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Technology Vision
Instructor: Mark Lamson   
The Westerly Public School vision is for technology to become an ubiquitous tool for learning, similar to what pen and paper are today. It is integrated into every facet of daily learning and instruction. It is pervasive.  Pervasive technology is exemplified by the mindset to seamlessly select the appropriate tool to facilitate learning and instruction.  What technology is not, and will never be, is a replacement or a substitute for great teachers and instruction.

Welcome to the Westerly Public Schools Technology Department. The Director of Technology is Mr. Mark G. Lamson.  The department services approximately 4000+ users and over 3000+ computers/peripherals distributed throughout 8 buildings district wide. The current infrastructure is made up of a high speed network that consists of both wired and wireless technologies interconnecting all district buildings.
 

 
Announcements
Technology Newsletter Volume 1 Issue 4
January 25, 2017 Technology Newsletter
December Tech Newsletter
November's Technology Newsletter
Connect 2 Compete
High‐speed Internet service is no longer a luxury good. It has become an essential tool for succeeding in school. Teachers are increasingly incorporating digital tools in the classroom to enhance learning, assigning online homework and using email to communicate with parents and post grades online.

Westerly Public Schools is partnering with Connect2Compete and Cox to bring our families online. The program offers families with K‐12 students high‐speed Internet service for just $9.95 a month. If you have at least one child receiving free school meals from Westerly Public Schools and have not had Cox Internet service for 90 days, please visit www.connect2compete.org/cox or call toll free 1‐855‐222‐3252 for more information. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to connect your family with the Internet in your home!
Westerly Public Schools Defeats Threats with iBoss

Westerly Public Schools Defeats Threats with iBoss

Threats to computer networks are ever lurking – which is exactly why organizations need robust platforms in place to protect against malware and identify suspicious activity taking place on their network. In particular, school districts face constant vulnerabilities due to the sheer number of users accessing their networks, often from unmanaged and vulnerable devices. In addition to district-owned devices, a sizable number of personal devices are also equally vulnerable. The origins of these threats typically have roots in the multiple types of devices running various operating systems and applications.

That’s why Mark Lamson, director of technology for Westerly Public Schools and his team turned to the iBoss APT solution, or the Advanced Persistent Threat module, to take a proactive approach to monitoring for malware on their networks. APT seamlessly scans traffic for suspicious activity without introducing latency and alerts technology staff should suspected malware activity be observed. This allows the District to effectively identify and mitigate the spread of a malware infestation before it becomes a widespread problem. The best part is the iBoss APT module operates in the background of the network, quietly isolating threats often missed anti-virus by software without intruding upon daily workflows.

How does it do this? It uses sophisticated algorithms to analyze bytes in/out, as well as the number of connections, changes in packet quantity and source/destination information to help identify compromised systems on the network. The in-depth scanning actually adds no latency as all traffic is monitored in real time and provides complete visibility into all UDP/TCP ports. This is particularly helpful when malware tries to masquerade as legitimate traffic (such as DHCP, DNS, etc.).

The threat of malware is well understood by industry leaders. “Today’s threat landscape is extremely advanced as motivated attackers continue to evolve their tactics to outmaneuver existing security solutions, utilizing non-standard ports and protocols for malware and data exfiltration,” said Paul Martini, CEO, iBoss Cybersecurity. “Organizations must have technology in place to mitigate loss if and when a network is compromised.”

Other components of the Westerly Public Schools iBoss APT solution include sandboxing features that can automatically intercept suspicious file downloads, securely scan them and report back if the file posed a risk. The sandboxing is done in the cloud, isolated from the organization’s network, so if the file is dangerous, it doesn’t have the opportunity to infiltrate the network.

Quickly dispersing threats and doing so without so much as a keystroke – that’s how Westerly Public Schools keeps its systems running safely and efficiently at all times. For more information on how your organization can benefit from an iBoss solution, contact OSHEAN today.

One New Thing In Your Classroom
WordPress workshop at New England Institute of Technology

WordPress workshop at New England Institute of Technology


EAST GREENWICH — New England Institute of Technology will host the WordPress WordCamp RI workshop Sept. 25 and 26 at its East Greenwich campus, at One New England Tech Blvd.

WordPress originated in 2003 as a blogging platform and has grown to be the largest self-hosted blogging tool, used by millions of websites globally. At the WordCamp RI, experts will discuss best practices for using a WordPress site, with presentations suited to attendees new to website development and blogging, as well to experienced app developers. Admission includes entrance for both days of the conference, lunch, refreshments, a WordCamp T-shirt, and reception. To register, visit rhodeisland.wordcamp.org/2015/tickets/. Attendees may bring their laptops and receive assistance with their WordPress sites.

On Sept. 26, seminars throughout the day will cover topics such as adapting a WordPress site to various needs by doing your own coding, making your website mesh with your business needs, and breaking down the components of WordPress and how you can use them.On Sept. 25, there will be three seminars: “WordPress Setup and Installation,” “Getting To Know Sass to Become a Stronger, More Efficient Front End Developer,” and “How You Can Contribute to the WordPress Core Functions.” The program Hours are 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. with registration starting at 8 a.m.

Aaron Ware, president of the Linchpin marketing agency in Pawtucket, is co-organizer of WordCamp RI.

Douglas H. Sherman, senior vice president and provost at New England Tech, said: “Since WordPress is an integral part of the college’s Associate in Science and Bachelor of Science degree programs in graphics, multimedia and Web design, we are very pleased to host WordCamp RI.”

For more information call Ware at 401-305-5228 or visit rhodeisland.wordcamp.org/2015/contact/.

New England Institute of Technology is a private, nonprofit technical college with an enrollment of more than 3,000 students. Founded in 1940, it is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges Inc.

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WPS Google Apps for Education Information
We are excited to announce that Westerly Public Schools will soon move its email and calendar platform from Microsoft Exchange to Google Apps. With Google Apps, we'll gain the benefits of a robust and innovative feature set, the ability to access email and calendar services from any Internet-connected computer, much more storage capacity, and lower infrastructure and support costs. What's more, Google Apps is easy to use, and we think you'll find it to be a more efficient way to manage your email and calendar!
To help you with our move to Google Apps, we've arranged for training during the first two days of Professional Development. We will also provide live training through the Tech Liaisons in your building, as well as online training sessions for you.
The Technology Department will also be working with building principals to schedule some time on how to utilize Google to get things done during CPT/Staff Meetings.
For your convenience, we'll also record some of the training sessions and publish them on our website. You will also be able to contact your tech liaison or the helpdesk to schedule additional training.
In the coming weeks, you'll receive additional announcements as we begin switching employees' email accounts to Google Apps. But don't worry, you won't lose important data, and your email address won't change.
Should any staff member require assistance they should contact the helpdesk by calling 401-315-1550 (or ext 1550), or submit a ticket via the website. http://helpdesk.westerlyps.org
We have been collecting some excellent training materials and will continue to add more as the year goes on: https://sites.google.com/a/westerly.k12.ri.us/googleapps/
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Help Desk Phone Assistance
We in the Technology Department are pleased to announce our Help Desk phone system. For immediate concerns that need to be addressed, call the hot-line 401-315-1550. For all other matters, please continue to fill out a help desk ticket. We hope that this hot-line will better serve the district in meeting the more immediate needs of our staff.
Commissioner’s Field Memo regarding Online Safety
At WPS student safety is our first priority.  As concerned adults in the lives of Westerly students, it’s important that we educate ourselves so we can provide timely, age-appropriate guidance and resources.  The RI Commissioner of Education shared the following links regarding online safety and we would like to share them with you.

http://www.ride.ri.gov/Portals/0/Uploads/Documents/FieldMemos/080213-FM.pdf#page=4

Lessons Worth Sharing from TED-Ed
Alan November's Learning videos on Vimeo
Parent Guide to Online Life by Kathy Schrock
Bring Your Own Device
An example of students using their own devices to work on a project in the Middle School Media Center.

Westerly Technology Featured on Smart Planet Blog
Recently an Blog Entry / Article @ SmartPlanet by noted tech journalist Heather Clancy featured Westerly Public School's innovative use of technology and the Pano Logic zero-client solution.  More information and a link to the article can be found here.
Web Pages
Technology Files
 BYOD.pdf
District Bring Your Own Device
 Responsible Use.pdf
District Responsible Use Policy
 Technology Protocol for Software Deployment.pdf
Technology Procedure for Software Requests
Department Contacts
+ Buck, Ryan
+ Dolce, Ryan
+ Emard, Tia
+ Jervis, Andrew
+ Lamson, Mark
+ Messier, Kim
+ Michalak, Jeff
+ Sujka, Michael
Click on name to see details.
Discussion Topics
Blog Entry Lamson, Mark: VMWORLD PRESENTATION, MAKING THE GRADE K12 Posted: Thursday, October 8, 2009 at 12:12 AM Discuss
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