Thursday, December 16, 2010

Reflections of a new Campus Tech

As the semester winds down before the Christmas break, I find myself reflecting on the things I have observed in the last three months while serving as the new campus technology coordinator at Tivy High School.  Since I tend to be the philosophical type, allow me to share a few comments based on my brief experiences at Tivy.

First of all, I am proud to say that Tivy is a great campus -- full of great students, teachers, admin, and support staff.  I am thankful to be part of the staff.  I am humbled by the kindness and support shown to me by all the Tivy staff (and every KISD employee I have met, in fact).  I hope I reflect the same high level of professionalism in my work as I see in the work of so many who lead, teach, and serve here in some capacity.  I am impressed how well each staff person does their job and does so with a sense of mission.
 
Second, any campus with 1700 students, plus staff, will have natural challenges.  How those challenges are handled and addressed determines the outcome.  It's easy to become frustrated with "this" and "that" but in my experience there are always a "this" and "that" to contend with in any environment.  Remaining positive and solution-focused is the key to overcoming the many challenges any school campus faces in the course of a school year.  I am glad to work with many solution-focused people who is motivated by a larger picture.

Third, every staff position counts and makes a difference.  I'm sure it's not easy being a teacher who deals with a range of student needs and limited resources each school day.  I'm sure it's not easy being an administrator who deals with the big picture of how to keep things running smoothly and faces new and unique challenges on a near-daily basis.  I'm sure it's not easy being a support staff person who works behind the scenes and assists and serves at the drop of a hat so things get done.  I'm sure it's not easy being part of the maintenance or custodial crew and having to fix what is broken or clean the messes others make through the day.  But thanks to superior leadership, excellent teachers, and servant-hearted support staff and clearning crews, the ongoing challenges of educating students and keeping a large campus running smoothly happens -- and happens well!

Last, I challenge myself (and any reader who wishes to join me) to apply this statement to daily work: approach every problem with a committment towards solution -- not as an opportunity to complain.  I know some problems beg of complaint, and I have done my fair share out of frustration (I must confess), but what is most important to me is that I am a person who characteristically spends his energy making things better, not worst.  And the satisfaction that comes with digging deep and rising to the occassion is too good a thing not to try each and every time an opportunity taps me on the shoulder and says, "Ante up!"

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

STaR Chart Results for 2010-11 Are In!

Joel Adkins, our Chief Technology Officer, has posted the results of the STaR Chart for the 2010-11 school year. Tivy High School does show an increase of technology understanding, usage by teachers, and more students using technology in their classes.  Great job Tivy!

Check out the results by clicking here: http://www.kerrvilleisd.net/files/TivySTaR2011.pdf

Monday, December 6, 2010

Breathing new life in my old laptop

My Dell e1505 laptop (five years old) is long over due for either replacement or a serious upgrade of some parts. After considering a new laptop, I am now thinking about replacing my 120GB hard drive with one of the new hybrid drives available on the market.

The Momentus XT is an excellent replacement for traditional laptop hard drives. It offers large capacities and SSD-like performance at a much smaller price. It's a hybrid in that the drive is a 500 GB HDD with built-in 4GB Flash Memory for often used files (this is a great idea). The cost is only $120 in some places online. Check out this review:

http://reviews.cnet.com/internal-hard-drives/seagate-momentus-xt-500gb/4505-9998_7-34109211.html?autoplay=true&tag=mncol;txt#reviewPage1

Saturday, December 4, 2010

SSD vs HDD: Is the price finally right?

This post is one for the techies reading...

One constant in technology is that hardware speeds and prices change constantly. If you wait long enough, that coveted piece of new technology will be half the price a year or two later and usually a better version than what you first wanted!

Here is an example: For about two years, I wanted to buy a solid state hard drive (which use flash technology) because of the speeds, much quieter, and promised performance gains over traditional hard drives (which use more moving parts like spinning platters). But who could afford it? Now, two years later, I can finally get a 64 GB SSD for under $150. Hmmm...tempting.  After all, this is a great option is you plan to use a SSD drive for your O/S and primary apps and install a fast HDD (say 500 GB 7200 RPM) in your PC for all your normal storage needs. After all, I am use to having 2-3 drives in my main PC so I find this scenario acceptable -- and far more affordable than entertaining the thought of buying a 256 GB SDD for $500!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Kerrville ISD approves new SANS servers!

Since the Kerrville ISD board approved the new SANS in Novemeber, the plan is for them to be installed the week before Christmas.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Tivy Tech Wiki Created!

I have made a wiki called "Tivy Tech Wiki" designed to help teachers learn more about our computer labs, receive tips and training, and a place to share info with other teachers. I plan to debut it next week!

Check it out!  http://tivytech.pbworks.com/

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Lost Lab Headsets Found!

A box of headsets for the language lab has been missing for several months. They were found today...still in taped box in a classroom! Yea!