Three Minute Update: January 4, 2010

The “Three Minute Update” is designed to provide you with a snapshot of key items related to the Department of Instructional Technology that may be of interest to you.  Items are listed in random order.  Please share all or parts of this message as appropriate.

Upcoming changes: The following are changes that users can expect in the next 30-45 days.

Required password change– Yes, it’s that time again, and all users of our networks will be prompted to change their network/email password.  Please remember that this also changes your Google Apps for Domains password, so you will not need to manage those separately.  If you’d like to change your other passwords to match your new one, directions for doing so are available at http://www.ccsd.edu/support or directly by clicking here.  Remember, the new password must be at least 8 characters in length, have at least one number, and at least one capital letter.

A change in our Internet Service Provider – Though quite a while in the making, our move to Lightpath as our primary path to the Internet is nearly a reality.  Once this change is finalized, the district will have increased bandwidth and greater filtering options.

A change in our federally mandated Internet filtering – Once our new Internet service is operational, we will have greater control over the various Internet filters we are required to maintain.  Over time, we can provide extremely flexible filtering options to the teachers and students we serve.  There will be more information about this in February.

Ceiling mounted projection units in each first grade classroom – As part of a collaboration between each elementary school and the Department of Instructional Technology, a projection unit will be ceiling mounted in each first grade classroom no later than February 10, 2010.  This is phase one of a collaborative two year phase in of SMART Boards in first grade.   The second phase is dependent upon the 2010-2011 budget.

United Streaming Video is now available in all our schools –   As a result of teachers and administrators prioritizing their software needs, the district is now supporting the use of Discovery Education’s United Streaming as a tool to increase student engagement and achievement.  Many teachers have used this system in the past, and principals will be sharing log-in information and encourage teachers to explore how this powerful resources can be used to transform a student’s experience both inside and outside of the classroom.

Increased wireless access at North High School – Wireless access points have been installed in the annex and X-wing to provide connectivity to the school’s science and social studies laptop carts.  These will be configured to our switches this week.  This completes a two year collaboration between North High School and the Department of Instructional Technology to ensure the necessary infrastructure is in place to support the demands of the science and social studies curricula.

Past items of interest:

Dell and Apple Discounts for CCSD Employees – Dell offers a discount to CCSD employees through the “Employee Purchase Program.” The discount is generally whatever sales are being offered on-line to the general public  less 7%. The district further allows for interest free financing via payroll deduction.  Apple offers a discount as well.  Details on both programs, including the necessary forms, are available online at  http://www.ccsd.edu//files/filesystem/EmployeeComputerPurchase.pdf

Windows 7 Available for $29.99 (as opposed to $199) for Teacher Direct Purchase – Microsoft is offering CCSD employees the opportunity to purchase Windows 7, the latest operating system, for the discounted price of $29.99.  The purchase is a direct transaction between Microsoft and district employees (as verified by a valid @ccsd.edu address) and reflects a savings of nearly $170.  Please note that the district will likely not upgrade to Windows 7 until the first service pack is released.  If you are interested in taking advantage of this offer, please do so directly by following this link.

District’s Web Protocol Available Online – Please remember that when adding content to the district’s website it is the responsibility of the individual doing the posting to adhere to the district’s Website Protocol.  The website protocol page also provides answers to many common questions, including when it is permissible to use student photos or student work online, formatting guidelines, and the simple process (via online form) for submitting items to be included on the district website or the Weekly Flyers email that is sent to the community.

SPAM Filter Update – The district has finalized its migration to Postini to filter SPAM that is sent to our users.  Postini provides a best in breed solution that is fully customizable for our district and is an essential component of our migration to Lightpath.  Please remember to check your spam filter regularly, as it is not uncommon for a legitimate message to occasionally be identified as SPAM. Each user maintains control of his/her own quarantine, and can choose to have delivered (and even accept the address for future emails) any email that is held in quarantine.  As is often the case with using technology in our schools, there is a delicate balance we strive to meet; one between over filtering and under filtering.   Toni Piscitelli in the Department of Instructional Technology continues to provide email and phone support.

The Value of Using Established Organizational Structures for Communications – The best way that the Department of Instructional Technology can support more than 11,000 users across 18 buildings is through the effective and consistent use of established organizational structures for communications, commonly referred to as the chain of command.  Please remember that any technical support issues should be reported and resolved as close to the school/building level as possible. Sending tech repair requests to the the director or assistant director of the department does nothing but slow the process and robs our technicians and their supervisors of the opportunity to serve you better.  The organizational structure for the Department of Instructional Technology is available at http://www.ccsd.edu/tech/contact.htm.  Please note that the top of the organizational structure for tech support is Richard Hernandez. Richard and I meet daily to review a variety of technology topics, including tech support.

Using School Dude to Provide Better Technology Hardware SupportThe District has begun using a Technology Repair form through the School Dude system for secondary schools. School Dude is already used in the district, and we are pleased to offer our own custom form as a way to be more efficient in how we serve the district.   The link to the formis on every webpage, under the “Staff” heading.  Effective November 1, 2009, this became the only way our technicians accept work orders from secondary schools, other than in an emergency situation.

Google Applications for Domains Now Available to Students – As part of the district’s planned roll-out of Google Applications for Domains, the student side (also referred to as the “green side”) is now active and teachers who have participated in a variety of professional development opportunities are able to use this system to further engage secondary students and increase student centered learning opportunities. Additional professional development opportunities for our teachers are scheduled for the next few weeks, and the Department of Instruction and Professional Development has sponsored a second session of the Google Ambassador program for representative secondary teachers from each school.


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