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Panthers of ISKL #10 - The Tech Stars Featuring Charlotte Diller and the Tech Team

 

Panthers of ISKL #10 - The Tech Stars Featuring Charlotte Diller and the Tech Team

This week we caught up with ISKL’s Technology Team; Charlotte Diller heads the department as the Director of Technology, and Hui Chun Hng, Raj Jenkin, Seprian Dharma, Rajinder Singh, and Shidah Rashid represent the divisions of Information Systems, Tech Support, Network Support, and Panther Apps. These are the people behind the technology infrastructure scene, and the helpdesk ticket who keeps everything at ISKL running smoothly!

Part 1- Charlotte Diller - Director of Technology

“My name is Charlotte Diller, and I am the Director of Technology here at ISKL. This is my story.

'I am Danish-American - my mom is Danish, and my dad is American. I grew up in Birmingham, Michigan, and then moved to Chicago in Illinois.

‘My undergraduate degree is in Business Administration, and I was in the computer and publishing industries before deciding to become a teacher.

'I went back to school, got my Masters of Arts in Teaching, and became a Middle School (MS) science teacher and Grade 6 teacher in inner-city Chicago Public Schools. My science lab and later my classroom were two of the first classrooms (at my school) to have computers and a phone line so we could use the Internet. 

‘I later transitioned to being the pre-K-8 technology facilitator at a laboratory school north of Chicago. Laboratory schools are pre-k-12 schools located within universities and have a rich connection between educational research and practice.

‘After that, I went overseas, first to ISKL, then to the Chinese International School in Hong Kong, and after to The American International School of Muscat in Oman. All of my overseas roles have been in technology, learning, and leadership.

‘I first joined ISKL in 2001 as the Elementary Technology Coordinator. Later I was the Elementary School (ES) Assistant Principal, then MS Technology Coordinator, PowerSchool Project Manager, and currently as the Director of Technology. 

‘This time around, I came to ISKL for three reasons: the people, the place, and the program. The people of ISKL are my family. ISKL and Malaysia are my home. Both people and places have my heart, my soul, and my brain!

‘ISKL’s program is already top-notch, and the leadership’s vision aligns with my own: a desire towards more excellent applied student agency within a service-oriented design thinking framework and to build structures and opportunities school-wide for students and teachers.

‘Also, to realize the great potential and capacity, this community has been afforded with its new campus and to be invested in exploring and leading the future of authentic learning.

‘My daily activities could be grouped into three areas: leadership and vision, understanding/supporting the educational environment, and managing technology and support resources. On any given day, I could be in meetings, doing research and development, providing support and guidance, collaborating on new initiatives or programs, budgeting, troubleshooting, purchasing, brainstorming, collaborating, questioning, wondering, and learning.

‘The Tech Department consists of two teams that work to build learning capacity and agency. They are the Educational Technology Team (EduTech), which collaborates with teachers to integrate technology into existing curricula. The team also provides a curriculum for specific technology electives, explores new technologies, integration strategies to bring innovation into the classroom, and facilitates varied, timely professional development.

‘The other team is Information Technology (IT) that provides and sustains ubiquitous access to current and emerging technologies, develops and maintains information systems to support data-driven decision making, develops, and maintains a state-of-the-art infrastructure delivering effective and efficient technical support.

‘I am excited about our K-12 EduTech Team’s focus on advancing learning and the collaboration around the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) standards for students. We continue to initiate and support programs that develop students as empowered learners, digital citizens, knowledge constructors, innovative designers, computational thinkers, creative communicators, and global collaborators.

‘I am also excited about how our IT Team is working to simplify, streamline, enhance, and automate systems so that we can continue to grow and thrive in a dynamic world. We have responsive systems to support learning, teaching, and operations that are agile, mobile, flexible, integrated, scalable, and sustainable.

‘We are a highly collaborative and responsive team that is always learning. And we are not a team that waits to be told what to do - we take the initiative, see a need, ask lots of questions, collaborate, and take action!

'We focus on human-centered design to support ISKL. It’s not the stuff that matters; it's the people and how technology can empower users and build capacity that matters.

‘If I had an unlimited budget my dream wishlist would be collaboratively created by our ISKL stakeholders - using a human-centered design process to ensure that our community thrives and flourishes and continue to make a positive impact on our globalized, connected, and dynamic world - for now, and the future.”

What does ‘Be All You Are’ mean to you?

“To be who you are, to reach, grow, and make your pathway. We value YOU now as you are and as you may become.”


Part 2 - Hui Chun Hng representing Information Systems (IS)

In 2 words, describe what the Information System team does?

Invent Magic!! But seriously speaking, we provide data management, data collaboration, and decision support.

What’s the best/fun part of your job?

I love the challenge of trying out new technologies - it is continually evolving, and that always inspires and sparks our imagination and creativity.

What does your department do, and if your whole team were to take leave for one day, what would happen to ISKL?

My team consists of myself, Su-Li Chan, Brad Cheong, and Andre Lee. In general, nothing will be severely impacted because our system is very stable, and the essential automation is already in place for quite some time. Users are well trained to perform the daily operations by themselves.

In exceptional cases, teachers, students, parents, staff, and administrators will not get any responses or solutions from the questions, problems, or ad-hoc tasks that are needed on time.

What is the one thing you wish the ISKL Community knows about what your team does?

Our team contribution is to integrate, streamline, customize, develop, create, train the user, and support users from all levels. We know that we are not perfect, but we always set a very high benchmark in terms of expectations in each of our deliveries. We certainly appreciate user feedback, such as providing ideas and being tolerant and understanding. This type of support is essential to us.

Tell us the most significant challenge your team has faced, and how you have resolved it?

No information system in the world is perfect, and the same goes for the people who operate the system. Our biggest challenge is to design a system that can fully integrate with all other systems in ISKL with the simplicity, ease of use, efficiency - and it is important for users to like to use it!

We always base this on ISKL Info Tech’s vision - that is to streamline, simplify, and automate a repeated task.


Part 3 - Raj Jenkin representing Technical Support

What does your department do, and if your whole team were to take leave for one day, what would happen to ISKL?

As a Tech Support team, we provide direct technical support to faculty, staff, and students. We maintain the computer systems, install and configure hardware, software, school-wide AV event support as well as solve technical problems requests from the web helpdesk/email and others.

In my division, we are split into two teams, Elementary (ES), Middle (MS) and High School (HS). A total of six technicians are reporting to me. They are Karthik Nariansamy (MS/HS), Ishar Ludin (MS/HS), Koon Keng Lee (MS/HS), Sarah Chandran (ES), Michael Vejayan (ES) and Kuna Lekshamanan (ES).

Android or Apple - which is the better device? Windows or macOS? Be honest!

In my experience, both Android and Apple devices have their pros and cons. I've used both for different purposes, and both work fine for me. However, in terms of stability and user-friendliness, I prefer Apple instead of Android.

On the other hand, Windows and Mac are both excellent. Indeed Windows and Mac are effectively serving the same function. 

What is the most common tech support query/request?

That would be multiple software installation requests for 20 HS student video conferencing setup with various requirements, and multiple simultaneous live streaming setup requests for n locations.

What is one thing you wish the ISKL Community knows about what your team does?

We're a friendly neighborhood Tech Support Team, and it's our goal to ensure that you will always have someone to turn to for support.

Complete these sentences: 

  • I wish that the ISKL Community knows that: we are a well-motivated team and are committed.

  • “The Pursuit Of Happyness” is the movie that perfectly describes what we do.

“You got a dream… You gotta protect it. People can’t do somethin’ themselves, and they wanna tell you you can’t do it. If you want somethin’, go get it. Period. Chris Gardner”.

  • The longest-serving staff is Ishar Ludin, and the youngest is Koon Keng Lee.

  • If the computer or AV breaks down, just create a helpdesk ticket, and it will be fixed.

  • Our department sometimes secretly - it is no secret; we enjoy learning new things every day, and more importantly, we always have each other's back. 

  • If we can change one thing about ISKL, it would be to try out more distance learning - and after every three months, we could analyze the advantages and disadvantages. Through this, we would then learn how to improve on it as well as make ourselves ready to support the faculty and staff if any crisis were to happen.



Part 4 - Seprian Darma and Rajinder Khera representing Network

What does your department do and if your whole team were to take leave for one day, what would happen to ISKL?

Our division oversees the day to day network operations, planning for continuous improvement of systems and network services, implementation of various ICT projects, managing systems, and vendors, monitoring the hardware and software operation on a 24/7 basis to serve ISKL’s Community. There are only three of us in the Network division, and Isma Mohd Shah completes our team.

If we were to take leave for just a day or two, there shouldn’t be a problem. With the help of technology, our team is always connected and accessible by people in ISKL, and our ICT vendors will continue to help monitor systems & network operations 24/7, and be on-site if required.

What are the most common projects or requests do you get?

To create a new server or the server is too slow and not responsive or when someone is unable to connect to the server. Missing devices or general questions such as ”Can you please trace MS/HS MacBook?”When the last user logged in and which location?”. Not being able to connect to the Wifi, or getting requests to unblock or whitelist websites, and provide sessions for Teachers Training Teachers (TTT).

What was the most ‘craziest’ request/challenge you have ever faced or done?

At the old ISKL Ampang campus, we did the installation of a Blue Reef Firewall with a company from Australia. We started the job on Friday evening and only managed to complete it by Monday afternoon. We worked, ate, and slept on campus and never went home for almost 3 nights/4 days until the job was completed!

Another time was during the construction of the new campus. We had to move the entire ISKL servers & services from the Ampang and Melawati campuses to the new ISKL Ampang Hilir when the school was not quite ready! Our team & vendors had to work while wearing protective helmets and boots like construction workers!

What is one thing you wish the ISKL Community knows about what your team does?

Most of the time, we are working behind the scenes, and we are always ready to support the community from all levels. Among the three of us, we have set both high expectations and benchmarks with other International Schools in the region.

We encourage and guide ourselves in professional development, and continue to make the right investment in new and emerging technologies to overcome any operational challenges from many departments in ISKL. In short, our Performance Expectations = Results + Behavior + Actions!


Part 5 - Shidah Rashid representing Panther Apps

What is one thing you wish the ISKL Community knows about what your department does?

The Tech Department is always there to do our best to support the ISKL Community - at different levels and approaches. We do not need big applause, but just a simple “Thank you” will make our day!

What does your department do, and if your whole team were to take leave for one day, what would happen to ISKL?

I work on a technology budget, which processes all the technology purchases in SAGE. I also do procurement for faculty and staff personal computers or devices and create email accounts for the ISKL community. I check email and reply to all the email requests in the PantherApps account.

As the face of the Technology Department, I take all the Help Desk requests and solve the problems I can. If not, I will forward it to the right teams to help. I also reset passwords for wifi, PantherApps email, PowerSchool, and even manage printing issues.

If my department were to take leave for one day, no Technology orders or purchases could be made.

Who or what inspires you?  

My family, they are my mentor for life.

I wish that the ISKL Community knows that we: are always there when needed!

If we can change one thing about ISKL, it would be: for the Smart AI (Artificial Intelligence) to be in place - where knowledge and skills can be retrieved easily.


A big thank you to Charlotte and the entire Tech Team, who are an indispensable part of ISKL! And most of all, thank you for your hard work in ensuring Continuous Learning has been implemented smoothly!