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Technology Committee Minutes – February 11, 2020

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Call to Order – 4:04 p.m.


Admin: Mr. Edson, Mr. McHugh, Mr. Goodwin, Mr. Kilmartin

Committee: Ms. Demarco, Ms. Duncan, Mr. Ecker, Mr. Morrow, Mr. Poli, Mr. Sanderson, Ms. Snyder, Ms. Virnelli

General Thank You & February 7 Professional Development

Mr. Goodwin acknowledged the work of his staff during the past few busy weeks.  The events included the January 30 advocacy forum, replacement of the projectors in the Columbia auditorium, and February 7 half-day professional development.  He was pleased his staff could support the technology sessions on February 7, including ViewSonic, NewsEla, KAMI, PowerTeacher Pro, and Google. Mr. Goodwin said that the NEWSELA  sessions are available for access on a 24 hour basis for staff convenience, but there was no specifically East Greenbush webinar on Feb 7th for NEWSELA.

Mr. Goodwin said the math department received additional training on the use of the ViewSonic boards.  He also noted the systems had been upgraded to Windows 10 technology to make them operational.

Mr. McHugh spoke about the benefits of using webinars for professional development days in light of seven buildings with different dismissal times.  He also said that clustering in smaller groups can be an effective method for receiving training.

Mr. Edson thanked Mr. McHugh and Mr. Goodwin for offering Google training for teaching assistants.  He said that two business staff attended the session and found the material very helpful. Mr. Edson suggested there be a part two Google session in the future.

Mr. Kilmartin spoke about the utility of KAMI to annotate text, edit documents and enlarge text.  He said that teachers can use many past classroom resources and create new, edited handouts for students to use.

Ms. Virnelli relayed the success of the Promethean flat panel training for art and music teachers.  She shared that NearPod could be an added resource for the group, which includes many lessons for art and music classes.

Ms. Snyder said that her department met to review midterms and data, finding the time to be very productive.  She requested that all training be recorded if possible and available for later viewing. Mr. Goodwin explained that certain training may not be recorded based on prohibitions by the vendors.  He said that investment of district money in resources is often dependent upon easy access to affordable training. The district has Webex technology that can be used for webinar access.

Ms. Demarco liked the PowerTeacher Pro training in a small setting for ease of asking questions and allowing more in depth discussion for particular areas.

Mr. McHugh expressed concern that staff were not reading the directions to access professional development sessions using My Learning Plan.  He thanked the technology department staff for assisting with last minute requests on February 7.

Mr. Buono asked about support and training for PowerSchool.  Mr. Goodwin noted the product is supported through Neric and that data processing staff have occasionally attended PowerSchool University.  He would like additional training in the future. Mr. McHugh said that K-2 report cards will soon be in PowerSchool for teachers.

Mr. McHugh clarified that professional development days are not for teacher planning.  He said there may have been some limited confusion on the part of the staff as to the purpose of the dedicated time.

Reflex Math Group Fluency Report

Mr. Goodwin shared two Reflex Math Group Fluency Reports to show the power of the product in improving student math skills.  He said the individual reports provide data to support the IST process for certain students. Mr. Goodwin also shared that the product has certificates of achievement for teachers to use in class.

NewsEla Teacher Education Center

Mr. Goodwin demonstrated the NewsEla Teacher Education Center.  The Center provides early access to subjects in the news that can be used to create class assignments.  There is a strong search capability in the product.  NewsEla can be accessed at any time of the day.

Communication Roundtable

Mr. Goodwin said that he would work on printing access from Chromebooks during the break.  He noted that the access must be coordinated with the multi-function printer project.

Mr. Sanderson suggested that the group consider conveying to the community the success of the Chromebook implementation.  He wanted the community to see the value of the investment. Mr. Goodwin spoke about a recent presentation to the Board on Chromebook use in the classroom.

Mr. Ecker suggested that a database of software, apps and extensions available to staff be compiled.  He believed it could be integrated with the online curriculum resources. Mr. Goodwin said that the list will need to be compiled for Education Law 2-d compliance and that certain software products may not comply with the new rules.  Mr. Ecker also suggested the possibility that the list be compiled as part of summer curriculum writing. Mr. Goodwin spoke in favor of having the list so that products are universally available across grade levels and buildings.

Ms. Snyder asked about the possibility of hosting an app slam where individuals introduce an app to others and demonstrate how it is used in a limited time frame.

Mr. Kilmartin spoke about the benefits of having professional development online for easy staff access to products such as NewsEla and Reflex Math.  Ms. Virnelli was in favor of having webinars available for staff after hours or during planning periods.

Ms. Snyder asked if funding of $1,000 could be found to introduce Gimkit to students, which can be a very motivating tool.  Mr. McHugh asked that the request be sent to his office with a plan of implementation.

Mr. Buono was pleased to see the progress made on the committee.  He said the integration of technology in the classroom has been impressive.

Ms. Duncan commended the utilization of the new Follett System to make library resources available through a website.

Meeting Schedule for 2019-2020 Year

2019-2020: all Tuesdays at 4:00 p.m.: March 10, April 7, May 12

Adjournment – 5:33 p.m.