2015 Summer IT Projects
Posted on 05/19/2015 at 04:31 PM by Jeremy Pearson
May seems to be the calm before the storm here in the IT department. We have most of our summer projects planned, and equipment ordered. We just have to wait until summer break starts and then we jump in with both feet. I wanted to give everyone a summary of what our plans for the summer are around the district.
Our major project that every district employee will notice is our email conversion to Google. Our current email software is 5 years old, and starting to not function inside of the newest web browsers. All of our nearly 700 mailboxes will be converted to Gmail starting in June. The conversion process will happen over the whole month of June, yet most users will have no idea it is happening. All messages, contacts and calendar items will be converted into the Gmail system. Once the conversion is done, our email addresses will use @fdschools.org instead of the old @fort-dodge.k12.ia.us. We are planning on allowing both email domains to work, but the @fdschools.org will be the main address. This also means the program Outlook will be going away and staff will need to use the web version of Outlook to access their email. Everyone will be using the web interface. Our list serves will be converted to google groups, so those addresses will change as well. Staff who sync their phones with their email accounts, will need to reconfigure that as well. I will do my best to keep everyone informed as this change happens, so please stay tuned. It will take a little getting used to, but will be a great thing once we are all converted over and get going in the Gmail system.
Over 500 Chromebooks and 100 tablets have been approved and purchased for installation over the summer. Almost all of those devices are a part of accepted technology proposals that were approved. We are also upgrading two computer labs because of new system requirements for Project Lead The Way. Delivery should take place in the next couple of weeks, and installation will be complete by the time those teachers return to their classrooms in the fall.
We do have a couple of wiring projects that need to be completed. We have started to rewire Central Office. The wire has been pulled and just needs to be completed. We are also upgrading all of the wireless equipment at Fort Dodge Senior High. About half of that equipment has been installed, and the other half needs to have wire pulled to new locations in the building. We will be working with the Maintenance Department to make sure we get our wire concealed as much as possible. It's always a challenge to pull wire in some of our older buildings. Luckily our Maintenance Department knows all of the tricks and is always willing to lend a hand. We couldn't do these projects without them.
And, to go with all of these projects, any work orders for miscellaneous repairs and installations that are turned in before the end of the school year will be tackled as well. This school year the IT department has worked on over 1100 work orders. Most of those were looked at within 24 hours of being entered into the system. Our goal is the get to work orders the same day they are entered. That happens a lot of the time, but we are always striving to do better. We are asking staff who know of anything that isn't working, or needs to be looked at, to please submit a work order before summer vacation. Once August rolls around, we are always behind and what would normally be looked at the same day, takes two or three days to get to. We'd love to have the summer to get your tech issues resolved.
That's most everything we are aware of right now. Things always pop up throughout the summer, and we will get those addressed when they do. That why we love our jobs. Staff should make sure you check your email over the summer to keep up on our many changes. Should you have any questions, you know where to find us! Enjoy your summer!