In the Groove

I finally broke down and created a YouTube account to post some short videos from our sailing trips. The following is a short video from last weekend’s sail with the family:

I’ve also posted a photo gallery at
Solent Daysail

It was a nice sail– 12-17 knots of wind from the NW. Next week, I sail with a group across the channel to visit Normandy. Steph and the kids fly out tomorrow for Montana and then Oregon.

When One Size…

… doesn’t fit all.

I’m finally beginning to gear up for the Lausanne Laptop Institute in Memphis next month. I have a presentation scheduled titled “When One Size Doesn’t Fit All.” Basically, I’m working on differentiating the reasons why one type of laptop program can be a major success at a Middle School, but not work in the Upper School. There are a lot of interesting dynamics in this discussion, and overall they point to different needs for different divisions.

Tomorrow’s the last day for teachers at school, and then it will be summer work time, full time. The Dell and Apple orders are off, but we still have some major projects to decide on (new wireless system, possible private circuit to remote rack space).

In the Beginning…

In the beginning, there were personal computers. Apple IIes. Pet Computers. Altair. Commodores. Adams. Trash 80s. PCjrs. Macintosh. IBM PCs with steel keyboards. Lisas. Sinclairs.

Some seemed like glorified calculators. Some where wonderfully entertaining. Others enabled a lot of creativity. And then we got 1200 baud modems to dial up bulletin boards. Then Compuserve, and AOL, and shell accounts for so much an hour.

Anyway, it was unique and exciting. It seemed like we were doing things never done before with ones and zeros. Do you have an email address? Did you see Mosaic? I’m writing poetry in hypertext. Just about any part of it, such as building a circular menu with html code, was exceptional.

Things change and transition forward. Technology makes significant moves forward every 6-12 months. I’m not a big iPhone fan, but the announcement of so many more features at half the price was pretty remarkable this week. Why buy an iPod if the iPhone can do so much. The monthly plan might be where the money is made to begin, but after that calms down…

Just five feet away from me at this moment, a woman in Starbucks is using a tiny laptop smaller than a thin, small paperback. She’s connected and doing email with a small keyboard. She’s doing routine things, not exceptional.

In a lot of homes, the computers are more sophisticated and advanced and powerful and better connected to the Internet that the typical computers at independent schools.

Maybe there’s a turn happening here. Routine computer use and access continues to grow and become less expensive and more fashionable and part of daily life. It’s part of one’s pocket debris or purse contents. It’s comforting in it’s ubiquity, and there are fewer and fewer reasons to have a digital divide (not that one still doesn’t exist in a major form).

This comes back to question I’m still thinking about—how does a school enable students to do exceptional things with technology? Things they can’t do at home already? The routine uses at school are important, but they are just a baseline. Kids have access to technology that was unthinkable to me not that long ago (hey, my modem is 2400 baud!), but how can schools distinguish their offerings to enable students to have academic or eye opening experiences beyond the norm?

Yes, Still Alive

It’s been so long since I’ve done a blog post, someone asked if I were still breathing.

Yes, I’m still breathing, somewhat.

Quick summary: We’re in the final weeks of school and the summer work has already begun. All the Dell orders are in. The Apple orders are going in today, if I have the quotes. We have two new Cisco ASA 5520 Firewalls ready to be installed, in an active/standby configuration, with a 20 mbit ADSL backup to our 100 mbit fiber connection to the Interent. Engineers are coming again next week to do a proof of concept of authentication/encryption on the Meru wireless system we’re considering for a summer install. We just brought up a Radius server to support this test.

Along with this fun, we are in the final stages of considering a new web portal for the school. A new Xerox copier/scanner/printer is arriving today for a 2 week trial, possibly to be followed by four more. Along with the Xerox will be a trial of a proximity card reader for authentication into the copiers, scanning to home folders, and “pull” print jobs. A new console software package was installed this week for the phone system. Final teaching assignments are being made for next year. We’re planning for the ECIS Technology Conference to be held here in March 2009.

I signed off on ExtremeZ IP for improving printer installs on OS X earlier this week, and Papercut for some better print reporting. I’m involved with five room redesigns or moves this summer. We have a solid bid in on a private circuit to remote rack space for backups and DR servers. I enjoyed presenting two Technology Awards at the High School Awards Ceremony this week. I just finalized my flights for going to Memphis to present at the Lausanne Laptop Institute and then off to Oregon for about two weeks of visiting family and friends, hanging out at the beach house, and sailing our Cal 20 from Portland to Astoria with my brother for fun.

Commencement is on Monday.

But today, I’m looking forward to taking two colleages from work sailing for the weekend. We take the train this afternoon to Portsmouth Harbor, have dinner at the Lightship, sail to the Isle of Wight for an overnighter, and then come back on Sunday.

Okay, it’s a bit busy.

SR under sail

More pictures:

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