Tuesday, 24 September 2013

What devices are being used at school?

Interesting statistics on the 928 unique devices tracked on our Secondary School wireless network:

Android Phones: 3
Android Tablets: 76
BlackBerry Phones: 40
BlackBerry PlayBooks: 1
iPads: 79
iPhones: 248
Linux PCs: 5
Macs: 171
Windows PCs: 276
Windows Phones: 8
Others: 6

iPhones have eclipsed BlackBerry, the previous phone of choice (BB Messenger being the reason why), and Mac representing a fair proportion of student laptops in use. Android tablets are certainly increasing rapidly although I am surprised at the small number of Android phones tracked.

(Thank you Fernando, our Sysman for the data)

Friday, 6 September 2013

IT resources and bandwidth experiment - is it enough?

Our students are doing a unit involving much internet use (around 80 students in IB Theory of Knowledge course).
How did the IT resources and the school's bandwidth measure up?
Some information - the unit is on a Google Site with links to some video resources (Screencast-o-matic and YouTube), to Google Groups discussion forums and to Google Docs used as a collaborative space. Four classrooms being used, each with its own Fortinet access point, about 20 students per class, with a 600C Fortinet firewall allowing 16Gbps Firewall throughput, up to 3,000,000 concurrent sessions and up to 70,000 new sessions per second. We have a 30 Megabit/second internet connection with 1 to 3 compression which was upgraded to this two years ago - this is a description of it.
So, how did it go?
This is the system resources report on how our Fortigate unit (our firewall) was doing during the heavy load period. Fernando, our Sysman (who provided all this information - thanks!), describes this process as a traffic manager, and you can see it doing really well. Conclusion - enough capacity here.
The following traffic history is from our Fortigate - internally monitoring our bandwidth in a 30 minute interval:
Fernando did a sweep of the classrooms and found some disgruntled students trying to access a Screencast-o-matic video - they had internet bandwidth problems (nb: not wireless access point problems) as well as Java problems (Chrome on Apple, Chromebooks, etc).
However, I noted in following the activity from viewing the collaborative Google Docs that were being produced, that this aspect worked well.
What did it look like from our ISP? Here is the report from the same time:

And here is the problem, our 30 Mbps topping out during this classtime.
So, all the work to upgrade our internal systems has worked, but we need much more bandwidth to cope with our use. Anybody suggest how much?

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Panic over - lesson learned from a Google Spreadsheet

Let me set the scene - questionnaire out to all staff on which committees they want to serve on, received on a Google Form, then editing the Google Spreadsheet formed by the answers (including the datestamp information).
It needs a little tidy-up, of course, let's get rid of the datestamp and responder information that was automatically gathered by the form, then share it to all staff....
Spreadsheet disappears and this message appears, for all who access it:
Now, we really needed this information but it was gone!
We had many e-mails back from staff saying that they could not access the spreadsheet, not from home nor from school. Panic!
We contacted Google Enterprise Support the next day and had an instant reply from Eibhin Martin. At least we felt supported.
There were questions to answer and we shared Eibhin into the spreadsheet.
Later, quite by chance, JS found that she had the document open in one of her hundred tabs or so which are habitually open on her computer, and we were able to see a version of the committee lists - phew!
Eibhin got back to us - not a good idea to edit spreadsheets formed from forms - corruption of either or both can be the result.
Lesson learned. We shall make a copy in future before messing with it...

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Changes to the CIS Accreditation Indicators

The Council of International Schools (CIS) has recently announced changes to the indicators for two of the accreditation standards in Edition 8.
Sharing here a presentation which I found useful to use to explain what these changes are - feel free to use.
There is such a cross-over between the "Access to Teaching and Learning" and "School Culture and Partnerships for Learning" sections in the new edition that it is difficult to separate them, and I think will create some concept problems in using the new protocols. Let's see.