This week’s “three minute update” designed to provide you with a snapshot of key activities that may be of interest to you. Items are listed in random order.
SMART Board Installations – The SMART Board installations have been moving along quite smoothly. The installers have been working around the summer abatement projects, and have installed boards in Felix Festa Middle School, North High School, South High School and several elementary schools. Although we have made some changes with regard to the model we will install in the elementary schools, the installations are on schedule. As you may recall from a previous communication, the change to a board with a ceiling mounted projector requires the installation of an electrical outlet in the ceiling, and Richard Hernandez is coordinating this installation with Frank Stefanelli.
SMART Board Teacher Preparation – Many teachers have participated in SMART Board professional development this summer, but it is likely that some teachers who will have boards in their rooms in September may not have had any training. Though the professional development will be embedded and ongoing, it’s vital that teachers have a working knowledge of this transformative technology prior to the opening of school. Additionally, “back to school” nights begin the second week of school, and parents will certainly have questions. John Calvert and Valerie are working on details for ensuring additional opportunities for teachers to engage in professional development related to SMART Boards.
N-computing – Our summer staff has been quite busy, removing surplus computers and installing the new n-computing solution. If you are unfamiliar with n-computing, details are available on their website (http://www.ncomputing.com/Solutions/Education/K12/tabid/68/Default.aspx). This solution allows us to provide a rich computing environment with a significantly lower total cost of ownership.
Keyboard for K-2 Students – Part of the technology committee’s conversations in June focused on appropriate size keyboards for our youngest students. With that in mind, my department is evaluating several different keyboards for installation in the K – 2 classrooms. The adjacent photo shows the comparative size of one of the keyboards we are considering in relationship to the traditional Dell keyboard we install. One other benefit of combining an N-computing device, smaller keyboard, and flat screen monitor will be a significantly smaller “technology footprint” in our K-2 classrooms.
Plasma screens available for non-instructional use – Earlier in the year we spoke about using available plasma screens at school entrances, cafeterias, and conference rooms in each school. Per Laura Lavine’s efforts to equip each school with a standardized CSE room, a computer, wireless keyboard/mouse, and plasma screen will be installed in a specified room in each school this summer. We do have additional plasma screens available for use in each building. Several schools have discussed putting a plasma in the main hallway of the school to showcase student art work and other brief (very large font) messages. Doing will cost a school approximately $500 of school funds. Please contact me if you are interested in this or would like more details.