The agenda for tonight’s School Board meeting is fairly ho hum. Nothing too exciting that should bring out the speakers like charter facilities or anything similar. There was one interesting tidbit about the technology currently within the school district right now. Here’s a breakdown of the number of computers/laptops by site and broken down by number of computers/laptops per child:
As you can see the Junior Jets fare the worst with only 16 laptops/computers to share among 179 students which means that each computer/laptop services about 11.2 students.
In the Technology update powerpoint there is mention of the large purchase of Chromebooks and carts which will serve to administer the new SmarterBalanced Assessment, the new Common Core test. The district will eventually have 1620 devices in all for the testing. They have to be mobile and therefore on carts because they will need to be used across all school sites.
It’s interesting to note that even though some people grumble about the AUSD administration being too heavy a quick look at the staffing for the technology department shows that they are seriously understaffed when it comes to the number of devices that need to be serviced and maintained. As it is each technician at AUSD services more than 1000 devices each, and because there are different types of devices out there those technicians have to be jacks (and jills) of all trades since there’s not even the luxury of just knowing Mac vs PC. You really have to tip your hat to those folks.
I will note that I did have my moments of frustration with AUSD technology for a while, although I wasn’t sure if my frustration was with the software company or with the tech specialists at AUSD. AUSD has this tool that students use at the elementary school level called Successmaker. Apparently it is supposed to work on both the Mac and PC platforms. Our school kept reminding parents to allow students to use Successmaker from home, but honestly I could not get Successmaker to work on our Mac at home. I had also tried using a PC as well and that wouldn’t load successfully either. I can’t tell you the number of hours I spent trying to get that program to work. Eventually the AUSD Spokeperson on Twitter eventually said that AUSD Tech Services was performing some upgrades to the servers and now it works after months of not working. Oh, but it still doesn’t work on the Mac either. Anyway, I’m no slouch at computer type things, but I can imagine parents who are less persistent getting frustrated with that process and just giving up trying to access those resources from home. Plus, there is also the assumption that all families have computers at home with internet access to use the program in the first place.
Anyway, had AUSD Tech Services had a properly staffed department they could have solved the problem a lot quicker, but understanding how much they have to do with such few resources makes me realize that what they do accomplish is pretty awesome.
Oh, and apparently AUSD students and teachers have consumed up to 80% of the server space for email. That’s a lot of emails being stored. I wonder if moving students to Gmail with its free storage space might help with storage issues.