Thursday, October 28, 2010

Technology Facilitator's Meeting, October 28, 2010

New person--Dianne Phillips—Clemmons MS

Betty Weycker:  "Remember the individual child…"
Bill Park—WinstonNet—Connect your community Grant—a partnership with WS/FCS
  • 1750 families have computers in their home thanks to this Grant
  • CYC:  “Connect Your Community”
  •       Bill Park:  is not a tech person…Cathy Davidson is project supervisor
    • They have roughly a million dollar grant
    • Free computer training starting November 29th
    • call for more information (336) 703-4138
    • He is at 475 Corporate Square Drive  --34512
    • He is

Kevin Sherrill:
Carla Miller:  “End of Life Survey”—One more day to do that—working computers and monitors that you no longer use.  No laptops
  • Surplus:  About 70% finished—should be done by tomorrow…
  • If you have something else that needs to be added, put it on the spreadsheet and let Carla know (especially TV’s)

  • Courier Service:  How process is going with the Courier Service:  Carla is looking at the process.  If an item is not there when they go to pick it up, then they will close the ticket.
Nook/Kobo:  (electronic readers), schools have wanted to buy.  They are looking at them--Nook Barnes and Noble, and Kobo from Borders.
  • They felt like the Nook was a better built machine. 
  •  It is School based decision. 
  • Technology is not supporting them at this point for repair, some can connect to the WI-FI.
Classroom Solution: 
  • Title 1 budget and purchasing has picked up on that. 
  • Make sure you put in an assist ticket to do a survey for the rooms you want done. 
  •  Be aware that pricing is changing all the time. 
  • They need to work with maintenance. 
  • Order through Assist ticket when ready to buy. 
  • What you do with your teachers is up to you..But they encourage you to use it with your teachers.
  • Requester:  anyone who creates a ticket…May simplify the categories in the next couple of weeks
  • Make sure the ticket information from teachers is up-to-date, and complete before assigning to the service desk.Remember there are only FOUR people on the service desk. 
  • Link to software clearning house:|&NodeID=171
  • Before you write a Grant for software, it needs to be approved first.  For example, Just recently, having a problem getting a program to work--the software did not go through the software approval process. 
  • GET a trial copy to Sherry to test it first.
  • Better to look at the tickets to find comments--look for the flags
  • Make sure when you use comments you do NOT check INTERNAL ONLY…otherwise it just stays on the ticket, and does not get corresponded.
  • Do not reply to e-mail for comment notification e-mails--instead Log back into assist and edit comments.
  • Reports section of assist:  share with your principal…if the number of days the ticket was open is wrong, report that to Kevin.
  • ONCE you OPEN a ticket, make sure you ASSIGN IT…Service desk is not looking at the Master Queue list
  • Unapproved software list is still on the technology page, Software Approvals... 
  • Marlo sends e-mail to instructional services first and often have to wait :( —The more information you can give about the software, the better—how are you using it ?  where did you get the software, etc.?
  • Kevin spent a fair amount of time on the flow chat showing the assist ticket flow process.
  • Comments:  go back to whoever submitted the ticket.  Anyway to extend the time…of a closed ticket??
  •  It is five days, and school wires won’t extend it.  You can reference the old ticket number (especially an issue with hardware repairs)
  • Remember, you can only “assign to the service desk” or yourself or another tech facilitator in your school..
  • Can set up e-mail rules to control the flow of your notification.  (Jim will put instructions for doing this on the web-portal)
  • By queue, you can see what tickets are waiting to be assigned.
  • Auto-assigned categories: Data Management, media services

Compu-trace:  Guest Speaker-- "ROYCE"
  • Log-in with your e-mail address and password
  • Part of every new purchase and on every computer
  • Every machine come with  a Bios agent,  and an application agent communicates with compu-trace.
  • Asset tracking Page:  has a call history, is most popular…
  • Computrace is not just a theft recovery tool. Excellent inventory tracking. 
  • Alerts tab:  set them so you can be alert and be notified if anything unusual happens.  You can get a malware notification.  Or notification that their drive is full, etc..
  • "Device freeze" can be locked down at the OS level,  user messaging can be used to correspond to the user.
Jackie Pierson:  Media Services:
  • LSTA(Library Science/technology) Grant—five schools got this grant…it is a “print” grant.  Public libraries gets technology $10,000, and a matching $2500    
  • Mt Tabor,
  • N. Forsyth
  • Sedge garden
  • Sherwood Forest
  • SouthEast Middle
  • MTAC committee should be meeting at your school....MTAC  decided this grant
  • Inside Destiny—There are 65 "e-ready" classic books already.
  • The ones inside destiny—are through adobe reader, 1 reader at a time.  Huckleberry Finn for example…The little @ sign indicates it is in “e” format.

Principals are very "in-tune" with the e-books  

Marlo Gaddis:
Update, a corruption took place on Learning Village Update. 
  • No data was lost, have had to re-build the framework…
  • will not be upgraded since they are just trying to get it back to the way it was. 
  • There will be a new hosted version that should facilitate upgrading in the future.
  • Career start teachers have been calling…so it has been being used—hopefully will be in the TBT tomorrow.
On-Line staff development—on-line courses ending for October.  May want to remind teachers.
Staff Development:  they are down one instructional technologist, demand for training is outstanding.  If you schedule open labs, make sure you have a list of teachers who will attend. 

NCEEF:  Teacher evaluation on-line.  Marlo has been getting Tickets about log-ins.  DOT does not have anything to do with that internally at this time.  First check with principals—they re being trained.  Don’t think user names and passwords have been sent yet.
TEACHSCAPE:  company we use for classroom walk-through—Marlo is “pulling numbers” tomorrow for this quarter.
  • PLC model and using this tool--"Teachscape Reflect":
  • Could be used as a reflective tool for teachers to use and help one another. 
  • There are linking the NC evaluation instrument with this can tape your lesson and tag the different pieces of evidence.
  • Can also take still photos—evidence in the classroom—activity sheet vs. a worksheet, classroom environment, etc..
  • Cost: ~$4800 for the camera…the video is only viewable on the website. 
  • National Boards should work with this product.
  • There is an OPT out policy for video—parents would have to say they don’t want there children to be filmed…
  • Go to here to find the resources that Marlo is sharing from her conference
  • "Teacher works academy resources"
  • Look under the conferences folder on the right.
  • Talked to lots of important people in education circles.
 Betty Weycker:  Race to the Top”—"NC education cloud". 
  • Federal Initiative to give schools money—what will be technology’s role? 
  • From Governor Purdue…MCNC is one of the groups who is involved with this…Program Director—Phil Emer (used to be a director of MCNC)
  • Friday Institute:  center near NCSTATE.  MCNC is a partner with e-rate
  • One of the major things coming with all of this is:  on-line assessments…on a regular basis—and we have to be prepared to implement.  Learning Management systems—like success maker or compass.  Now, the state might mandate it. 
  • The “CLOUD”—off-site management for all of this—they will provide, but we have to be able to access it.  Huge thing for Betty is the infrastructure to support it.
  • Cloud—hosted services…
  • We already have the band-width in place, other districts don't
  • State can own some of these resources and our job to use them and give information back
  • Every child will have to be tested…on-line
  • Other devices?  IPADS?  Whatever the devices are remains to be seen…IPADS don’t have flash (major draw back of them)
  • Dell and other are out there trying to satisfy the needs for the "Race to the Top"…
  • No one has any real answers right now as to what will be the best devices for online assessments
  • State will update our e-mail system (though the Microsoft e-mail—MS Live)
  • Voice over Ip phones/State will take care of some of these resources.
  • Cloud enabled LEA (servers will be hosted throughout the state)
  • Jackie Pierson—We may see  a new form of Learn 360/Discovery Streaming soon as part of Race to the Top
  • Betty will post this on the web portal and we should read it…
  • Some schools will be dramatically more affected than others. 
Another technology piece is coming along…2006 school bonds
Reagan, Parkland, Sherwood forest, Rural Hall, Sedge Garden, Glenn, Downtown—all these schools will get complete classroom solutions. 
Reagan had 20 and now 60 additional will be done soon.
 General Reminders:
  • Make sure teachers are checking the box to "Post to Parent Assist"
  • MTAC will be discussing a better (hopefully on-line solution) for the Purple Acceptable Use Policy Forms that students must sign.
  • Alert Now--Message retrieval link can be put back on home pages
  • "E-Docs" is coming...where teachers can retrieve their pay stubs on-line.
    • Employees will log in using their Employee ID number (found on your pay stub, or ask Media person to look up on Destiny or through the district website)
    • e-docs will be alive starting next wednesday nov 3
  • Next Meeting is December 2nd

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Edmodo --Social Learning in the Classroom

In a recent  discussion with a teacher the question was raised:   "Why can't we have a platform like Facebook for teachers?" to be able to interact with students? My Friend, Jennifer Lagarde highly recommends this educational version of Facebook:   She says her teachers love it.  I signed up for a generic tjmswsnc account with my "usual" password, if anyone at school wants to try it before signing up yourself

What is edmodo video:

Guide to edmodo:

Edmodo blog:

Here are some testimonies from teachers with ideas:

edmodo in L/Arts:

Check out how another school is using social networking:

School Policies on Social Networking with Students:

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Interference with Wireless signal? Check out some of these possible sources of problems

I was researching why the wireless signal in our two trailers here at Jefferson Middle School seems to go down everyday around the same time.  I was wondering if it had anything to do with the sun, or perhaps or some human cause?

I found this interesting article on how some everyday items can interfere with a wireless network

Some electric devices known to clash with your wireless signals are:
  • Digital phones
  • A Baby's cot monitor
  • Blue tooth gadgets
  • Other wireless router
Other issues can be caused by objects getting in the way. If a signal is sent to your computer then it may get bounced off walls, windows, glass mirrors, carpeted floors, and many other objects, before it reaches your computer. At the PC end, this can mean a slow connection. The radio waves are travelling at the same rate but, due to signal bounce, it's taken longer to reach its destination. Things that can cause problems for your wireless router are:  
  • Glass doors, glass mirrors, glass in windows
  • Shiny metallic surfaces
  • Fish tanks (it's the water)
  • Internal walls made of brick
  • Stud partitioning in walls
  • Carpets
The sun produces electromagnetic waves too, and I was wondering if perhaps they could be interfering with the waves of the wireless network?  Here's an interesting article on solar outages:

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Sweet Search

Sometimes the most difficult part of students doing research is sorting through the mass of internet information some of which can be unreliable. Consider having your students try:

 " Sweet Search"



Here's more about it on the WSFCS In touch blog:

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Help Jefferson Middle School move from the 19th to 21st Century!

Brent Atkinson, our School Improvement Team leader and 8th science teacher is a guest writer on the blog this week.  Brent does a fantastic job describing the challenging technology situation we are in at Jefferson Middle School:  Brent:

"You may have noticed walking around our school, we are quite technologically defunct compared to nearly all other middle schools. Our teachers (according to the working conditions survey) feel they do not have access to the technology they need to foster 21st century learning. The district student to computer ratio is 2.36 while ours is 4.03!  Nearly twice the number of students for every computer!

Mr. Martin left our school with a great "gift" in that we have a large reserve of cash from previous year's magazine sales. Apparently, the district may take the money to fill gaps in the budget for next school year.

We have been meeting to discuss how this money could be best spent for our students, and  we agreed on the following proposal:

  • The staff at TJMS has set a GOAL,  with the PTA and corporate sponsors, to acquire 30 laptops per grade level and encore (120 total: Dell minis) and fit 20 classrooms using Department of technology's "classroom solution."

  • We propose to use the money available now to plant a seed of excitement for staff, students ,parents and our community by purchasing 20 Dell minis per grade level/encore (80 total at a cost of ~ $40,000) and completing 5 classroom transformations under the "classroom solution" guidelines (one per grade level/encore and one open space, such as the media center at a cost of ~$30,000).

The district will be installing their 1000th classroom solution by the end of the school year. Jefferson currently has none."

Thanks Brent for being a leader in this movement! 
 This is a tenative outline of our ACTION PLAN
  1. Downs and Atkinson  presented our need to the PTA Board on October 7th:
    • Downs and Atkinosn presented an Overview of the Classroom Solution and a short video outlining the needs here at Jefferson and also showed what life could be like under the "classroom solution".
    • We will also outline the costs of the classroom solution and suggest we outfit rooms with pretty much everything except the response systems for now--instead purchasing a set or two to be shared for the time being.

  2. Jennifer Holland, Cindy Dietrich and Mark Schnably are working on a flyer/brochure outlining our needs and goals.

  3. Elizabeth Hobson and Mike McDowell will be working with Dan Kornelis (Vice President of our PTA) to act as liaisons with corporate sponsors to help us raise funds to achieve our overall goal of 20 classroom solutions and 30 laptops per grade level and encore.

  4. A PTA grant sub-committee will also be creating a "grant proposal" type of document that we can use to apply for larger grants and other documentation for corporate sponsorship.
If you would like to help us, please e-mail me at: or contact our school at 336-774-4630 and we will happy to discuss our plans with you.

Resources on the Classroom Solution:

The following are the main components of the "Classroom Solution" with links to more information on each of them:
  1. 55" LCD TV (The standard for Middle and High School in WS/FCS is the LCD TV as opposed to Smart Boards)
  2. Document Camera --Lumens from CSI
  3. Mobi-Pro Teacher Pad from E-instruction
  4. Sound System for the classroom from Light Speed Technologies 
  5. AV Cart (looking for links)
  6.  Response System:
    • (We are looking at purhcasing a few of these for the school to share among the classrooms that Are equipped with the Classroom Solution).

Links to Research on Classroom Solution Components:

Sound System
Classroom Response Systems:
Document Cameras:

Mobi Tablet Research:

What the research says...

General research on the Use of technology in Classrooms: