Public Website Redesign and Migration
In 2016-17, all public WCDSB and school websites were redesigned and standardized. The new WordPress design makes it easy for schools and departments to post and maintain their own web content. All public websites have also been optimized to meet Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) requirements. New standard elements have been added to all board and school sites, including:
- A News section, which automatically sends an email to all those who subscribe to Board and school Newswire services whenever a new article is posted.
- Calendars of events associated with each school and Board website. The calendars can be subscribed to by staff, students and the community on devices like smartphones.
- A Twitter “web part” for schools to quickly post updates and good news stories.
Staff and Student Web Resource Portals
All staff and students now have a default Web Resource portal on their PC and Chromebook web browsers. The Staff portal enables quick and convenient single sign-on authentication to Board web-based resources. The Student portal provides a quick route to key instructional resources and environments, plus a quick link to school sites. Additionally, a new “StaffNet” resource environment built in Microsoft Office 365 SharePoint was successfully piloted via the ITS Help Desk through the 2016-17 school year. The new StaffNet is search optimized to provide an easy search facility for finding vital internal resources, thereby saving staff time and improving workflow.
Windows-based Computer & Chromebook Refresh
WCDSB has endeavoured to keep current with technology in our educational spaces. Both the elementary and secondary panels have seen a significant technology refresh.
- With the current refresh in the elementary environment, WCDSB has a combined ratio of supported and unsupported Windows based computers of one computer per every eight students and a Chromebook ratio of close to one to every three students.
- WCDSB upgraded 600 secondary Windows based systems. To meet the requirement of design software in speciality labs, 300 of these Windows systems were outfitted with high end video cards, larger hard drives and faster processors. The present ratio of Windows based systems at the secondary level is one per every 3.6 students.
Wireless Infrastructure and Internet Bandwidth
WCDSB wireless infrastructure allows students and staff to use Board devices such as laptops, ChromeBooks and iPads and to also use personal ‘Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)’ equipment and connect to the Board’s filtered Internet feed. WCDSB continues to experience greatly increased utilization of the Internet and our wireless infrastructure. We now have 99.5% of all educational space serviced by wireless filtered Internet access with full support for personal devices. Continued upgrades are being made to the wireless infrastructure to support the ever-increasing demand of devices and bandwidth. Internet bandwidth through the Ontario Research and Innovation Optical Network (ORION) has been doubled from 1GBPS to 2GBPS. Wireless and Internet infrastructure will continue to be upgraded as required by increased demand.
Google Suite for Education Optimization
Google Suite for Education is a collection of productivity tools to help students and teachers interact seamlessly and securely across devices. Google Classroom streamlines assignments, boosts collaboration, and fosters seamless communication to make teaching more productive and meaningful. This suite of tools has seen greatly increased adoption in WCDSB classrooms since first introduced several years ago.