Moore @School News

Issue 1, Dec 2015

The Moore @School Minute

Moore @School News - Issue 1, Dec 2015 Video

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In this Issue

  • Important Upcoming Event - Digital Learning Showcase
  • Technology Services: News and Updates
  • Digital Learning: News and Updates
  • Better Know a Tech - James Lynthacum
  • Better Know a DIF - Jilian Reynolds

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Important Upcoming Event

Digital Learning Showcase

Thursday, Feb. 18th 2016 at 6:30-8pm

1504 North Moore Road

Robbins, NC

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Technology Services: News and Updates

E-Rate Category 2 Funding

E-Rate is a Federal program to fund school district communication and connectivity needs. Funds are based on district free and reduced lunch program participation. Moore County falls into a “70% E-Rate” range, which means that 70% of eligible service and equipment costs are covered through Federal funds.


Category 1 services include our WAN networking costs. Category 2 funds are used primarily to support in-school networking infrastructure. For 2015, the program was revamped to concentrate funding towards network infrastructure for Digital Learning. Our district applied for and was awarded nearly $1.3 million in funding to upgrade and refresh school network infrastructure over the next 5 years.


What this means to you:

  • More reliable networking in the schools

  • More areas of wireless network coverage throughout the school campuses

  • Higher network speeds and capacity as new network equipment is upgraded

New Core Systems Upgrades

The Technology department is dedicating some portion of the department budget and the Category 2 funds to upgrading core server and network systems. This includes an advanced Storage Area Network system that combines Solid-State and Mechanical hard drives for maximum performance, and high-density virtual server systems for on-demand performance and reliability. We are also upgrading our core network switching hardware and Internet firewall to support 10 gigabit network speeds.


What this means to you:

  • Reduced core system downtime (email, network operations, etc)

  • Higher core system performance

  • Capacity for safe networking on all MCS laptops on and off the MCS network

  • Capacity for higher Internet speeds for the district

Internet Speed Upgrade

It’s been rumored for a long time - and it is finally here! The Moore County Schools Internet speed was doubled from 1 Gigabit/sec to 2 Gigabits/sec at 4:30PM, Friday December 11th. Really! This is provided at no cost to MCS through MCNC - the state organization that provides networking support to all North Carolina schools and universities.


What this means to you:

  • More Internets :)

  • Higher capacity for student and teacher online learning

  • No concerns with network capacity for online testing

New BYOD Policies

Even with increased network and Internet bandwidth capacity, with the 1:1 deployment of Chromebooks, we have had to reexamine the need and scope of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) access for students. The problem is twofold:

  • A class full of Chromebooks plus a class full of connected student cell phones can overtax the wireless connection capacity in a classroom.

  • Cell phones typically don’t “play nice” in high-density wireless situations


For this reason, we have eliminated wide-open student BYOD at Pinecrest, Union Pines, and Southern Middle. This has significantly improved wireless reliability at these three schools. Over the holidays, we will be expanding this policy to all schools. Students with an academic need to continue using a personal device or laptop may request through the helpdesk and will be allowed access. This includes students with EC, IEP, Sandhills, NCVPS, or similar needs.


What this means to you:

  • Teacher and Staff BYOD access is unaffected

  • Students need to realize they cannot use cell phones for streaming, downloads, etc without using their personal data plans

  • MCS device wireless access will be more reliable in your schools

Dell vWorkspace Demo

We are running a demo and “stress-test” of a system to allow students a full Windows desktop of their Chromebooks. This is to help with students needing Windows for NCVPS or CTE classes. Our demo system licensing runs into January, so we would like as many students as possible to test the system. Login instructions are available from this link.


What this means to you:

  • Students with Chromebooks will be able to participate in NCVPS and some CTE classes from anywhere, including home.

Classroom Display Upgrades

Many of you have already had issues with failing classroom projectors addressed in your schools. Technology is committed to providing every classroom with a working display system. In K-5 classrooms, these are mainly SmartBoard and projector setups, to allow for student interactivity. For grades 6-12, we are also offering 60in HDTVs as a display option. These do not have touch interactivity, but are brighter than most projector displays, and eliminate the cost of bulb replacements.


What this means to you:

  • If you have a non-functioning classroom display, put in a helpdesk ticket and it will be addressed

  • Schools still need to purchase accessories such as document cameras through local school funds

  • Select display installation locations in consultation with Technology - boards and TVs will remain in the selected locations until the next refresh cycle

  • If you have a new or old projector, you should still practice regular care and maintenance (turn off when not in use, clean filters regularly, etc)

Smart Advantage Program

Technology has purchased 1 year of the Smart Advantage program for Smart Notebook software. This will allow all classrooms to run the latest Smart Notebook software, including all add-ons such as Math Tools and a new Virtual Clicker.


What this means to you:

  • Look for an updated “Smart Notebook v15” job in the LANDesk Portal after the holidays

  • Teachers with MacBooks that have loaded trial versions can contact their DIF for license keys to enable the full versions

  • Teachers and students are licensed to download and install Smart Notebook at home as well

  • The program includes support and training as well - click here for more information

Dell Employee Purchase Program

Our recent desktop and Chromebook purchases with Dell now make Moore County Schools eligible for the Dell Employee Purchase Program. Dell maintains a site just for our district with current deals: www.dell.com/mpp/ncmcs

All offers can be found by clicking on Member Exclusive Deals under the banner on our Dell page.

Member ID: GS141740133

Go here for the most current deal flyers and coupon codes: https://goo.gl/IiIyk3


What this means to you:

  • Savings!

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Digital Learning: News and Updates

Robotics!

This year, our digital learning team has been thrilled to expand student opportunities across K-12 in the field of robotics. All elementary and middle schools now have at least 2 Lego EV3 robotics kits and teachers and DIFs are working hard to get robotics clubs rolling districtwide. Our high schools each started their FIRST Tech Challenge robotics teams this fall as well.


To be successful, students must build their robot and modify its construction as needed, program motor movements to control the robot’s forward motion and turns, program sensor input and output, and program the robot’s response to color detection, proximity to objects, and other items.


MCS looks forward to getting all schools involved in our upcoming robotics showcases and competitions this spring!

Hour of Code

MCS fully participated in the Hour of Code this year, hosted at http://hourofcode.com. The Hour of Code is a global movement reaching tens of millions of students in 180+ countries. Students of all ages can learn to code and get turned on to computer science and programming. We encourage teachers, parents, and students to take a look and give it a try, as these flexible problem solving skills will benefit all areas of learning, both inside and outside the classroom. Even if you miss the window this year, these fantastic resources are available all year long.


Contact your school’s assigned DIF if you would like to know more or participate!

Making Making Making!

The digital learning team loves to see students of all ages making and creating in our schools. In particular this year, we have supported the creation of “Makerspaces” in two high schools- Pinecrest High and North Moore High. In these spaces, students will have the opportunity to build and create using devices such as laptops, tablets, Raspberry Pi’s, Makey Makey’s, Littlebits, as well as creative software they can use to create professional-looking videos and professional-sounding audio. We’ve even got green screens so students can put themselves directly into the action!


With a focus on creativity and troubleshooting, making and remaking, and the constant improvement of previous designs, we hope to foster innovative mindsets in our students as well as expose them to cutting edge technologies they may discover a lifelong passion for.

Centurylink Teachers and Technology Grants

The CenturyLink Clarke M. Williams Foundation's Teachers and Technology grants are designed to help fund projects that advance student success through the innovative use of technology. Teachers in public or private PreK-12 schools in CenturyLink's residential service areas are eligible to apply for a Teachers and Technology grant for the 2015-2016 school year. The deadline for grant applications is January 12th, 2016.


Please visit their website for more information.

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Better Know a Tech!

James Lynthacum

Schools Served: Pinehurst Elem, West End Elem, West Pine Elem, West Pine Middle


What part of your job do you enjoy most?

  • What I enjoy the most about my job is receiving satisfaction from helping staff with their technological issues as well as having a positive impact on the student’s educational development.



Family?

  • I come from a large family. I have five sisters and two brothers. I am the youngest of all of my siblings. I have a pet dog and her name is Soxs.


Hobbies?

  • Hobbies include all things Computer/Technology. I enjoy video games (The Sims series is one of my favorite). I love music and have an extensive music library. My favorite movie series is the James Bond series and I have watched all of them, except for the movie just released.

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Better Know a DIF!

Jilian Reynolds

Schools I Serve: Southern Middle, Crain's Creek Middle


What part of your job do you enjoy most?

  • What I enjoy most about my job is having the opportunity to inspire a large number of students through digitally integrated lessons. When students see me in their classrooms they say, “Yay! There’s the coding lady!” My goal is to both motivate the unmotivated and challenge ALL students, ensuring learning is fun, engaging, and rigorous.


Family?

  • My husband, Brandon Reynolds, is the OCS Teacher at UP High School. We have three awesome, extremely energetic children.


Hobbies?


  • I am a Sci Fi Fanatic! I’m more excited about the new Star Wars Movie than anything else right now. I am also a health nut! Cooking healthy foods and exercising make up a large part of my life. I just started taking up marathon running training. I also love to expand my technology knowledge on a constant basis. Presently, I’m learning how to program apps.