THE AMERICAN INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL IN CYPRUS
TECHNOLOGY STRATEGIC PLAN FOR 2012 – 2015

Prepared by:
Georgios Mousouros, AISC IT Director
May 2012

Executive Summary

AISC has achieved a great deal in technology especially in the area of the Student Information System (SIS) and Portal over the past year. Although the system is not complete yet, and the Financial Module is not ready for the Business Office to start using it, we need to build and enhance our infrastructure for use of digital resources and web delivery in order to create efficiencies where possible.

The past year also saw an increase in wireless devices and moving to integrated classrooms with data projectors and interactive smart boards. AISC will soon become a smart showcase school and will open its doors to the community. In order to be successful in the classroom, faculty and staff is critical to the overall successful implementation of this technology.

Building upon this success, the 2012-2015 Technology Strategic Plan defines new technology tools and innovative methods for enhanced learning and improved administrative efficiency. This is a huge step towards a more qualitative rather than quantitative approach that other schools might be taking at this time. We must use technology to promote creativity, collaboration and problem solving and truly transform our educational institution.

Moving forward this year, it is very important to communicate effectively and efficiently with the members of our community. Faculty, staff and students can be viewed as our internal customers and parents as our external customers. It is important to maximize our efforts towards our external customers by inviting them to take part in technology events.

  • Is available and accessible from everywhere
  • Is used to enhance learning opportunities for students
  • Provides the tools necessary to become more efficient
  • Is used in ways that is meaningful

Mission Statement

To provide the best possible customer service and highest quality technology-based systems, in a cost-effective manner, to support the school’s mission and goals for teaching and learning as they apply to ASIC community and their educational experience needs.

Vision Statement

To achieve our goals we need to embrace new technologies and implement advanced academic and administrative systems. Achieving this vision will require extensive collaboration and partnering among technology, administrative and academic units.

Our vision at its core has the following objectives:

  • Support of the school’s mission through adaptive and innovative use of information technology.
  • Empowerment the AICS community through access of information and tools needed for successful performance as workers, teachers, learners, managers, planners, leaders and decision-makers.
  • Support the broadening of AISC educational courses, programs, and resources to students through the use of a variety of distance learning technologies and delivery means.
  • Extend cost-effective and user-friendly technologies to all members of the AISC community on-site and off-site.
  • Acquire and establish new, cost-effective information technologies to keep AISC as contemporary and competitive as possible.
  • Provide a highly reliable infrastructure and set of computer-based administrative, teaching, learning and research tools to meet the ever-growing needs of the AISC staff and faculty.
  • Provide both general and specialized technical support for those using information technologies.
  • Optimize the use of existing and planned investments in systems and technology.
  • Protect information resources and systems from illegal access and use.
  • Communicate and collaborate better and efficiently through the use of technologies.
  • Integrate technologies across all content areas.
  • Engage students through enhance learning, presentations and use multimedia tools in every course and classroom.

Strategies to do more with less

AISC Technology Solutions will strategically attempt to reduce the impact of use of contemporary and emerging technology options to reduce the AISC operational budget. These techniques include evaluating open source software (Joomla/Drupal, Linux, Tomcat, Apache, uPortal, etc.); server virtualization (VMware, etc.).

AISC will continue to weigh these and other options when contracts or equipment upgrade cycles come up for renewal. Each solution is analyzed to truly calculate a savings or other benefit to be realized by making a switch. Another project initiated in 2012 that attempts to provide the campus with the most affordable solution where applicable is the website hosting services and yearly cost we currently occur.  The initial solution will be determined and recommended to administration and virtualization options will be further explored.

Keys to success

The success on technology depends on and it is not limited to the following key factors:

  • AISC Technology Solutions team building is necessary
  • Focus on IT strengths and improve weaknesses
  • Investigate the financial expense vs. current results
  • Perform pedagogical, technical and operational needs assessments often and keep faculty and staff on track on the technologies
  • Create efficiencies through internal business processes
  • Employee training and growth
  • Student participation and involvement in decision making and shaping of technology.

Technology Plan

Part A. How the plan was implemented

The Technology Strategic Plan was developed based on a thorough needs assessment that took place in April 2012. The evaluation was performed by the new IT Director, Georgios Mousouros; the findings are included in Part B. Current state of technology and resources.

Part B. Current state of technology and resources

AISC Technology Solutions currently is working on integrating the SIS module. The Financial module is not yet ready and there are a lot of issues with the system that take most of the group’s time.

Efficiency issues where discovered in all areas of IT, including simple first line technical support to faculty and staff. It is important to provide support efficiently in order to be able to work on the projects and do research on new technologies that can benefit the school.

The server room setup poses a huge security risk since the room is left unlocked and unsupervised throughout the day. The network cables are not tagged and the cable management in not up to server room code.

Overall, the school is functioning at a level where changes have to be made in order to better support faculty, staff and students. The Part C. Goals and objectives section along with Part E. Plan Timeline summarize how we are planning on becoming a better technology school and achieve our mission and vision.

Part C. Goals and objectives to achieve Mission and Vision

1.Technology for School Administrative Support

  • Create faculty, staff expectations to use SIS, email, portal etc. Improve digital skill literacy; it’s a daily part of all job expectation.
  • Integrate single sign-on for existing and new online technology tools.
  • Provide appropriate and adequate support for administration and communicate better on technology projects and tasks.
  • Use of annual and semi-annual assessments for what the community needs in regards to training and development.
  • Integrate one easy location for document collaboration in order to reduce paper and email communication.
  • Increase functionality of our systems, best business practices and business intelligence for data analysis on variables that impact student achievement.

2. Technology for Professional Development

  • Every member of the community should have adequate, on demand, just-in-time professional development training.
  • Use of technology for professional tasks
  • A centralized, web based storehouse of information in order for staff to do their jobs more efficiently and effectively.

3. Increase/Improve Technology access for faculty, staff, students and families

  • Continue to develop and maintain current and new systems.
  • Make information and services easily accessible from anywhere.
  • Expect levels of technical competence from staff and a plan for training to be developed and implemented.
  • Ensure adequate technical support and require ongoing training as part of the job description.
  • Continue to develop strategies for faculty, staff and students to be trained in using technology tools.
  • Make training available to parents so they can assist students and communicate with the school.
  • Continue to improve and update hardware and software.
  • Multimedia enhancements and use of smart boards in every classroom.

4. Technology as a tool for parental involvement and communication

  • Setup events for presentations such as Mobile Security.

5.Online learning

  • Promote and market online training to faculty and staff.
  • Evaluate and research the ability to offer online curriculum (i.e Rosetta Stone, IB online courses) to students and families.

Part D. Plan instructions

The plan is set for the 2012-2015 school year with implementation and testing stating during summer 2012. During this year we will reevaluate the plan and adjust some of the tasks to better reflect a more appropriate timing.

Part E. Plan timeline

Ongoing Activities

  • Provide technical support for faculty, staff and students.
  • Provide training opportunities for faculty, staff and students.
  • Maintain current hardware such as servers, workstations, network, desktops, laptops, projectors, smart boards etc.
  • Maintain current software.
  • Maintain and collaborate on SIS issues with Interconnect and continue working on the bug fixes schedule.

School Year 2012-2015

Administrative

  • Assemble an IT Committee to further help with technology in education and receive feedback and recommendations.
  • Show the technology presence on the AISC website by creating a new ‘Technology’ tab on the front page and creating a technology website demonstrating how AISC helps students excel in education through technology.
  • Show the technology presence with an extranet for parents and students.
  • Integrate an online forms system.
  • Integrate an online calendar system.

Security

  • Implement a better logical security such as minimum requirements for passwords generated. Expiration of passwords should also be considered.
  • Implement a better physical security in the server room including a housing or separate room for the server, access logs and locked doors. Review and recommend appropriate physical changes to server room. Also all network cables need to be labeled appropriately.
  • Request an upgrade on the current security camera system in order to be able to have sufficient space to record for more than two weeks. A backup solution should also be implemented in order to have a second location with the recorded feeds.

Infrastructure

  • Request an upgrade on the school’s network lines in order to provide a faster download and upload speed and enable the support of more on-site hosted solutions.
  • Request an upgrade on the school’s wireless network in order to eliminate multiple wireless access points in the front end by setting up a wireless controller. The school should have one access point as AISC Wireless managed by a controller and the possibility for an AISC Public wireless network. The managed wireless should be part of a single sign on solution and users can access that with their Active Directory (AD) credentials.
  • Focus on data integrity and create backup schemes and consider the possibility of a collocation with other schools.
  • Implement virtualization on the newly acquired server and install services on one server versus multiple.
  • Successfully become a Smart School and open the doors to the community.
  • Implement the new Public Announcement system.
  • Implement a solution for an alert system in case of an emergency. Such a system for example should be able to email and sms parents in case of a lockdown.
  • Implement a plan to fix cabling in most of the rooms in the school and reduce clutter.
  • Upgrade the central backup system.
  • Upgrade the camera system and server for more space.
  • Refresh the older lab computers.
  • Implement a wiki if necessary

Efficiency

  • Install an integrated network printing solution.
  • Integrate an online ticket system.
  • Integrate an inventory system.
  • Integrate a solution for document sharing and collaboration.
  • Integrate a solution for instant messaging across the school.
  • Integrate a solution for social intranet.
  • Integrate a solution for room reservations for the conference room, labs and theater.
  • Implement a plan for communicating electronically with students efficiently.

Services and Access

  • Setup Rosetta Stone package and figure out ways for students to receive credit on the courses they took as part of their education at AISC.
  • Resolve issues with Microsoft Exchange and mobile phones and tablets. Currently we are not able to connect with mobile email apps to MS. Exchange.
  • Resolve issues with portable computing access to SIS and portal.

Policies and Procedures

  • Revise all policies, procedures and forms and create a numbering system to enhance the efficiency of the administration.
  • Create technology policies and procedures to help create efficiencies across the board and lower the risk of an external assessment.
  • Work with appropriate departments on following current procedures.

Technology Training and Professional Development

  • Create a plan for training and professional development.

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    2012

    2012

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    2013

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    2015

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    2016

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