We always make an ambitious list of the things we’d like to get done over the summer, it’s that fairly brief window when we can work on some of the core infrastructures and not disturb too many people. We don’t usually get to it all, and this year was no exception! Things started getting busy earlier in August than usual and the start of year requests began pouring in and took priority. Still, we did upgrade a significant number of staff and student computers, server software, and network switches throughout the District. The less crucial projects will get done gradually as we can fit them in.
We ran a two day Google training early in August which was fairly well attended, about 20 staff for the “Basics” day and a dozen for the “Advanced” day, which mainly focused on Google Classroom use. This is Google’s answer to class management systems like Moodle and Blackboard. It has fewer features, but integrates well with Google Apps (no surprise!) and is very easy to use for both staff and students. A few teachers were using it last year, but I think quite a few more have started up this year. One thing that is helping is that we can synchronise section enrollment from Skyward to Google Classroom, making it very easy for a teacher to startup.
Now we’re almost over the worst of the back-to-school hump, earlier than usual because things started sooner. The guys have worked hard to prioritize and get to everyone’s help requests as quickly as possible, and we’re already getting to the end of it. The number of outstanding tickets has shrunk significantly, another week or two and I think we’ll be back to our normal pace. We didn’t have any major new roll-outs that significantly affected people, but a lot of small changes, new folks, and in general teachers are wanting to get students on the computers as quickly as possible, which is great!