Technology Planning

IMG_4259During the last month, we’ve had several technology planning meeting with building technology reps and instructional coaches.  Here’s a quick summary of the 30 items discussed and what the current status is…

#1 Internet Attacks
Status:  Changing Internet Providers. We discussed the implications of the on-going distributed attacks against our internet connection.  Although no attempts have been made to gain access to our systems, the attacks have filled our internet connections on numerous occasions.  After our network engineer determined the process for how the attacks were happening, the information was shared with our two internet providers.  One provider responded that they would block that method from happening – while the other provider was unable to assist us.  At this time, we are in the process of bidding out internet services for next year and beginning to make the move to a single internet provider – as well as increasing out bandwidth.  We have recently moved from 400Mb to 500Mb and will soon move to a 1Gb internet connection.

#2:  Chromebook 7-8-9
Status:  Chromebook carts deployed to all Lang Arts and Soc Studies classes at 7 – 9th grade.  No further deployment plans at this time – however, as laptop carts begin to be replaced starting next year, we will begin discussions about whether the windows laptops are replaced or replaced with Chromebooks.

#3: On-Line Learning
Status:  Shared and discussed the results from the district committee studying on-line learning.  The committee spent time discussing blended versus fully on-line courses and help establish a framework for how the district will move forward to provide more on-line learning opportunties for students.

#4: Print Shop contract expires July 1
Status: Reminder that our contract for print shop and copier services expires July 1st.  We have been collecting feedback from staff regarding what services we liked and did not like – to assist us with determining what changes need to be made related to print services.

 #5: New Tech Network
Status:  New Tech Network was approved by the school board and will start offering it at Clive and Crestview Elementary this fall.  It will also be offered on one team of 7th grade at each junior high starting this fall.

#6: Status of 1:1 for the rest of the district
Status:  There is no status.  At this time, the district will not be moving towards 1:1 at all grade levels, only at the grades/schools where Project Based Learning is being implemented through New Tech Networks.   We discussed how this could change in the future – but at this point in time, the plan is for 1:1 for next school year only at the school implementing New Tech.

 #7: Wireless Changes
Status: Starting in April, we’ll be making the following changes to the wireless network:  Both the staff and student network will be merged into a single wireless network and users will need to authenticate off of Active Directory in order to gain access.  This authentication will take place only once a year – but will be required to gain access, otherwise, they can utilize the guest network which will remain.

#8 Microsoft Settlement
Status:  6 buildings are participating:  CL, CV, CR, FM, HD, and WH.  Most schools are looking at purchasing a few iPads and Scholastic iRead Software.

#9: Schools.wdmcs.org
Status:  Our old webserver, schools.wdmcs.org, will be shut down by June 15th and all school sites will migrate to our new web server

#10: Share Point
Status:  Microsoft SharePoint is currently used to operate our intranet –  and the system will be shut down by June 15th.  Contact School Community Relations if you have materials in the intranet that need to be moved to a different location.

#11:  Moodle
Status:  The district’s Moodle server will be turned off by June 15th.  If you would like to continue to use Moodle, please contact AEA’s Evan Abbey <eabbey@aeapdonline.org> as soon as possible, as he will assist you with moving your content over to the state Moodle server where you can continue to use it for classroom services.

#12: New Tech grades K-2
Status: At Clive and Crestview, specifically in grade K-2, each classroom will be asked to turn in their existing 4 iPads. In exchange, they will receive 7 new iPads.  The Microsoft Settlement funds at CV and CL will also provide 2 additional iPads per room, bring them to a total of 9 iPads.  At this time, they will also continue to keep their 5 desktops computers in their room and it will be determined at a later date whether they will be replaced or not.

#13 New Tech grades 3 – 6
Status: At Clive and Crestview, in grades 3 thru 6, each student will receive a Chromebook and a carry case.  At this time, the classrooms will keep their existing iPads and desktop computers – but the future of these devices will be determined at a later date.

 #14: New Tech 7th grade
Status: In 7th grade, each team currently has a set of 70 Chromebooks, so the New Tech Team will utilize their existing 70 Chromebooks and the district will provide any additional Chromebooks needed for new tech students.  In addition, all new tech students will receive a carry case for taking their device home.  NOTE: Chromebooks will not be taken from the other teams, they will continue to have sets of Chromebooks for Lang Arts and Social Studies.

#15: ECHO
Status:  Discussed what ECHO is…  learning management system that is required to be used by all New Tech Schools.  It does not sync with Infinite Campus or Active Directory – so schools will be managing the student and parent accounts related to Echo.

#16: Move to Google for email
Updated on March 17th…  We will NOT use OUTLOOK to access your email through Google.  After further review, we’re seeing too many situations where calendars do not fully sync between Outlook and Google – so we will move forward with moving email/calendar/contacts into Google, but will NOT be using Outlook to access email.
Status:  We are targeting late April for our move from Microsoft Exchange over to Google’s email.   You’ll still be able to use Outlook to access your email – but it will be stored in Google, not in Exchange.  We realize there’s a ton of questions related to this event – and we’ll provide further details in subsequent updates – but the decision has been made that we are moving both staff and students into one single domain, @wdmcs.org , stored within Google’s mail.

#17: H Drive
Status:  We will continue to provide H drive storage to staff members – but it will be capped at 25Gb starting in May.  All other files beyond 25Gb need to be moved by the user over to their Google Drive. This spring, we’ll begin notifying individual users who are above 25Gb, providing them with directions for how to move their files into Google Drive.

#18: Staff Laptops
Status:  We will continue to replace staff laptops on a three year rotation – focusing on a small, light-weight, fast model.

#19: Classroom Microphones
Status: The district will NOT plan to replace all classroom microphones – however, we will continue to repair and provide new microphones on a case by case basis, as requested.

#20: Classroom Projectors
Status:  With projector bulbs now being $99 each, we do not have plans to replace all district projectors – at least not in the next year.  Replacement will happen sometime in the future, the date has yet to be determined.

#21: K Drive
Status:  The K drive will remain in place, as it is currently, it will not be moved into Google Drive at this time.  Although the K drive will remain as is for next school year – we may have further discussions about moving it to Google Drive in the future.

#22: S Drive
Status:  The S drive will remain in place, as it is currently, it will not be moved into Google Drive at this time.  Although the S drive will remain as is for next school year – we may have further discussions about moving it to Google Drive in the future.

#23:  Building Printers
Status:  We will continue to use the existing printers for next year.  We discussed two options: leaving the building printers alone – or – changing them to higher capacity printers (which would result in fewer available, but would be a lower cost per page).   We received the widest range of opinions on this topic – so our decision is to put this topic on hold and we’ll return to this discussion after the start of next school year.

#24: Google Apps add-on
Status:  All groups agreed that we need to at least explore and evaluate potential Google Apps add-ons such as Hapara, for district implementation.  A team of staff and techs will be created to evaluate potential products for district-wide consideration.

#25: Future PreK-2 Rooms
Status:  On Hold.   Question was – what potential changes could we make at non-new tech PreK-2 classrooms to increase student access?  For example, changing out desktop computers and other resources for additional iPads.  Although the feedback was positive for exploring this option, the status is on hold because the K-5 science adoption has implications on what technology is needed in the classroom.  Based on the information we have today, we will put this topic on hold and restart this discussion once the new science curriculum has been rolled out next fall, giving us a better idea of exactly what resources it will require.

#26: Future 3-6 Rooms
Status:  On Hold.   Question was – what potential changes could we make at non-new tech 3-6 classrooms to increase student access?  For example, changing out desktop computers and removing iPads to provide sets of Chromebooks.  Although the feedback was positive for exploring this option, the status is now on hold because the K-5 science adoption has implications on what technology is needed in 3-6 classrooms.  Based on the information we have today, we will put this topic on hold and restart this discussion once the new science curriculum has been rolled out next fall, giving us a better idea of exactly what resources it will require.

#27:  Future 7-8-9 Rooms
Question: what potential changes could we make at non-new tech 7-8-9 classrooms to increase student access?   At this time, this is on hold, as we have already increased student access at 7th thru 9th grade by providing Chromebook carts to all Language Arts and Social Studies classrooms.  What’s likely to happen at these grade levels is a discussion about what technology get removed over time, in order to ensure that the Chromebook carts can be replaced.  At this, the plan for next year is to let these grade levels continue to use the existing laptops, desktops, and labs that they have – and when they are set to be replaced, then we’ll discuss what changes would be desired.

#28: Future 10-12 Rooms
Status:  Some of their laptop carts are due for replacement in the next year so we’ll start discussion about whether this equipment needs to be refreshed – or if it should be converted to something else.  For example, should a cart of Windows laptops be converted into Chromebooks, to provide additional access?

#29: Future specials classrooms
Status:  At the K-6 level, once we know the implications of the new science curriculum, then we’ll start the discussions of what potential changes could take place at various K-6 specials classrooms.  For 7-12, we can start discussions about what changes they would like to see related to changing out existing equipment when its due for replacement.

#30:  Safari Montage
Question: Should we eliminate Safari Montage and use the funds to assist with other projects?  Status: We will keep Safari Montage and will renew for one more year.  When it’s time to replace the hardware/equipment, we’ll re-evaluate again.

Got questions about New Tech in WDMCS Schools?

Do you have questions about New Tech being implemented in West Des Moines Schools?  Check out the following resources…

1. New Tech Information Page

2. FAQ’s about New Tech in WDMCS

3. Application for applying for New Tech at Stilwell or Indian Hills Junior High.