From the category archives:
Schools and Education
Schools and Education
Where did your career start? Here's the story of how I managed to get the letters 'I' and 'T' into my job title.
I thought this would be a good discussion point. I'm sure we have some readers who have a passion for I.T. but may not know where to start for their career, and there'd be some interesting stories on how some of us managed to get our way into the industry.
Personally, growing up I wasn't really sure what I wanted to do - but I did know that I liked computers, and spent a lot of time on them from a very young age. My Dad was a computer technician in the hardware and building PC's sense - so I sort of assumed I'd do that. After doing some work experience with him, and being put on a production line (he was higher up than that) being told to sort out a box of screws to different sizes, I decided I probably didn't want to be a computer technician after all.
After finishing high school, I then had an opportunity to do two weeks work at my Dad's new place of employment, where he was the systems builder and tester. I was excited to be earning $13 an hour back in mid 1999 but the j ...
Part 2 of a series which covers / glosses over the experiences of delivering technolgy to pre-schools - the forgotten corner of the education world. This episode covers governance & policy
The first thing that's important about pre-schools from a governance perspective is that they aren't governed by the Department of Education. Rather, their oversight is from the Department of Community Services. This has a number of impacts. For example, in some instances, the requirements to retain data extend beyond 20 years. That isn't a typo.
Secondly, there is a completely different level of oversight, which covers almost every facet of running a pre-school, from the number and mix of teachers, the state of the facilities, the maintenance of policies and procedures.
Almost every facet.
There is practically no published or authoritative guidance on what can or should be made available to three and four year olds in the classroom setting. There is no guidance on online curriculum, access to internet, indications of appropriate duration. It's likely that it's purely oversight, and yet another example of technology moving faster than our ability to keep up with it ...
Episode 15 of the Coalface Tech podcast is now online!
Episode 15 of the Coalface Tech podcast is now online!
In this episode, Steve and I caught up with Johann Kruse, Unified Communications guru with Microsoft Australia, to discuss the Release Candidate of Lync Server, the latest in Microsoft's UC platform.
Lync Server received a huge amount of attention at TechEd 2010, so make sure that you download the slide decks and presentations.
Unified Communications is one of those areas of technology which is rapidly changing business models. The need for office and in-house server infrastructure is diminishing, especially in smaller businesses with mobile, tech-savvy users. Solutions like BPOS take this even further, offering businesses a complete productivity and collaboration platform, which is highly-available and accessible anywhere.
Of course, the cloud is the great enabler, and we all threw our ideas out about what the cloud means to each of us (not in a group therapy sense, of course), but in drawing ...
This series is about the journey to bring a pre-school into the 21st century for technology. Pre-Schools are governed in a different way to primary schools, and hopefully I can map out some of the issues that others might experience in working with this forgotten corner of the education world.
For the past year and a half, I've served our local community pre-school as their IT Officer. It's been an interesting ride. What started as a simple reactive role - fixing the odd printer and wireless working glitch, validating software licence status, documenting passwords - is now at a point where I can turn my mind to longer term planning and strategy.
My professional life is about operational performance improvement. I work with clients to understand how they work and help them add sustainable value to their business by working to change business systems and process. So it's easy to see how I'm going to approach an IT management role for a pre-school. </end pitch>
Circumstances in 2009 had me workshopping with the teachers around what they would like to achieve in the classroom with the kids and constructing an estimate of what was needed to refresh the hardware. At the time, one of the machines (which has since died a natural) was over 10 year ...
One thing that can make your life easy as an IT Ninja *network manager/administrator* is to script the printer installation. This means that no matter what you do to a PC, weather you are re-imaging or replacing it, the printers will be installed automatically. This Good to Great blog entry will guide you through the process.
In this day and age, you would think most corporate networks are at least at the rationalised level of Core Infrastructure Optimization model, however if you are running a small office, school or a medium-size business, there are some things you can do as a good IT guru to make things easier on you. This is the first post in a series of tips to allow you to go from 'Good to Great'.
Printers! Cant live with them, cant live without them, unless you're this random : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GhnLZ3Ryccg
One thing that can make your live easy as an IT Ninja *network manager/administrator* is to script the printer installation. This means that no matter what you do to a PC, whether you are re-imaging or replacing it, the printers will be installed automatically.
I am making two assumptions in this tip.
1: You are running a print server and have shared your printers with the appropriate printer drivers installed.
2: You are ru ...
This blog entry is not meant to be an IP transfer nor a thought provoker; rather this is more of a "did you know you could...." kind of blog.
If you've attended a recent Microsoft roadshow or conference, then you would have probably seen the following features, but feel free to send this to your mother, sister, child, colleagues, grandmother or anyone apprehensive about yet another release of the Microsoft Office package.
This is not a fully comprehensive list of features. I’m not going to tell you how to do this. It's just meant to be a primer. I will link to another blog or two with a more comprehensive list of features, but these ones are WAY COOL!
Office 2010 is not as big of a paradigm shift as the upgrade to 2007 was from 2003/XP. Most people are now used to the ‘dreaded ribbon’. The Ribbon is present in most applications now (including Outlook). In fact, you are now able to customise and ...
When it comes to IT investment, too many schools are being pushed down a "one size fits almost nobody" approach. With a little flexibility and lateral thinking a much better fit for the curriculum model can be found.
I've worked in an educational institution for a number of years now, and in that time I have to say that I've seen far more examples of why computers in schools are a bad idea, rather than why they're the best thing ever. The reason for this is because of a fairly fundamental approach to the mass injection and use of IT equipment - in any formal environment the infrastructure you bring in HAS to underpin and enhance the primary business model, and in a school that business model is the curriculum. But too often I see computers used as the driving force behind curriculum, when it needs to be the other way around.
Concepts like 1-to-1 computing are very popular politically and tick all the right public perception boxes, but without the right drivers in place such schemes are, in my opinion, either going to result in something ineffectual and frustrating at best, or outright failure at worst.
I wonder how it would be if you stripped all the student computers out of a ...
It's a brave new world... Staff being allowed to manage their own machines. Lions laying down with lambs. Brothers marrying their sisters. Tiger Woods in trouble for liking the women. Has the world gone topsy turvy?
It hit me like a concrete block to the face the other day... if staff managed their own PC's & laptops, we all might be that bit more productive.
I do preface this by saying that I work for an education body currently, and with the sudden influx of laptops due to the National Secondary Schools Computer Fund (NSSCF) - thanks Prime Minister - a "user-managed" model is what most schools are moving to. The implications are many:
Machines will not be joined to a domain - they will have no computer account - all stand alone devices.
Machines will be delivered with a school image (and a school image as the recovery image in most cases).
Students & staff are responsible for the first line of support for the machines (some schools are engaging in a warranty service with the hardware provider that allows 24x7 phone support to the student/staff member).
Inside the next four years, there will be a LOT of them (average 800 in years 9-12 in a normal sized secondary ...