EdTech updates and upgrades school technology

Sep 12, 2018 by

Published in the September 12, 2018 edition

By JILLIAN STRING

LYNNFIELD — While many teachers and students had a break from the hallowed halls of the Lynnfield Public Schools, members of the EdTech staff spent the summer months repairing, organizing, and significantly upgrading technology across the district.

Digital Learning Director Stephanie Hoban presented an overview of these efforts at the School Committee’s Sept. 4 meeting.

“We did do a lot of work this summer,” Hoban said. “We fixed seven (Smart Boards and projectors). The biggest expenditure this summer was our server upgrade.”

Hoban said a significant number of the district’s servers were from 2003. She said Microsoft no longer supported the servers, which made the district vulnerable to security attacks.

“Many of our problems last year were as a result of the old servers, so we’re really hoping for lightning speed Internet this year,” Hoban stated.

Hoban reported that the print server has been reduced from three to one for easier troubleshooting, and Cameron Copiers will now manage all printers and copiers for the district.

“We went through every single issue (on the end-of-year survey),” Hoban continued. “We were able to fix, budget wise when allowed, almost every issue that we encountered.”

Other notable improvements included renaming and mapping all wireless access points; enabling Google cloud printing for all Lynnfield High School and Lynnfield Middle School student and faculty Chromebooks; the addition of 22 new laptops with 21st century docking stations; LHS iMac lab with Adobe Creative Cloud licenses; and upgrading software such as We Video, Learning Ally, and Freckle.

Hoban noted that the SchoolDude ticket system has been upgraded as well, which will be used in conjunction with staff Gsuite credentials.

According to Hoban, all devices have been inventoried and linked to staff, so tickets can be tracked by device. She said staff members will receive a satisfaction survey once tickets have been completed.

“My push to the staff is it’s fine if your way of doing things is to email or text (EdTech staff), but you also have to put in a ticket,” Hoban said. “We have to track it because I have to be able to see what’s going on. Without data, it’s really difficult to ascertain where to put your resources.”

Hoban told the School Committee that the district will be participating in a Microsoft pilot program from September through December. Four middle school teachers will share a cart of touch-enabled PC’s to use with students. Hoban stated that the goal of the pilot is to explore ways to empower students and teachers to take learning to the next level.

“Traditionally, Chromebooks do really well for teachers in ELA and social studies, but math and science teachers tend to find them lacking,” Hoban noted. “My goal with this Microsoft pilot is could we in fact get fully functional PC’s at a Chromebook price?”

The School Committee acknowledged the efforts of Hoban and the EdTech staff.

“In four-and-a-half years on this committee, this is the first time I feel like we are actually caught up with technology, so congratulations,” School Committee Chairman Jamie Hayman said.

Hayman also inquired about where things stood in terms of the budget.

“We’re fine,” Superintendent Jane Trambley said. “We are absolutely where we should be for our budget.”

Hoban noted that in terms of the budget, streamlining systems paid for other things like equipment and software.

“It sounds like everything is much more streamlined now,” School Committee member Phil McQueen said.

“That is my goal,” Hoban replied. 

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