Tech Report

Date: October 22, 2013
To: Michael Green
From: Steve Rippl
Subject: Tech Dept. Executive Summary


Overall we seem to be over the start of year hump already, things have settled down quickly.  Our few remaining printing issues from the summer changes have been resolved, and a problem with the stability of the thin clients at the start of the year was quickly fixed. We’re still tidying up a few remaining pieces left over from the summer in terms of moving services off of old servers, but that’s almost there now as well. 

How to manage the “new generation” of consumer/mobile devices is still something we’re learning about.  We’ve found Chromebooks have a problem in that we can’t currently lock them down to a particular wireless network, so students were sometimes jumping to the wrong network and getting cut off.  Some adjustments in our network setup and training staff and students involved in how to connect to the correct one seem to have alleviated that problem.  We’re going back and forth in the iPad management situation.  We’re on the verge of setting up Apple’s configurator tool which has been required for iPad management, but we’re now hearing that iOS 7 has introduced new features that will eventually make that unnecessary (when the 3rd party Mobile Device Management tool providers catch up with Apple’s changes). So right now we’re treading lightly waiting to see how that pans out.  I have to admit that it’s somewhat daunting thinking about layering on all this additional work for our department on top of all the different devices and services we already manage. 

On a more positive note Asha and I are taking part in a MOOC (Massively Open Online Course, the kind of things many universities are now offering for free) all about digital transitions in K12, with other educators and support folk from around the country.  It is making us think hard about the academic and cultural changes that need to happen for an institution to make effective use of all this new technology.  We’re also thinking about how to tie in Open Education Resources (OER), the open source equivalent of educational curriculum and other types of resources which our State has been promoting. We hope to be presenting more on this soon.