BYOD

On February 8, 2012 SWSD officially started our BYOD initiative with a presentation to the School Board – BYOD is the acronym for Bring Your Own Device.  SWSD is looking to leverage devices student already have with them at school and to use them in an educational setting to help improve and enhance their education.

As with any new initiative, it all starts with a School Board Policy.  In August, we updates out AUP (Acceptable Use Policy) and create a new policy for BTOD titled: Nondistrict-Owned Electronic Devices.  Check out the links for the official policy.

During the presentation I went over the following “Talking Points”:

  • The Teacher is the instructional leader and determines when the devices may be in use.  BYOD is meant to be a resource for the teacher to use when it is appropriate.
  • Our infrastructure will be continually assesses and upgraded to support wireless access with these new devices.  We have already planned to upgrade our wireless capacity at the high school over the summer, and we will monitor the impact the new devices has on our bandwidth and make adjustments when and where needed.
  • Students will bring the device at their own risk – SWSD will not be held financially responsible for loss, damage or theft of student devices.
  • Personal equipment will connect to the SWSD Guest Network.  We want this for a few reasons.  First, when a student device is connected to ur Guest network it will be filtered as required by CIPA laws, and Second, SWSD will not be responsible for any data charges incurred with the use of these devices.  Using our Guest network will provide not only a safe environment, but one where the devices are not chewing up your home data plans.
  • Since we do not own the devices, SWSD will not be servicing any student device that may break, or one that does not connect to our Guest network.
  • Student devices should arrive to school fully charged and ready to go.  We do not have the ability to charge devices in the classrooms.

 

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End of Year Tech Procedures – Part IV

This is my last post in this series – how to access your tech “stuff” over the summer.

Email

How to access:  http://swmail.swsd.k12.pa.us Enter your email name and email password

I would recommend that you check your email a few times over the summer for a few reasons:

1) To see if there are any important messages

2) To delete any of the SPAM that may sneak in

3) To not be overwhelmed when you come back in August

Voicemail

How to access:  Call 632-2548, then press *

If you are changing rooms next year, please check your voicemail soon.  Over the summer I will get updated room assignment from the principals and make necessary changes, so if your room is changing, I will delete your current voicemail box (and any messages still there) and create a new one based on the new room assignment.

Home Directory (Teachers “G” drive)

How to access:  http://www.swsd.k12.pa.us/netstorage Enter your network name and network password

I have a help page here: http://www.swsd.k12.pa.us/Tech/netstorage.htm

If you want to access any of your documents and did not want to come to your classroom, use this handy tool.  It works on ALL browsers and is simple to use.

Please take a few moments to review the documents you have in your home directory and delete any outdated documents.  We will be performing server upgrades over the summer, and the cleaner we can get the servers, the better this process will be.

For those lucky retirees:  Unless otherwise notified, I will delete your network account, email, and voicemail accounts in late August.  If for any reason you would like me to hold off for a bit, please let me know and I will honor your request.

Have a great summer!

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End of Year Tech Procedures – Part III

Today is the third in my four part series of end of year tech procedures.

In years past Bryan and Michele have cleaned out the Shareable folders in an effort to free up disk space and remove unneeded files.  So they can stay focused in instruction, I will be taking over these duties.  Here is what I will do this summer:

1.       At each level I will back up and then remove ALL documents from the Shareable, Teachershare, and Elementary generic accounts.

2.       If there is a particular folder from any of these you need for next year, send me an email with that folder name and I will gladly put it back.  We are using this as an opportunity to remove any unused documents and free up disk space.

Remember that the Shareable is a place for you to share documents with students, and that for the most part Teachers and Students have full rights – meaning that both Teacher and Student can create, modify and delete documents and files.

The TeacherShare is a place to share documents with just other Teachers, not and additional storage space for your documents.  Students have no rights and cannot see anything in this folder.

The Elementary generic accounts are a common student account to Elementary Teachers to have a common work area for their class. Both the Student and Teacher have full rights to anything in these folders.

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End of Year Tech Procedures – Part II

This is the second in a 4 part series of end of year tech procedures.  Today we are looking at a change in how we treat teacher laptops as it relates to imaging.

We are changing our philosophy on imaging teacher laptops this year.  Starting this summer we will NOT be collecting teacher laptops to be imaged.  As we move to more teacher laptops AND with the Interactive Whiteboards, document cameras, AND all of the specialized software we have installed for you, it is getting increasingly difficult to manage.

The only caveat out there is Office 2010.  As a district we made the move to standardize on Office 2010 with an agreement we entered into this year.  It is an expectation that ALL district-owned computers will have Office 2010 installed on it for the start of the new school year.  We will take care of the Student and Administrative computers. You have two options.  One – install it yourself.  Go to our Software Installers page (http://swtech.swsd.k12.pa.us/software_install/software_install.php) and click the “Click here to install” link to do the install.  Windows users select Office 2010 and MAC users select Office 2011.  The second option is for us to install it.  Put in a work order when you get back and we will help you out.  At that point we will simply re-image your laptop. That means all that custom software will need to be reinstalled as well.

If you do not want to keep your laptop with you over the summer, I would suggest that you lock it in your classroom closet AND make sure your name is on your bag, AND put a note on the laptop not to image – just in case…  I would also suggest that you remove the battery and put that in your bag as well.  Most laptop makers recommend that the battery should be removed if it is not going to be used for an extended amount of time.

If you are not returning next year, please hand in your laptop along with your ID badge to your building office.

We will be imaging ALL student computers over the summer as we always do.  This includes classroom, lab, library, and mobile cart computers.

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End of Year Tech Procedures – Part I

It is time to start our preparation to close out another school year!!  This is the first in a series of 4 posts on end of year Tech Procedures.

Today is all about the tech items in your classroom and what to do with them so they do not get lost or misplaced over the summer.  As you prepare for the summer make sure that you…

  • Keep your mobile computer cart in your room if you have one.
    • Clearly identify your mobile cart.
    • If the lock is a combination lock – please email me your room number and the combo.
    • If you have a key, hand it in to the office in an envelope with your name and room number on it.
  • Keep the projector remote in the classroom – it specifically belongs to that projector!
  • Keep the Interactive Whiteboard Pen in your classroom- it belongs to that Whiteboard!
  • Keep the video cable you use to connect your laptop to the projector in the room!
  • Keep the document camera and its accessories in your room!
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Wireless at SWSD

All of the buildings at SWSD now have wireless access.  Wireless gives us the ability to be more flexible in our approach to utilizing technology in the District.  We no longer have to make our way to a computer lab in order to use technology.  Traditional desktops in computer labs are giving way to laptops and netbooks stored in mobile carts.  And as technology advances to even smaller devices like iPad’s and Android Tablets, wireless will play an important role in education.  Allowing connection to these devices just about anywhere in our buildings will to critical to our success.

While wireless has great educational benefits, it still cannot match the performance of a hard-wired connection.  Given the choice, a hard-wired connection gives the user a reliable, fast (100MB) connection.  Wireless, however, is a shared connection.  Our access points offer a shared 54MB connection, meaning that everyone who connects to that access point shares that bandwidth.  The more connections equals slower performance.  Our buildings wireless setup is maximized to allow the best possible connection to reduce network congestion when connecting to our access points.

Our challenge is to ensure our users that their connection, whether wired or wireless, is reliable.  As wireless connectivity advances we must stay as current as possible in order to provide our students, teachers, and staff the best possible experience we can.

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Hello world!

Welcome my Blog!  I will be posting Technology updates here to keep you updated on new happenings in the Technology Department at South Western School District.

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