District Administration - January 2012 - (Page 69)
system, for example, in servers the district doesn’t need to keep purchasing. During the test phase, he adds, “instead of placing it on an overtaxed server at the district, we placed it on the cloud.” Other County and State Networks Just north of Philadelphia, the Bucks County Intermediate Unit #22 (BCIU22), which has provided support to its member districts for over 40 years, has been expanding its instructional and infrastructure support services to provide significant savings for members, says Pamela Newman, online learning manager. For example, BCIU22 has leveraged volume pricing discounts on distance learning services and hardware, such as online world language instruction through myLanguage360 and videoconferencing endpoints from LifeSize, as well as saving 30 to 40 percent on Microsoft licensing. Bulk purchasing through the 57 members of the Regional Educational Media Center Association of Michigan has more than doubled, from $26 million to $54 million, over the past five years, says Bill Miller, executive director of the Michigan Association of Intermediate School Administrators. The 49-year-old agency once concentrated on providing technology like filmstrips, but these days it’s more focused on computer hardware and software, flash drives and online programming for functions like student data, Miller says, adding that Oakland Schools alone have saved $4 million in tech purchasing. “It’s grown steadily, in terms of the impact on statewide purchasing,” he says. “It’s come from the discounts we get by negotiating with various vendors on pricing and then passing those savings along.” Warne forecasts continued growth for educational service centers. “The environment we find ourselves in, financially, isn’t going to change a whole lot,” Warne says. “They respond to the needs of school districts.” Ed Finkel is a contributing writer to District Administration.
Identity and Access Management is introducing significant instructional and security efficiencies in K12 districts.
By Susan McLester
Students at W.R. Thomas Middle School in the Miami-Dade County Public Schools work on group presentations covering “Natural Disasters,” using the student portal page, which links them to educational resources. They can log into the portal with a single sign-on.
he increasing incorporation of digital materials and resources into school and district portals and repositories has given rise in recent years to a new focus on the issue of identity management in K12 education. The need for multiple usernames, passwords and separate logins for each user can be a nightmare for staff, inhibit the use of software programs that benefit student achievement, and overwhelm increasingly smaller district IT departments, say technology administrators in reports such as the Consortium for School Networking’s “Single Sign-On, Multiple Benefits: A Primer on K-12 Federated Identity and Access Management,” published in May 2011.
Identity management authenticates the identity of district users in all roles and presets their access to appropriate resources. For instance, a teacher may have access to an online grade book and the teacher’s edition of a textbook, a student may have access to the student edition of the textbook, the school psychologist may have access to student health records, and the human resources department may have access to each employee’s pay stubs and other personal information. In the absence of a single identity management program, access to materials remains in the hands of disparate users scattered throughout the district, each of whom may have multiple usernames and passwords depending
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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of District Administration - January 2012
District Administration - January 2012
Finding the Perfect Fit
Kansas City Plots Next Steps
Seeking Savings in Special Ed
K12 Guide to Audio/Visual Solutions
Equipping Teachers to Infuse Technology
Flipped Classrooms Gaining Ground
Buying in Bulk
Online Identity Management
District Administration - January 2012