I’ve been back to work for a week and many of our faculty will be back next week. My staff has been hard at work all summer setting up new machines and reimaging old ones. We’ve rolled out 50 new desktop computers in two computer labs and classrooms. We are in the process of rolling out 30 new faculty laptops and servicing the other 40 that are already deployed to faculty. This includes service packs, an Outlook upgrade, and SmartNotebook 10. As we do these laptop upgrades, we’re requiring faculty to participate in a 30-45 minute training session when they pick up their laptops. During this training session, we’re reviewing basic laptop maintenance, spending a few minutes training the faculty on Outlook, and making sure our backup script works.
In addition to the nuts and bolts above here are some of the projects that I’m working on for the school year (Thanks to Jim Heynderickx for the inspiration here):
Outlook Training: During the first month of school we have to make sure to provide enough support to faculty, staff and students so we can complete our transition from FirstClass to Outlook. So far, so good as our transition over the summer was completed with only a few minor issues and with a positive reaction from the community. Change is hard, so I don’t expect that September will be a cake walk, but with appropriate communication and preemptive training and support, we’ll be in a good place in October.
Continued Professional Development including New Faculty and Student Orientation, Collegiate Connect (our SIS and communication hub for school constituents), Gradebook, Smartboards, and Moodle. This is a big one.
- New Faculty Orientation is a big one as we need to bring our faculty in, show them what we have to offer and how to find resources about technology at the school. Luckily, we have two one hour sessions with the new faculty this year and that will allow us to do a nuts and bolts session: file sharing, printing, Outlook email, and Collegiate Connect (SIS). The second session will be a technology scavenger hunt that our Academic Dean and Lower School Assistant Head are putting together. This is going to be a fun exercise to see if new faculty can use the training and FAQ material we’ve posted on our department web site to get the scavenger hunt done.
- New Student Orientation includes much of the above, plus a heavy dose of Acceptable Use in 20 minutes. Any ideas?
- Collegiate Connect training is usually done in conjunction with division meetings as it consists of specific administrative responsibilities of the faculty in each division. We’re creating lots of documentation in the form of FAQs on our Technology web site for this.
- Gradebook, Smartboard and Moodle training. None of these tools are required so we’ll be providing as needed support on them in September and then rolling each out via targeted monthly themes with professional development and communication with the faculty during those periods.
Powerful Learning Practice — This is very exciting. Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach and Will Richardson are running this professional development program for five of our faculty/administrators. Here’s how they describe it:
Powerful Learning Practice offers a unique opportunity for educators to participate in a long-term, job-embedded professional development program that immerses them in 21st Century learning environments.
Day one of this is September 8th. I’m psyched.
Website Upgrade — Yes, we’re upgrading our web site. This collaborative process has taken longer than I planned, but we’re on track for a January launch providing us a much better look and feel and more integration between our site and Collegiate Connect.
And a few smaller ones —
Faculty Professional Development Reports — Last year we did these in a DrupalEd environment. This year, they will be in Moodle. Just waiting for MoodleRooms to finish up our Moodle config and we’ll be rocking and rolling.
New Media Gallery Training — Whipplehill just released the new version of their Media Gallery which is a Flickr like upgrade to their photo galleries but also includes a slick video and audio player. Tagging and all sorts of web 2.0 goodies available. We’re starting with our archived digital photos from 2001 to the present. Our archivist has two parent volunteers who will be working on this all year. Very exciting!
Oh, yeah — On the personal front we’re a few weeks away from a working kitchen — you can check out some of the pics here. Feels like I have two 10 hour a day jobs lately.
I’m sure there is lots more, but that’s it in a nut shell right now. See you all on the other side!