Information Systems

Tech Talk

  • Garage Sale Pickups End Today

    Posted May 22, 2015

    If your name was picked from the lottery-style garage sale, please complete the transaction by the end of the day today. Cash or checks are accepted, no credit cards.

    In all, we had just about 50 people take part and 75 devices were purchased. Thanks to all for your cooperation and participation. Special thanks to IS folks Brooks Baker, Rob Koontz, Monika Bahroos and Sarah Drehobl, who among them, did most of the work required to make the sale a success.

  • Don’t forget to order takeout

    Posted May 22, 2015

    We’ve recently enabled a Google Takeouts, a service which will allow you to download any/all of the data you currently have stored in our Google Apps domain. While particularly useful to people (including students) leaving Lab, this service also allows you to keep a backup of your documents locally on your computer. Navigate to to learn more.

  • ISED-L Listserv Changing Hands

    Posted May 22, 2015

    At least some folks at Lab subscribe to the Independent Schools long-time listserv for keeping tabs on what’s going on in the independent school world. For a couple of decades now, Marti Weston at Georgetown Day School in Washington, D.C., has taken care of this list. A few folks, including Curt, have volunteered over the years to share list moderating duties with Marti, but she has shown outstanding leadership and a fierce dedication to what can be a tedious, repetitive task. Dealing with spam, working with whatever organization is hosting the listserv, gently correcting unruly subscribers, answering questions about list membership — all this and more goes into this job daily.

    If you are a list subscriber, please consider taking a moment to thank Marti for all her work over the years as she is retiring from Georgetown Day School at the end of this school year.

    It’s funny, too, that this seemingly antiquated listserv model has proved so durable over time. A variety of more social and interactive tools like Wikis and Ning have arisen over the years as possible alternatives to the listserv format, but it’s always happened that after a short while people stop using the new platforms and revert to good old e-mail.

    If you are considering subscribing to the ISED-L listserv, be advised that a high percentage of posts are technology-related, though items about admissions, finance, equity, diversity, administrative policies and practices, and other non-tech items do appear, but not in large numbers. There is no reason why new subscribers couldn’t post on whatever topic they choose, however. It’s a great place for making connections with other folks.

    The Association of Technology Leaders in independent Schools, or ATLIS, is taking responsibility for managing the listserv as Marti retires. Click here for information about how to subscribe.

  • Garage Sale Dates: May 11-15

    Posted April 22, 2015

    The IS Garage Sale will begin on May 11 and run through May 15. We will have pre-loved laptops, MacMinis, and iPads available for purchase via a purchase request lottery. We will also have a few older but usable projectors available.

    Please hang on to questions you have about the sale until we've shared the details with you. Those write-ups are nearly done and will be out first week in May. They will include the terms of sale, product information, pricing, and purchase request forms.

  • Last Call for iPad Apps

    Posted April 22, 2015

    Dating back to the earliest adoption of iPads, we made an intentional choice to support requests for apps on a basically "blank check" approach, recognizing early on that experimenting with a new platform and the dynamic nature of app development would require a different approach to the process of software budgeting. This year alone, we've spent about $3,500 on apps as teachers in grades K-5 become more familiar with a wider array of apps and the number of iPads requiring app licenses has increased. This sum also includes apps purchased to support the Middle School iPad pilot.

    As the end of the fiscal year approaches, and the tech budget draws nearer to zero, it's time to hit the pause button on new app requests. If you need additional apps for a project to be completed between now and the end of this school year, please let Rob Koontz know as soon as possible. You have until May 1st to do this, at which time we’ll stop filling app requests for the remainder of this fiscal year. As the new fiscal year approaches, we'll be analyzing the historical data on app purchases and use what we learn to best balance the unique demands of app procurement with the need for a sustainable app budgeting strategy.

DIT Bits Blog

  • Slice of Life

    11/12/2014 12:22 PM

    Every now and then, I have a day that touches almost all of the different facets of the work I do. I offer this brief recap of just such a day for those who might wonder about what a technology director does besides sit at a computer answering e-mail, or those who may be considering pursuing a tech director position after succeeding in other education technology roles.

    8:30: Convene a meeting of senior IT staff to make sure our message to Lab users about an imminent, first-ever forced password change by the University covers all the right bases while remaining concise. We decide to put a web page together that covers all the gory details that are necessary but don't really fit in the main message going out. 

    9:00: Take part in Executive Team meeting. Updates from Admissions, the construction team, the Communications director, and the Director prompt numerous discussions of how best to navigate upcoming events, school communications, and decisions that need to be made about the Gordon Park Arts Hall. 

    10:30: Complete a handful of help desk tickets involving audiovisual systems; gather and deliver portable speaker sets to support a 5th grade Haunted Hallway project for Halloween. Answer a dozen or so e-mails.

    11:30: Meet with a Middle School teacher to learn more about her plans for participating in the iPad pilot. We go over her instructional goals, apps she has selected to achieve those goals, and how to set a proper level of expectation with students about using the pilot iPads.

    12:00: Meet with a fellow administrator over lunch to discuss personnel issues, how best to manage her time and increased demands for communication she is currently experiencing. 

    1:00: Impromptu discussion with an IT staffer looking toward some major life changes and seeking counsel on how best to navigate them.

    1:30: Do some investigation of a reported possible instance of a Facebook-related social media policy violation. Formulate an appropriate response but hang on to it until I'm sure it's needed (the person involved came in the next day and all was worked out, no violation occurred).

    2:00: Participate in a consultant-requested conference call doing research on the mobile laptop/iPad cart industry. She asks me about market trends, design considerations, experience with various vendors, and more. It goes much longer than I thought it would. I don't normally accept such invitations, but bad cart design has been a pet peeve of mine over the years. 

    3:30: Sit in on a good-sized meeting to work through different points of view on proposed changes to the construction of the Assembly Hall. I get to mostly listen as the the different stakeholders exchange thoughts, ideas, and concerns and decisions are made. Some of the changes may affect the IT side of things, so it's good I'm invited to be there.

    4:45: Complete draft of biweekly newsletter, including the carefully-composed item we went over at the 8:30 meeting. Take five minutes to find an appropriately nerdy carved pumpkin to add to the newsletter.  

    5:20: Head home.