Tech Report

Date: September 22, 2009
To: Michael Green
From: Steve Rippl
Subject: Tech Dept. Executive Summary

As always, the summer and September have proved to be very busy for us. Over the summer a lot of time was spent learning about Microsoft Vista and their new ways of deploying and managing it. We're using Vista for the new laptops that SPED has bought for their students as it has excellent accessibility features in terms of voice recognition. This will also stand us in good stead as we eventually have to face moving on from XP at some point in the future! We ran a couple of small website workshops for teachers and Mark Knudson taught a 'Moodle Bootcamp' for teachers. We now have a few more dedicated "Moodlers" in the form of Kari Debower, Kim Knudson, Debbie Hunt and a few others!

The guys in the office have worked especially hard these last few weeks dealing with the usual start of year rush and they've done an excellent job of keeping up and dealing with peoples tech problems in a timely manner.

It's been a mixed time for me personally in terms of success and failures. The groupware (email/calendar/contacts etc) replacement that I had built to replace Exchange had worked well in testing with limited numbers of people (and managed to support all of Michaels Apple products!), but when school started and we had hundreds of people on it at once it was a different story. The mail server portion struggled, but could have been "beefed-up", but the calendar portion is just not up to the job. The decision was made in Admin (at my suggestion) to move back to Exchange and funds are being found out of some of the Administrative Match funds to facilitate getting all that up-to-date. Despite my personal feelings about this not having worked out as I had hoped, the majority of staff are very happy at the prospect of getting Outlook and Office back so it's not bad news!

On a more successful note we running newer thin client software now which is working out very well. We've got off to a good start with the new lab in the Middle School and the 15 thin clients in Kari Debower' room. In fact, Kari seems delighted with the new hardware and the mix of Moodle and our new Apex software. We're also now up and running with the software we've built to replace the Primary School's 'Student Progress System'. It will be a year-long effort to shape it into exactly what they want and tie it in to the Intermediate School, but PS staff  have been entering data this week already and Malinda Huddleston will be generating her CAST data from it. I still have a busy week ahead of me making sure that happens!