ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education) Conference. ISTE is among my favorite conferences to attend; due to its scale – with over 15,000 attendees including teachers, administrators, IT professionals, school board members, and higher education faculty – there are multiple options during each session that are interesting and relevant.
Since I’m not there to report back on the goings on, however, I thought I’d share with you some of the work by folks who are in San Antonio. Jonathan Rogers, journalism teacher at City High, has created a fantastic Flipboard Mag documenting his experience in San Antonio, while EdTekHub and the ISTE Blog allow you to follow the goings-on remotely. I’ve also been following Twitter and Instagram during ISTE, making it possible to catch ideas and resources that I want to explore further.
Between the craziness of the end of the school year and a week with my four-year-old between the end of preschool and the start of day camp, I haven’t managed to post for a while. I have much more coming, but here’s a quick update of what’s happening in the ICCSD technology & innovation department this summer.
New Building Deployments
One of our big projects for the summer is preparation for the Fall, 2017 openings of Liberty High School and the new Hoover Elementary School. These projects are coming along – Liberty in particular looks close to completion – and we’ve been working to make sure that the technology is set to go in both buildings. The wired network is basically complete at Liberty, and wireless access points will go up soon throughout the building. Continue reading Summer Technology Update