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Technology Committee Minutes – November 13, 2018


View Minutes as PDF

Call to Order – 5:30 p.m.


  • Admin: Mr. Edson, Ms. Farnan, Mr. Goodwin, Mr. Kilmartin, Mr. McHugh, Mr. Neumann
  • Committee: Ms. Bernard, Mr. Kovall, Ms. O’Connor, Mr. Sanderson, Ms. Snyder, Ms. Thompson, Ms. Virnelli

WAN Project Update

The WAN project was designed to upgrade the links between school buildings from one gigabyte to ten gigabytes.  Links are completed between Red Mill and Columbia, Green Meadow and Genet, Genet and Columbia, and Bell Top and Columbia.  Other links will be completed when licensing is approved. The provider will now be NERIC instead of Spectrum.

November 6 Professional Development Day Reflections

Carmalita Seitz from the International Society for Technology in Education presented a session on “Unpacking the ISTE Standards for Students and Teachers”.  Comments included:

  • Mr. Goodwin was pleased to host a high caliber, national level speaker who emphasized the ISTE standards.
  • Ms. Virnelli reflected on the good presentation.  Building teachers requested more time to experiment with the technology.  She hoped to start a technology book club to meet once per month to show technology use in the classroom.
  • Ms. O’Connor said Ms. Seitz was a good and personable presenter.  She like the emphasis on equity and thought that consistency would be helpful among our schools.
  • Mr. McHugh also reflected on the good presentation and believed the resource books would be helpful for staff.  He thought the presenter made people reflect on technology both during and after the session.
  • Mr. Kilmartin found the presentation to be informative and liked the resource books.  Staff have requested to meet in small groups by department or grade level to develop applications.
  • Ms. Farnan agreed with Mr. Kilmartin on the need to encourage collaboration among colleagues.
  • Ms. Thompson appreciated the great energy, engaging nature and dynamic presentation of the speaker.  She liked the lesson that technology use does not have to be perfect. Ms. Thompson believed the book will be of great assistance to staff.
  • Ms. Snyder thought the speaker could be more dynamic in a small group setting.  She said the speaker had practical experiences to share. Building staff reflected some uncertainty about implementing the ISTE standards; however, it is believed most lessons already incorporate one or more standards.
  • Mr. Neumann said the speaker was received very well by staff.  He liked the resource books for reference.
  • Mr. Kovall also believed that most of the ISTE standards are incorporated within current technology lessons.

NearPod Restorative Justice Lesson

Mr. Goodwin presented a Nearpod professional development segment on restorative justice.  The session focused on shifting away from a punitive focus on punishment to a restorative one centered on repairing harm and strengthening relationships.  The session contained short videos, group exercises, and a quiz. Reaction to the information was very positive.

Small Group Breakout – Look at NearPod Modules

The committee divided into three smaller groups to view:

  • NearPod EL – for English Language Learners
  • Ready to Run PD
  • College and Career Exploration

Groups were impressed with the ease of use, materials to access, wide range of topics, and variety of lessons.  For the EL module, users believed it would be easy to differentiate instruction with the product.

Pricing on EL is based on total students (approximately 4,000), rather than the English Language Learner population.  Mr. Goodwin said he would speak to the company on better pricing.

NearPod Licensing

The District has purchased 125 licenses in the current year.  Staff not accessing the product were surveyed to determine interest; if interest was not indicated, the license was redirected to another staff member.

Discussion Around The Table

  • Ms. Bernard shared concerns about the unfilled .6 FTE librarian position at Bell Top and expanding the position to 1.0 FTE next year.  Mr. Edson referred her to Mr. Mahar for preparing a 2019-20 budget request. He suggested contacting Ms. Cannon about the unfilled position.
  • Mr. Goodwin said the Typing Club data suggests that more time is needed at the elementary level to practice skills in light of future online state testing.  Ms. Snyder advised that motivating students to practice keyboarding can be very challenging.
  • Ms. Snyder requested Mr. Goodwin to review options related to technology availability for physical education, possibly a rolling cart with screen.
  • Mr. Kilmartin spoke about the difficulty in accessing library databases using a Chromebook.  Mr. Goodwin said the issue is being researched. Mr. Kilmartin also asked if the Kahn Academy could be approved rather than filtered out.
  • Ms. Virnelli shared student enthusiasm for Reflex Math.  She advocated that the program be purchased for use by AIS teachers. Ms. Virnelli suggested an assembly to share Common Sense Media with elementary students.

Meeting Schedule for 2018-2019 Year

The agenda contained the following meeting schedule for the Technology Committee on Tuesdays at 5:30 p.m.:  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.

A Schoolology presentation is tentatively scheduled for December 4.

Adjournment – 7:17 p.m.