Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Follow up to CoSN CTO Session

My battery died, but I was able to take notes of the 2nd presenter on my Blackberry. In Forsyth County Schools in Georgia, they are doing some interesting things regarding the re-distribution of equipment and changes to their AUP policy to allow for student-owned devices.

Here are the notes that I took unedited (mostly).

They have a desire to "extend" the school day.

Direct efforts more toward the safety of the network and away from the tools they will be using.

Students don't need our wifi access b/c they have their own on their phones for the most part.

Saturate the classroom with access and let students desire for the use of technology in instruction drive the change for instruction. Peer pressure almost. They are doing it in Mrs.X's classroom, why not in here?

Leverage student owned resources to allow use in school. Changed their AUP.

Rolled out wifi.

Separate VLAN for student devices with filtering to access district resources/Internet.

How do we provide for students without their own devices?

They have notebooks available for checkout to some during the daytime. 3 year refresh cycle on technology and give away old ones after they are refreshed and wiped clean. Loaded with Opensource software.

Thin client access to get to school resources from home.

Using web based resources as well. Dropping MS office and going to Open Office. Student don't have access to office at home so went open source this past school year with refresh.

Asus EEE and classmate PC they are looking at these types of laptops, but won't go with until battery life is addressed.

New notebooks have limited use but focuses on what we want teachers to use in the classrooms, away from canned software.

Seamless was important to them regarding putting students on their own network with their own devices.

Citrix clients not available for all of the devices that they would see students using such as the iPhone, Blackberry.

Remote access to gateway. They aren't providing support for it. They have few problems with students mostly with adults not knowing how to connect.

Changed AUP, but it has not been promoted yet. They are watching as kids bring in their own devices to see what problems might arise.

Greater potential to make learning more engaging than to worry about them being off task. Risk, but learning potential might be worth it.

Teacher and admin management of the students using devices will be up to the schools so far.

Question / Answer Time:

Q: They lease computers. How did they get around tax payers receiving school goods?

A: Cost of ownership goes up and better for students if they took it. Bid process? No. Board approved, local funds, surplus. Put out an RFP to a company who wiped them clean, put Open Office on them and gave 60 day warranty. That company was only allowed to sell the PC's back to who Forsyth County specified.

Q: Bandwidth Impact from student laptops /devices?

A: Not enough of devices out there to see any kind of a bandwidth impact right now. Gig fiber to each school.

Q: How many PC's were refreshed with OpenSource software?

A: Refreshed 5000 PC's with open office

Q: What are the connections like in school (wireless)?

A: Public ssid for visitors like in hotel

Student connection goes straight to citrix page but some devices so not have citrix client so they will need to investigate