Thursday, August 29, 2013

School Podcast - now online

Today, I finished something I've been meaning to do since last year.... record and complete the Elkton School podcast.

In our first episode, I interview the Head Coaches for the our Fall Sports:  Melissa Erickson in Volleyball, Tal Farnham in Football, and Ervin Gebhart in Cross County.

The link to the podcast is HERE.

Take a listen, and I hope you enjoy it.

Remember, if you have any subjects, topics, or people of interest that we could include on a future podcast, don't be afraid to let me know.

Now that I have the program up and running functionally, and I've figured out how to transfer audio files from my phone...and have the procedures all figured out... I can whip one out pretty quickly.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Tuesday Tips: Nothing much today

OK, so I'm changing the name of my weekly blogpost to Tuesday Tips!

Instead of Tuesday Technology Tidbits.

And, of course...this week... I'm super busy, and haven't had much time to sit and write anything.'s a good reminder....

Run windows update when you shut down your computer.

You know how, you're working along and see this warning?

You don't have to immediately shutdown and restart the computer...but as soon as you can.

Updates are little "fixes" that microsoft makes to it's programming to help windows run smoother, prevent viruses, that kind of stuff.

When you go to shutdown your computer...if there are updates that need to be installed, you will see an exclamation point on the shutdown screen...

When you see this, you need to be patient, and allow windows to install the updates before it shuts down...If you close the lid, and unplug it while these are still running...depending on the update, you could actually hurt your machine...because if an update is partially could be damaging to have it stop in the middle.

Friday, August 23, 2013

August 23, 2013 Weekend Update!

Since Amy Poehler and Seth Meyers are now both going to be gone from SNL, I should probably find another picture.
Wow!  What a week it has been!

I was joking with a few staff members yesterday that if you struggled with making friends as a teenage, you should become a Technology Director at a school, because the first week or'll never be more popular in your entire life!

I great majority of the student netbooks have been issued.  There are a few that have not, for various reasons, but most of the students should be good to go for the year.

We had an issue early on with the Forticlient software blocking all websites, however I believe we have this issue resolved.

Anyone who needs a website opened up through the Fortinet Firewall should contact me.  If it's for a legitimate educational purpose, I can't see why we can't open it up.

Next week, I'll continue to work on getting staff all the things they need .... there are a few things that need to be done for a few staff members.

Don't know if you've checked out the School's webpage lately...but I put a very short little video of our Elkton Fall Sports Athletes in action.  You should check it out...please use Windows Media Player to watch the video.

Also hoping to record a conversation with our coaches next week, and put the files into a podcast.  Of course that is only time permitting, but something I'd really like to get done.

For today's Friday Video...thought I'd go with something different than the usual stuff.

I heard this guy a couple days ago on the Adam Carolla Podcast, and he was really good.  So I thought I'd include this video here, enjoy "The White Buffalo"...

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Welcome Back!

Wecome Back to Elkton School for the 2013-2014 Year!

I hope everyone has a great year this year.

No real Blog post information today... I'll be trying to get things running for everyone for the first week or so.

Reminder:  If you need me to do something this first week or so, and I say I'll get to it, but I forget because I a have alot of that type of thing going on...please don't hesitate to send me a reminder.  Just say... "hey, were you gonnna come do ..... whatever it is?"  Chances are, I've forgotten, more than anything.

I try to write stuff down on my computer, but alot of times, I'm walking in the hallway to do something, and I'll get pulled aside by a staff person ( or two) and they'll say "when you get time, can you do this?"...and it may slip my mind.

Wecome to our school!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Preperations are underway!

The new school year is bearing down on us. (Can't believe it will be here in a week!)

Tech office has been very busy.

Sophomore through Senior computers are all loaded and ready to go, except for the installation of forticlient.  We will be installing this on those machines this week.

Freshman computers are in, and I am working on completing the image for the new machines.  As soon as that is done, we will start duplicating and deploying them.

The incoming freshmen will be issued new HP laptops...HP 3125 machines.  We hope they will be a bit more dependable and sturdy than the older Acer machines, which are a good machine for the cost, but they have had some issues with screens cracking, and keyboards losing keys, and things of that nature.

Students no longer has Smart Synch program on their machines.  The program was out of date, and unsupported by the developer.

All student machine will have Google Chrome installed on their machines this year.

All student machines will be joined to the domain, and log in to the server as a user.  In the past few years, they were technically "guests" on the system.  This should be helpful, as changes can be made easier to the machines.

All student machines will run the State's recommended "Symantec" anti-virus protection program.  This is a better, and more up to date antivirus program.  It also updates frequently, and will do a better job of protecting the machines from viruses.

All student machines will have "Forticlient" software installed for off-site filtering.  Previously, we had a separate program called "Cybersitter" that we ran on the machines.  Forticlient will be a good change, as it connects automatically with the schools Fortinet Web Filter.  So essentially the students will have the same filtering on the machines when away from the school, that they have at the school.

Mobile Labs
-We will have 2 functioning mobile labs in the school this year.  1 will be a standard laptop cart, with 26 machines running Windows 7.  The second mobile lab will be a mobile Chromebook lab.  We have ordered two new carts for the mobile labs, which will be nice.

I'm excited to see how the students respond to the chromebooks.  They operate on a solid state drive, meaning that the hard drive doesn't "spin".  This allows them to run at a lower temperature, and ensures a much longer battery life.  I'm sure many have heard that the Sioux Falls School District is moving to Chromebooks for all it's High School students.  If we have positive results and issues with mandatory state testing are worked out, this could be a possibility for Elkton students in the future.

-Another change we will make with the mobile labs is that grades 5 through 8 will be assigned a specific machine.  Each user in these grades will always use the same machine number.  Be it number 5, or 13, or 26... That way, we will save memory on the machines (by not having multiple 'users' log in to each machine), and also we will be able to know who was using what machine.  The number will be the same for each lab, so if a student is assigned #5...they will get the #5 from the Windows 7 lab, and the #5 from the chromebook lab.

Student Log-ins
-All students grades 5-12 will have their own network ID and state e-mail account.  This will give them access not only to e-mail, but also to be able access and use google drive and Microsoft 365.  Both of which are provided by the State.

-Students K-4 will continue to be able to use a general "student" log in.  If a staff member would like their students to be on the state e-mail system, this is something I can do for them, but it is not required.

Other than that, we need to install Windows 7 on 4 new machines for the Roland Colony and we are ready to go.

We have a great school year ahead of us!  I'm looking forward to working with you all, and also getting to know our new staff members.

A reminder, if you ever would like me to help learn how to use a new product or device, or anything of that nature, I would be glad to help you out.  (assuming I'm familiar with it, and if I'm not, I'm willing to learn)

Thanks for all your help and patience in the past year (and it the coming year).