Technology Director Report

Date: November 18th, 2015
To: Michael Green
From: Steve Rippl
Subject: Tech Dept. Executive Summary

State testing is upon us a little earlier than I had imagined, late last week we were told that the high school and TEAM had to run their WCAP retakes this week! While we don’t yet have the new version of the testing software deployed on staff computers or the student thin clients, fortunately it was an easy thing to setup on the Chromebooks and so they are being used. While there are a few obvious drawbacks to the Chrome devices (they are basically just a browser) they are wonderfully efficient to manage and maintain. To give you an idea of their current popularity, according to Google themselves 30,000 new Chromebooks are activated in U.S. Schools every (school) day, more than all other educational devices combined!

We have gone from a couple of carts to over 600 Chrome devices in just a few years, and our plan for student devices is to transition away from the thin clients to ChromeOS, still supporting Windows computers and iPads where appropriate. There is added complexity and work in maintaining each different type of device as they all have their own methods to manage them. Dropping one makes sense as our thin clients don’t do much beyond what the Chrome devices can do, and they are just as cheap now. To that end we are starting to plan that transition in the middle school and have been gathering feedback from teachers on the importance of having classroom computers versus having full classroom sets in shared carts. The results are currently for some middle ground of a few classroom computers and as many carts as possible! Many schools have gone one-to-one with Chromebooks now (at least for certain grades), and I’m sure that’s where we’ll get to eventually as well.

The final part of catching up from the summer has been our work with the website and Sips, which was all put on hold until recently. Sips use is picking up again as the buildings re-establish their data collection and analysis and so we’ve prepared some new reports for the elementary and middle schools. We’re also working with Eric Jacobson and our admins on some slight improvements and updates to the website.