District Administration - October 2011 - (Page 91)
Technology from The cIo perspecTIve
for academic and business needs, chief technology officers have a greater need for interoperability standards that allow them to assemble multiple, cloud-based tools and services into one, according to CoSN’s Interoperability Standards for K-12 Education primer. Under the leadership of John Alawned, technology director at the Austin (Texas) Independent School District, CoSN’s technical committee created the primer so that educators, particularly CTOs, could better understand the overall issues around interoperability in K12, says Keith Krueger, CoSN’s CEO. This primer is an updated version of CoSN’s first primer, released a few years ago. According to the updated primer, among many important points of interoperability is having connectivity standards to help transfer data between various platforms. Third-party database connectivity products can facilitate data connectivity between all components of a data system. And within third-party solutions, IT managers should consider some factors before selecting a vendor including technical support, such as through email and Web; and vendor success. The primer also includes information about interoperability standards and gives examples of interoperability solutions in districts. For more, go to http://interoperability-and-education.wikispaces.com/ file/view/arra+COSN+2011_Comp_ Interop.pdf —Angela Pascopella
New Interoperability Standards Report First Statewide Cloud Consortium As districts rely less on isolated K12 Pools Resources, Saves Money data and more on digital delivery
Jason Radford, systems administrator for IlliniCloud and Dan Vargas, solution architect for CDW, demonstrate how IlliniCloud connects with school districts. Over 150 districts are participating.
vEr 150 SChOOl DISTrICTS IN IllINOIS hAvE TEAmED Up TO share software and technology through IlliniCloud, a one-of-its-kind nonprofit cloud-computing consortium for schools. Jim peterson, IlliniCloud’s chief technology officer and Bloomington (Ill.) public Schools’ technology director, started IlliniCloud in 2009 with the help of technology company CDW. Three data centers, located in Belleville, Bloomington and DeKalb, house computer systems, backup power supplies and security devices. Illinois is the only state with a cloud for K12 schools, although California and Indiana are in talks with the consortium to do something similar, according to peterson. “There are 860 school districts in Illinois, and, so far, over 150 are participating in IlliniCloud,” peterson says. “Each district has to run hundreds of different applications, and they end up buying more software than they need as they plan for growth. With IlliniCloud, schools only pay for resources they actually use.” most districts are saving 30 to 60 percent in costs. For example, virtualization can cost up to $6,000 (for a server), but districts can rent space on the cloud for only $600 to $800 per year according to peterson. According to peterson, all districts in the cloud can use free open-source versions of software, but full-featured access requires districts to pay a licensing fee to the software company. “Since so many districts are working together, vendors want to be able to run their software in the cloud so they bring their prices down,” peterson says. “That money goes back to the districts to use on technology resources in the classroom.” Bloomington public Schools has been leading this effort and reaching out to small districts with limited budgets to help them get resources. peterson wants all districts to be at the same level, and IlliniCloud should get closer to that goal thanks to a $500 million grant from the state to help offset costs, buy excess software and help other schools. For more information, visit www.illinicloud.org. —Courtney Williams
Following a mandate by the Federal Communication Commission (FCC), by 2012, all schools receiving E-rate funding for Internet access or internal connections must certify they have updated their Internet safety policy to include provisions for students about appropriate online behavior and cyberbullying. This adds to the requirements set forth by the Protecting Children in the 21st Century Act.
Source: Funds for Learning Sept. 7, 2011
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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of District Administration - October 2011
District Administration - October 2011
From the Editor
Building a Blended Learning Program
How Are Science Fairs Fairing?
A New Age for Algebra
Early College High Schools
Changing of the Guard in Florida
How Much Computing Power Do You Need?
An Unconventional Approach to 1:1
District Administration - October 2011