Welcome Back Staff!!! Over the summer, your Technology Department has been busy working on many items. Here are a few highlights:
- The latest data and classes have been loaded into Pivot. You can look at your new students right now!
- Desktop machines were updated with current software, including Office 2013.
- New or improved wireless access was added all around the District.
- Skyward was upgraded, rolled, and readied for this school year with many great improvements.
- A new caching system was installed that stores temporary copies of items like YouTube videos for classroom use.
- All virtual desktop systems were updated and cleaned.
- Servers throughout the District were checked out and readied.
- Successmaker, Scholastic, and many other curriculum programs were brought to their newest versions.
- 3,000 new Chromebooks were readied for a great school year.
- Hapara Chromebook management system was brought online and integrated to Skyward for SHS.
- New data integrations were created for McGraw-Hill and Pearson textbook software.
What is a Chromebook?
Chromebooks are simplified laptops running the Google Chrome Operating System. They are integrated into our Google Apps for Education infrastructure. A Chromebook can be used for Internet activity, editing documents, advanced calculator, audio and video recording, and more while booting up in under 10 seconds and being easy to use. More information: Wikipedia
Why Chromebooks in Perry Township?
We have found Chromebooks to be an outstanding value product that are available for as low as $200 each. For that, our students receive a speedy, full-function device that is easily managed with our Google Apps for Education system. Through a broad-based examination with many parties involved we have found them to be the absolute sweet spot for our needs in many cases.
Where does Perry Township have Chromebooks Today?
We currently have a pilot of over 900 Samsung Chromebooks in the hands of high school students participating in our blended learning classes. Those students keep the device with them throughout the semester in classes and at home.
What is Next for Chromebooks in Perry Township?
Southport High School is exploring becoming a 1:1 Chromebook school as soon as next school year. That goal would put a common learning tool in the hands of every student. Between the device and the building’s rich commitment to curriculum development, they are truly looking to be a leader in the field and to build future leaders in the world they live. We are excitedly exploring this potential.
How Would Student’s Obtain Chromebooks for 1:1?
The District and SHS are currently exploring a number of options. Most notably we are looking at the potential for families to purchase their own Chromebook with no restrictions that could be used by their student for years to come. Other options are also being looked at including rental, in-building checkout, and other financial assistance.
Would Families Only be able to use Chromebooks Purchased through Perry Township for 1:1?
We would welcome all Chromebooks into the fold. A family would be welcome to purchase a device from Amazon or Best Buy. Our goal is the common platform of a Chromebook to create a common teaching environment for us all to grow with.
Is a Chromebook a Chromebook?
There are a variety of different companies that make Chromebooks. The common element is that they all run Google Chrome OS. Any of the devices provide a common platform for students and teachers. Chromebooks can be purchase anywhere from $200 on up and all have the same platform. More information: Chromebooks
The new 1:1 tablet/netbook convertibles have arrived and are being unboxed and setup.
We are beginning the process of readying them for roll-out.
That process will begin with Winchester Village as we await the final cart delivery to complete the Middle and Academy Schools. The exact schedule of Elementary buildings is dependent on the cart arrivals.
Once the carts arrive, we will resume the roll-up process to seventh grade and proceed with deploying to sixth grade and there on.
It has been a busy summer in Technology. A few highlights:
– The District SIS has been converted over from Ark to Skyward.
– 1100 Chromebooks are ready to roll out at our High Schools to start the year.
– Existing 1:1 devices are ready to move up to grades 4 and 7.
– The Virtual Desktop Environment was rebuilt from scratch with some exciting new enhancements.
– Desktop machines were updated with the latest software image.
– Successmaker and Scholastic have been upgraded to the new version.
– New classroom sound systems have been installed at our high schools.
– Wireless upgrades are in progress throughout the township.
– Electrical systems were upgraded in our network center.
Beginning next school year, our High Schools will be invaded by Google Chromebooks. Hundreds of these little guys will be paired with students in 1:1 projects across several different subjects. We are very excited to bring in a great new value in technology to our District.
Why Chromebooks? The Chromebook is a cost-effective way to get an Internet-focused platform in the hands of our students. The devices have solid-state drives and a minimal Operating System which creates very fast boot times and an excellent price-performance ratio.
How will they work? Our Chromebooks will be connected to our perryschools.org Google accounts. The devices are managed and maintained through that system by us. Students will login using their District Google account and will each have 5GB of storage space online.
What can they do? Chromebooks are excellent Internet devices. We expect rich usage of My Big Campus and Google Drive environments. They can store files offline for home use and can connect to external networks such as home or businesses while remaining connected to Perry. In addition, they are planned to be supported by both major national testing consortia.
When and How Many? We will be rolling out over 1,000 Chromebooks to start next school year.
Currently, we have a number of update packages going on throughout the District:
– Windows Updates are occurring in large groups currently. You will largely see these at computer shutdown.
– We are currently pushing out Smart Software 11 SP1. This is largely a bug fix release that we have been told will correct some ongoing issues with Smart Ink. No adverse impacts or changes were found in testing.
– The 1:1 student devices are currently receiving an update to their video driver. In testing here and at SA, this driver update has corrected some odd issues ongoing with cursor jumps, etc.
The first of 2,200 1:1 devices were rolled out yesterday at Mary Bryan.
Five carts containing 125 computers were unlocked for the first time at Mary Bryan Elementary yesterday morning.
There was a lot of excitement filling the halls as these students and teachers will have access to 1:1 technology at all times in their classrooms. Students were quickly picking up the convertible machines and launching into art programs, webcams, Successmaker, and even Acuity. All in all it was a great success and we’d like to thank Mary Bryan for their willingness to be the first to start down this road in Perry Township. Following fall break, we’ll be rolling out roughly one school per day until all of our third and sixth grade students have access to these resources every day.
As most of you know, we are embarking on an exciting project of providing Intel Classmate Convertibles for use by all third and sixth grade students in the township this year.
The carts to store the machines have arrived and today is the big day that the first 950 devices will arrive. If all goes well, we expect to roll out our first deployment on Thursday at Mary Bryan so they are ready to roll right after break. Additionally, over break we will be doing numerous wireless network upgrades and preparing machines for the next roll-outs. Here is the tentative schedule building by building:
Due to a delay in the arrival of our second shipment, the dates below were updated…
MB – October 2-5
PA – October 23-25
AL – October 24
GV – October 29
CY – October 30 – Delayed to November 9 by Building
HE – October 31
DM – November 1
SA – November 7 and 8
RP – November 13
SE – November 14
WV – November 15
JG – November 16
HB – November 19