Working at KiS: Monday

Over the past few months, I have had coworkers, family, and friends all ask what I do everyday. That is one of the hardest questions that I have to answer, because during my day, I do a wide range of things that run the spectrum from between technology, teaching, and administration. The next few blog posts (hopefully one a day) are going to walk you through a week in my life and how each day is a different and constantly changing. Now, there is no time like the present, lets dive right in to Monday.

On Monday mornings, I start work with a 45 minute session called C++ (Coffee, Computers, and Conversation). I was running a bit behind today and decided to stop for coffee on the way to my office and picked up some breakfast as well (a “pick-up” breakfast means Gimbab – similar to a California roll and an Americano- drip coffee is hard to find). C++ is designed to give members of the Staff an opportunity to voice their concerns and ask for training. I consider that time on Monday morning to be my open office hours. Faculty members are encouraged to stop by on Monday and get help with any technology issue they are having or just chat with members of the IT Staff. This morning, I had one Teacher in the office asking me to help him with his online banking. It sounds ridiculous, but online banking here is like breaking into Fort Knox. The staff tends to joke around that Korean banks prevent internet banking fraud by preventing internet banking. As an example: in order to transfer money to the states, we have to input 3 separate passwords and pin numbers, download a spyware detecting software program, and use a security certificate that we download onto a USB. For the technically deficient, it can be a struggle just to log into the system and see their accounts. After a few minutes, I got the teacher into the system and transferring money. When my session ended, I grabbed a cup of coffee and headed to my office (next door). You can see my office in the picture below:

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When I got into the office, I had an eighth grade student waiting for me. I had gotten an email on Friday about a student who broke our technology policy while in the Dorm. He was required to come to the IT Office and turn in his Macbook for discipline. After a short conversation with the student, a log sheet, and some consequences, the student left and went to class. Finally taking a moment to breath, I talked really quickly with my two office mates – Matthew and William and we chatted about their weekends. They were both bummed because the Business Baseball team lost this weekend (they both play on the team) and they jovially blamed me for losing since I could not make it to the game. After our short by engaging conversation, I had a great slew of issues to deal with. Rather than include all of them in a narrative, I am going to bullet them for simplicity.

  • I had a new student come in who needed to be setup with a new Macbook, access to his Gradebook, Gmail, and Class Websites, as well as a short discussion about the Technology Use policy.
  • A Teacher came in to get help with setting up a new iPad and how to use it with the systems we have in place.
  • A Counsellor emailed me to change several students names in our School Information System, and inquire about why she did not have access to scheduling – all of which I fixed.
  • Another Teacher emailed to find out why he had extra students on his roster and I informed him that he would meet them today since they were new students.

All of that work, and I was roaring to get some work done by 9:30am. On to my second cup of coffee, and another student walked in asking for some technology help because his computer would not connect to the wifi. Solution: restart the computer. Our students do not realize that computers are not designed to be on 24×7 and some of them will go months before they shutdown their computer. After a quick reboot his computer was working great and he was on his way to class.

Now, with only 15 minutes to spare before the Leadership Team meeting, I started to dig into my email from the weekend. We are in the process of working out a pilot to become the first Evernote School, so I sent off some correspondence with the Evernote reps. I am also working with a number of Learning Management Systems (course websites) for teachers to use and one of solutions is using iTunes U from Apple. It has taken them more than 10 days (even though they publicly say five) and I still have not heard about our submission for a Public iTunes U Page. To speed things along, I sent off another email asking for more information.

A quick bathroom break and I dove right into the Leadership meeting… One of the many things that I have learned, over many meetings, is that when they schedule me for 1/2 hr, I should plan on attending the entire morning. This morning, we covered another large range of issues in my 90minute long 30minute session:

  • Purchasing an Evernote Premium Academic Subscription for the school to standardize our note-taking school wide.
  • Updating our Progress report and Transcript reports to show standards based grades.
  • Creating a new LMS using WordPress (with some very cool integrations from Woothemes).
  • Integrating a 1:1 iPad program for Grades 2-4.
  • Using iPads for Administration, Technology Integration, and Physical Education school-wide.
  • Purchasing School Cell-Phones for groups that are traveling.

After the long but productive meeting, I ran about 20 feet to my office. When I got there, it was about 11:50am and I was just sitting down to do a little work! My Mondays just fly by! As soon as I sat down, more students came into the office, and  I helped three students who were having computer trouble. Finally, after all morning of running around tike the proverbial chicken, I sat down and began the process of creating our LMS and I installed a number of features on our new WordPress site to allow teachers to create and manage their own pages. Then lunch happened… It sneaks up on me more than I would like to admit. I tend to eat late lunches (around 12:45pm or so).

Our school lunches are always great! We are always given two options, Korean and Western menu’s and today I chose Western. Chicken in an anchovy sauce over rice with sautéed pumpkin… yum!

Feeling refreshed, I returned to the office. Luckily, my 2pm cancelled and I had some time to just relax and settle into some work. This afternoon, I spent some time working to edit our report card templates. The report cards are written in a Object Reporting language that makes you define large numbers of characteristics in a somewhat counter intuitive way. After fiddling with what my predecessor has left me, I finally managed to get some good changes in place that would simplify my work over the coming year.

Anther hour is whiled away at my desk and I get a popup that tells me I have a 3pm meeting with one of the Counsellors. I run up to her office and start talking about making changes to the system and getting her more training and information. Just as we end our meeting, the end of the day bell rings, and I am headed back to my office.

A whirlwind of a day, but one that keeps me busy and on my toes.

 

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