Morrison's students deserve the most advanced educational environment we can give them
Morrison's technology infrastructure is always changing to meet the demands of a modern instructional environment. Our diverse computing ecosystem offers students the opportunity to work with OS X, Windows, Linux, Android, and iOS. Our WiFi is district-wide, and we encourage our students to get involved with the school's technology infrastructure through our innovative Build. program.
It should be noted that most of these projects are completed with the assistance of Build. program students.
Every project that moves the district forward also moves them forward!
How To Get Help & What To Expect
There are two primary ways to get help if you are facing a technology challenge at Morrison Public Schools:
1. Fill Out A Trouble Ticket : Requests received via this online form are addressed in the order that they arrive. Build. program students along with Thermacube staff review inbound requests on a daily basis and assign repairs to Build. program participants, or schedule an after school visit to resolve the issue with a minimum of disturbance to the classroom environment.
2. Build. Program Student : Visit the Library and work with a student technology aide to resolve the issue. This offers several advantages. First, it eliminates the need to fill out a ticket. The Build program student will do that for you. Second, the Build. program participant may have an immediate fix or replacement available.
Avoiding Downtime Due to Technology Failure
Using Google Apps & Google Drive can help you prevent problems with your personal computer before they occur. For many of us, installing applications and storing files locally on our laptops is a long standing habit. Unfortunately, this habit results in longer down time and lost files if our laptops experience major technical difficulty. We can avoid this situation by placing our files in the cloud with Google Drive, and by using cloud based applications like Google Apps for word processing, presentations, spreadsheets, and drawings. By using cloud based services like Google Apps and Google Drive a teacher can immediately begin using a different laptop to access their files, email, and applications. There's no solution more timely than shifting your work to another computer and resuming work immediately.
Understanding how the tech support staff organizes repair work will hopefully align expectations for the service that we provide. Tech repairs are handled by a team of people. The front line staff are the Build. program students. They will be located in the Library, and we are striving to have at least one tech aide in the library throughout the school day (subject to student availability). They will work with Josh or Jaybree as necessary to complete the fix. If Josh or Jaybree get stuck Matt may get involved. That's the general pathway for escalation. Everything starts as a trouble ticket, and is managed in the order it arrives subject to part availability.
If we have a suitable replacement part or system available we will swap out immediately. This applies to projectors, laptops, desktops, promethean pens, and macbook dongles. To minimize distraction in the classroom, a system that can be moved will be relocated to the library to complete the repair. If it can't be moved we will ask the teacher what their preference is - Build. program student in class, or after hours visit. If we need to order parts our staff will complete the PO, purchase the part, and complete the repair when the part arrives. You will be notified via email if your repair is delayed due to part/system availability.
Build. program students and Thermacube staff work with the Superintendent to establish priorties for technology work. We are typically involved with upgrades, repair work, training, system administration, or research. I have provided a description of our infrastructure projects further down this page. Sometimes, we get hit with requirements (like testing) that impede our ability to make forward progress in other areas. We may also have to prioritize some requests above others as they maintain the district's compliance (assistive technology repair), or affect a large number of students (microphone system for Wildcat Wake-Up). Your understanding is always appreciated.
About The Technology Support Staff
Thermacube, LLC makes a team of professionals available to Morrison Public Schools as part of our contract to provide technology support, consulting, procurement, hosting, and training services:
Jaybree is a recent graduate of Morrison Public Schools and a Build. program participant. Jaybree works in the Stillwater service center and handles repairs for Morrison Public School computers, projectors, and tablets. Jaybree is also participating in video post-production in support of Thermacube's elearning contract with the University of Oklahoma.
Josh heads up our network operations center where he remotely monitors and manages Morrison's technology infrastructure. Through custom software that Thermacube has created in-house, Josh is able to visualize the health of Morrison's network as well as student laptops, desktops, and wireless access points. Josh conducts after school technology audits, and he is our resident guru on Android tablet customization and repair.
Matt provides on-site consulting and instructional services to Morrison Public Schools. Matt manages the Build. program and its participants, and actively develops Morrison's R.N.R. elearning system in cooperation with Morrison students. Matt also actively develops the network and computer monitoring system used at Morrison Public Schools.
Build. Program Participants / Technology Aides
Last, but certainly not least, there are the Build. program students at Morrison Public Schools. These are students that are participating in the hardware oriented class taught by Matt. This class is designed to provide students with an opportunity to learn by doing. It has been very popular with all learning styles, and has been a breakout success with kinesthetic learners that need to move and work with their hands. These students will be based in the Library starting in the Fall of 2013.
Current Infrastructure Projects
- Desktop Upgrades
41 desktops in the district will receive memory and monitor upgrades. Increased memory means less time waiting for the computer to respond, and large 19 inch LCD monitors mean a more pleasant user experience for the students. We're able to complete these upgrades across 41 desktops for $2200.
- New Printers & Paperless Classrooms
3 new network laser printers have been installed at the district and will be available for teachers. The new laser printers print at a lower cost per page than the existing copiers. Student facing computers have been setup to print to PDF rather than paper. Printing to a PDF is immediate and 100% reliable. PDF copies of student work can be submitted electronically to teachers, copied infinitely without cost, and stored long term without taking up space.
- Virtual Windows Everywhere
The Microsoft Windows operating system is provided via Virtualization technology to each desktop and laptop within the district. Even if you are on a Mac, you still have access to Microsoft Windows so that you can install and run applications that require Windows.
- Infrastructure Monitoring
New software allows the tech staff to monitor the health of district computers in real time. This new capability helps staff diagnose problems with hardware before they become a crisis. The new system also provides resource utilization data that assists us with resource planning.
- After School Technology Audits
After school technology audits will be standard this year to augment the feedback received by the trouble ticketing system. Regular inspections of technology assets will enhance our ability to maintain computers, projectors, smart boards, and special needs assistive technology without interrupting the classroom environment during school hours.
- Library Based Build. Program (Student Technology Aides)
This year we will offer student-driven technology assistance in the Library throughout the school day. Teacher's and staff are welcome to stop by the Library and ask a student to help with a technology problem. These aides are backed up by members of the Thermacube team in Stillwater. If you are facing a technology challenge please consider utilizing this service as it provides a learning experience for a student aide.
- Linux On Student Desktops/Laptops
The technology staff continues to roll out the Linux operating system (alongside Microsoft Windows) to all of the district's student facing computers. Teachers are welcome to use Mac OSX or Windows exclusively on their school workstations for as long as they like. Visit our open source pages for more information on the district's use of Linux.
- Event Center & Footbal Field Wifi
We're upgrading the event center and football field with Wifi
- Community Computer Repair Service
As part of our Build. program Thermacube, LLC will be offering computer repair services to the Morrison community starting in the Fall of 2013. Customers may opt to have repairs completed by Build. program students, or Thermacube staff in Stillwater. The cost of this service will be the cost-of-parts plus a $25 flat fee (fixed at $25 regardless of the time spent on the repair).
Completed Infrastructure Projects 2012-2013
- McGraw Hill Standardized Testing
McGraw Hill is the new online standardized testing provider for Oklahoma public schools. This change requires installation of new test delivery software on all district computers.
- Study Island/Reading Eggs
We're updating software on all of our district lab computers and laptops so that students can access new online remediation tools.
- Cafeteria Upgrades
We're upgrading the hardware and software associated with our cafeteria management system to better serve our students. We're also adding a dedicated wired connection to the cafeteria.
- Library Upgrades
We're upgrading our library management system to a modern web-based system. We've doubled the number of computers in the library, added wifi, installed a smart board, and upgraded the sound system.
- 1:1 Tablet & Laptop Program
We're taking the district to a 1:1 student to computer ratio using 7 inch Android tablets and Dell laptops
- Internet Service Upgrades
Two years ago we increased the speed of the district's Internet connection from 6 Mbps symmetrical to 10Mbps. Last year, we moved from 10 Mbps to over 30 Mbps. We continue to monitor bandwidth usage and allocate resources to provide adequate Internet bandwidth.
- Assistive Technology Upgrades
We're replacing costly and unreliable Sound Field IR assistive sound systems with low cost UHF wireless mic systems.
Through a partnership with Overdrive our students will have access to hundred of ebooks on their tablets
- Wireless Network Upgrades
Morrison has upgraded the district wide wifi network to the latest wireless N standard. This new equipment makes the best use of the wireless N capability built into our Macbooks and Android tablets.
- Apple Server Retirement
The Apple file server has been retired. Google Docs has completely replaced the student facing services that the Apple server offered, and a Linux server has replaced the network services provided by the Apple server.
Ongoing Infrastructure Management
- Web Filtering
Our adaptive web filter scans the contents of pages as they are requested to determine whether a resource is appropriate for a student to access. We are constantly improving the speed and sensitivity of this filtering process.
- Google Apps
We've taken the district to Google apps and have shed our dependence on local file, email, and app servers. Students create documents, collaborate, and submit work electronically via Google's tools on the school's Dell desktops, Mac laptops, and Android tablets.
- Network Upgrades
Aging 10/100 network switches will be phased out in favor of gigabit switches.
- Teacher Computers
Teachers have the option to move to either a Macbook or a Dell laptop as their desktop PCs expire.
- Lab Computers
CRT monitors are being retired in favor of LCD displays in district labs. Donated PCs are supplanting older desktops as we receive them. Many thanks to our generous donors for their support of our computing environment!
- Technology Evaluation Process
This is an ongoing optimization activity that explores alternatives to problematic or expensive devices. For example, we are currently exploring an alternative to Promethean smartboards that would reduce the cost per classroom from $2000 to $100.
As our Macs reach the end of their Apple Care support contracts we have moved the repair of these Macs in-house.