My name is John McMillen and I am the Chief Information Officer for Graves County Schools in Mayfield, Kentucky. It is my charge to build and maintain a state-of-the-art technological environment to support a world class education for our students and those who shape and support their education.
I also host of Music From the Front Porch on 91.3 WKMS in Murray, KY. The show airs every Saturday morning from 10 AM until 1 PM but I am only able to do every other weekend... so check in and listen to the stream at the above link.
I have a degree in Business Administration and Marketing from Murray State University.
A quick post about a tool I have been using to survey the wireless signal at one of my locations. NetSpot is a free site survey tool for Mac OS X that is available in the App Store. There is a paid version ($99) as well but we have been using the free version so far.
We had a survey of users return feedback that the wireless signal wasn’t working properly in some locations. We had just implemented a very dense wireless infrastructure at this location and we wanted to know if this was an infrastructure issue or user knowledge issue. NetSpot to the rescue.
This app is easy to install and very easy to use. We had a very rogue hand-drawn map (not ours in the picture) in PDF format that we imported into the tool. We chose two spots on the map and gave a true measurement of the distance between those two points. Then, we started our scan.
We walked to each room and took a couple of readings by clicking on where we were on the map. It took about 5-seconds to scan then we moved to the next location. After scanning enough locations you are able to pause the scan and the tool presents data to you in a color-coded layer on your map. Signal-to-noise ratio, Signal level, Quantity of access point, Noise level, and Signal-to-interference level.
This data will give you a fairly quick visual representation of the coverage your end users are seeing. One more inexpensive tool that will allow you to know more about your network and your end-user experience. We found that our wireless was dense and operational and that we need to educate users on how to connect to the service. Thus, to know is better than not….
You can get more information on the features for the paid version and the free version at http://www.netspotapp.com/.
[I am releasing this incomplete. Why? Because it needs to be out there. Not only to be heard but also to be debated. I need feedback. So, off it goes.
When iOs 6.0 was released I was no different than any other iOs user, I updated. I first updated my phone only to find myself asking, that’s it? I was impressed with the addition of turn-by-turn navigation, vocal maps even… when the map itself left a bit to be desired. It seemed that overall more emphasis was placed on look than substance but it was a start and another example of the iPhone further establishing itself as a “Swiss Army” technological device. After that, well, it becomes underwhelming. It was as if the major update brought more app like features than game changers.
Then I tried to update my iPad. My iPad. My first generation iPad.
After trying to figure out why I couldn’t connect to the app store I realized that I actually could but my iPad wouldn’t update.
I remember murmuring out loud, “they wouldn’t.”
Then after a few Google results I quickly replaced that with, “are you kidding me.” Yes, expletives have been removed, but they were flying. I was jolted to find out they already had cut off the first generation iPad from the Apple world. 2-years, 5-months and 16-days after its initial release, the first iPad was going end-of-life. You can see a full timeline at the end of this entry. I guess I should have seen it coming. I mean, there was precedent with the iPhone.
At this point alarm bells were going off in my head. At $499, these devices were at least a half-life of a desktop or laptop. Doing the math, that’s more expensive than a desktop and $1 less than the iPad’s Apple cousin, the Macbook Air or any of their other laptops that have historically held the entry-level market.
So, the education industry has sold it’s soul to a device that has a lifespan of 3-years max. A device that can’t do what a regular computer can but costs the same. No, wait. By the time you add in all of the “cool” accessories it’s more expensive.
iPad April 3, 2010
iPad 2 March 11, 2011
iPad 3 March 16, 2012
Here is a breakdown as best I can gather of the iOs timeline. More details are available at http://theiphonewiki.com/wiki/index.php?title=Timeline
iOs 1 released for iPhone June 29, 2007
- 1.1.1- September 27, 2007
- 1.1.2- November 12, 2007
- 1.1.3- January 15, 2008
- 1.1.4- February 26, 2008
- 1.1.5- July 15, 2008 (final 1.x firmware updates)
iOS 2 released on July 11, 2008
- 2.0.1- August 4, 2008
- 2.0.2- August 18, 2008
- 2.1 September 9, 2008
- 2.2 November 21, 2008
- 2.2.1 - January 29, 2009
iOS 3 released on June 17, 2009
- 3.1/3.1.1 September 9, 2009
- 3.1.2- ?
- 3.1.3- February 2, 2010
- 3.2- April 3, 2010
- 3.2.1- July 15, 2010
iOS 4 released on June 21, 2010
- 4.0.1- June 22, 2010 (limited release)
- 4.0.1- July 15, 2010
- 4.0.2- August 11, 2010
- 4.1 -September 8, 2010
- 4.2- Nov 22, 2010
- 4.2.7- April 14, 2011
- 4.2.8- May 3, 2011
- 4.2.9- July 15, 2011
- 4.3- March 9 2011
- 4.3.1- March 25, 2011
- 4.3.2- April 14, 2011
- 4.3.3- May 3, 2011
- 4.4.4- July 15, 2011
- 4.3.5- July 25, 2011
- 4.4.4- December 15, 2011
iOS 5 released on October 12, 2011
- 5.0.1- November 9, 2011
- 5.1- March 7, 2012
- 5.1.1- May 7, 2012
What to do with you old iPad?
This article has suggestions for the next steps for the old iPad you are replacing. I think the best of which is to turn the device into an e-reader. This extends the life of the device by providing textbooks or library books. That’s as long as the app and the store you purchase from remain able to interact http://www.macworld.com/article/1165874/what_to_do_with_your_old_ipad_or_ipad_2.html
Economics only, what is the difference between a 1:1 initiative and a BYOD initiative where those without are supplemented with a device? I mean on one hand taxpayers pay for all devices and on the other, taxpayers pay for all devices.
Today I have landed in a session with HP Strategist Elliott Levine. We’re talking budgets, planning and the traps that are often fallen into. Just random notes to follow.
WOAH Nelly!! He says BYOD is the single worst thing a school district can do when it comes to technology. HA! Now Elliott, I should have expected this because it isn’t exactly a great money-maker for the sales staff of computer manufacturers dedicated to K-12 education. We are going to forgive Elliott and move on.
Interesting note: One of Nashville’s public school leaders just stated that they are spending about $1 per day per student on printing/copying costs.
YES!!! Elliott dropped the ck12.org reference!!
HP guys just uttered “or look to eliminate” your printing! Paraphrased a bit.
One approach to purchasing technology mentioned was this “lease” project that included the device, the PD, the infrastructure or access (including wireless)… EVERYTHING rolled into one single lease. Cost? Mid $300 per device.
$1 out of every $4 is wasted, US Department of Energy.
Districts spend on average $300 per student on energy.
K-12 schools spend $6 billion annually on energy.