Monday, September 29, 2008

Update on Server Virtualization Project

Rack-width sliding keyboard & monitor with equ...We are in the final phase of our server virtualization project. The hardware has been rack mounted, OS installed, switches / VLANs configured and VM Ware installed. We have three Dell 2950 servers which will server as the brain - hosting the virtual servers. We also have a Dell AX 4/5 SAN storage solution with nearly 8TB of free storage. By the end of this week my Network Administrator will have had hands on experience managing the virtual environment, moving a server from physical to virtual (or P to V) and instruction on how to use Virtual Console. At the end of week 2 we should have all necessary servers migrated to the new solution and begin to wrap up the project by tweaking the necessary settings and any last minute training.

Once the project is complete our new server room will house all existing servers other than our state owned boxes and core router, a dedicated cooling unit and backup generator. We also have plans to utilize to of our existing servers as offsite backup solutions. One will be housed on our existing campus (just in a different building) and the other will be at our new middle school. Our goal is that this solution will provide a more effecient means of doing business, reliable backups, disaster recovery, more storage space and centralized environment where all data is easily accessible.


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Monday, September 22, 2008

Thursday, September 18, 2008

"Clicker" Article

Interesting read on students who use "clickers" score better on physics tests.


Monday, September 15, 2008


Oh how we depend on the sweet nectar known as electricity. The past 27 hours I have been without power both at my home and at my office. It is amazing how much we (I) depend on that electricity to keep us connected. I have had limited cell service around my house and the office. I am typing now at my parent's house and their DSL connection (didn't I leave that about 5 months ago?)

The past 24 hours have really showed my dependency on technology. I have been unable to check work email, unable to do anything at our office, able to make phones calls intermittently. Technology is a great tool...when it is available to us. But if you become dependent on technology and it controls your life...then it is temporarily taken from will go crazy.


Saturday, September 13, 2008


Over the course of the past 4 years, 2 months and 13 days that I have served as Chief Information Officer for the MCSD - I have attended some excellent/worthwhile conferences and I have attended conferences that made me want to gouge my eyes. What is the purpose of an IT conference? Is it to interact and discuss topics with vendors? Find new solutions you can implement in your organization? Share ideas with colleagues? Attend the cutting edge session on a new gadget, gizmo or solution?

I often find myself perusing the conference agenda weeks in advance trying to find that one session, that one booth that will make the difference. After all if my district is willing to spend hundreds, sometimes thousands of dollars to send me (and my team members) to these events - isn't it my responsibility to provide something in return? This year that is my challenge, not only for me personally, but for my team members - "Attend a Conference - and Make a Difference." Don't just attend the conference to get a vacation from your job, to attend the social functions (which are enjoyable), or to get free t-shirts - attend the conference to enhance your job, learn a new skill, find the innovative and cutting edge tool that will increase student learning in your building.

These are the conferences I currently plan to attend this year (subject to change, of course). Should anyone out there know of a conference that can impact student learning, provide solutions and is on the cutting edge - let me know.

October 24th, 2008
New DTC / CIO Training (KY Specific)
Frankfort, KY - Capital Plaza Hotel
More Information (

The purpose of the New DTC / CIO training is to provide information (both technical and instructional) to new technology leaders in our state. They will receive an overview on various topics and have the opportunity to interact and ask questions with our state leaders, vendors and behind the scenes personnel.

November 20-21, 2008
Lexington, KY
More information (

This conference will be new to me. A new role in my job this year is managing our district's public relations. I felt attending the KY Public Relations conference will help provide me ideas on how to enhance that role. I hope to make connections, ask questions and share my brief experience with people who have more experience and perhaps some words of wisdom in the area of PR.

December 10-12, 2008
Nashville, TN
More information (Click here)

The TETC (or Tennessee Educational Technology Conference) is a conference I have attended for three of the last four years. I began attending this conference because of its close proximity. (Nashville is a mere 1 hour and 45 minute drive.) The first two years I attended this event, it was full of vendors, excellent sessions and interesting technology leaders. However, last year the attendance (both from a participant and vendor standpoint) was down. I left disappointed and felt I gained little value from this event. I am planning to give the TETC another opportunity to provide me and a few of my district personnel with some ideas, tools and information to improve our district. Don't let me down again TETC.

January 21-22, 2009
IC Interchange
Louisville, KY (Galt House)
More information (click here)

The Infinite Campus Interchance is an opportunity for KY districts to share, discuss and update users on how the implementation of our new Student Information System (SIS) is progressing. As a pilot district last year, I had the opportunity to present at two different sessions. I found it very rewarding to share my insight and experience with other districts. I hope again to be able to share my experience of this past year and our districts trials, tribulations, successes and overall feel of the Infinite Campus product.

March 4-6, 2009
Louisville, KY
More information (click here)

The Kentucky Teaching and Learning Conference was once THE great technology event for our state. (Part of this took place before my time.) Over the past few years, the event has changed and is geared less for technology leaders and more for teachers and other school personnel. Technology is still a driving force behind the conference themes and many of the sessions and vendors - but finding that session for my district technology team or school teachnology leader is becoming more of a challenge. I am able to send teachers and they find this event very worthwhile (actually this is event last year is my teacher came up with her idea for the paperless classroom that is a huge success). KTLC continues to serve as a venue for other meetings and interactions for me and my collegaues, thus I will continue to attend. I spend most of my time in the exhibit hall talking with vendors and sharing ideas and listening to new concepts. There will come a day (probably sooner than later) that I will no longer attend this event.

KySTE Summer Conference
June 2009
Location: TBA (Possible destinations are Louisville, KY; Lexington, KY and Bowling Green, KY)
More information (

This is the conference I am most excited about. This is the conference that I spoke about last June that had the most impact on me as a technology leader in the past 4+ years. I attended sessions that insipred me, forced me to think outside the box and started discussions on how to make change in our district. I interacted with vendors who assisted with this change, I heard keynote addresses (and I am not typically one for a keynote address) that had the venue been different - would have captivated the audience. This conference will become THE technology event for the state of KY. Inspired by technology leaders across the state who felt they no longer had a technology conference (see the change in KTLC above), the KySTE Summer Conference is still undergoing a radical change. With this year's event being held in a central location, thus allowing more people from across the state the opportunity to attend - combined with last year's success and the vision of the organization's leadership team - I am most excited about this event. Rest assured - I will provide information 10 months from now.

So...if you know of other events here in the Bluegrass or across this great nation that have the ability to change an organization, inspire life long learning or engage our students beyond our wildest dreams - please share with me.

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Thursday, September 11, 2008

Articles of Interest

A few articles worth reading that I came across today:

Test Prep Services Turn to Video Games

US Schools Must Teach 21st Century Skills For the Nation to be Globally Competitive

Windows 7: Beta 1 Tracking for Mid-December

And...just for the true geeks...

Why Isn't Ubuntu the Number 1 Operating System?



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Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Paperless Classroom Update

Here is a sample of the press release we recently released for our district regarding the Paperless Classroom project:

Paperless Classroom a Success at Calvert City Elementary

When Mrs. Amanda Mott’s students walked into their classroom the first day of school they all thought they were in the computer lab, not their regular classroom. “Wow, we all have our own computer!”, exclaimed one student.

Mrs. Amanda Mott and her fourth grade students are embarking on a new way of learning this school year – a paperless classroom. Each of her 26 students has their own computer at their desk and a majority of their assignments are online. The classroom also has a projector, airliner and laser printer. The technology that made the paperless classroom so affordable is a device made by nComputing, the X300. The X300 allows up to 6 other “virtual computers” to join a host computer, thus providing a total of 7 computers for approximately the price of 4 computers.

Mrs. Mott was able to successfully launch this project with the help of area businesses. Evonik Degussa Corporation, Dr. Barry Wilson, ISP, Regions Bank, Army Reserve and Lubrizol are all area businesses who contributed to this project with donations.

When asked how this new environment affected her classroom Mrs. Mott responded, “Technology shifts the teacher’s role to that of a student-centered facilitator. The students are taking on more of the responsibility of learning, and I lecture less and aid them in finding answers instead. The information they learn instantly becomes more meaningful because they have taken part in discovering it. Have technology in a classroom is becoming a necessity. Using the computers will help them build a strong intellectual foundation and encourage higher order thinking skills, creativity and self-driven research. Students are able to publish writing in more interesting ways. We can turn writing pieces into PowerPoint and Podcasts. They get authentic reasons to write in blogs, e-mails and wikis.”

Student Sarah Knoth said, “I enjoy getting to talk to other students using ePals. Right now we are talking to other students in our class, but very soon we will be talking with students in Spain.”

One of the classroom projects Mrs. Mott’s students will be embarking on is a collaborative effort to study with students in a classroom in Spain. Mrs. Mott’s students will use the educational site, ePals, to correspond, share ideas and assignments with the Spanish class.

Student Will McGee stated, “We are using the computers to learn a new language (Spanish), so we can communicate with our new friends in Spain.”

The students have utilized an online tool through the McCracken County Public library, known as Mango, which allows them to learn Spanish. Mrs. Mott felt it would beneficial for her students to be exposed to some key Spanish words and terminology before they begin their collaboration efforts.

When Mrs. Mott was asked what inspired her to come up with the paperless classroom concept and how did she think it would have an impact on student learning, she said, “The project began last year at the Kentucky Teaching and Learning Conference. I found the nComputing company and was intrigued by their product and began researching paperless classrooms across the country. Since Day 1 of this school year, my students have been actively engaged and seem to have a new purpose and love for learning. They are able to receive immediate feedback on various activities that sometimes would take days.”

Mrs. Amanda Mott and her fourth grade students are innovators for taking learning to new level. Her students will have the opportunity to share, communicate, collaborate and problem solve in an environment not available to all students. Thanks to Mrs. Mott, these students will become digital learners.

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SQL Injection

This was an item of recent discussion in our district. I have found several useful resources for those who either wish to learn more, or have to deal with the issue.

Demonstration Video -

Articles -

I would recommend to anyone who has to deal with this issue to ensure your SQL is secure, clean and check any databases you may have running on your web server.

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Sunday, September 7, 2008

Brief Hiatus

After nearly a month away from this blog...I have found my way back. School began and I found myself emerged in numerous projects. I am finally starting to get my ahead above here goes.

One of the new tools I have downloaded and began evaluating is Google's new browser - Chrome. While I find its layout, speed and overall ease of use similar to that of Firefox - there was one item that stumbled me. It took me a couple of minutes to figure out how to get my "home" button on the address bar. That should not be an option.

Here is all content - Chrome related - from ZDNet:

Also - a fellow colleague of mine and CIO in a local school district has an excellent blog that you should check out:

Later this week I will provide an update our paperless classroom that has been in action for over a month.

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