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Technology Committee Minutes – February 5, 2019

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Call to Order – 5:31 p.m.

Attendance

  • Admin: Mr. Edson, Mr. Goodwin, Mr. Neumann
  • Committee: Ms. DeMarco, Ms. Duncan, Mr. Ecker, Ms. O’Connor,
  • Ms. Omecinsky, Ms. O’Neil, Ms. Snyder, Ms. Thompson, Ms. Virnelli
  • Community: Ms. Conway, Mr. Sanderson

Education Law 2-d

Mr. Goodwin explained that the State Education Department (SED) is reviewing proposed regulations regarding data privacy under Education Law 2-d.  The goal is to protect personal identifiable information (PII).

The proposed regulations include the following provisions:

  • Clarification of the data security and privacy obligations of schools and third-party contractors
  • Establishment of requirements for contracts and other written agreements where PII is provided to a third-party contractor  (marketing or commercial purposes is prohibited)
  • Establishment of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Cybersecurity Framework as the standard for school’s data security and privacy programs  (Identify, Protect, Detect, Respond, and Recover)
  • Direction to schools to ensure that all employees that handle PII receive annual data security and privacy training
  • Requirement that schools identify a data protection officer that will be responsible for the school’s data security and privacy program (inclusive of a procedure for parents and students to file complaints about breaches or unauthorized releases of student data)
  • Publication of a Parent’s Bill of Rights on the school website (The EGCSD website currently contains the Parent’s Bill of Rights under existing regulations)

The public comment time is in February and March.  The Board of Regents is anticipated to adopt the proposed regulations in April 2019.  The expected effective date of the regulations is in December 2019.

Fluency Tutor Demonstration

Ms. Virnelli presented Fluency Tutor, an app compatible with Google Classroom for the purpose of improvement of student reading.  The program is designed for struggling student readers and appropriate for ENL instruction, AIS, special education inclusion, and reading classes.  It works on District chromebooks. The approximate cost is $100 per teacher to use with an unlimited number of students; a thirty-day trial period is available.

Some of the program features include ability to work with any text (articles chosen from any website plus those in the program), built-in text to speech option, text and picture dictionaries plus translation (students highlight the word to obtain a definition), and recording of student reading multiple times for practice.  A vocabulary list can be developed for each student.

Top Websites in Use By Students

Mr. Goodwin provided a report of the top websites by student visits according to grade level from January 5 to February 5, 2019.  The results were not surprising:

  • K-2: typingclub, pebblego, google, abcya, kahoot, clever
  • 3: google, pebblego, abcya, brainpop, typing
  • 4: google, play.prodigygame, wordart, getepic, brainpop
  • 5: freerice, google, go.galegroup (library database), wordart, kahoot
  • 6: google, typingclub, youtube, pearsonrealize
  • 7: google, youtube, typingclub, quiziet, coolmathgames, naviance
  • 8: google, typingclub, youtube, kahoot.it, nearpod
  • 9: google, youtube, kahoot.it, nearpod
  • 10: google, kahoot.it, youtube, biology.arizona.edu, instagram
  • 11: google, sks.sirs.com (library database), youtube
  • 12: google, youtube, xtramath

Please Note: Items above relating to docs.google.com, classroom.google.com, mail.google.com, translate.google.com, sites.google.com, and drive.google.com have all been listed as google.  

Users noted the changes to sites.google.com, with fewer templates and less options.  Mr Goodwin mentioned that at some point in the not so distant future, Google may follow through with its plans to deprecate Classic Sites (the original version of Google Sites).  He added that users who still have a Classic Sites web site need to convert it to New Sites (the new version of Google Sites) or to some other host sooner rather than later.

Mr. Goodwin said that software use, such as Brain Pop and Naviance, and new purchases of software, should be aligned to district instructional goals, and that usage data as being presented at this meeting will be an integral part of future purchasing decisions.

Mr Goodwin added that some Youtube videos (a small number) continue to be blocked because they have been flagged as having potentially inappropriate material by users who have previously viewed the material.  This causes YouTube to carry the flag with the video, and to review the content following the YouTube Community Guidelines.  YouTube may not immediately resolve some flags, and it can take some time to remove a flag in some cases.  The consequence is that the Google for Education domain that we use has a “Moderately Restrictive” mode that is in place for the high school and the middle school which may respect the flags and cause a block on the video.  Teachers have the right to show certain instructional videos as their restrictions are significantly less than those restrictions in place for students. Discussion then ensued about students who attempt to get around Go Guardian blocking.

Communication Roundtable

  • Mr. Goodwin said that there is a vacancy at Columbia High School for a network technician. His department is currently working to fill the vacancy.  
  • He also advised that the District is reviewing purchase of Lexikeet software, which can be used to translate documents for ENL students.
  • Ms. Omecinsky asked about the use of Google voice and restrictions available by the organizational unit.  A workaround for ENL staff was arranged as the district does not have plans to enable Google voice on our domain.
  • Ms. Snyder suggested revision of the form for approval of apps by including sections for pricing and other information.  Although the intent was to make the form brief, it may lead to delays in approval since sometimes there is a delay between submission and scheduled technology committee meetings.  Mr. Goodwin mentioned that the form will be revised fully when the guidance from SED arrives regarding the proposed changes to Education Law 2-d.
  • Ms. Thompson asked for information to update NearPod.  This is arranged.
  • Mr. Ecker spoke about the number of tabs on the student account page.  Mr. Goodwin explained the Clever tab was part of the reason for the sudden appearance of the Clever dashboard.  He said that he needed to rework the “dashboard” as there shortcuts that are appearing which lead to products that we are not licensed for.  This will be addressed.
  • Mr. Goodwin also briefly reviewed the inclusion of Google digital signage techniques, for example school menus.
  • Ms. Duncan asked about test practices being online.  Mr. Goodwin said that SED implementation of online testing is not scheduled for this year, although some school districts will pilot the testing.  
  • Ms. Duncan requested a set of chromebooks for the library at Red Mill.
  • Ms. Snyder commented that Google has not yet revised its Forms module for tests.  Mr. Goodwin said he would look into whether a contract with Questar (not the BOCES) to provide a kiosk based testing platform was possible.
  • Ms. DeMarco asked if chromebooks would be able to print in the future for teachers  Mr. Goodwin replied that this is under consideration.

Meeting Schedule for 2018-2019 Year, 2019-2020 Year

Some Changes to THIS YEAR MEETING TIMES ARE BELOW:

  • 2018-2019:
    • March 5th meeting will be switched to 4 pm – 5:30 pm
    • April 2nd will remain at 5:30 pm – 7 pm
    • May 7th meeting will be switched to 4 pm – 5:30 pm
    • June 4 will remain at 5:30 pm to 7 pm.  
    • Meetings will be held in the Citizen Genet conference room.  The list of meetings can also be found on the TEG Website.
  • 2019-2020: Tentative dates are all Tuesdays: September 10, October 1, November 5, January 14, February 11, March 10, April 7, May 12, June 9

Adjournment – 7:12 p.m.