Tech Talk Live Blog

Adobe and Microsoft Resources for Teachers

Karen Oberly

One of the top questions we hear from schools subscribing to the Microsoft Enrollment for Education Solutions (EES) and Adobe Enterprise Term License Agreement (ETLA) is: “Where can we go to get resources for our teachers?” Both Microsoft and Adobe are committed to providing resources to their education customers in as many ways as they […]

Are We in a Post-PC Era?

Jessica Diller

Technology through the years has shown many stages of evolution, from the mainframe era in the 1970s to the PC era in the mid-1980s, reaching the Web 2.0 era that is more present today.   If technology has gone through so much evolution (a major shift about every ten years), the only conclusion is that there […]

Thank You from Tech Talk Live

Tim Laubach

I was hoping to write something witty, inspiring, or topical for our 150th celebratory blog post, but instead I think I will keep it to a simple thank you. To Our Blog Leaders: For those of you who are regular contributors to our blog, I wish to express my deepest gratitude.  Without individuals such as […]

Technology Budgeting 101 for School Districts

Jessica Diller

It is that time of the year when school districts are finalizing budgets and forecasting spending for the 2017-18 fiscal year. Unlike outside industry, schools have to plan for upcoming school years with many factors still up in the air, such as new administrations, budget impasses, new guidelines, and new legislature and policy changes. Schools […]

Check Your Pockets for a Data Breach

Nancy Morris

An article published in Infosecurity Magazine in 2016 reported that as many as 22,000 USBs are left at dry cleaners every year. Even worse, some 973 mobile phones are also absentmindedly left behind in pockets and handed in, the study found. For the past several years, security has been the #1 topic of interest to our audience […]

Internet of Things

Litty Kurian

“Your supply of washing liquid is at 20%, Please reorder now.” This was a text message a friend received one day while at work. You might be forgiven for thinking this was sent by his spouse or partner, but it turns out the message came from his washing machine. Welcome to the world of the […]

Encouraging Self-Motivation and Initiative in Your Department

Jessica Diller

Motivating staff can be difficult and encouraging them to be self-motivated is even harder.  The things that motivate you, might not be the things that motivate others. There are two main types of motivation: Intrinsic – because we want to Extrinsic – because we have to So how do we motivate staff to “want to” do […]

K-12 Academic FTE-Based Licensing Benefits

Karen Oberly

Each year more software companies are providing FTE-based licensing options to K-12 schools. This licensing option provides a means for schools to save money, simplify administration, and eliminate compliance worries while providing software for use across the entire school district. FTE stands for Full Time Equivalent and is based upon a formula to determine the […]

Evaluating Vendors and New Technology

Jessica Diller

As planning for the remainder of the school year and summer initiatives continue, districts have to make decisions on what new technologies to implement and what vendors to use.  There are many things that go into consideration when making these types of decisions.  Tech departments are not only tasked with looking at items such as […]

Gender Roles in Educational Technology

Nancy Morris

As a woman working in the field of educational technology for many years, it is interesting to me to watch the trends of people who have chosen this field.  Many years ago, both males and females were selected to be technology leaders in schools simply because they were “good with computers” or “knew how to […]

Robots Go to School

Geoff Craven

Well now that many schools are just getting back in session, it is time to revisit how we can utilize robot technology to enhance instructional opportunities for our students. Whether it is manufacturing or complicated surgical procedures, these devices are becoming more common place in our daily lives.  So it only makes sense that telepresence […]

Growth of Google and Chromebooks at Springfield

Randy McNally

Three years ago a plan was implemented to rewrite the grade 7 and 8 Social Studies and Science curriculums. As part of the plan, a “total digital” based resources would replace traditional books and workbooks. The idea was for each curriculum to include relevant resources. The curriculum would be more adaptable to current environmental changes […]

Celebrating 100 Posts

Nancy Morris

I am honored to be asked to write the 100th post for our Tech Talk Live blog.  It is hard to believe we have come this far! Since our very first blog post went live in May 2013, our mission has been to provide an online forum for learning and sharing information and experiences.  Our […]

Ten Tips to Get the Most Out of Your Tech Talk Live Experience

Jessica Diller

Tech Talk Live is right around the corner, and we are excited that you are attending. We know that IT is the backbone of all organizations, and getting away is never easy. We appreciate you taking the time to come and learn the latest in the technology realm while networking with your peers.  We want […]

Middletown’s Journey to 1:1

Darren DiCello

Middletown Area School District is a small, suburban school district located in Central Pennsylvania. We have approximately 2,400 students in three elementary buildings, one middle school, and one high school. We are 1:1 with iPads in grades 6-12 and have provided sets of 8 to each of our elementary grade level classrooms. Middletown Area School […]

Lessons Learned from the Trenches: Going 1:1 at Big Spring School District

Brandie Shatto

Big Spring School District is not a wealthy community.   In fact, it sits in the middle of sprawling farm land and mountains.  While we are not a bustling metropolis, we have long felt the need to ensure that our students have the same opportunities and access to information as students in any other part of […]

Cloud Anyone? Cloud-Based Asynchronous Collaborative Tools for Teachers and Students

Ken Zimmerman

While there are many cloud storage options available for educators these days including DropBox, Box, Amazon Cloud Drive, SpiderOak, Microsoft OneDrive, and Google Drivethe two major contenders  continue to be OneDrive/Office 365 and Google Drive. These two contenders have continued to add functionality and user ability to their service updates over the past few years. […]

Why Is Cyber Security Becoming So Important to School Districts?

Jessica Diller

Recently everywhere you turn you hear the term Cyber Security – in the news, at work, over the radio.  You get notification from your tech team, not to open certain emails or instructions on how to come up with stronger passwords to further protect your data.  Have cyber threats really risen or is it just […]

Using IT Staff to Empower Students

Ashleigh Jensen

For too long school IT staff members have been thought of as just the people who fix the computers and projectors in the classrooms so students can learn. Not any more. Through help from MOUSE Squad and their online curriculum, the Kuna School District (KSD) in Kuna, Idaho is using their IT team to help […]

DDoS Attacks Are Growing

Jessica Diller

Did you know that one out of three downtime incidents are attributed to DDoS attacks? Distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks occur when multiple compromised systems are used to target a single system causing a denial of service.  The attack is an attempt to make an online service unavailable by overwhelming it with traffic from multiple sources […]

Cyber Security – Keep Your Organization Safe

Jessica Diller

Cyber Security is such an important topic.  The news has been filled with different incidents, including the most recent Sony attack.  With data on thousands of students, including names, addresses, and Social Security numbers, it is no surprise that school districts, colleges, and universities face the same cyber security threats businesses and government agencies contend […]

Designing Online Professional Development Modules for Faculty and Staff

Emily Sanders and Lindsey Myers

WHY ONLINE AND BLENDED LEARNING? Online professional development is an excellent way to provide flexible and customized professional development opportunities for faculty and staff while at the same time modeling effective blended and online learning. Additionally, with more and more state mandates such as the Common Core standards, Student Learning Objectives, Teacher Effectiveness, and Pennsylvania […]

How to Deal with Team Conflict in Your IT Department

Jessica Diller

Individuals hear the word “conflict” and automatically assume that it is a negative process that must be avoided. That it indicates a malfunction within your team. While there are many instances when this may be true, conflict in your IT department can be a positive experience that will keep your team viable, self-critical, and creative. […]

Tech Talk Live 2015: Educational IT Professional Development at its Best

Jessica Diller

Tech Talk Live planning is well on its way, and we are so excited to announce some of the changes and some of the things ​that will stay the same.  Every year after the conference is over, we send out a survey to receive feedback. We use this feedback to improve our conference and to […]

E Rate 2.0: Big Changes on the Horizon

Aleck Johnson

​​Major changes in the rules for the much maligned and chronically underfunded E-rate program were passed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) this summer. These modifications will significantly change the application process of the program for local education agencies and libraries, and have longer-term budgetary implications.  Understanding these changes – and understanding how they will […]

Implementation of BYOD: Sayreville School District

Sandra Paul

Before implementing a BYOD/BYOT in the school district, the Sayreville District Technology Committee discussed how to provide more technology and access for students of the district without asking the public for a technology referendum and staying within the New Jersey budget cap of two percent. Economically, the community cannot afford to purchase a device per […]

Implementing 3D Printers in an Educational Setting

Don Dagen

Remember from last week’s blog that there are three categories of printers: Professional grade, $20,000 and up, Mid-level grade from $1,375 to $6,499, and DIY grade from $100 to $2,000. Most of my personal experience comes from the purchase of a Printrbot Simple roughly a year ago.  I have also worked at several companies that […]

3D Printing – What is All the Hype About?

Don Dagen

My first exposure to 3D printing was at Penn State Behrend (Erie, PA) as a student completing a BS in Mechanical Engineering way back in 1989.  Two local corporations (I believe LORD and GE Locomotive) had each pitched in $500,000 to purchase the million dollar Stereolithography 3D printer (a laser cures a liquid resin, growing […]

Essential Skills for K-12 Technology Leaders

Ed McKaveney

In the rapidly advancing world of ubiquitous technology use, there is no shorta​ge of need for technology expertise.  Changes over the past decade have seen chief innovation, privacy, and security officers added to the ranks of the more common Chief Information Officer (CIO) and Chief Technology Officer (CTO) positions.  For those looking to hire for […]

Thinking Like Teachers: Overcoming Lack of Buy-in From Faculty

Douglas Harvey

Sometimes it seems as if educators and technology staff in schools are speaking different languages. This is to be expected as the two roles come at a common goal – providing a quality educational experience for students – from somewhat different perspectives. The educator is in the classroom, dealing with students directly on a day-to-day […]

The Key to Information Security: Relentless Incrementalism

Kevin Beaver

Now that the 2014 Tech Talk Live conference is over and you have gotten your fill of IT and information security content, now is the time to keep up the inspiration and motivation. How to find out where you are weak and ensure things are kept secure is no longer a mystery. It is now […]

Determining the Responsibilities of IT in a BYOD Academic Setting

Jay Geater

Given the rise of the smartphone and tablet, it is unsurprising that technology has been getting into the hands of younger and younger children. There are myriad arguments for why the use of technology in education is a good idea, and many have already found effective ways to introduce parents and administrators to a BYOD […]

Download the TTL App

The TTL app allows you to completely customize your Tech Talk Live conference experience. Use the app to: Easily find our Conference Center Quickly check times on sessions you do not want to miss Customize your own conference schedule Find out who is exhibiting this year Stay informed with alerts about special events during the […]

Why Paint your PCs Green

Brian Pool

Okay, paint your PCs, no.  I am of course talking today about saving your school district money through the proper implementation of green IT practices.  The amount of money you can save for your district depends on where you are now, and where you are willing to go.  I always recommend technology coordinators keep a […]

Tech Talk Live Sponsors: Unique as our Attendees

Jessica Diller

This year Tech Talk Live turns 5 years old. I can’t believe how fast the time has gone and how much we have grown over the past several years.  Like our unique attendees, we also get a unique group of sponsors who support our conference.  While there are many technology vendors out there, it takes […]

A Tablet in Time

Kevin Schwartz

At some point, every school district either has, or will, contemplate some sort of 1:1 initiative for its students.  I find that it is particularly interesting to understand from where the impetus comes.  I think that it is often crucial to the outcome, as well.  At Clear Creek Independent School District, League City, Texas, our […]

Dealing with IT’s Outrageous Security Challenges

Kevin Beaver

Working in IT, you have no doubt seen a lot of changes over the past few years. It seems as if we have reached a place where applications, managed services, and related technologies have all taken a back seat to information security. Instead of the traditional approach of, “How can we make this technology work […]

The Litigation Process and Litigation Holds

Paul Billy

As a K20 technology professional you have a ton to worry about and support:  firewalls, filters, 1:1 initiative, BYOD, wireless, switches, networks, policies, procedures, professional development, and the list goes on and on. . . . But what happens when your K20 entity is suddenly involved in a lawsuit? How do you handle e-discovery, electronic […]

Join Us for Dinner & Meet the Keynote

This year we are trying something a little different at Tech Talk Live, and moving our keynote address to the evening dinner.  This is a first for us, but it was great for us to be able to add an extra five (5) sessions during the day. We believe attendees will really like this change. […]

Educating Educators . . . Keeping Teachers and Your Network Safe

Nancy Morris

IT professionals working in educational environments face unique challenges, one of which is maintaining network security. This is no small feat, considering the humans who use them. Schools have invested in security technology to protect information, putting in place firewalls, encryption, etc.  Many fail to address the human element.  People, like computers, store, process, and […]

Great Tips for Tech Talk Live Attendees

Jessica Diller

Tech Talk Live is a great two-day conference for IT professionals supporting education.  As an education service provider ourselves, our sole purpose for running this conference is to connect this unique group of professionals and to provide useful tools, tips, and tricks they can take back to their organizations.  We know that IT is the […]

Insights from a New Technology Director after One Year

Dustin Nikles

I became the technology director at Columbia Borough School District two weeks before the start of the 2012-2013 school year. Prior to this, I had spent three years doing application support with HERCO, seven years with Manheim Central School District doing system administration, and most recently seven months with 2K Networks as a systems engineer. […]

Opportunities for IT Warriors to Network with Peers

Nancy Morris

Those of you who are IT professionals working in education are warriors in a sense.  You are the technical gurus surrounded by educators.  Your day-to-day work involves keeping the network running, updating systems and servers, and maybe fixing a printer here and there. Many of you are the only tech person on staff or are […]

Preparing the School Culture for 1:1 Computing

Mark Diehl

How did you know your school was ready for a 1:1?  I am frequently asked this question by school districts investigating 1:1 initiatives.  I believe that every district has to determine its own state of readiness.  However, I think there are some key indicators along the way. Established culture of mobility Modeling behavior Encouraging innovation […]

BYOT or 1:1 or . . . both

June Garwin

For the next three weeks, our blog will focus on 1:1 Initiatives.  We will be sharing posts from guest contributors from three schools, one in Eastern Pennsylvania, one in Central Pennsylvania, and one in Minnesota.  Each will provide insight into best practices when considering the implementation of 1:1 Initiatives in your schools.  We welcome readers […]

Implementing a 1:1 Initiative – the Beginning

Don Garber

When the Pequea Valley School District decided to implement a 1:1 learning environment, the direction came from the educators, not the technologists. From the beginning, student learning improvement was the driving factor. This was the “why” which drove the “how” and the “what” of our initiative. We had many meetings to shape the overall direction […]

Keys to Writing and Executing a Good Technology RFP

Kevin Dellicker

Schools have many different tools at their disposal for purchasing technology goods and services, but one of the most cost-effective is the Request for Proposals, or RFP. A well-done RFP increases the chance of receiving quality bids from reputable vendors and can save schools lots of money.  So, how can a school execute a good RFP?  Following […]

The Reasons Why Connecting with Experts and Peers is Important to IT Professionals

Jessica Diller

Being IT professionals working in an educational setting can be very isolating as you spend most of your time putting out fires and reacting to crises in your organization.  How do IT professionals who support hundreds get support? With whom do they bounce ideas? Creating professional relationships is very important, especially in the IT field. […]

Technology Change: Evolution or Big Bang?

June Garwin

Evolution or Big Bang? That is a question that many technology directors ask themselves whenever they see a major technology change on the horizon, whether it is Bring Your Own Technology (BYOT) or 1:1 or iPads (yes, I know I am mixing theories from two different disciplines). The evolution route means planning a multi-year strategy […]

Planning For and Embracing BYOD for Meaningful Purposes

Mark McWhinnie

Wolf Creek Public Schools started their journey with BYOD in 2006 with junior high students in two district schools using personal devices to connect to a managed network of district-owned servers and infrastructure resources.  Since that time, we have learned many lessons around BYOD and extended this model to every school in the district, allowing […]

Legal Advice for Educational Technology Issues

Paul Billy

One to One Implementation, Bring Your Own Device, Social Media, Computer Forensics, Email Archiving, Document Retention, Cyber Bullying, Open Records Laws, Technology Policies and Procedures, and the list goes on and on. . . . What do all of these things have in common for a technology team? They share the need for legal advice […]

From Office to Classroom: How BYOD Flourished in the Education Sector

Reese Jones

IT professionals and members of the academia realize that the previous wave of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) has not yet ceased to become effective. While many businesses have been focusing more about big data and ‘the cloud’, the education sector embraced the BYOD concept, finding ways to make it optimal to a greater extent. […]

BYOD @ PTHS: Got Technology?

Emily Sanders and Lindsey Myers

The BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) initiative at Peters Township High School (PTHS) began with the support of teachers, students, and staff as a program to provide our students with the opportunity to personalize their learning, as well as support technology use in the classroom. Our IT department and building-level administration partnered to ensure that […]

Cyber Insurance

Paul Billy

As an Educational Service Agency (ESA), our data center hosts not only our own information but data from the school districts we support as well.  The types of data hosted by an ESA or Public School include: staff names, addresses, birthdates, Social Security numbers, and often bank account numbers in support of direct payroll deposit. […]

Bring IT: Successful BYOT in K12 Schools

Lisa Butler

Like any technology initiative, there is a huge amount of behind the screens work that takes place before it is ready for schools and teachers. Unlike other deployments, Bring Your Own Technology (BYOT) is not about imaging machines to be exactly the same. In fact, it is quite the opposite. You have to prepare the […]

Care and Feeding of Your Tech Staff

Paul Billy

One frequently overlooked area that is absolutely critical to the success of any district implementation of an Educational Technology project is the regular care and feeding of your districts’ behind the scenes technology staff. Whether you are implementing a one-to-one program, BYOD, or even just installing interactive white boards, there is usually significant technology infrastructure […]

Convince Your IT Manager

So you want to take advantage of the technology resources and networking opportunities offered at Tech Talk Live but are not sure how to convince your supervisor? Tech Talk Live has developed a tech friendly guide to help you demonstrate the return on investment and impact your attendance at Tech Talk Live will have on […]

Riding the Device Wave: Switching from Laptops to Tablets

Art Titzel

“We need technology in every classroom and in every student and teacher’s hand, because it is the pen and paper of our time, and it is the lens through which we experience much of our world.” –David Warlick Beginning with the 2013-2014 school year all eighth grade students at Hershey Middle School will be using […]

IT Project Management in an Educational Setting: Project Management by Sticky Notes!

Nancy Morris

Several years ago, we realized that our IT Department was notorious for starting projects and not finishing them.  We would have multiple projects going on at the same time.  When a new project idea came up, we would stop what we were doing and shift our attention to the new shiny object. I was sent […]

Cyber Security Institute Coming in the Spring of 2014

Paul Billy

If you have been watching recent news reports, cyber security is becoming a very hot issue. According to the department of Homeland Security, cyber security and hacking are currently the biggest threats facing our country.  These threats impact all levels of organizations from mom and pop stores, educational entities, Wall Street, Fortune 500 companies, and […]

Google, Moodle, and FlexBooks: A Winning Combination for Technology Rich Curriculum on a Dwindling Budget

Tammy Miller

Drastically slashed budgets, dwindling and aging resources, and changing curricular requirements are priority issues challenging many districts across the Commonwealth and the Chestnut Ridge School District is certainly not an exception. Chestnut Ridge is a small rural district located in beautiful Bedford County in central-western Pennsylvania. The district services a total student population of 1,648 […]

Virtual Professional Development

Jason Murray

Technology integration within the classroom continues to grow at an exponential rate. Teachers and administrators demand more integration, and soon the state’s observation rubric will require more technology integration in the classroom.  The paradigm shift in education involves teachers delivering content in new innovative techniques, which will help the students remember better and excel on […]

Bring Your Own Device . . . Twin Valley School District

Ken Gibson

We often look at the economic situation in the public school systems, and attach Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) programs to it and call it a solution to a financial problem. However, is this really the case, or was it an inevitability that simply happened coincidentally along with a financial crisis. Is BYOD a natural […]

Awesome Tech For Teachers Students and Staff

Carl Kishel

We’re (almost) live blogging Tech Talk Live from 2013.  Up next is Carl Kishel from Microsoft, covering Technology and Tools for Students, Teachers, and Staff. We are writing as we listen, so it may not be a perfect transcript. Tablets Carl explains that, in a classroom environment, tablets are useful as you can walk around the […]

Anytime-Anywhere Learning Program

Lotsie Wooten

The Eastern Lancaster County School District is in the process of implementing strategies to enhance the education of our students through our Anytime-Anywhere Learning (AAL) program. The AAL program is defined as a flexible and personalized educational program that integrates new instructional strategies and a mixture of technology tools with the goal of transforming classrooms […]


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