Blog

Jan 12
Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)

 BYOD

Image Courtesy of :http://www.notifycorp.com/solutions/bring-your-device

BYOD

Have you heard of the term BYOD?  BYOD is an acronym for Bring Your Own Device (also sometimes referred to as BYOT, or Bring Your Own Technology).  The idea is that the district would allow students or teachers to bring their own personal equipment in for use in the classroom or a department.  These devices could be laptops, iPad's, iPhone's, Android Phones, Nook's, Kindle's, etc.  The concept has been growing in popularity with both businesses and school districts for the last two to three years. 

As mobile devices continue to explode in popularity (and affordability), there is more and more pressure to use them in the classroom.  While these devices are cheaper than the standard desktop or laptop, it would still be a significant expense for the district to bear.  This has led to the idea that we could allow students to use their own devices.  The district would not have to bear the expense and the student could gain the advantages presented by these devices to enhance their learning.  What could be wrong with that?  As it turns out, the answer is a bit complicated.

At first glance, this does seem like a simple question.  When you start to dig however, things become more complex.  The biggest question to answer is – what problem are you trying to solve?  How will allowing students to use their own devices impact instruction and improve student achievement?  

The answer to this question drives a host of others.   Most devices can access the internet, but certain devices don't play well with certain websites.  Certain devices won't allow specific applications, or need to be modified or updated to allow them.  Certain devices will work as eReaders and others won't. 

The questions get stickier from there.  What do we do for students who do not have devices, or whose parents won't allow them to bring in their own equipment? 

Then comes the question about responsibility for the care of the devices.  What happens when a device is broken during class?  By another student?  By a teacher?  What is the district's responsibility for supporting these devices?  Will a teacher need to know how to ensure a lesson works on all of the different types of devices that students might bring in?  What if one type (or more) won't work? 

Once you get past those issues, what are left are the technical details.  How much wireless coverage is needed to support these devices?  How can we secure them to ensure students are not accessing inappropriate materials?  How do we secure the rest of the network to ensure students don't access their grades or the files of others?

So what is the District doing to solve these questions?

The Technology Department is currently reviewing and updating policies and procedures to address some of these issues.  In conversations with schools, departments, level offices and Cabinet, we need to define Salem-Keizer's stance on the issues.  Then we need to do some planning, and start a Pilot.  Planning is vital to the success of a BYOD initiative. 

We will get to all of the answers about HOW to do it.   WHY we do it will be up to you – and if we don't know WHY we are doing it, we will fail.​

Jan 12
Autodesk Design The Future Software Offer

On February 4th Autodesk Inc. announced a major change to the CAD software suites offered to K-12 middle and high schools

What does this mean for us?

This means the Autodesk Design Academy and Entertainment Creation Suites are now free to our middle and high schools to use for the next three years.

If you currently have paid for the Autodesk software there are no refunds, but now you can use more of the software suite.

Are there limitations to the use of the software?

The software must be installed by TIS on a District computer, the software cannot be installed on personal computers.

We can only install the software on 125 computers per school.

The current license is for three years with no upgrades. Autodesk may continue this program but we won't know that for a while.

Before the software can be installed, we need to make sure the computers meet the required specifications.  AutoDesk is a very resource intensive software and may not work on older computers

How do I get this software installed at my school?

Contact Sharleen Grove in the Curriculum department so she can talk to you about the expectations of participating in this program.

Your school will need to submit a Life Ring Support Request indicating that you are interested in using the software.

TIS will schedule a meeting with you and the appropriate staff to determine what your needs are and where the software will be used.

After this meeting TIS will need to evaluate the school's computers to ensure they meet the required technical specifications, and if they do we will add this installation task to our project list.

We ask that your staff NOT sign up with Autodesk to download the software, attempt to install the software or sign any agreement from the Autodesk web site, these tasks need to be handled by TIS.

What is the full offer from AutoDesk?

"Autodesk, Inc. is joining with President Barack Obama and other leading technology and telecom companies to help prepare American high school students for science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics (STEAM) careers. The company will expand its Design the Future program, and make available $250 million of 3D design software, project-based curricula, training and certification to every middle and high school in the United States in 2014."

The software that is available includes the following:

  •          Autodesk Design Academy

Autodesk® Design Academy offers secondary educators the right toolset to engage students in science, technology, engineering, art, and math (STEAM). The comprehensive software suite's design, visualization, and simulation capabilities enable students to easily move between 2D and 3D design environments and fully experience their creative ideas digitally.

 

  • AutoCAD (including Architecture, Civil 3D & Mechanical), Inventor, 3ds Max Design

  • Autodesk Entertainment Creation Suite

 

Autodesk® Entertainment Creation Suite Ultimate offers academic institutions exceptional value and provides a streamlined solution for teaching 3D modeling, digital sculpting, texture painting, animation, effects, and rendering. The suite includes Autodesk software products that expose students to a broad set of professional tools, and it supports development of specialized skills that are easily transferable across a wide variety of industries.

  • Maya, 3ds Max, Softimage, MotionBuilder, Mudbox, SketchBook Designer

Computer Specifications:

Windows 7 64bit, 3.0GHz+ P4 or Xeon E3 or Core i7, 8GB RAM, 200GB HD, Microsoft DirectX 10.1 + w/512MB graphics (for 3D DirectX11+)​

Jan 09
Welcome To The TIS Website!

​We are excited to share information on recent trends in technology and education, and how the District and the Technology & Information Services department are approaching these opportunities.  In the coming weeks, we will talk about:

  • Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)
  • Use of Personal Equipment (by both staff and students)
  • 1:1 Initiatives
  • Google Apps for Education
  • Cloud Services (Dropbox, Livebinder, etc)
  • Social Media

Technology changes very quickly, and it is hard to know which new trends are right for our environment and which aren't.  We will define each of these topics and talk about the challenges and opportunities each of them presents to the district.  In addition, we will present our plans for how we will approach each topic, as well as what these will mean for teachers department staff, and students.

Thanks for stopping by!