This has been a busy summer for the technology department at ADM! In addition to the additional work created with the launch of two new building additions at Adel Elementary and DeSoto Intermediate, we’ve also been managing a number of other projects. Here’s a quick rundown; I’ll include more detail on a few of these projects in future posts.
New Addition Technology Integration: Each of the classrooms in our new additions will be outfitted with our standard classroom technology suite, which includes an integrated projecter, interactive whiteboard device, document camera, and wireless access point. While the contractors installed electrical and conduit for the projectors, as well as network drops for the phone and wireless installations, we will run all of the AV cabling, install wireless access points, and install / calibrate the projectors in each room.
Existing Room Retrofits: We are retrofitting existing classrooms throughout the district to bring them up to our current classroom technology suite standards. Rooms with old projectors that do not support digital video will be receiving replacement projectors and AV cabling, and all rooms without a wireless access point will have network cable run to the room and a wireless access point installed.
Computer Deployments: A handful of funding sources have enabled us to increase the number of student-accessible computers in the district. This summer, we will be deploying roughly 155 Chromebooks and 25 Windows laptops to labs and mobile carts, and repurposing 50 iPads to K-5 classrooms.
Management System Evaluation: With an eye on potential cost savings, we’re evaluating the FileWave device management system in comparison to our current management system, JAMF’s Casper Suite. FileWave is less expensive and allows management of a wider range of devices, but our testing thus far indicates that it may not be sufficient for our needs relative to what Casper provides. We will continue this evaluation process until mid-July.
Application Development: In addition to providing regular IT services, our department also provides some internal web application development for the district. This summer, we are working on a couple of projects, including an online application process for the new Teacher Leadership and Compensation grant positions, as well as an online version of SMART goal tracking as part of our professional learning community (PLC) program.
Website Content Creation: While it’s not an IT task, my dual role as director of technology and communications has led me to spearhead the development process for our new district website. The vendor who we have been working with has completed the development of the website, so at this point, we are inputting content in the website to make sure that it is as complete as possible, with all necessary information, at launch. The new site will launch in mid to late July.
Wireless Deployment: We are not only updating our standard classroom technology suite to include a wireless access point in every classroom, but we are also implementing an entirely new wireless platform in our high school / middle school building. Our new Aerohive wireless network will provide 802.11ac service throughout this campus, with 81 access points serving the buildings. Our existing wireless infrastructure from these buildings will be moved to the Adel Elementary and DeSoto buildings. The end result from this process will be improved support for wireless connectivity, speed, and density in all of the district’s buildings.
Network Redesign: Because we are apparently gluttons for punishment, we’re also undertaking a massive network redesign district-wide. I’ll post more about this project later, but – in summary – this project will allow us to much better segment traffic with aggressive use of VLANs (virtual local area networks), which will result in improved network performance over wired and wireless connections, better security, and improved ability to easily diagnose problems.
Phone System Consolidation: In preparation for bringing the new district administration building online, we are engaging in a consolidation of our Voice over IP (VoIP) phone systems district-wide. In the long run, this will allow us to more easily add capacity while reducing management overhead.