More from the Contra Costa Jewish Day School in Lafayette, California. So far, so good! Here is a quick update: our teachers and students continue to use our server for storing and sharing resources. We continue to use a pbwiki site for posting homework assignments for students and communicating with families. We have upgraded our weekly school newsletter using an outside newsletter website service which has streamlined our regular communication with parents. All faculty continue to actively use our on-line faculty calendar for planning purposes and the new school email addresses have been very successful. We are continuing to fine-tune the development of our on-line report card database, working with an outside consultant database developer and hope to have this up and running either by our third trimester or Fall of next year.
In terms of challenges, we have discovered that the consumer, entry level Apple Airport Extreme base stations have not been able to handle the daily traffic and bandwidth that our combined 20-30 students and faculty place on them. We have three of these wireless access points scattered strategically around the school, but they they literally crash once a week and need to be restarted, and sometimes reset. Needless to say, when this happens, no one can get on-line and no one can print via the network printers! This causes a lot of headaches. So we decided to upgrade our wireless network and I have been devoting weeks, now, to researching suitable alternatives. Essentially, we need an entry-level enterprise solution for schools and businesses that will handle the traffic and still be compatible in our largely all-Mac environment, and most importantly, configurable by Mac computers. I have been talking to tech support people at various companies, and local consultants, and it is quite a confusing maze. And despite the fact that companies obviously find it cheaper to outsource much of their technical and sales support to India, it still makes communication difficult and increases the frustration of doing business with them. I suppose these companies simply write this off as part of their business plan, like grocery stores assume a certain percent of spoilage no matter how efficient they are! Still working on this.
And finally, the most exciting news to report is that we are finally ready to move on to the next phase of our grant proposal! We are now researching which still and video cameras and microphones to purchase so that we can finally start to create more student generated digital projects, podcasts, and web pages online. All very exciting! That's it for now.