What is Office 365?
This whole initiative involves several concepts. The State of West Virginia has changed the way we purchase the Windows Operating System and the Microsoft Office suite. WITHOUT SPENDING ANY EXTRA MONEY, and only through upgrading our contacts, we have greatly enhanced what we can purchase with the same budget. Simply put, we have changed from a "per machine" purchasing arrangement to a state-wide arrangement. This means that all existing machines connected to our state-wide network can be upgraded at no charge.
What Does this Mean for Me?
It means that with the school technology teams help, every school computer can be upgraded as high as it can go, at no cost to the school or county. Potentially, every computer in the lab and every computer in the classrooms could be upgraded to Windows 7 or Windows 8. This also means that these same computers can be upgraded to the latest version of Microsoft Office at no cost.
Everyone with an account will also have an extra 5 installs at home! A K-12 student could use their account information and upgrade their home computers to match what is being used at school. A family with two K-12 children would get 10 installs at home.
IPads, iPhones, Android devices, tablets, and most modern mobile devices are also covered. A teacher with an iPad can have access to the same software that the students have on the school computers.
Microsoft Office Web Apps are the on-line version of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc. You now have the option of working in both offline and online modes and can switch back and forth with ease.
Lync is our new system-wide communication tool. With this tool we can Instant Message, utilize face-to-face conversations like FaceTime or Skype, share desktops for webinars or for troubleshooting. Need to go offline and be unreachable? No problem. Need to travel but still be in contact with your team? No problem.
What About Email?
The Access email system served us well but it was time for an upgrade. The 20,000 adults and 280,000 students in our system will all receive a new email address within the next few months. This new email address will be your key to get into Office 365 and to upgrade your computers.
- 50 GIGABYTES of online email storage!
- Unified calendar
- One TERABYTE of online document storage
- Greater security through encryption
What about Local Control?
The system is designed so that each district can make it's own decisions. First grade students will have an account but you may not wish for them to use it for communication. A county may not wish for middle school students to have access to video chat, or maybe they want middle school students to have access to group communication if initiated by a teacher. Each county will have its own challenges and we hope to give the local authority the power to make those decisions at the local level.
What about Androids, Macs, iPhones and iPads?
This product is device agnostic, meaning there are free Apps for OneNote, Lync and Office for every modern device. Install the app, log in with your new credentials and that's it.
What if I upgrade a personal device with one of my 5 installs and I want to use it on another machine?
How does this change my normal day?
From the point of a teacher, you could put your entire syllabus including all documents needed to pass your course online. These would be available online for the students with reliable internet access and as downloads for the students who work offline. With greater sharing and collaboration you'll be in closer contact with your peers. Collaboration will be easier than ever and that should mean a reduced work load.
From the point of a student, your work will more closely mirror the modern world. Creating multi media web sites instead of paper and pencil reports. The ability to use mobile devices like smart phones and tablets becomes easier.
From the point of the parent, you will be able to upgrade your personal devices for free and you'll have greater access to the school and the teacher.
From the point of the administrator, you'll be able to travel less using Lync as your video and webinar solution. You'll be able to use the scheduling assistant to make meetings faster and more efficient. No more "getting your calendars together" to scheduling a meeting. The system does that for you.
For everyone, no more "over quota" messages from the email system, greater access to your files, pictures, music, everything, both on and offline.
What about student accounts?
- Student accounts are being created in batches. Many have already been created but with 280,000 to create it will take some time. Our target is to have these completed sometime in August of 2014.
- Student usernames will follow a patter similar to firstname.lastname@example.org. This patter will use the first letter of their first name, the first four letters of their last name, a number followed by @stu.k12.wv.us. This may change when the rollout is finalized.
Who gets an account?
- Full Time employees such as teachers, administrators, service personnel, county or RESA staff.
- Full time K-12 students in grades 1- 12.
- At this point long-term subs, student teachers and other part time staff are unknown if they will get an account.
How name changes, transfers, and other similar issues be handled?
- We are in the process of building a profile app inside of WebTop. Currently it will allow you to add alternate email addresses in the event you need to reset your password. It is hoped that in the future you will be able to self administer your name changes, transfers and other issues. That website is located at http://wvde.state.wv.us/apps/profile/