District future-proofs for more capacity, safety

The district will no longer need to continue purchasing new servers one-by-one.

Located in the San Francisco Bay Area, the Castro Valley Unified School District’s (CVUSD) new synchronized system allows for a centralized database that is maintained and shared across the district, representing a transition away from ISAM to a client/server model (SQL server) with a variety of front ends.

This requires a robust and high performance infrastructure along with a high speed WAN to be successful.

The district is a 12-school suburban district with two high schools and two middle schools, as well as elementary and special-education campuses. With an eye for incorporating cutting-edge technology into its IT infrastructure, CVUSD was an early adopter of wireless WAN technology, as well as distributed and synchronized student information systems (SIS). Legacy ISAM student information systems involve multiple databases distributed across their districts, with each school maintaining its own data set. Periodically, the data sets would be combined to create a snapshot of the total student population.…Read More

School IT staff must do more with less

“You have to use tech to manage the tech,” Sexsmith explained.

Mobile devices, automated help desks, personalized learning resources, software virtualization, and cloud-based services are becoming the norm for K-12 schools around the country. But with shrinking budgets and staff reductions, school IT departments say it’s getting harder to juggle so many moving parts.

“The problem of three years ago—how to do more with less—is still here today, it’s just becoming even more of a problem for schools and IT officials,” said David Castro, director of public and private-sector marketing for Kaseya, a company that provides IT systems management software for some 500 schools and districts in the U.S.

Kaseya conducted an informal survey of nearly 200 IT directors from public and private schools around the country to better understand the nuances of the problem. According to the survey, school IT professionals said there are three main goals they need to achieve in their department:…Read More

School leaders eye mobile support 2.0

The study stated that “IT managers no longer have the authority to veto the use of mobile devices or limit use to a specific brand or operating system."

A growing number of school leaders agree that mobile devices—including students’ personal devices—can, and should, be used in the classroom to promote 21st-century learning and student engagement. But supporting such a diverse array of devices is proving to be a challenge for school IT officials, many of whom say it’s time to revisit mobile device management and security practices in K-12 education.

According to the New Media Consortium’s 2011 Horizon report for K-12 education, mobile learning has a “time-to-adoption horizon” of one year or less.

“Mobile learning is fast becoming a reality and has really skyrocketed from last year’s report,” said Laurence Johnson, CEO of the New Media Consortium, “in large part because of how useful mobile tech is in emergency preparedness on campuses.” (Read “CoSN’s crystal ball: Get ready for mobile learning, cloud computing.”)…Read More

The biggest ed-tech ‘pain points’—and how to solve them

Updating regular reports on IT operations can help manage systems.

Scott Farmer, IT director for Virginia Tech, says getting campus officials who know nothing about technology to understand his department’s needs was one of the key challenges keeping him up at night.

“If you really don’t have the buy-in of the people who control the purse strings, and they really don’t understand what’s going on, you’re going to get questions like, ‘Well, shoot, why do we need to upgrade this?’” Farmer said during a recent webinar.

Farmer isn’t alone. According to an analysis done by IT systems management software maker Kaseya, a lack of alignment between school business and IT departments leads to several missed ed-tech opportunities.…Read More