Craig Barnum
Educational Services Center
Director of Technology

Bio

 Mr. Barnum is a certified K-12 teacher. He earned a BS in Elementary Education and English with an endorsement in secondary education from Mt. Mercy College in 1992. This broad range of licensure gave him the unique experience of leading regular ed classrooms at the elementary, middle school, and high school levels. In 1998 he received an MA in Instructional Technology from the University of Northern Iowa. In 2009, he completed his Educational Specialist degree, Ed.S, from Drake University.  Mr. Barnum has been the Director of Technology and Information Services since 1999. 

Recent Posts

Tech Hawks

1/24/2012 8:28:00 AM I have a new blog! Click below for more information. ...

 For the latest info on CCSD Digital Learning please follow my new blog -- Tech Hawks -- www.techhawks.org .


Memory, Tech Tools, and New Work

8/22/2011 10:30:17 AM Here are a few somewhat rambling thoughts on memory, tech tools, and the new work of teachers....

As I came around and did my talk at each building this year, I referenced a research study done about recall of factual information and how it relates to technology.  Here’s the source article.  This reinforced the idea for me that the value of information is deteriorating rapidly.  It’s really the same phenomenon that we see happing in our everyday lives.  How many of us bother to remember phone numbers of addresses anymore?  I can only speak for myself, but I find that I do a lot less of this.  My iPhone does all of this work for me now.  I just enter the number once, look through my recent calls, or look up the address.   When I admit this, my initial inclination is to feel somewhat guilty about this fact that I’m relying so heavily upon a machine.  It feels lazy.  Of course, this is a function of my age more than anything.  I’m pretty sure younger people who have always had devices to store and access this information have no qualms about it.  When I really reflect upon it, it seems like a pretty silly thing to feel bad about.  After all, technology has been doing this in human society throughout our entire history.  While there are tons of examples, the one that always strikes me is alphabet.  Really, that’s just a technological invention, too.  Before we could capture language in written format, we had to rely upon the oral tradition to relate ideas across time.  Reflect for a moment how much richer and sophisticated our thinking and ideas are now that we can capture them in a timeless state.  Before written language, all knowledge had to be rigorously standardized so it would not be forgotten or changed.  A great deal of effort was exerted to commit the full, standard version to memory as well.  Individuals could add very value in this process.  Deviance from the standard was noise in the system.  With the advent of the written word, individuals had a method to quickly expand upon knowledge.  What was once noise was suddenly of great value.  This is essential premise of all academic pursuits – adding to existing knowledge.  Of course, all of the effort to memorize was no longer necessary either.  We could use those thought cycles for new and different things.

It sure looks to me that we are in the middle of another tremendous change.  The Columbia study just reinforces it for me.  It’s not lazy to utilize a tool.  It really makes me wonder what will be next in an era when static information will be so devalued.  What’s also interesting is that, like invention of written language empowered the individual, we are also clearly moving that direction again.  Everyone can now publish to the world.  And, while there is a lot of noise being created.  We’ve also seen concretely how this new individualism can be used for good and ill.  The Arab Spring and recent violence and chaos in Britain are examples.  But, putting all of the big picture stuff aside, what I really wonder about is how this next phase of things this impact teaching and learning.  What does effective instruction look like when information is essentially worthless?  It’s easy to bandy about terms like critical thinking, collaboration, problem solving, etc...  Of course, the conundrum is, as any good teacher will tell you, that it’s impossible to teach processes like critical thought without high quality content.  And, content requires context.  The kids need to know something about the content and have certain depth of knowledge before the learning will be meaningful and rich.  So, of course, as common sense would dictate, a balanced approach is necessary.  But, the devil is in the details.  This takes a different approach to instructional design.  And, to me this would be the real, new work of the 21st century educator: creating learning experiences that are simultaneously rich in content and process skills.  Project, problem, or challenged based learning designs are one of the ways to do this.  Of course, that it’s not the only design that will do this.  But, I think it’s pretty clear that using the same models for designing learning experiences for kids that we did even ten years ago are now very out dated.  With every change like this, there’s also a significant opportunity as well.  I’m so excited by the prospect of working with our 21st Century Learning Institute and Total Instructional Alignment groups on creating some of these new experiences for kids this year.  We had some great successes last year.  I’m sure we can keep that momentum up this year as well.  I’m looking forward to sharing some of our successes.


Tech Tool Review

8/18/2011 10:23:38 AM In this series of posts I'm going to review tools we have at Prairie. This post will focus on Campus Messenger for Teachers....

 I spent a good deal of time earlier this summer going over all of the new things we have at Prairie coming into the 2011-12 school year.  And, while I am very excited about these new projects, I realized that we have a lot of things that have been around a while but that everyone might not know about.  So, I'm going to wire a series of posts on some of these existing tools.  Many of you will be familiar with this a lot of this, and that's ok.  You can just skip this post.  But, I'm guessing some of you might find something new here. 

The first tool I'm going to review is  Infinite Campus Messenger.  This tool, Messenger, is built into Campus and provides an easy way to communicate with both parents/gardians and students.  Our building offices use this tool a ton.  However, staff can use this tool as well.  This is a great way to keep parents in the loop.  However, since all of our students have email accounts and these addresses are continuously added and update in Campus, this tool is also great for getting after class messages out to students, too.

 Here's a reference sheet I created a while back that gives some step by step instructions on how to use Campus Teacher Messenger.  I hope you find these helpful.  As always, please drop me a note or give me a call with any questions you have.


New Teacher Scavenger Hunt

8/7/2011 12:42:00 PM This is an activity for new teacher at Prairie....

 You have the next hour to complete these tasks.  Nearly all of the these questions/problems can be answered by reading my blog.  Be sure to use the categories to help you sort through the entries. 

The first two tasks are non-negotiable (I've put them in bold).  Please do them before you leave this session.  Complete as many of the others as possible before our time is up.

You may wish to select, copy, and paste this post into Word in order to complete it.  Here are the questions/ problems.  I'll have a modest reward for the person/people with the most correct answers or who complet these first.  Good luck!

1.  Change your password using the password portal -- remember Edhesion won't update until after 7:00 PM. (Required)


2.  Update your professional biography on Prairiepride.org (Required)


3.  List the names and  telephone numbers of the technology department memebers.



4.  What time each day will you get a message with your quarantined spam (junk) email in it? -- bonus -- login to your spam quarantine and set your password.

 

5.  What is the name of the wireless network should you connect to when at Prairie Point or Prairie High School?



7.  Using Edhesion, create a blog post ( you may "unpublish" it after this session is over).



8.  What is the name of the anti-virus Software on your laptop?



9.  What do all do all Prairie student email accounts end with (what is after the @ symbol)?


10.  Create a Google Doc, using a Google account tied to your PrairiePride.org email, and share it with another new teacher.


11.  List three technology systems that share a password (uses the one from your password portal).


12.  Name a technology system that does not change when you change your password using the password portal.

 

13. Name a Technology First Responder at your building.


14.  Bonus -- Follow me on Twitter -- my "crbarnum" account.

 

15.   Ultra- Bonus -- What is the name of one of my World of Warcraft Characters?


Technology Support Process Update

8/5/2011 12:20:43 PM This post gives some details on how the technology support process will be changing this year at Prairie....

 

We are so excited to welcome Angela Sleeper to the technology team here at Prairie.  Angela joins us from Solon school district where she worked in the middle school office.  We are also in process of giving the technology office a makeover as well.  There are new walk-up windows available along with a new layout to the inside of the office.  It will look really cool when it’s all done.  As the office gets an update, we are working to create more processes that will help us to better document our work and hopefully improve efficiency and service, too.  Here are a few of the changes you’ll encounter when working with the technology team this fall.
 
We are trying to build a system where Angela is the main point of contact for staff who have support questions.  Angela’s phone number is 848 5240 or 2014.  It’s still ok to call me or any of the technicians directly.  But, we envision service working faster, and more efficiently when Angela is called directly, first.  We will also be asking all of our walk-in support requests to check in with Angela first before working with a technician.  So, if you happen to have computer problem or question, it’s still a great idea to stop down the technology office if you are in the neighborhood.  However, please visit with Angela as soon as you come in.  Her office will have an exterior window.   She will get you “checked in” and working with an available technician as quickly as possible.  This will help us make the best, most efficient use of our resources.
 
We plan to use our online help desk database a lot more.  This program is now linked into the Staff Hub at PrairiePride.org, called – Technology HelpDesk.  I would encourage everyone to go there and login just to see what it looks like even if you don’t have an open ticket with us.  Once you login to this system, use your email username and password, you can quickly see what support tickets we have open for you.  We will also post ticket updates and comments for you there as well.   This should help everyone track progress.   Whenever we post a new comment or update a ticket it will also send an email update, too.  At out weekly technology department staff meeting, we have a quick protocol setup to review all open tickets.  So, we really envision this making everyone’s life a lot easier.
 
We won’t be documenting every support job we do in the help desk.  It’s just not an efficient use of our time.  However, we will be doing our best to capture all of the “non-routine” jobs there.  We would classify a non-routine job as any task that cannot be resolved in under two or three minutes.  Repairs, wiring jobs, and setup of new equipment are just a few examples of non-routine work.  The only time we plan to document the “quick fix” or “routine” jobs is when our overall job volume is very high.  For example, let’s imagine that a technician is in a building working on a critical, system-wide issue.  It would be common for someone stops him on his way to this job to look at a routine type of job – say a problem printing.  However, if the technician takes time to solve the routine problem right then and there, it takes time away from solving the mission critical job which might be effecting a lot more people.  Of course, what usually happens is that the tech tells the person he will be right with them as soon as he’s done with the critical job.  But, sometimes the critical job takes a long time to finish or while working on the critical job, several other people stop him to get help with other routine issues.  In scenarios like these, we’ve had cases where jobs have been lost or forgotten.  Obviously, we’d like to avoid that!  So, what we’d like to see happen instead is for the technician politely tell the person with the routine problem to call Angela at 848 5240 and have her setup a ticket.  This way the job will get documented in our system and be less likely to be missed or overlooked.  In fact, there might be an available technician in the technology office who could be sent to do the work right away. 
 
While this is not a change from past practice, it’s always a good reminder to take advantage of the Technology First Responders in each building.  These folks do an outstanding job.  They are also very, very good at quickly knocking out a lot of the routine type jobs that come up so frequently.  I would strongly encourage anyone with a support issue to quickly check in with a First Responder.  So often they can solve the problem right away.  They also can often provide valuable, time-saving information for the technicians if the problem turns out to be non-routine.
Out Technology First Responders by Building
 
PHS
  • ·         Deanne Thiede
  • ·         Matthew Alexander
  • ·         Mallori Demildt
  • ·         Kim Hynek
Point
  • ·         Jesse Gearheart
  • ·         Martha Wilding
  • ·         Matt Erlandson
Creek
  • ·         Marija Musselman
  • ·         Vicki Longly
  • ·         Susan Dubishar
Crest
  • ·         Susan Boatwright
  • ·         Elaine Brejcha
Heights
  • ·         Kendra Hanzlik
  • ·         Judy Janssen
Ridge
  • ·         Lori Pleiness
  • ·         Brenda Haskin
View
  • ·         Mark Ganzeveld
  • ·         Chris Ketchum
Edge
  • ·         Cathy Anderson


Of course, it’s always just fine to contact me with any support related questions you might have.  I hope each of you have a great start to the school year!


Craig


New Teacher Technology Introduction

8/1/2011 11:10:00 AM This is a post that give a brief overview to technology services at Prairie. It is targeted at new staff, but might be helpful for existing staff as well....

Welcome to Prairie!  I’m Craig Barnum, the Director of Technology and Information Services.  Like most school districts, we have a lot of technology services and systems available for you.  Anytime you take a new position, the amount of information can be a bit overwhelming.  My staff and I are here at your disposal to help you get acclimated.  Here are the staff members at a glance.  Charlie Braun, Technician, has worked at Prairie since 1999.  He can be contacted at -- cbraun@prairiepride.org, 848-5371.  Nicole Barth, Technician, has been around the Prairie community for a number of years, but started working in the technology office in the spring of 2012.  Nicole can be reached at nbarth@prairiepride.org, 848-5426.  Collin Knoll,Technician,  just started with us in 2009.  Collin can be contacted at cknoll@prairiepride.org, 848-5471. Chris Ketchum, Technician, is our latest addition.  Chris has worked in technology starting in the summer of 2012, but has been with the district since 2010.    Angela Sleeper joined us in the summer of 2011  be and is working as the administrative assistant to the technology office.  She is a great resource to contact if you have questions.  Her number email is asleeper@prairiepride.org and her number is 848-5240.  I can be contacted at cbarnum@prairiepride.org, 848-5419.  Please don’t hesitate to contact any one of us when you have questions.  I’ve tried to make this a “one stop shop” for tech questions.  I’m sure I didn’t get all of them.  I would encourage you to follow my blog, Tech Hawks. I’ll update with new tech updates and ideas about two or three times a week.  I'm also relatively active on Twitter.  My Twitter handle is @crbarnum. 

 
You MacBook Air laptop should be waiting for you at your building's office.  Please check in with them to pick it up.  We've included setup instructions in the carrying case.  Please don't hesitate to drop any of us a note if you have questions.
 
Once you get this laptop, we will give you some credentials (a username/password) to login to your email address and Infinite Campus, our student information system.  You’ll notice right away that the password is not very strong.  It is CRITICAL that you change this password with in the first few days.  We have done our best to weave a lot of the different systems together for you.  So, when you change this password, this change will be applied to several different systems.   All passwords at Prairie need to be at least 6 characters long, but they can be longer.  I would recommend making  your password strong by including at least one capital letter, one number and a special character like any of these (*,!,?,&,$, etc). 

Changing Your Password:

  1. You will need to be on the school’s network for this to work.  You cannot do this at home or off-site.
  2. Go to the following link
  3. http://172.24.22.26/miis/pc/
  4. To access the page, please enter your current credentials – the same username and password you use for email and your laptop.
  5. Once the page loads, enter you new password in both boxes
  6. Click the “update” button.
Once this change is made it will update your password for the following systems:
  • Email – This will update your credentials for both Outlook and webmail
  • Infinite Campus – This is our student information system – this is where you will do attendance, grades, etc… 
  • Edhesion – Edhesion does a lot of work for our web site.  It Click here to get post with more detailed information on it.  Please note that while this password will update when you change it from the portal, it will not update until 7:00 PM nightly. So, if you change your password, you won't use the new  password until the next business day in most cases.
  • Internet Filtering – Like all schools, we filter Internet content. The staff policy, which you should get when you login to the wireless network is a very permissive.  We don't block too much.  However, the automatic login doesn't always work with Apple gear, so you might have need to bypass the filter.  I've included (slightly outdated, but still accurate) instructions for this in a longer post here.  One of the newer understandings is that we have integrated our students into this filtering system.  We now would encourage you to have your students login to the filter if they get blocked.  They may have access once they are logged in.  Please drop me a note if you find a site you wish to use still blocked after students login.  We can evaluate it for white listing.
  • Help Desk Support Ticket System – If you have computer trouble, you’ll likely get an email with some support ticket information in it once you let us know about your problem.  To view your ticket – this would include our notes about the job and the progress/timeline info – you’ll need to login to the support system.  Once again the username and password is identical. (screen shot)
  • Atomic Learning -- Starting in the summer of 2012 for staff and the fall of 2012 for students, Prairie staff and students will all have their own unique login to Atomic Learning. A.L. is a great site to get short "how to" videos of all sorts of software.  Click here for the custom Prairie login.

We have two systems that are separate from this integrated password system.  These systems will need to changed separately when you update your password.

  • Your MacBook Air login does not connect with this system. So, when you change your password, it will not change your computer password.  You might want to consider setting your MacBook password first, then changing your Prairie issued password to match it.
  • Rubicon Curriculum Tool is also separate.  Please remember to that password changes will not flow to this system either.
Google Account - The Google application suite is a very important tool for how we do business at Prairie.  Each of your students will have an account that will allow them access to email, Google Docs, as well as other tools.  We also use these tools to communicate internally as well.  So, it is really important that you setup a Google account that is tied to your Prairiepride.org email address.  To do this follow these steps:

  1. Open a web browser, preferably Firefox, and navigate to www.google.com
  2. In the upper left area of the screen is a series of menus.  It may take just a second or two for these to appear.  Click open the “More” menu.
  3. Select “Documents” from the list.
  4. A new page will load up.  Locate and click the link for “Create an account now.”  The link is located in the lower right area of the page.
  5. Another new page will load.  Fill out the form.  Please use your PrairiePride.org email address.  I would also strongly recommend using a common password.  Please this password will not update or change when you change your other Prairie passwords with the password portal described above.  Complete the rest of the form and accept the terms of agreement.  If you are like me, it may take a time or two to get the fictitious word typed correctly.
  6. A new page will load once the form is completed correctly.  Just click the “Click here to continue link” at the bottom of this page.  This will complete your Google Docs account setup!

Spam Filter – We outsource this service, and therefore, it is not part of our username/password system.  As many of you know, spam or unwanted email, is a big problem.   In fact, about 80% of all email that comes to Prairie addresses is quarantined as spam.  Our filtering service does a pretty good job, but it, like all such services, is not perfect.  There are several services you should be aware of and know how to navigate.   Each day around 4:00 PM you’ll get an email from Spam Blocker Services that shows the emails that were quarantined for you that day.  I would strongly recommend reviewing this list each day for just a few seconds.  If you see a legitimate message in your quarantine, you can click the “Deliver Now” link next to it.  This will forward it on to your in box.  There are a lot of reasons a legit message might get quarantined – it could be that it is addressed to a lot of people, it might have an attachment, it might have some language in it that trips the filter, and there might be a problem with the server sending the message.  Any one of these or in combination can cause a message to get quarantined.  If the message is from some that you don’t anticipate getting a lot of future messages from, or if you know the reason was content related – just hit the “Deliver Now” button and be done with it.  However, if you think that you will need to messages for this person in a timely fashion and the blocking was not content related, you can add them to your personal “white list.”   Doing this will ensure that messages coming from that address will not be filtered.  The down side of doing this is that if this person gets a virus, you might get a lot of spam from them.  So, do this judiciously.  Here’s what you need to :  Go to www.spamblockerservices.com.  Locate the login area and enter your email address as the username.  Then follow the “forgot password” link.  This will cause them to send you an email with a password in it.  Use the sent credentials to login to their site.  Along the left side of the page, you’ll see a button for “My White List.”  Click that and enter the address in question.  Be sure to hit the “save” button before you navigate away from this page.  If you feel the address in question should be unfiltered for everyone at Prairie, just let me know.  If it looks like a good idea, I can add it to the district white list.  Here is my blog entry that has more details on how to use the services available at Spam Blocker Services.

 
I need to reiterate that it is absolutely essential that you change your password before the start of school.  As you can see by the list above, if a student guessed your credentials, they would have access to your email, your grade book, other sensitive student information.  Even if you work with students in the system who might not be interested in doing this, it’s possible that older or other students might try to take a guess at your stuff.  So, the best policy is to get the information changed.  Please don’t hesitate to contact me or any member of my staff.  Have a great start to your time at Prairie.
 
Craig
 
 
 


The Edhesion Tool -- What is that?!!

8/1/2011 10:54:47 AM Edhesion does a lot of work for us on the website. We used to just call it the "Faculty Link". It’s where the curriculum tool is located. Staff web profiles, blogs, and pages can be created here as well. This post will focus on the blog tool and creating/updating professional info on the website....

Edhesion is a critical tool for us in terms of our website.  It contains our curriculum tool, our blog tool, provides the database for staff searches on Prairiepride.org, and also holds all staff profiles.  I’ve created some instructions, linked below, that go over how to work with the blog tool as well as how to update a staff profile on the website.
 


One of the things I’ve come to fully realize as we’ve worked with tools like this is that there is no one right tool for all jobs.  If you’d like to use another tool for your class blog or site, that is just fine.  However, I think for continuity’s sake it would be a very good idea to link that site or blog on to your staff page so parents and kids can easily find it by searching for you at Prairiepride.org.   Again, instructions on how to do that are included above.
 


Spam Tips: The Good,the Bad, and the Ugly

8/1/2011 8:07:00 AM This post give (what I hope are) useful and helpful tips about how to work with our Spam filter....

One of the necessary evils in today's world is email filtering.  I'm sure all of you have noticed that you get a message from Spam Blocker Services each day.  The folks at Spam Blocker are the service we use for our email domain -- PrairiePride.org -- for spam.  This keeps them pretty busy.  Spam is still a huge problem today. We typically block just over half of all the incoming email.  However, I've even seen te block percentage go as high as 90%.  So, the Spam Blocker guys do a reasonably good job of getting the spam before it gets to us.  Without them, we'd be swamped.

However, they also give us some pretty cool tools that I'm guessing not a lot of people know about.  Besides getting that email each day which shows you what's been blocked, they also include the following features:

  • Setting up your own white list (accounts that you don't ever want blocked)
  • Viewing your quarantined emails in real time in Outlook
  • Search and retrieval of 10 days worth of quarantined email
Here's how you use these features.   Adding an address to a white list is a really good feature.  This allows you to ensure that the white listed address will never be filtered when sending to your account.  This white list just works for your account.  So, this address may get quarantined when sending to other Prairie accounts.  I would recommend using a personal white list for personal or professional contacts.  If it is a parent's address or someone else who might send to a lot of other people at Prairie, you'll probably want to send that on to me so I can white list it for everyone.  Here's how you setup a white list.  The first thing you need to do is to get you account credentials (password) from them.   
  1. Go to Spam Blocker
  2. Locate the login area -- enter your full email address, i.e. cbarnum@prairiepride.org, in the username
  3. Click the "forgot password" button.  They will have you verify your email and send your password to your email
  4. Once you get the password (it should only take a minute or two to arrive) login to the site. Once you are in, you can change your password.  I would strongly recommend changing it to the same one you use for Campus, email, etc...
  5. Click the button on the left side of the page that says "Your White List." 
  6. Enter the address you wish to not be filtered and click the "Add To White List" button.
One thing to remember about the SpamBlocker Services password, however, is that it is a completey stand-alone system.  So, if you update your email password, this change will not automatically.   If you want to keep your passwords consisitant, you'll need to update it manually.

 

Another cool feature is that you can check your quarantine at anytime, without logging in by setting up a folder in Outlook.  This is a real time saver.  Here are the steps for that. I gleaned most of these instructions right from the Spam blocker site

  1. Login to the Spam Blocker site
  2. Click the "My Preferences" button
  3. Scroll down until you see the instructions labeled "Add Quarantine Folder to Outlook.
  4. The following are instructions from that site:

  1. Copy the Outlook URL above (this will be shown right above these instructions once you are logged in) by highlighting the entire entry and then copying to clipboard.In Outlook, create a new folder. Choose "Mail and Post Items" as the folder type when asked, and give it a name like "Spam Blocker" or "Quarantine
  2. Once created, Right-click on the new folder and choose "Properties"
  3. Select the "Home Page" tab, and paste the URL above.
  4. Check the box on that same tab marked "Show Home Page by default"Click OK to save changes. Then open the folder.

Now access to Spam Blocker quarantine is as easy as opening the folder in your Outlook email program.

Hopefully, this will help you better use some of the tools in the spam filter.  As always, drop me a note with any questions you might have.


New Wireles Networks for Prairie Point and Prairie High School

7/29/2011 10:58:02 AM This summer we updated the wireless infrastructure at PHS and Prairie Point. The following post describes the changes as well as gives practical information on which network names should be used....

 

Wow! I learned a ton last spring about wireless networks!  I was certainly not an expert going into my search for a new wireless product vendor, but I did have a lot of background understanding on wireless networking since we’ve been using WiFi here at Prairie since 2000.  But, things have really changed in this field in the last couple of years!   Just as with all significant learning, there were times of great joy and frustration.  I’m so excited to have this new system in place at the high school and Point.  While this new system is really robust and should meet our needs for years to come, there are some practical differences for everyone who will use it. 
 
Again, just to be crystal clear, the changes I’ll describe apply only to the High School and Point.  However, since so many staff members attend meetings at these buildings, it’s critical that everyone have this knowledge and not just the Point and High School staff.  At these buildings we have removed all of the old wireless network names – i.e. PHS Staff, PP Staff, etc...  We have replaced them with a shorter list of network names.  Here is the available list:
 
  • CCSD-RA-A –   Primary, recommend network for staff.  This is the fastest and most secure network.  Staff using Byte Speed laptops running Windows should only need to select and save this network once.  The computer should remember and automatically log you in when you start the computer.  The “A” at the end indicates the speed of the network.  For those who care about such things, this denotes an 802.11A network which is faster or more robust than an “N”, “G” or “B” type of network.  The down side of the “A” standard is that it doesn’t carry as far as “N, B/G” in terms of distance and it requires the computer receiving the signal to have an “A” type (newer) network card – all of our Byte Speeds and Apple staff machines do.
  • CCSD-RA-G – Staff at Point and the High School should also save this network as well.  However, it should not be the primary network.  This network is slower, but provides greater range.  We covered most of the common meeting areas at Point and the High School with the “A” network.  However, there may be areas that are not covered perfectly by it, but will have great coverage for “G”.  Staff coming from other buildings need not do this.
  • CCSD-PK-A --  Technology Staff Use Only – this network has the same speed as the CCSD-RA-A network.  But, this network requires a special password to attach instead of email credentials.  We have this in place for special cases where a visitor might need access to our fastest service.  Staff can and should ignore any of our networks with the “PK” in the name.
  • CCSD-PK-G – Technology Staff Use Only – this network has the same speed as CCSD-RA-G.  But just like CCSD-PK-A, it requires a special password and should be ignored by Prairie staff and students.
  • Guest --  This is just what it sounds like – a network designed for guest access.  There is no password.  However, this network should not be used by Prairie staff.  Servers and services that staff rely upon will not work on this network.  For security reasons, we have set this part of the network to have very little access to our internal network resources.  This means that computers attached to this network will not be able to print to a Prairie printer or access a lot of our internal servers like Campus, email, or the Edhesion server.  We’ve also shaped the speed of this network to make it much slower than the “CCSD” networks.  The Guest network is also the most heavily filtered network as well.  If you find you are attached to the Guest network, please disconnect and re-attach to one of the “CCSD-RA” networks.  It will work much better for you.
As I mentioned earlier, one of the things we are most excited about with this new system is the speed and the capability of this system to handle a lot of wireless devices.  At Point and the High School we had pretty good signal in terms of coverage.  Where we sometimes had problems was when a lot of computers – say two or more mobile labs came online in adjacent rooms.  The signal would often “dry up” and people using these computers would have really slow network or Internet access.  This new system should do, much, much better.  Just to give any idea of how different this new system is here are some numbers to illustrate this idea.  The old system had about 70 radios available for computers at both the High School and Point.  Each radio could handle about 20 computers before bogging down.  Our new system has 272 radios to cover the same space.  So, we increased our capacity to handle a lot of devices by almost fourfold.  Ironically, however, we are getting all of these radios in just 52 access points rather than the 70 we had with the old system.  That makes for a ton of manageability upside.  Finally, these new devices look pretty cool as well – kind a like UFOs.
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Of course, please let us know if you have any questions about any of this information. 


Summer is Computer Cold and Flu Season

7/28/2011 10:50:36 AM This post is really targeted at our staff using Windows computers. Our staff running Apple hardware will have a slightly different process for computer protection and just need to call the tech office at 848-5240 if they have issues along these lines....

 

 
As staff return for the fall, the tech office often gets a lot of calls about virus and malware.  Of course, it’s important to check for these types of things periodically to avoid computer problems or potentially very serious issues like identity theft.  So, as staff return from break, it’s not a bad idea to manually open up Sophos, our antivirus software, and run a full scan manually.  This will take a few minutes, so it should be done at a time when the computer won’t need to be used for a bit.  Here’s how to do it. 
 
  1. Right click the Sophos icon in the system tray in the lower left corner of the screen.  It’s a blue shield.
  2. Select “Open Sophos End Point Security and Control.”
  3. Once it loads, click the “Scan My Computer” link.  This process my take up to an hour and you won’t want to use your computer for anything else during the scan as it will make the computer run pretty slowly.


Sophos should be able to clean most problems on its own.  However, if it gives you a message that the problem cannot be automatically cleaned up, just give us a call at 848 5240.  We’ll work with you to resolve the problem.
 
While Sophos is really excellent at getting virus and most malware, there are other smaller nuisance programs that get on a computer from normal web-browsing.  These can cause significant problems as well, and Sophos might not catch all of these.  So, we’ve included another software title on each computer to handle this, “Spyware Search and Destroy.”  I’ve included a brief screen-cast below on how to use the program.
 
 

As always, if you have questions or run into any problems, don’t hesitate to call the tech office , 848 5240 or drop me a note directly.

 
 



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