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Google Summit

Over this past weekend I attended a Google Summit in Grand Forks.  The purpose of this is to show different ways google’s offerings can be used in the classrooms.  It isn’t limited to just google products though, they did show some other tools as well.  I was primarily interested in how to deploy and manage google’s offerings in an efficient and effective manner.  There were a couple of sessions that were right on point with that, especially one given by Mitch Dowhower.  This dude works for AmplifiedIT and works with school districts all over the nation migrating them to a google environment.  Essentially that means moving your mail over to your google domain, and syncing up an internal directory system with google so passwords would be the same across both your internal network (logging in to a school computer) and logging in to your school issued google account.  I had looked at that about a year ago, but we were not in a position to attack that.  I was just putting together a directory system.  At this point it is something we could look at, but I’d have to allow changing passwords on the network…which is something I currently do not allow.  I don’t want to mess with keychain related support calls constantly.  I could have listed to this guy talk for quite a bit longer.  He had lots of good information and it was all presented well.

One of the presentations I did not dig on was “best practices for 1:1 deployment”.  I was looking forward to attending this session.  I found it lacking in that the presenter did not seem adequately prepared, and he was not of a technical mind.  It was a short presentation that didn’t really enhance my understanding of locking down machines.  That was kind of a shame.  What I did come away with out of this session is that lots of people do not really understand CIPA.  There were a few there that said they send devices home with students with no content filtering at all.  The idea was “the parents can be responsible for what their children see”.  In theory, I completely agree with that…but in practice things start to fall apart.  Some parents might have no concept of the things available to their child on the internet, and now we are giving the child a vehicle by which they can see things and interact with other people in a manner neither the child nor the parent is necessarily prepared for.  If we are issuing the device, we do have a little bit of responsibility for what that device is able to access.  The parent also has some responsibility as well.  From our side, I believe we need to make sure that device goes through a content filter.  From the parent side, it needs to be understood that no content filter works for everything and they will still need to monitor both what the child is looking at, and the hours of the day they are using the device.  I would go one step further, in that I’d offer a clinic at the school where the parents can see how the devices work, see what our filters are set at and ask some questions.

The session that did pleasantly surprise me was the keynote Saturday morning.  It was delivered by Rushton Hurley.  Instead of trying to describe it, I’ll link a video.  It’s about 40min long, but IMO well worth watching.

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