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  The program was out of date, and unsupported by the developer.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).

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