Tech Director Chat

By Ben Rimes

About this podcast   English    United States

A weekly chat with a K-12 Public School Technology Director about the trials, tribulations, and insider secrets of your school's technology department. The chats are unscripted, and meant to make the inner workings of an IT department less opaque.logo image - Tom Taker "Technology"
In this podcast

Tech Director Chat

Ben Rimes

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Feb. 6, 2018
This episode is short, sweet, and to the point. We had some excellent tech questions about one of the most essential elements of making technology work in schools; keeping it charged up! And we dove a bit into Tony's background at the Pentagon, lessons learned early in life, and we had our technological knowledge tested with details about the release of the very first iPhone from Apple.Timestamps for this week's questions:1:20 What has Tony been up to?3:22 What was the best thing that Tony learned from working in the Pentagon?5:31 Someone wants to know why the laptop carts don’t charge all of the laptops at the same time.7:37 Are student computers able to Airplay to the Apple TVs in the classroom?9:58 Stump Us!11:24 What year did the first iPhone debut?You can talk about the show or continue the conversations on Twitter using the hashtag #TechDirectorChat or chatting up Ben (@techsavvyed) on Twitter. Our professional Twitter accounts are Mattawan Learns and MCS Technology.
Jan. 22, 2018
We're back! Sort of! Ben is still alive and toiling away in central office, having picked up a few more tasks this year, but Pete has moved on to other challenges...specifically to Western Michigan University where he's now a Senior IT Muckity-Muck :)In this episode I welcome Tony Nuismer, our brand new Director of Information Technology to Mattawan Consolidated Schools, and the new voice behind the microphone. Tony has led a fascinating career and comes to us from a similar size district in the greater Kalamazoo area; and while he's no Pete, he does enjoy playing in a band outside of work, and he's just as nerdy when it comes to IT.Timestamps for this week's questions: 0:55 Wait, Pete has been replaced?!1:25 Where did Tony come from?7:23 What had Tony been up to today?7:45 There’s an Elvis impersonator in the district?!9:42 Phu wants to know, why don’t Netflix accounts work on the projectors at school?11:20 Joe Wang wants to know, what was the first song that Tony ever played?14:05 Stump Us!14:34 On “Saved By the Bell” what is the character A.C. Slater’s real name?You can talk about the show or continue the conversations on Twitter using the hashtag #TechDirectorChat or chatting up Ben (@techsavvyed) on Twitter. Our professional Twitter accounts are Mattawan Learns and MCS Technology.
May 8, 2017
Does technology work in the classroom? What's the deal with Chromebooks? Why does the Slack App hate Ben so much? Pete and I scratch the surface of how technology affects our daily habits and routines, or fails to affect it in some cases. We address questions about our older machines, getting teacher laptops updated, and wrap our brains around a tough "Stump Pete!" question about NHL arenas!Timestamps for this week's questions:0:58 What has Pete been up to?2:05 It’s time for teachers to update the OS on their laptops.3:07 Apple has now made all iLife and iWork apps free?!3:59 Do we ever sell the old Apple laptops or desktops?5:20 Our laptops are HOW old and still in service?6:15 Does the Technology Department need to be made aware of a laptop that’s extremely hot coming out of a cart?8:38 Ben wants to know, what’s the deal with Chromebooks?11:20 Why doesn’t the Tech Department use the Slack App anymore for inter-office communications?15:31 Pete wants to know, why can’t we make technology work in the classroom?18:16 Stump Pete!19:52 Erik wants to know, now that the Red Wings are moving to Little Ceasar’s Arena, how many NHL arenas are NOT named or sponsored after a company?You can talk about the show or continue the conversations on Twitter using the hashtag #TechDirectorChat or chatting up Ben (@techsavvyed) or Pete (@ppoggione) on Twitter. Our professional Twitter accounts are Mattawan Learns and MCS Technology.
March 21, 2017
Change is difficult. Choosing a new brand of toothpaste or finding a new dish at your favorite restuarant can be hard enough, but when you start talking about changing a school district's Student Information System (SIS) you can produce enough anxiety to make even the most laid back individuals frought with fear. And we're doing just that! We're currently in the middle of transitioning to PowerSchool, and there are a lot of really good questions coming from all corners of the school district. Pete and I address them as honestly as we can, and even make a few recommendations for teachers to prepare.We delve a bit into how the school district is responding to the Office of Civil Rights complaint that many districts have been issued in regards to website accesibility, and discuss what we can do to start making resources that teachers provide online more accesible by a wider range of learners. This is a conversation that we will definitely need to revisit in the future, and we will. For now, it feels a bit like trying to "eat an elephant." Plenty of other questions about bicycles, apps, and accordions round out the rest of the podcast.Timestamps for this week's questions:0:38 Pete forgets what he does for the school.1:29 What’s Pete been up to?2:05 What caused the great “Internet Outage” of 2017?2:55 Scott wants to know, how smooth will our district’s transition to Powerschool be?5:15 When is Powerschool supposed to be up and running?7:49 Bridgit wants to know about Science Apps.10:47 Nancy wants to know, with the current uptick in website compliance for individuals with disabilities, should teachers be trained on how to comply with this?17:13 Can para-professionals be given technology to help with instructional needs?18:13 Is there a person in the district that can assist with technology related grants?19:10 Nick wants to know, when is Pete buying a “fat tire” mountain bike?20:03 Stump Pete!21:05 Nick wants to know, how many keys does an accordion have?You can talk about the show or continue the conversations on Twitter using the hashtag #TechDirectorChat or chatting up Ben (@techsavvyed) or Pete (@ppoggione) on Twitter. Our professional Twitter accounts are Mattawan Learns and MCS Technology.
Feb. 3, 2017
Thanks for all of the great questions submitted this time around. A lot of good technical and troubleshooting questions about Apple TVs prompted some good conversation about a few of the policies we have in place, and why we have to put passcodes on them for airplay mirroring. For those that don't have restrictions activated for an Apple TV in a school setting, you should definitely make sure that happens. Pete and I go over a social media policy that our district has in place, and then we spend quite a bit of time pondering about the future of Google Classroom, why it (likely) won't ever become a full-blown LMS, and why we continue to push its use in our district. Follow all that up with an opportunity to "stump Pete" and I'd call this one full podcast.Timestamps for this week's questions:1:48 What has Pete been up to?2:26 We’re getting ready to move to Powerschool?3:04 Wait, what did Ben call Pete?4:42 Nicole wants to know, why doesn’t my Apple TV ask for a passcode when using Airplay?5:36 Does the Apple TV “time out” for mirroring?6:49 Tony wants to know, why is my Apple TV not mirroring my computer?8:01 Ben asks the infamous IT support question…8:40 Does the district have a policy regarding social media interaction between students and staff?10:44 Someone wants to know about sharing settings and access of documents via Google Classroom.13:12 Pete asks Ben, when will Google Classroom be a full blown Learning Management System (LMS)?16:15 Pete wants to know, why would our district be spending time pushing Google Classroom?18:07  Stump Pete!19:20 JW wants to know, why did it take so long for “Journey” to get into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame?You can talk about the show or continue the conversations on Twitter using the hashtag #TechDirectorChat or chatting up Ben (@techsavvyed) or Pete (@ppoggione) on Twitter. Our professional Twitter accounts are Mattawan Learns and MCS Technology.
Nov. 28, 2016
Interested in listening to Ben and Pete ramble on for far too long about what the future of technology looks like? No? Well then, this episode isn't for you :)We tackle a few questions about speakers, feedback, apps on student devices, tricky 1:1 scenarios, and a lengthy birdwalk into the future of technology. Halloween costumes and tetrachords round out this episode.Timestamps for this week's questions:1:36 What has Pete been up to?3:05 Chris wants to know, how do I lower the high-pitched sound coming from my classroom speakers?5:27 Can teachers change settings or add apps on student laptops?8:55 A listener wants to know, what technology should I be learning about to keep up with students?12:30 Ben is still rambling on about predicting technology five years in the future.15:00 Seriously, this is a REALLY long birdwalk of a question.15:48 Jeremy from Twitter wants to know, what’s the best 1:1 computing program for a High School where “take home” is NOT an option.19:21 Someone wants to know where Ben got his Captain America Halloween costume.21:02 Stump Pete!22:26 Can you give the definition of a tetrachord, and can you name a piece of music that uses one?You can talk about the show or continue the conversations on Twitter using the hashtag #TechDirectorChat or chatting up Ben (@techsavvyed) or Pete (@ppoggione) on Twitter. Our professional Twitter accounts are Mattawan Learns and MCS Technology. 
Oct. 24, 2016
It's probably safe to say that anyone willing to take on the job responsibilities of Information Technology Director for a school district needs to have a touch of insanity. The ability to juggle upgrading networks, managing repairs teams, and even getting your hands dirty when there's no one else to do the job can be a daunting task. So it's nice that Pete is willing to share a bit of his insanity with us :)Timestamps for this week's questions: 2:29 What has Pete been up to?3:25 Can we forgive Pete?3:55 JW wants to know, what drives you insane about being a Technology Director?5:25 Does Ben help keep Pete sane?6:33 Why do people keep getting a notice about Neo Office?7:24 How can a staff member connect to the new MCS 2016-2017 Wireless?8:23 Pete advice for restarting your laptop (at school) at least once a week.10:00 Hey Pete, what is the single most important things users can do to keep their machine running smoothly?12:58 Stump Pete!14:38 How many teeth does an adult giraffe have?You can talk about the show or continue the conversations on Twitter using the hashtag #TechDirectorChat or chatting up Ben (@techsavvyed) or Pete (@ppoggione) on Twitter. Our professional Twitter accounts are Mattawan Learns and MCS Technology.
Oct. 7, 2016
Wow, it's been a long summer for the Mattawan Consolidated Tech Department! Bond construction, total audio/video upgrades for the Middle School and High School, and the refurbishment and cleaning of machines all around the district have kept us all busy. Pete and Ben attempt to answer a heap of technical questions in this first episode of the school year, and are looking forward to settling into a more normal routine now that major construction is over.Timestamps for this week's questions:1:00 The answer to life, the universe, and everything.1:52 What has Pete been up to?3:45 Wait, Pete gets nervous about visiting classrooms?6:01 JW wants to know, did Pete get any sleep this summer?8:17 A teacher wants to know, will metallic or magnetic necklaces or jewelry affect the teacher microphones?9:17 A strange loud static sound always occurs for a brief moment when connecting my laptop tot he new A/V stations. What’s up with that?11:53 A teacher wants to know, can they change their password for Infinite Campus, our student information system?16:07 Someone wants to know, why does my computer keep locking up?17:45 If you haven’t restarted your computer lately, you probably should (at least once a week).19:23 Stump Pete!19:50 JW wants to know, how many notes in the opening of Metallica’s “Enter Sandman”?You can talk about the show or continue the conversations on Twitter using the hashtag #TechDirectorChat or chatting up Ben (@techsavvyed) or Pete (@ppoggione) on Twitter. Our professional Twitter accounts are Mattawan Learns and MCS Technology.
May 2, 2016
This week Pete and Ben explore a growing question in the realm of educational technology; the role of pedagogy, and how it relates to technological change. Special thanks to Todd from Twitter for asking us the great question about trying to stay current with technology that prompted the discussion, and for the thoughtful educators that I get to work with everyday that understand the importance of balancing the needs of students and the classroom with the abilities of technology. We also address a number of district questions including how we're moving beyond our "Wifi Bus" pilot to expand Internet access to other busses, document camera compatibility for the new Mattawan Instructional Technology Stations the High School and Middle School will be receiving next year, and Pete gets another shot at answering some stump-worthy questions.Timestamps for this week's questions:1:15 How awesome is Pete’s day so far?2:50 Will teachers be able to easily connect document cameras to the new technology workstations for the high school and middle school next year?5:40 Todd from Twitter wants to know, how do you keep current with the ever changing nature of technology?8:53 Ben admits that he doesn’t keep current with all technology.11:30 Ben ponders if keeping current on pedagogy is better than keeping current on technology.12:19 Is there any news on the busses with wifi?13:43 We ran across some issues with internet miscreants bringing the school’s internet to its knees, unintentionally.15:42 Future plans for bus purchases with wifi.18:22 Stump Pete!19:24 JW wants to know, what is Pete’s home improvement project for the new home?You can talk about the show or continue the conversations on Twitter using the hashtag #TechDirectorChat or chatting up Ben (@techsavvyed) or Pete (@ppoggione) on Twitter.
April 18, 2016
It's the second week back from Spring Break, M-STEP testing is in full swing, and Pete and Ben drone on about wireless networks, poorly shapen metaphors, and stuffed animals. If that's not a podcast worth listening to, what is? We do get a chance to address some of the ongoing Apple TV issues that have plagued our network, although we have made some significant improvements, we help out with a question involving recovering files with Crashplan, and Pete is fully stumped once again with a question about his favorite Icelandic musician.Oh, and if you're curious about following piggie's adventures (listen to the podcast for that to make sense), you can check them out on Ben's Instagram account.Timestamps for this week's questions:0:55 Pete is confused about how we open the podcast1:32 What has Pete been up to?3:07 Will the new schools have designated places for technology to be stored?4:55 What information do the occupancy sensors provide, and what do they cost?7:30 Kevin wants to know if he can recover previously deleted iMovie project files.9:00 What’s up with the Apple TVs?10:22 The Tech Department turns into an 80s arcade11:00 Ben attempts to ruin Pete’s explanation of our wireless network.15:45 Someone wants to know why Ben always has a little stuffed pig with him.20:15 Stump Pete!22:02 What was Bjork’s first band?You can talk about the show or continue the conversations on Twitter using the hashtag #TechDirectorChat or chatting up Ben (@techsavvyed) or Pete (@ppoggione) on Twitter.

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