Project Journal: A School System Implementing Computers in Schools

Introduction

Today’s project journal is a memory of being on the edge of a project to install computers and networks in a school system.

#100DaysofIndieWeb, #IndieWeb, #ProjectJournal, #ProjectManagement

Day 3 of 100

When I joined the Anne Arundel County Public Schools as a volunteer and then an Instructional Technology Support Technician shortly thereafter, they were in midway through a massive project to place networking and computers in the schools. I was not directly involved in the project, I helped the teachers and kids as they used the computers in the labs. I saw the results of the project including: routers, switches and network cabling,  to provide broadband to every school, computer labs with mostly enough computers for the classes, a standard set of software installed on the computers, a lab printer. All things we take for granted today.

In addition to that, the schools received a Netware 3.12 server, later on a Windows 2000 Server. Along with the Netware, the desktop computers all had a standard desktop for admin, teachers, and students with different access, software, and backgrounds and standard drive mappings using the group policy features of Windows and configuration files.

Though my job was to help the students and teachers, it was also to help maintain the lab to a point. Not as the hardware person and not as the network person. Maybe you could describe it as a junior network admin. 

From the first day, I logged in with my admin account and examined how everything worked. My exploration helped me to understand how all of it worked together to a point.

Results

One of the interesting things that I saw was orders of computer tables that were too short. And I don’t remember the project manager coming to inspect the delivery. Other than that I remember a lot of good people trying to make all of this work for the students.

The teachers had massive support for integrating computers into their curriculum. The local community college provided Train the Trainer (T3) courses in which the teachers were taught  Microsoft Windows 95, Microsoft Office, ClarisWorks, HyperCard, Oregon Trail, and a lot of other software that I have forgotten. 

The students and teachers received regular support in the computer lab.

Did it help improve test scores? I don’t know. 

Lesson Learned

As a project manager, have a Quality Assurance Plan. Be sure to inspect the deliveries or deliverables. Have a test plan.

Link: Project Journal: A School System Implementing Computers in Schools

Project Journal: A School System Implementing Computers in Schools


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