Category: The Private Archives

Concluding 2016

Hello everyone:

I write this blog today concluding the 2015-2016 school year and my last year at Upper Saint Clair School District. To put it simply it’s been amazing. Nowhere else on the planet will I find such a gathering of smart people and future thinkers. At USC, we are truly innovating education. SMART desk, thought, is truly revolutionary. We founded a program where talented individuals can improve on their skills and understanding in an environment where everyone seems stuck trying to define themselves. 

Personally, I have learned so much about myself and working with other people that I wouldn’t trade my SMART desk experience for anything. For the future I believe that as long as the program keeps inspiring ingenuity to the right people, the program will flourish. As long as the right people are togeher in the right place, it cannot fail.

Thank you for such a great experience and year,

Alex Brufsky

End of the Year Wrap up

I can’t believe the year is over already! It’s been great working with everyone at the Desk, and I hope all of us have a good summer. I won’t be joining us to work but for just a few weeks; I was accepted into a program at CMU for 7 weeks, starting on June 20th. It runs from 10-5 weekdays, and I’ll be doing all sorts of technological things at CMU with only about 30 other people. Other than that, I got an older Mac Pro from Tyler that I’ll be trying to hackintosh with better components. It will be a fun project.

These past few weeks I’ve been doing the norm, other than being asked for a Spoon or a Fork while out at the desk. Haha. On Thursday, I’ll be helping with filming graduation. Some one’s got to learn for next year right? Other than that, the end of the year hasn’t been too busy for me.

I hope to see some new faces at the desk next year, and I wish everyone an awesome summer!

Wrap Up Blog

Last week of school. Wow. It really went fast.

These last few weeks, I have continued to work on solving the tickets that we get here and there. I have also finished testing of the comprehensive upgrade system that may allow teachers to upgrade their computers to the latest version of OS X, version 10.11 (El Capitan). The upgrade will also allow anyone using the system to update their Microsoft Office install to the latest version, Office 2016. Both Office 2016 and OS X 10.11 (El Capitan) bring some great new features as well as a few new and improved visual looks. Overall, the update is going to be an easy way for people to get the newest versions of the apps they use all the time and keep their system completely up to date.

On the desk front, I haven’t seen something built so slowly since they built our neighbour’s house over a period of about three and a half years. Hopefully we can get the desk done by the time I’m a senior in college! Seriously, though, I hope that we can get the desk finished as soon as possible. I am hoping that it is ready for the beginning of the coming year.

Over the summer, I will be here. I will be working with the Technology Department over the summer to do mainly the things that I have done over the last school year as well as prep iPads and computers.

Here’s hoping the summer is going to be fun and interesting for everyone!

Week 12

Not much has happened in terms of SMART Desk recently. I was accepted into the UPCI Summer Academy, so I will be working on a biomedical informatics research project this summer. Overall, pretty calm last couple of weeks.

S2 Week 12 (12 May 2016)

This week we are hoping to continue work on the new desk. At the moment, it is in the shop awaiting further cuts and a lot of sanding down from the students in shop classes. Mike is basically heading up that aspect of the desk-building as he takes a couple engineering classes himself.
The wiring for the desk has mostly been completed, and I’m super excited to finally move into the desk once it’s assembled. The other thing I’m looking forward to is working on new upgrades to the school’s WiFi and central switching systems; we are hopefully replacing our core switch and are definitely adding a ton of new WiFi access points to the building. This project would allow me to expand my knowledge in ISTE’s standard on technology operations and concepts, so I am looking forward to that aspect of the project as well.

Week 11 & 12

These last two weeks have been filled with testing. I have tested the Securly web filter system, and that testing has been, I believe, beneficial to the effort of figuring out the pros and cons of Securly. The other system I have been testing is a package that allows staff computers to seamlessly update their laptops to the latest version of OS X, which is OS X El Capitan. I have been working to provide updates to other applications at the same time in the same seamless manner. The other applications I am trying to update are Microsoft Office (2011 –> 2016), ActivDriver (15.11.7 –> 15.12.7), and the general look and feel of the USCSD computers by adding a new background to the login screen and other visual and functionality improvements. Hopefully, this update system will be available to staff by the middle to end of May. The only other testing I did over these last two weeks was the AP Computer Science test, which went very well I think.

Overall, these last weeks has been full of testing, and that is a good thing.

Week #11 (or 11.5 or 12)

This week, I provided some feedback for the iPad/Securely testing. One point I highlighted was the importance of telling students what information can be tracked, especially for the one-on-one iPads. I value privacy, so if I know what is tracked, I won’t be linking my iMessages to the iPad.

Still working on getting a prototype of a possible implementation of the PLC meeting tracking mechanism on Google Forms.

Also, I strongly dislike AP testing week.

Week 11

Unfortunatly, I was unable to make the meeting today due to a test, hopefully did not miss anything too important. As always, just trying to work on a date to get to fort couch and talk to the seventh graders about smart desk. As for the high school, I have more ideas to run by the team next meeting.

S2 Week 10 & 11 (25 April 2016)

The past two weeks we have been preparing finally to get started with assembling the physical desk. Recently they have been working in the wood shop to cut the plywood boards to shape & length. We are also waiting on a small shipment from Amazon to make the desk really look unique.
Moreover I’ve been helping the Technology Department test a new cloud filter called Securly that they would like to use on the district’s iPads. We’ve thoroughly used ISTE’s standards on problem solving and innovation in order to spot & diagnose a few issues, but overall I think that it’s a definite improvement over the old system.