Three Minute Update: March 15, 2012

Below is an excerpt of a note I sent to the district’s technology communication facilitators.  It provides updates to recent activities related to technology.

Bring Your Own Technology (BYOT) initiative update – In both high schools, students are allowed to bring their own technology to use in school for work related to assignments (as opposed to games, etc.). With the exception of a few spot areas in South High School (we’ve engaged the vendor in exploring the cause of these spot outages on the public side), students and teachers have been able to log in to our “public” network.  This gives wireless access to the internet but not anything that resides in district. IMPORTANT: Teacher email (not student Gmail) and the district’s website reside in-district, and ironically are not available via public wireless. Students and teachers can access Google Apps directly via start.student.ccsd.edu (students and teachers) or start.ccsd.edu (teachers only). Please do not use the Public wireless for purposes unrelated to school tasks.

District Bandwidth (local network and Internet speed)– Based on expanded use of Internet based programs (i.e. Achieve 3000, Dreambox Learning) and the BYOT initiative, the district has issued a purchase order to double our Internet bandwidth. This should increase the speed in which we access the Internet, particularly at our busiest times of day (1:00 – 3:00). We have also increased our internal bandwidth in labs and libraries by tenfold (from 100mb/s to 1,000mb/s—also known as gigabit speed). This will most significantly impact computers that connect to the network with a wire. The wireless connections are shared (wired connections are not) and the more devices connecting to an access point, the slower the connection. The maximum speed is 300mb/s, and that number is reduced as it is split between wireless devices connecting to it. In theory, if 10 devices connected to the same wireless access point, the maximum speed would be 30mb/s. There are a number of variables, but this is an example for clarification. Please know that we have many access points throughout the schools, and they are load balanced. When one starts to get busy, another one picks up the load. Teamwork!

Student email is now available – Students in grades 6-12 now have their own email address. This was a long time in the making, but is now a reality. By design, students can only send and receive messages from ccsd.edu, student.ccsd.edu, wikispaces.com, edublogs.com, and flubaroo.com. Flubaroo.com can easily be integrated into Google Forms. If you’re using a form to provide a quiz to students, you can have the Flubaroo program automatically grade the quiz and email the results (including the questions the student got wrong, if you so choose) to the students! Please let John Calvert know if you’re interested in learning more about this. There are already teachers in CCSD who are using this with their students and it’s a big hit!

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