Tech News & Notes - August 2017 [2]

Updates: Wireless, Staffing, Account Management, Etc.

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One major project over the summer was to put a system in place to automate the creation and management of user accounts. This was done with a vendor called Identity Automation (the product itself is called RapidIdentity), who has worked with a number of districts throughout the state. It was a long overdue project (having already been on the radar for almost 3 years). Most of the implementation has gone well, except for one portion that resulted in the e-mail password issue a couple weeks ago. We will be doing follow-up in September to finish up the system; part of that process will include a required password reset. In a few weeks we will send out a communication detailing next steps for everyone.


The portal for account management is now available. You can see a screenshot of the portal above.


The first time you login you will need to provide responses for two of the ten challenge questions.


Once you log in, you'll see various tabs depending on your school and your security levels. At a minimum, you should see tabs such as:


My Staff Profile


  • View your information
  • Change your password (This functionality is still being rolled out)
  • Update your security/challenge questions



District and School Directories


  • There is a little bit of a trick for doing searches in this screen; if you know a partial name use * as a wildcard for your search. For instance, Ang* would give you Gary Anger and the many Angela's working in the district.
  • Surrounding a term with the wildcard can also be useful. A search for *speech* would list all of the staff with Speech in their job title (in other words, the current 22 Speech/Language Pathologists in the district).
  • A search with just * will provide a full list of results (though the screen only shows 100 at a time; you need to scroll down through the results for more to appear).



Student Password Reset

You may also see a tab for your building to do student password resets. Similar to the directory, you can search for a student by name or ID number. Clicking on a student name will activate a change password button (near top of results list); clicking change password brings up a window to do so. Note that there is a checkbox for "change password at next login"; you probably want to leave that unchecked.


This is just a brief introduction to the portal; in future newsletters we will highlight additional functionality and go into more depth on password management.


On a related note, usually we do a mass reset of student passwords toward the start of the school year. This year, we are only resetting passwords for students in 3rd through 6th grade. They will be set to the student default, which is: First name initial capitalized, Last name initial lowercase, followed by 6 digit birthdate (such as: Bd031673).

WIRELESS NETWORK CHANGES

Rationale

We have redesigned portions of our wireless network to reduce the number of network names (fewer is better), to improve the network speed and experience for staff and students, and to better define and manage our public access to the network.


Network Names

New: SabersWireless and SabersPublic.

Old: saberstaff, saberstudent, Student.


Transition

The old networks are being turned off. Some devices may still need a software update to properly connect to SabersWireless (which doesn't require you to do anything; we run those updates in the background). If you cannot connect to SabersWireless over the next few weeks, look for and connect to your building's Rollout network for the time being. Once the software update runs, your device should try to connect to SabersWireless.


Personal Devices

Staff can connect to SabersWireless with a personal device. It will ask for your regular username and password. When you first set up the connection on a personal device, you may get prompted to "trust" a connection or certificate; choose Yes. (On some Android devices, the only option may be to choose "skip" for that prompt. Unfortunately, there are too many variations between devices for us to write reliable notes for all possible situations.)

Part of our transition from media centers to a Learning Commons model includes the addition of more mobile computing carts and more specific delineation and check-out of spaces within the commons. To facilitate this, we felt it would be useful to have a centralized site for booking/reserving carts and spaces within each building. The High School currently has a system in place, so we are focusing our efforts right now on K-9 buildings.


Certified staff in K-9 buildings should soon receive an e-mail from Room Booking System; it will look similar to the screenshot below. Your username and password should be your regular district login.

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A few notes about how to use this system.


  • When you first login, there is a brief tutorial that walks you through how to add a reservation.
  • Elementary buildings use the time of day in 15 minute increments of time; secondary buildings use class periods.
  • Schools are referred to as "Categories"; not an obvious thing but that's how the system is designed.


We looked at many options before choosing this particular site; it came closest to having all of the functionality we needed. This is just a brief intro; we'll put together more detailed notes soon.

UPDATES

High School Expansion

As the current phase of the expansion hastens to completion, there are a few tech projects still to be handled, most significantly:


  • Installation of networking equipment and wireless access points (Should be completed by first day of school).
  • Phones (Also targeting first day of school for completion).
  • Procurement and installation of classroom audio-visual systems, which will consist of a large screen display (75" TV), Apple TV, wall mounted HDMI and VGA input options, ceiling speakers and controls for the system.


Given our current timeline, networking and phones will be the first priority. Classroom A/V systems will be completed as quickly as possible.

STAFFING

The chart below shows our staff lists for this year.


Changes of note: The elementary buildings are no longer splitting a tech; the addition of iPad carts in 3rd-5th grade this year was one factor that necessitated that move. Note that many of these staff are brand new, so please give them all a chance to get up to speed with our systems.

The Digital Learning Coordinator staff is now assigned to a partner school, as noted in the chart. They remain a district resource for the purposes of project collaboration and professional development.

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