Date: September 21st, 2011 To: Michael Green From: Steve Rippl Subject: Tech Dept. Executive Summary
At this time of year it's hard to lift my head high enough above the fray to get the long view! With the steady flow of tickets coming in (we past ticket number 300 before the second week of school was finished) and constantly being pulled from one issue to another it's hard to see the big picture, but actually when I do pause to reflect then overall it's been a very smooth start to the year for us. The issues that are coming in are mostly small and can be dealt with quickly, and it seems as though our staff and students have been able to settle into using their tech tools pretty easily.
Microsoft Office 2010 hasn't been kind to us! It's been a pain to get installed on machines and we're now having difficulties with Outlook blocking some people from sending (we do have a quick fix but it's annoying for all concerned), as well a reports of a couple of bugs in Excel and OneNote. We're applying all the updates available and will see how things settle down. On the other front the response we're getting around Google Docs seems to be very positive. The High School English department have dived head long into it with all their students, Administrators and some Staff have begun to make some use of it, and I know that Jeff Flanagan was introducing it to his students last year and will do the same again. While the Middle School have not used it much to date they were very interested at an introduction to last week, so I think we'll need to arrange some Staff training soon for those that do want to utilize it more.
Towards the end of last year we introduced a cart of 20 Linux netbooks for the Primary School (essentially the same as the board uses). The thought had been that 5 or 10 at a time would go into a class for a group to work on something, but apparently they are proving so popular that they would like another 5 to be able to get a whole class on them at once. There's a new $200 netbook available from Asus so we're just taking a moment to try and evaluate if it's a good fit for our needs, otherwise the regular ones are only around $300.
We've been very busy with improvements to Sips as we expand it's use for Math at the secondary level, adjust for new assessments and interventions at the elementary level, and build the learning plan tracking system for LRA and TEAM students. At the same time requests/suggestions for improvements keep coming in so this is a project that will continue to grow for a while.