Questeq Technology Coordinator Receives G Suite Administrator Certification

It’s no secret that the innovative juggernaut, Google, has found its way into many educational institutions worldwide. Their website boasts that 70 million users and seven of eight Ivy League schools utilize their education suite of tools. This suite, called G Suite for Education (formerly known as Google for Education), uses a philosophy perfectly fit for today’s schools: To provide simple, innovative, and cost effective solutions tailored for the education workspace.

In 2015, the Cornell School District partnered with Google to help deliver a fresh learning experience. While at first reluctant to change, teachers have embraced the switch and are pleased with the results. Every year, more of our educators get on board and set up their own ‘cloud’ classrooms where students can access lessons anywhere, any time, and from any device. Adding Google Chromebooks has enhanced classrooms and continues to be a driving force in personalized learning. But to make it all work effectively, the students can’t be the only ones learning.

Professional development is a must in any occupation, especially dealing with technology. As a technology administrator at the Cornell School District, I’m always looking for ways to do my job more effectively. Because of my limited knowledge of G Suite for Education, I decided to take a relevant online course created by Google. This course is called “G Suite Administrator Fundamentals” and is specifically designed for administrators who manage G Suite for their organization. Completion of the course takes 15-30hrs and is provided online through Coursera. In summary, the course teaches organizational best practices as well as how to manage users, control access to apps, configure security settings and much more.

I completed the course in July and passed the end of course exam to become a Google Certified Associate – G Suite Administrator. The biggest benefit for me was learning what is possible through the suite. For example, there are advanced email options to authenticate organizational email, which can be used to prevent email spoofing. This feature will more than likely be implemented at Cornell since the school has been the target of multiple email spoofing campaigns. I definitely recommend taking this course and exam for any administrators using G Suite for Education. My gained knowledge will be a small contribution to helping the Cornell School District in their on-going mission of pursuing excellence in public education.

– Cody Thull, Questeq Technology Coordinator @ Cornell School District

Technology Director Honored as CIO of the Year Finalist

Dave CharlesQuesteq Technology Director, Dave Charles has been selected as a finalist for the 2017 Pittsburgh CIO of the Year Awards. As the Technology Director at North Hills, Dave is responsible for strategic IT planning and ultimate IT oversite, as well as the overall management of Questeq’s onsite technology staff. North Hills has been a valued Questeq partner since 2011.

Each year, the Pittsburgh Technology Council and Greater Pittsburgh CIO Group honors the region’s top information technology and information security executives at Pittsburgh CIO of the Year. The 2017 awards will be held on Wednesday, March 22, 2017 at the Westin Convention Center Hotel. You can learn more about the event here.

We congratulate Dave on this wonderful accomplishment, which is well deserved. Members of the Questeq leadership team will be at the event to celebrate this honor with him. Congratulations and good luck!

New Team Members Join Growing Network Operations Center

The Network Operations Center (NOC) and Project Services team at Questeq supports customer sites as part of our Educational Technology Management (ETM) service. We provide three classes of service:

  • Preventative such as server maintenance and network monitoring
  • Reactive by resolving tickets submitted to the NOC by Questeq onsite team members
  • Transformative by implementing project requests for servers; storage area networks; switches; wireless; Office365; Google for Education; and backup / recovery just to name a few.

Prior to the 2016-17 school year, the NOC added more engineering talent to address the peak summer project season. Michael Lipnicky, Jason Allen and Curtis Smithley recently joined Keith Brant, Mark Wolfe, and Mike Miller. The new team members are quickly becoming familiar with Questeq processes and technology at our customer sites.

Looking forward, Questeq anticipates adding several more school districts to our customer list this year. The new team members will help maintain and grow our high level of customer support to both existing and new sites.

Now that the summer rush is over, Project Services is currently working with several of our districts on the following projects.

  • Technical design for the 2017-18 school year E-rate bids
  • Migrating to Gmail and G Suite for Education (formally Google Apps)
  • Implementing inTune and System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM)
  • Moving on premise servers such domain controllers and email to the Microsoft Cloud

These are only a few of the projects and ongoing support that the NOC and Project Services provides to all of our ETM sites located throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

Tim Devlin Joins Questeq as Sr. K-12 Account Executive

Tim DevlinQuesteq is pleased to announce the addition of Timothy Devlin to the company as of October 5th, 2015.

Tim comes to us with a combined background of educational and industry experiences. Tim is responsible for identifying opportunities to advance 21st century learning in Pennsylvania Schools through Questeq’s Educational Technology Management Service. He holds a Masters of Educational Technology Management and Masters of Public Management of Information Systems from Carnegie Mellon University, and a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science degree from the University of Pittsburgh.

“Questeq has aggressive plans to expand our Educational Technology Management service within and outside of Pennsylvania while continuing to improve the outcomes of our service in the classroom” said Jeffrey Main, CEO of Questeq. “Tim is a proven educational leader who will fit right in with the Questeq culture, and he will also bring unique experience and additional confidence to our service approach to K12.” said Mr. Main.

ISTE: A Place of Magic and Learning

My first time at the ISTE Conference was an enlightening one. The shear amount of learning opportunities afforded to anyone in attendance was staggering, to say the least. For anyone used to going to PETE&C, I would have to estimate that this conference was at least 4 times the size of the PA state conference. Some of the biggest things I gained from attending were: the connections to new people, seeing where vendors are concentrating their focus, and learning about new professional development methods for our clients.

ISTE Conference 2015

While at the conference I was able to meet and hear from some of the biggest names in education. This afforded me an opportunity to grow my professional network immensely. Prior to this conference, if I had a problem I couldn’t solve my network was maybe 40 to 50 people wide. After the conference it is now 100 people wide, with some of those connections having networks of over 30,000 people. Needless to say that if I have a problem I cannot find the answer to, I should have a friend that can help!

The vendor floor at the ISTE Conference was absolutely huge, with areas for small startups and teaching zones from Google and Microsoft. There was a vendor for just about anything you could want in education. Furniture, power distribution, SIS software, LMS software, curricular software, book vendors, accessory vendors, mobile cart vendors… literally anything you needed to upgrade your toolbox, it was there. One of the more interesting things about the vendors at this conference though, was that they used their floor spaces for teaching as much as they did for selling. Many offered 15 to 45 minute classes on how to use their products. In fact, that was the main focus of both Google and Microsoft on the vendor floor.

During the sessions that I attended, I learned about where the industry sees the role of the CTO to be going and ways to use social media as a promotional tool for schools. In addition, new PD methods were shared such as the unconference movement, more specifically Edcamp, and the benefits of that model. I also was able to learn about methods to better manage my support team, and how to help them be more approachable.

In summary, ISTE is a magical place, where educators from around the globe come together to learn and network with each other to try and steer the future of education in a direction that can benefit everyone in the world. The connections that I made there will continue my learning and help me better model good uses of technology for my staff and students for many years to come.

-Michael Lipnicky, Questeq Director of Technology for South Side Area School District