Text-only Version

Empowering K-12 Innovation at P.K. Yonge

PHOTO: P.K. Yonge Dev. Research School Commons Area, Gainesville, FL

Hi-definition digital signage now welcomes everyone entering P. K. Yonge Developmental Research School, UF’s public K-12 school that serves North Central Florida’s diverse and vibrant community. But the splashy new entrance is just a taste of the enhanced technologies designed and installed by UFIT to support teaching and learning in the university’s laboratory school.

“We are thrilled to have partnered with UF Information Technology [A/V Installations group] to provide students and teachers with learning spaces where technology is seamlessly integrated into the learning process. The impact of this new hi-tech learning environment was immediately apparent,” said Dr. Lynda Hayes, Director of P.K. Yonge. “The new technologies are enabling teachers to seamlessly include students in learning events both from home and in the classroom synchronously. And the experience of working with the professional staff in UFIT could not have been better.”

Installations include 86” LCD displays with both wired/wireless connectivity in 28 classrooms. In addition, 15 collaboration tables for students’ use, each with 49” LCD display and a wired connection wall plate, are now supporting curious learners throughout the school’s campus. UFIT also upgraded the technologies in 14 breakout/support/conference rooms and eight teacher planning rooms.

Colleges and departments interested in audio/visual room design, integration, and installation services may call (352-273-1874) or email UFIT’s A/V Installations Project Manager Lon Vance.

Enhancing the Black Engineering Experience

PHOTO: National Society of Black Engineers Gator Chapter, 2020-21 Executive Board

The National Society of Black Engineers Gator Chapter (NSBE) plays an integral role in enhancing college life for UF’s minority engineering students. NSBE provides opportunities and invests in its members by hosting professional development workshops catered to niche areas within the technical and STEM fields. But the organization’s impact goes beyond academia.

“Our chapter has a family bond,” said Cameron Anderson, president of the NSBE Gator Chapter. “It can be overwhelming for minority students to navigate a predominantly white institution, but that is where NSBE has stepped in to help minority students find lifelong friendships.”

Community outreach is another important principle of NSBE membership. Its Pre-College Initiative (PCI) introduces students at Gainesville High School and Santa Fe High School to STEM by facilitating engineering and coding sessions. Ezzard Bradford, NSBE Gator Chapter PCI chair, conducts virtual Python programming workshops with local students.

“I find purpose in dedicating time to students passionate about engineering,” Bradford said. “I want them to become better students and learners.”

NSBE’s Gator Chapter cultivates an environment for future Black engineers to form lasting relationships at UF while also excelling academically. Follow them on Instagram for more information on their networking events and outreach activities.

Keeping UF Networked and Prepared for What’s Next

PHOTO: UFIT staff member Tanner Bammert

UFIT’s Refresh & Rehab group manages network equipment for hundreds of university buildings. Their efforts result in less network maintenance, improved equipment compatibility, and better security and reliability of UF’s network connections for teaching, research, and administrative work.

Each project includes replacing network switches, adding, replacing, or repositioning wireless access points, and checking that the uninterrupted power supply is in good shape. Think of it as roadwork needed on a much traveled highway: If you drive I-75 or Newberry Road each day, you know where the slow spots are or where the road has potholes that need filling. That is a good analogy for the work done by the Refresh & Rehab staff. When they complete maintenance on a building, the information on the UF Network can travel a smoother road.

In FY20, the group upgraded equipment in 26 buildings, replaced 259 switches, and added 477 wireless access points. Replacing the equipment provides increased security and scalability for future bandwidth needs. UFIT’s Refresh & Rehab schedule for 2021-Q1 is online, and includes multiple buildings IFAS uses to conduct multidisciplinary research and outreach on Florida fish and plant life. Anyone with questions or who would like to submit a work request may do so via https://my.it.ufl.edu/.

2021 Tech Fair Open to Faculty and Staff

GRAPHIC: Tech Fair Online Scavenger Hunt (Feb. 17-19)

For the first time, faculty and staff can take part in Tech Fair. Now in its eighth year, Tech Fair was launched to connect students with the free, enterprise-wide IT services and support available to them, regardless of major. With Tech Fair becoming a virtual event for 2021, UFIT opened the event up to faculty and staff as well.

In addition to learning about tech services and support available based on primary affiliation, all faculty and staff have a chance to win one of three prizes: a tour of the UF Data Center (home to HiPerGator AI), an Apple Watch Series 3, or a Beats Pill+. This event is a great way to discover free resources for academic, research, and administrative needs, like free file storage and collaboration solutions on the GatorCloud to mobile printing and IT training options. Many services and licenses are underwritten by UFIT so there’s no cost to the UF community.

How do you win? Just complete the 20-question online scavenger hunt tailored to your primary affiliation. Answers can be found on UFIT News or on UFIT’s service pages. Links to the scavenger hunt will go live on https://it.ufl.edu/techfair/ at 8:00 a.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 17, and remain open until 5:00 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 19. Anyone with questions about Tech Fair may email UFIT Communications.

Options for Using HiPerGator and HiPerGator AI

PHOTO: Wiring from ceiling connecting to NVIDIA machines, UF Data Center

HiPerGator and HiPerGator AI can be used for teaching and research by UF faculty and faculty from Florida’s state universities. Options for using University of Florida supercomputing resources are as follows:

1. For teaching a class, allocations are free and last for one semester.
2. For research, allocations can be purchased for periods ranging from three months to several years. The rates are listed at https://www.rc.ufl.edu/services/rates/.
3. A free three-month trial allocation may also be requested. Trial allocations can be used to develop a course and to explore HiPerGator’s use for research. Interested faculty should complete the trial application form. Upon completion of the trial period, faculty will work with UFIT to find the best way forward for continuing their use of HiPerGator and HiPerGator AI.
4. Colleges and departments can also request a free three-month trial allocation to be shared between faculty in the unit. This option provides access for learning about AI and preparing to include AI in courses at no cost to individual faculty. Details of a basic AI Starter Allocation are available on the https://www.rc.ufl.edu/artificial-intelligence page.

HiPerGator has been successfully operating on the financial model described above since 2013. Financial support is due to significant investment from the Provost and Senior VP for Academic Affairs, the VP for Research, and the Office of the VP and CIO. Anyone with questions about UFIT’s computational resources and support for teaching or research may contact UFIT Research Computing Director Erik Deumens.