Tag Archives: dual boot

We Dared to Dream

Five years ago, we dared to dream – created our first teacher support role dedicated to focusing on in servicing and supporting elementary teachers to use educational technology in the most effective ways.   It seemed like the right approach, at the right time to forge a new path forward, create interest, synergy, and impact the future.  Susan Watt was the successful candidate for the position – and the journey began!

palmtrees

Standing now in 2015, and looking back,  what a journey it has been.  A new path was definitely forged.  I look back fondly on all of the annual “system tours” as they were affectionately known – professional learning for staff at each school — using a dual boot Mac, what can I do with an iPad, we have wifi hotspots – now what, wifi in the classroom, GAFE, chromebooks, dropbox and more.   Another important project was migrating our acceptable use procedure (AUP) to the responsible use procedure (RUP) where our initial thinking about staff as digital citizenship role models and use of social media for positive purposes was captured.  I could of course, list many more highlights, but you have the idea of system impact.

SWatt

In her retirement speech, Susan challenged her colleagues:  “ So, I have some advice for our retiree supporters tonight: go off script, listen and respond to your students’ spontaneous questions and observations. Understand that every moment is teachable. Don’t settle for the status quo. If it doesn’t feel good for kids, challenge it. If it’s being done a certain way just because it’s always been done that way – question that rationale. Follow your heart and intuition.  Explore new options. Take a risk. Embrace change.

Susan, it has been a privilege to work with you.  Thank you for your creativity, determination, enthusiasm, ability to see a big picture, having a huge positive impact, and, perhaps most of all,  daring to dream.

planewing

I look forward to staying connected and following along your life journey via your  new blog:  Watts Up Next. Thank YOU!

~Mark

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Strategic IT: what’s on deck for 09/10

A new school year launches into high gear today as all of our students return to class. Based on our successes and planning last year, I fully anticipate an exciting 2009/2010 school year. Predictably, there will be thousands of things that happen in every IT department from day to day operations, planned projects and dealing with that unexpected situation or challenge that jumps out to push back against even the most thorough plan.

An overview of major projects on deck for our Board includes:

  • maintaining and refining our new active directory domain structure
  • expanded use of our new enterprise management tool (imaging, software & patch deployment)
  • deploying our OSX/XP dual boot Macs with blade server back end
  • school network upgrades
  • starting our network access control project
  • starting our new wireless project
  • new library resources and process
  • greater use of Adobe Connect
  • moving forward with Digital Citizenship initiatives
  • iPods in the classroom projects
  • hosted web pages for teachers

Of course, this list does cover all of the work, but sets a solid agenda to keep moving major initiatives forward, particularly in the instructional area. I will share updates as we work our way through the project list.

On a more personal note, I will be

  • participating in an inter-Board  PLN project with Will Richardson
  • further developing my PLN
  • completing some course work
  • collaborating with education professionals

Best wishes to you for a successful school year.

~ Mark

So what computer gear do I buy?

Given all of the options available these days, the seemingly straight forward task of buying a computer is now very complex. Desktop, laptop, netbook?  OSX, Windows, Linux? Standard apps, open source or a combination? Multimedia and presentation tools, ease of use, tech support, virus, malware & spam protection, how well can the user support themselves (trouble shooting, ease of updates etc.)?  There are as many questions as possibilities. Oh yes, what does the student need to be successful?

The context of the question? My daughter will be off to university next year and it is time to settle on a plan to meet her school needs. As a well seasoned technology user, I have to weigh in my experiences and perhaps biases into the final solution. 

Desktop, laptop, netbook: I think I would settle on the laptop. Portability is important. I don’t think the netbook is quite ready for prime time as the only machine one has access too – but it continues to get closer to this ideal. From my own experience of using a netbook sized computer, I would land on screen size and keyboard layout as potential hinderances. Cramped typing won’t cut it for a sole source learning tool. Good battery life is critical too. 

OS: This area is more complicated in terms of landing on a final decision. I am not a big fan of Windows Vista. While many linux based OS’s such as Ubuntu offer a nice stable system, the primary user in this case has little exposure to it, at least at this point in time, so self sufficiency comes into question. OSX is a robust system with great multimedia tools, but the ‘how much will you run into Windows requirements’ question still nags at me. Ultimately, it is hard to say, but I think this has to be accounted for.

I believe the best option for personal use falls in line with the direction we are moving as a Board of Education in our elementary schools – Intel based Macintosh hardware configured with the ability to run Windows. Our experiences in this environment have been very successful, and positive for the learning environment ~ a great suite of tools for educators and learners. On the Board front, we are starting a major roll out of this dual boot environment starting in the fall. This combination of OS’s offers access to all of the native tools in each OS platform, lets you benefit from the strengths of each one, and leaves room to add 3rd party software on either OS as required. A total win-win from my point of view.

Our Board solution will be done as a dual boot arrangement with an OSX based image configured with an option to boot into a Windows environment. This choice also allows both partitions to be maintained in terms of imaging, patching and software deployment with robust enterprise level tools. On the personal choice end of things, other options for OS emulation from Parallels and/or VMware come into the picture. I have some experience with the Parallels setup – it is pretty slick in terms of the way it integrates Windows into the OS environment. I the testing I did, the ability to update Windows through the MS UPdates website seemed to fail more than it worked so it seems that manual downloads and installations would come into the picture (still sorting through this). Both the desktop and netbook flavours of Ubuntu seem to be quite stable in the Parallels environment.  I have not personally tried the VMWare solution at this point.  While the notion of the integrated solution is appealing on the personal computing level, I still think the dual boot approach is the most stable solution at this point in time.

Software: Based on a decision to go with a dual boot setup, the software suite will end up being a blend of OSX and Windows native applications, standard applications (Keynote, MS Office, Adobe etc.) and a sprinkle of open source utilities. After all, it is all about getting the right tools to support learning! 

~ Mark