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(Very) Hopeful about this all-in-one imaging and deployment solution


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Dell_KACEToday I took delivery of a Dell KACE 2100 appliance. For those who are unfamiliar with this appliance, its main purpose is to image and maintain a constant watch over your network devices’ updates, patches and programs. This unit will allow us to image both Windows and Mac machines over the network, and it will allow us to deploy individual or group updates and programs without needing to touch the end-user machine.

In past years I have used all sorts of imaging and updating systems to some degree of consistency and success. I’m talking about Ghost, DeployStudio, SmartDeploy, and even Microsoft’s RIS and Deployment Services. If I take into account all the time invested in getting the various systems to work correctly and then testing and making sure end-user computers were okay, it took a lot of money to get things working right. Since I am at a new school with a mixed platform I wanted to forgo the testing, setting up, stress, additional coffee money and decided to start shopping around for an all-in-one solution.

(more…)

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Going for the 45% email (7% Verbal, 38% Tone, 55% Physical Expression)


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funny tenI read an article on Inc.com titled This One Tool Will Double Your Productivity Overnight, by Andrew Griffiths, and it got me thinking. Every since I improved the email and collaboration system of a PreK-12 school back in 2001 I noticed a change in the community. Over time it became clear that end-users take every opportunity to stay where they are and fire off emails instead of picking up the phone or walking over to have a conversation with the other person. It seems better electronic communication systems foster less real communication regardless of proximity or personal connection.

Some users resort to email for unkind messages meant to control, cover up insecurities, show off someone else’s shortcomings, etc. Ironically, the effects a good email platform has on a learning community bother me. Here are some of the things that really get under my skin: (more…)

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Major flaws in IT hiring process in PreK-12, and how to fix them


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The IT decision-maker referred to in the following post is the person within a school who makes purchasing decisions for IT-related capital expenditures and ongoing operating expenses. Some schools group IT spending within the Operations budget. The IT decision-maker is the person who makes those IT spending decisions wherever the budget lines may sit. Hiring and supervising tech support personnel, technology integration specialists, and other IT-related positions often fall within the scope of responsibility of this position. In all, the IT decision-maker is responsible for the vision, strategic steering and outcomes of all IT matters in the school.

Lets get to it

Whether you call her/him a “coach”, “leader”, a “director”, or the “21st Century something-or-other”, the IT decision-maker in an American/independent school is one of the key drivers of overall organizational strategic direction in more ways than one. Here are some examples of how IT decision-making profoundly impacts a school:

  • IT straddles both the academic and business side of a school, thus it bears important influence on how people work in all areas – not to mention the impact on student life
  • Inefficient systems create wasteful replication of processes across the organization if left unchecked
  • Depending on the geographical location of the school, a strong academic technology platform and program – or lack thereof – may play a role in the admissions process
  • Personally Identifiable Information (PII) security and reliability depend on how things are being executed in the IT realm. (In Europe, laws covering this aspect of data security are much more stringent than in the US)
  • A substantial portion of the school’s operating and capital budget is assigned to this area yearly

In addition to the mostly business-related reasons stated above, faculty morale along with teaching and learning is affected depending on the IT strategy. Lets not get into the impact on the school’s nervous system that is curriculum as it is too broad to cover in one post.

Hiring someone new provides the leadership of a school an opportunity to determine the role of IT going forward. It is a more serious matter than most current approaches would lead one to believe. (more…)

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How overcomplicated matters get so


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There is such a thing as over-engineering a solution to a simple problem. When it comes to American/independent schools’ technology infrastructure, this most often comes from entrenched IT departments. As a result, faculty are frustrated, IT budgets get fatter every year, and – most importantly – students end up on the losing end.

First, a bit of history

As technology has advanced exponentially over the past 30-odd years, PreK-12 education has consistently trailed developments in corporate environments by about a decade. There are various drivers for this, and some are: (more…)