Three Minute Update: 5-18-08

South High School Computer Programming– This week Richard Hernandez, Peter Titus and I met with stakeholders at South High School to review the current risks of the computer programming  classes, including the need to align with board policy (district acceptable use policy and regulations).  The areas of concern were saving executable files on the network, Google groups, and the use of personal webspaces for district goals.  Possible solutions for next year include an isolated lab, use of an offsite, hosted server solution, and district sponsored websites.  All of this is in preliminary conversations and will be impacted by other priorities in the school. 

School Web Lockers– A letter was shared with parents of students in grades 4-12 and passwords and an overview of the system are being provided at each school.  Toni Piscitelli and I presented to the North High School staff, Felix Fest Middle School staff, library media specialists, and tech TA’s.  Toni also provided turn-key training to Deb Tarantino for the roll-out at South.

Wireless at North– We are looking at providing wireless network access at North High School for room 155 (?), the new science room next to Rene and Carlos’s office, to support the growing robotics program and other science classes in that room.

N-Computing– The n-computing pilot program at North and South has been overwhelmingly positive.  We will be placing a set of n-computers in an elementary classroom to ensure that we have similar feedback prior to rolling them out on a broader scale.  Using ncomputing devices is an important part of our strategies for lowering the total cost of ownership while providing top quality technology access to our students and staff.  More details available at www.ncomputing.com

Surplus equipment– In the next week to ten days, we will begin removing computers scheduled for surplus.  We will begin with the computers that principals agreed could be removed prior to the end of the school year, and will agressively move to pull the others out of classrooms in mid to late June. 

Defining a digital toolbox for teachers and students– A group of administrators, teachers, parents and (hopefully) students have agreed to participate in two 3-hour sessions focusing on what technology tools the district should provide to students and teachers.  One intended outcome is to standardize and recommend a portal (i.e. blackboard.com or Moodle), and other tools such as blogs , wikis, student email, anti plagiarism software and more as appropriate.

David Kaminski’s video lab– I met with Dave and we reviewed how our department can assist in technical support.  We agreed that we could begin by cleaning up the wiring and mounting the switches in his lab.  He will explore with buidlings and grounds the possibility of installing a data/electric pole in the room.

Technology Learning Facilitator– John Calvert officially begins working in our district on Monday (May 19) as a Technology Learning Facilitator.  John served in a similar role at the Public Schools of the Tarrytowns for the past 6 1/2 years and will serve an important role in our district as we continue to provide our teachers with purposeful, ongoing, and sustainable professional development.  John will be housed in the Department of Instructional Technology (between Shain and Denise) but will report directly, as all learning facilitators do, to Valerie Henning-Piedmonte.  Needless to say, Valerie and I have been meeting regularly to plan best practices for maximizing the efficiency and ratio of John’s “reach and frequency” to ensure his work is embedded in our district’s strategic goals and supports student learning and engagement.  It is important to note that John’s role does NOT include any tech support (i.e. fixing a printer), and that such requests should be sent directly to building technicians.

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