Tech Notes

February 2019

A-V Committee Update

Notes from the Audio-Visual Committee:

We are surveying staff to get a more complete picture of our audio-visual needs. Please take a few moments to complete the survey.

The process of identifying locations to pilot new hardware is underway, along with working with vendors to obtain demo systems. We will be starting with locations like the Learning Commons in certain buildings since that allows us to minimize disruptions to classrooms while giving the greatest number of staff an opportunity to try things and offer feedback.

A few numbers: We have about 330 interactive whiteboards installed throughout the district. We also have about 715 Apple TVs installed, which gives another indication of just how many screens are projecting to throughout the district. In the past 2.5 years, we have spent about $40,000 on replacing projector bulbs.

E-mail Security

We have modified some settings in our e-mail system recently to try to decrease the amount of spam and phishing messages that staff receive. As we attempt to limit those messages, it is always possible that some legitimate items will get caught in quarantine. An article has been posted to Tech Tools that reviews how you can review quarantined messages and release them.

EdCamp Event

We are hosting this year's Twin Cities edcamp event! It will take place on April 27 at the High School. The edcamp is an example of an "unconference", where the content is driven by the participants.

From the site:

"Arrive with an idea for a session that you would like to lead or with the anticipation of a full day of learning. A session might explore a technology tool, a discussion about best practices, or a collaborative presentation with multiple facilitators."

Internet Content Filtering

We have started the process of investigating the offerings for Internet content filtering from other vendors.

Our system, Securly, has a lengthy list of pros and cons. We are well aware of the limitations of the system and continue to work with the vendor to address issues. That being said, there is no such thing as a perfect content filtering system. If we research the options and cannot make a strong case for switching, we will stay with Securly.

Phone System Upgrade or Replacement

The district will be releasing a Request for Proposals (RFP) within the next two weeks which will involve overhauling our current phone system. The system we have now is about 12 years old, and the majority of the management tools and network components it uses are nearing the end of support from the vendor. Our goal is not to bring in a system with a ton of bells and whistles, but to ensure that we have a stable, dependable system that meets our day to day needs while also allowing more options for security integration and the ability to add functionality as needed.

I am linking the RFP below for anyone curious, with fair warning that it's 70 pages long and would put most people to sleep.