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Technology Committee Minutes – September 11, 2018

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Call to Order – 5:30 p.m.

Attendance

  • Board: Mr. Buono
  • Admin: Mr. Edson, Mr. Goodwin, Mr. Kilmartin, Mr. Neumann, Mr. McHugh
  • Committee: Ms. Bernard, Ms. DeMarco, Ms. Duncan, Mr. Ecker, Ms. Mahar, Ms. O’Connor, Mr. Poli, Mr. Sanderson, Ms. Snyder, Ms. Virnelli, Ms. Thompson, Ms. Wladarczyk

Tour of Technology in EG (TEG) Website

Mr. Goodwin introduced the new TEG website to the group; it is accessible from the main District website www.egcsd.org, click on Academics and then on Technology.  It is not available to the public or to students.   The features of the website include files, filter update request, ISTE Standards, professional development, project updates, software request form, technology committee 2018-2019, technology work request, IT team, who do I call?, how to, and site map.  Mr. Goodwin asked for suggestions as people begin using the website, especially on the “who do I call?” section.

Chromebook 1:1 Program

Mr. Goodwin discussed that monitoring of Chromebooks under Go Guardian software will be from 7:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.; outside of those times will be the responsibility of parents.  Mr. McHugh clarified that the issue was discussed with legal counsel, and the school cannot sufficiently monitor after the regular academic day.

Reaction from K-5, 6-8, and 9-12 committee representatives was very positive on the Chromebook rollout.  Teachers and students are excited about using the Chromebooks and have a sense of ownership. Some requests include a Chromebook cart for each library, method for loaning out a Chromebook, and Chromebooks available for teaching assistants.  Mr. Goodwin said that the technology staff is reviewing the need for collection of the Chromebooks at year-end in light of the effort associated with distribution of them in August.

Members of the technology staff were thanked for all the assistance in the Chromebook project implementation.

WAN Project Update

Mr. Goodwin presented a chart of the Wide Area Network (WAN) and how it should look once completed in October 2018.  He said that all buildings have had a retrofit of the data closets. All buildings now have at least one gigabyte and will grow to 10 gigabytes.  The network now has a secondary provider, and there will be a second means of entry into Columbia High School to have a backup for network outages.

Professional Development

Mr. Goodwin thanked the volunteers and presenters who assisted in making the September 5 professional development day a success.  He suggested that in the future the team would visit a school building and cycle through presentations to staff during preparation, lunch, or release time.  Mr. Goodwin requested emails be sent to him on ideas for future presentations.

It was questioned whether presenters could receive more than one hour credit for the presentation.  In some schools, presenters get two for one credit to account for preparation time.

Mr. McHugh suggested accessing the resources of the Greater Capital Region Teacher Center.  Members suggested the sessions be content specific.

Ms. O’Connor has made videos in the past through a LOOM extension.  Requests for the extension need to be made to Mr. Goodwin.

The Webex feature is available through the District’s agreement with NERIC.  More information will be forthcoming.

Requests for professional development by school:

  • Genet – Typing Club, Google Classroom, Nearpod
  • Red Mill – Typing Club, Google Classroom, Nearpod
  • Columbia – Google Classroom
  • Goff – Google Classroom, Google Drive
  • DPS – Google Classroom
  • Bell Top – Nearpod, Google Suite
  • Green Meadow – Nearpod, Google Classroom, Typing Club

Apps and Extensions

Mr. Goodwin showed gosoapbox.com, “a web-based clicker tool used by educators around the world to keep students engaged and gain real-time insight into student comprehension.”  A free tour is available on the website that includes real-time polls, creation of quizzes for formative assessment, and a confusion barometer. In some ways it is similar to NearPod but could be an easier starting point.

Ms. Snyder gave a demonstration of Paper Rater, which allows students to submit essays, reports, and other written work for a grammar check, writing suggestions, plagiarism checking, and a grade.  The Paper Rater website is free and may be easier to use than Grammarly, particularly for younger students.

Software

Ms. Snyder said the feedback has been positive on Storybook That (a graphic organizer), but a number of teachers need additional training on how to use the product.  Mr. Goodwin will contact the vendor for training options.

Mr. Goodwin said the NearPod Pilot continues to be rolled out; ten licenses are still available.  The District has a three-year agreement with the vendor, which includes 125 licenses this year. He hopes the product will catch on with teachers.  Mr. Goodwin said NearPod integrates well with the ISTE Standards and with other products such as Google Classroom and Common Sense Media.

Discussion on Adobe Creative Cloud is put on hold for now.

Discussion Around The Table

  • Mr. Buono thanked the technology staff and teachers for the successful rollout of the Chromebooks.
  • Mr. Ecker expressed some concerns with using NearPod for kids.  Ms. Virnelli sent some tips by email to Mr. Ecker for easier use of the product.
  • The technology staff was thanked for answering many questions regarding use of the chromebooks.
  • Ms. Snyder reflected concerns with the use of the updated Google Classroom.  General consensus was that the upgrades made student use more difficult.

Meeting Schedule for 2018-2019 Year

The agenda contained the following meeting schedule for the Technology Committee on Tuesdays at 5:30 p.m.:  October 9, November 13, December 4, January 8, February 5, March 5, April 2, May 7, and June 4. Meetings will be held in the Citizen Genet conference room.  The list of meetings can also be found on the TEG website.

Adjournment – 7:12 p.m.