State testing is underway and from our perspective in Tech you would barely notice! What used to be such a major upheaval has become quite routine, thanks in part to the practice and experience our teachers have now developed, and all the extra Chromebooks and labs we have to enable testing without upsetting the general schedule too much.
We’ve just brought in almost 200 new Chromebooks which are currently being prepped for use. About 70 are replacements for our first groups of retiring Chromebooks, but the rest are new devices going out to the middle and high schools. And even as those are going out we’re already making plans for our summer purchases and bringing more carts in. The combination of the work we’ve done in upgrading our wireless network (and we’ll be doing more of that this summer) and the ease of management of Chrome devices means that for now we can just keep adding them to our system, as funds allow! I know that our teachers and students are appreciating the extra access to technology.
Systems like the phones, PA systems, cameras and HVAC controllers have not historically been part of our domain, but that has changed. They are all network devices of some kind and now need our support, and so we are making efforts to embrace them more fully to make sure we are able to support them well. These are systems that have been handed to us, not ones we designed and/or choose, so we’re having to learn how best to manage them. For example, we ’re now using features in the camera servers to report when cameras are down, so we can fix problem cameras before we need footage from them! We’ve also been testing the 911 failover functionality in the phone system and found that it was never set up correctly on installation, so we’re in the process of fixing that. As we move forward and really make these systems our own we’ll be able to have a similar confidence in our support for them that we do for our network, servers, and computers.