Cumulus Global Study Shows Technology Professional Development for K-12 Educators is Often Ineffective

Cumulus Global Publishes Survey Results on the State of Technology Professional Development in K-12 Education

Cover.State of Tech PDOur January 2016 survey finds that 48% of K-12 classroom educators feel that technology professional development (“Tech PD”) is not timely for use in the classroom nearly 60% of educators feel they need more professional development focused on integrating devices, apps, and online content into lesson plans and delivery. The study also found that while most districts are offering more technology professional development, the timeliness, focus, delivery methods, and overall effectiveness of these programs is not meeting the needs of many K-12 classroom educators.

As the use of technology in K-12 classrooms continues to expand, educators face new challenges. More than devices, educators are using new applications, tools, and online content. Teachers need to be capable and comfortable managing all of this tech in the classroom, as well as integrate these resources into their lesson plans.

In our white paper, The State of Technology Professional Development in K-12 Education, we publish the preliminary analysis of survey results from nearly 300 K-12 classroom educators participating in the 2016 Future of Education Technology Conference held in Orlando, Florida in January. The initial analysis of survey results indicates a need for more balance in the focus of Tech PD programs, as 68% want more training on using applications and tools for lesson planning, collaboration with peers, and other activities. The survey also indicates that some of the most common formats for Tech PD are not the most effective.

Classroom educators are on the forefront of the educational technology revolution. By understanding how well, or poorly, our current Tech PD efforts are helping educators, we can design and delivery better training and support services.

Click here to view and download The State of Technology Professional Development in K-12 Education.



Cloud Competition Has Growing Impact for SMBs


Over the past few years, major cloud providers have been aggressively competing. At times, it’s been an all out price war with Microsoft, Amazon, Google and others lowering prices to beat the others. But it’s also been a race for new features and capabilities, as innovation and unique services can attract and retain customers.

The challenge for small and mid-size businesses, however, is that much of the competition as been focused on the Infrastructure and Platform as a Service (IaaS and PaaS) segments of cloud computing. And while lower prices on cloud processing and storage are great, most SMBs are using Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions.

Change is happening and you can benefit.

As an incentive for companies with Enterprise Agreement (EA) pricing to move off Microsoft, Google started things off by offering Google Apps for free until customers’ EA agreements end. The program, available to companies with 150 or more licensed users, removes the “double pay” period for companies that want to “go Google”.

More recently, Microsoft lowered the minimum licensed user count from 150 to 50 for its FastTrack program, which provides Microsoft partners with resources and customers with rebates to cover the cost of migration.  Companies with 50 or more licensed users can save up to 75% (or more) on their deployment and migration.

Enter Cumulus Global and More Savings

Focused on serving small and mid-size businesses, these programs are good, but not good enough. So, we are adding to the deals.

New to Google Apps for Work

  • Google Apps for Free through the end of your Microsoft EA term (150 license minimum)
  • 14 months for the price of 12 (5 license minimum, 12 month renewal terms)

New to Microsoft Office 365

  • FastTrack discounts and rebates (50 license minimum)
  • Migration savings of 35% to 70% (5 to 50 licenses)

From Direct to Partner

  • Existing Microsoft O365 and Google Apps for Work customers can save up to 10% on licensing and up to 20% on support and other services through our Switch & Save program.

The Next Step is Yours

To learn more about which discount is best for you, fill out the form, below, and speak with a Cloud Advisor.

Cumulus Global Answers the Call to Customize Google for Work

As part of a new service announcement and launch, Cumulus Global is answering the call to customize Google for Work. Google for Work is a great platform for business communication and collaboration. But many businesses want or need more. For some, add-ons and third party tools and applications meet their needs. With the launch of its Google for Work Customization services, Cumulus Global is using the power of Google Script, App Engine, and Google Cloud Platform to develop and deliver custom-built solutions.

“The range of possibilities is nearly limitless,” notes Allen Falcon, CEO of Cumulus Global. “Large enterprises have tapped the customization features in Google for Work for years. We are bringing these capabilities to small and mid-size organizations who previously assumed custom projects would be priced out of reach.”

Google for Work Customization Services is for projects ranging from data manipulation scripts within Google Sheets and simple workflow management tools, to complex database and data analysis applications. Projects are generally fixed-price with cost and quality guarantees.

Businesses can learn more on Cumulus Global’s web site or by calling Cumulus Global and speaking to a Cloud Advisor.

When the Single Point of Failure Actually Fails


While the heavy, wet snow continues to fall and cling to the power and fiASA5505ber optic lines in our area, today’s Internet outage was not due to the first real storm this winter. Being fully in the cloud, any Internet outage could be a disaster, bringing business to a halt. In reality, the “single point of failure” really isn’t. True, we do not have multiple routers. Nor do we have multiple broadband connections.  What we do have, is the ability to work over any form of Internet connection. Here is our case study (still in progress).

Late yesterday afternoon, our trusted Cisco 5505 stopped working. Poof. Red Status light on; activity lights on the embedded switch ports blinking; no traffic. A few reboots and a few attempted hard resets later, we are still not working. A quick call and discussion, and our Cisco guru tells us “it’s a brick”. Covered by warranty and a solid support/service plan, a new unit will arrive in several days. In the meantime, we must continue to service our customers.

Quick Fix

The immediate response is to get our staff connected to the Internet in any way possible.  A few mobile hotspots activated on our phones and one MiFi device booted up, and we are back in business. Performance is acceptable, not great, and we will plow through our data plan, but we are in business with only a few minutes disruption.

Interim Fix

Our FiOS service enters our office through a service unit that converts the Fiber to Gigabit Ethernet.  We split this signal through a switch to 2 routers — one provided by our VoiP service and the FiOS router/cable modem that comes with our service.  The now dead Cisco ASA plugs into the FiOS router.

Why two routers in sequence? Having 2 routers in sequence creates a physical DMZ: a network that can receive traffic from inside and the outside while letting us stop traffic from going all the way out or coming all the way in. It’s “old school” as virtual DMZs are the trend.  We use the DMZ and the FiOS router for a guest network and wireless.  Guests can gain access to a physical or wireless connection while staying completely outside our secure network. The Cisco ASA, at the secure end of the DMZ, manages our inbound traffic, NAT, and legacy DMZ services (let over from the days when we had a few systems on-premise and needed remote access). Our secure WiFi runs off a Cisco/Linksys WAP inside the secure border of the ASA router.

With a few minutes of work, we reconfigured the FiOS router, removing the DMZ and mimicking the settings and security configured in the ASA.  Moving a few wires, we are up and running until the new ASA comes in.

Lessons Learned

Our focus has always been on the FiOS service as the single point of failure at greatest risk.  Outages have traditionally been short and as we have been able to adapt by using hotspots, MiFi, and working from home or other locations, we have not seen the need to bring in another ISP as an alternate service. The ASA failing was never really a consideration.  The box is not yet out of warranty and our prior Cisco routers lasted much longer than the 5 year extended warranty (we upgraded for features, not out of necessity).

Not having seen this scenario coming, we had to rebuild the FiOS router from scratch. Going forward, we have now saved this “emergency configuration” for future use.  Once our new Cisco ASA arrives, we will create an emergency configuration that will let us remove the FiOS router from the network.  Finally, we will build a configuration for the Cisco/Linksys WAP, as this has routing features and could replace the FiOS router in a pinch.

The biggest lesson, however, is the value of a cloud-based infrastructure with respect to business continuity. Storm or no storm, hardware failure or not, we know that we will always have options to keep our business up and running. Even when the “single point of failure” happens to fail.