It’s The End of the World

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This is a song released by R.E.M. almost a year after I was born on November 16, 1987 but the title fits well into what I am talking about today.  The first line of the song is “That’s great, it starts with an earthquake.”  That is exactly what Sling a service from Dish Networks did when it announced this product at the Consumer Electronics Show in January 2015.  The concept behind Sling is they will offer a base package of channels at an affordable price that can be streamed over the Internet.  Their market for this new product was people like me who cut the cable cord.  While this announcement was an earthquake, the aftershock of realizing that I could have access to ESPN as part of the base package was certainly not a small aftershock.
Sling had just done something that previously was unheard of in the television industry.  They offered an attractive package of channels (at least for me with ESPN, ESPN2, TBS, TNT, Food Network and Adult Swim) at an affordable price.  This is exactly what we as cable/cord cutters had been craving for years.  It is not truly the end all goal of having an al a carte channel selection but there was enough there for me to justify the $20 a month expense.
I always try to bring my posts on this blog back to education.  As I thought more and more about the disruption Dish Networks had just caused with this new service it got me thinking about education.  If we have now reached a point where we can have our television streaming over the Internet, at an affordable price with channels that we actually watch…how can we do this in education?
Could we create a curriculum where the students get to choose a field or multiple fields of study?  Could we incorporate into the curriculum and the field of study the same skills that we are teaching today?  Could we disrupt education in a way that doesn’t look like any thing we know today?
I think the answer is yes but it will take time but more importantly it will take people to stand up and demand that we look for new ways to educate our children that may look drastically different from the way we learned as students.  We recognize that for some the current system is an acceptable means of education but we are not addressing the students who are dropping out of school, why they are dropping out of school, those that may be bored with the curriculum or those that may be different from what we determine as the “standard”.  We all learn differently and have different interests so why do we insist on teaching everyone in the same manner?
Food for thought.

The School and The Community

These are random thoughts that I am trying to organize into a bigger idea.  I apologize if they appear disorganized but the idea behind this post is to get the ideas down and try to figure out what this process and project could look like.
This post came out of a discussion one evening at the 2015 Ohio Education Technology Conference.  I had heard Sean Wheeler ( discuss previously how the school should be seen as the center of the town.  The success of the school translates into the success of the community and vice versa.  I think Bobby Dodd when he was at New Lexington schools had done something similiar to this but the program was dependent upon the business providing the wireless access point and any resources that were exclusive on the network were not accessible.  I don’t remember for sure though if this was the case.  Schools are exploring the adoption of 1:1 programs of various forms (school supplied devices or a bring your own device) but these create challenges.  Once we have the devices though how do we take full advantage of these devices when the students are not in the school?
Could these devices be used by parents to create a resume?  Could these devices be used by parents to search for jobs?  Could these devices be used by the parents to further their education?  Could these devices be used to enhance health offerings in the community or track a users health?
The one item that I don’t see being addressed in 1:1 programs is access to the Internet when the devices are not in the school.  The thought is that there is Internet in the home but many of the schools I work with have a high povery population where the reality is the Internet may be seen as a luxury item and not on the same level of importance as say heat, electric or water.  How do we address this issue?
My thought process here is to involve the community in a partnership with the school to provide access.  The idea would be a partnership where the cost of a wireless access point and license would be split amongst the school and business.  The school would be able to extend their network and resources to the students outside of the school walls.  The business would benefit by providing a place in which the student and family can come to access the Internet where it may not be accessible in the home.  It would bring customers into the business while creating a relationship amongst those in the community.
I am attending Edcamp Columbus ( on March 14th and Edcamp Cleveland ( on March 21st 2015 where I hope to add this topic to the board and discuss it further.

OETC Keynote 2/12/15

These are my notes from the keynote session:
are you trying to invent a new education system or adding new features to a system that doesn’t work
what kind of problems would disappear with a driverless car that we face on an everyday base?
when one problem disappears new problems appear
change creates a chain of reaction that solves one problem but can create new problems
what kind of new jobs would arise out of change while others would be replaced?
what can we imagine the implications would be for education when we embrace change?
technology redfines the value of knowledge and talents.
Out of basement readiness instead of college and career ready
A good education no matter what it is should help keep children out of their parents basement.
Boomerrang generation
53% of college graduates in recent years are either under employed or not employed at all
Youth unemployment is a global issue
We have a talent mismatch.  Students may have been educated for the wrong economy.
We have students accquiring skills and knoweldge that have lost value in our society and economy today.  Our schools are following something that is outdated.
Traditional education is a sausage making process
We use the standards to prescribe what is valuable in our students.
If you are good at something you would be bad at something else.  No one can be talented in everything and no one can be bad at everything.
Time is a constant.  If you want to be good at something you still need to spend time practicing that skill.  This requires you to take time away from something else so you can become good at that something.
The education system was designed to make sure that our students were not different from the description we wanted.
The test scores in this system reflect how well we measure compared to the prescribed system.
The Second Machine Age by Brynjolksson and McAfee – Book.
Cogntive skills are being replaced by machines in todays society.
How many tax accountants have been replaced by software such as TurboTax or Tax Act?
The World is Flat – Thomas Friedman

Managing Wifi Deployment

These are my notes from the Managing HiStakes WiFi session.  This was a 3 hr workshop on the first day of #oetc15 – Slides
#oetc15 #HiStWiFi
J. Marc Hopkins – [email protected]
OETC 15 High Stakes Wifi.pptx
SWOCA Mnaaged Wireless Standards
Bluetooth and Wifi White Paper
Twitter: @jmarchopkins
High Stakes WiFi because of 1:1, BYOD, Blended Learning and Online Testing are now mission critical services in the education community.
3 Different models above require 3 different approaches to Wifi Management.  One size fits all DOES NOT FIT!
Review the SWOCA Wireless Standards document.  Looks at Traditional Classrooms, BYOD/Blended and Other Areas and the number of Access Points for each situation.
About 30 nodes per Access Point is idea.
Switches alleviated collissions (smarter than hubs)
###CD on Wifi###
802.11 is Half duplex with Tx and Rx using the same space
A radio can not transmit and receive at the same time.
This results in collission detechtion not being an option.
In Wifi we have Collission Avoidance where we wait for each frame to be ACKd.  No ACKd then collission assumed.
Simply put:  More devices > More Collisions > More Wait Time reducing throughput on the network
###RF Engineering###
LSM is unlicensed band and is the Wild West of RF.  Agreeing to accept any and all interference from any one in this band.
RF does not know any boundaries (i.e. Wall)
Distance Sensitive – Law of Inverse Square
It is regulated differently in each country
You are working in 3D space.  Review Power Output Levels Slide
The farther you move from the source…the same energy is now being spread further across a greater distance and assuming that you are loosing no energy in the air (interference etc.)
2.4 Ghz has lots of interference.  Various devices running in this range (microwave, bluetooth etc.).  Only 11 channels in the US for 2.4 GHz.
Channels overlap in use on the 2.4 Ghz spectrum.  No overlap between channels 1,6 and 11.
INSSIDER – Wifi Band Anaylzer
We are steeping over each other when using Wifi even on different networks because the spectrum is there for everyone.
Viusalwave, Air Magnet – Heat Mapping program.
5 Ghz is relatively unused currently and has less interference with more channels available for use.
Shorter wave length in 5 Ghz means there is about 1/2 the theoretical coverage.
5 Ghz bounces but does not go through things as well as 2.4 Ghz.
5 Ghz has 24 channels in the United States compared to 3 in the 2.4 Ghz band.
2.4 Ghz is absorbed by water, reflected by metal and refracted by glass.
5 Ghz is reflected by water, metal and glass. – It will bounce off of almost any thing.
Overlap can be 50% because of channel spearation but the minimum should be 15%
The most common mistake in Wifi deisgn:  Floors stack on top of each other and Wifi Doesn’t Care.
VisualWave Sight Survey Software.  Heatmapper.
5 Ghz allows us the ability to do channel bonding.  Instead of using 20 Mhz channel…you could combine two channels to make 40 Mhz.  You could do a 80 and 160 Mhz bond but you start running out of channels.  We reach the N standard by bonding multiple channels together to get 300 MB.
5 Ghz allows for more bandwidth, more channels, less interference and bonded channels.
The downside is that we have less coverage area and lower penetration.  These drawbacks though actually help K-12.
Check to see if you can replace the WiFi card in a device to take advantage of dual band or 5 Ghz versus using a device with a single band card.
802.11 Modes use different frequency hopping to pack more of the RF space.
The faster the network the more “attack surface” for interference it has.  The faster you go the more likely you are to have issues.
802.11a up to 54 Mbps in 5 Ghz Band
802.11b up to 11 Mbps in 2.4 Ghz Band
802.11g up to 54 Mbps in 2.4 Ghz Band – Gold Standard of Wifi Today.  Half of bandwidth at B and G gone to overhead.
802.11n up to 600 Mbps via MIMO
802.11ac up to MultiGbps via MU-MIMO supported in 5 Ghz Band
MIMO takes advantage of spatial multiplexing – Plays with time and space.
Multi0user MIMO – Multiple downlink Tx at same time.  More done in the same amount of time with 802.11 AC.
The sender/receiver currently must both be 802.11 AC devices.
*20 Mhz Channels x 3 Streams = 300 MB
*40 Mhz Channels x 3 Streams = 300 MB
*80 Mhz Channels x 3 Streams = 1.3 GB
160 Mhz Channels x 8 Streams = 6.9 GB
The numbers above are all theoretical bandwidth amounts.
600 MB is probably going to be the ceiling in the current version of AC.
A standard coming fom California has schools saying 2 AP per classroom.  Watch this.
Would it be cheaper to put in 2 AP then 1 higher grade AP?  Run the numbers!
Any where a physical cable is feasable we should be using a hardwired connection.
Disable lower association rates which forces the client to pick the stronger AP.  Increase roaming aggressiveness on clients.
Strive fro uniform device radio types whenever possible.
In Wifi it is the clients decesion which AP ito select.
Bluetooth is the rudest of the rude house guests.  Can cause issues every where!
***Design Consideration in Wireless***
*Interference – What is already there?
*Building Construction – Brick Walls?
*Area to Cover
*Type of Service (VOIP/WIFI)
*Number of potential clients
*Total bandwidth required
District Supplied 1:1 is a good idea because it allows the techs to control the items we talked about.
In BYOD state preferred devices with abgn support.  Encourage ac standard.
Cacti for Management.