Three minute update: December 14, 2008

The “Three Minute Update” is designed to provide you with a snapshot of key items related to the department of instructional technology that may be of interest to you. Items are listed in random order.  Please share all or parts of this message as appropriate.

Emailing photos creates significant long-term problems for our network – A large message containing personal pictures such as a wedding or holiday gathering can build community and collaboration within a school, so the tendency to do so is understandable  However, it’s important that we change the culture around sending large files not related to the district’s mission.  The reality is that we need to back up those emails for years to come.  One email with a few pictures sent to a school staff can take up hundreds of megabytes of data (i.e. 2 MB * 90 recipients), something we must back up each night for a number of years!

Please encourage staff that if they feel compelled to use district email to share such wonderful events, those emails should not contain the actual pictures, but rather a link to an online service (i.e. flickr or any of the commercial sites) where the recipient can look at the pictures on his/her own time.  This simple change makes all the difference.  Of course, such pictures, no matter how endearing, should not be printed on district printers!

Color Printers for Elementary Art Classrooms – I have been working with Liz vonWurmb on a solution that puts a high capacity color printer in each elementary art room, to be used by the art teachers and as needed by other members of the school faculty.  This won’t be inexpensive, but the total cost of ownership is reasonable and provides resources that support the district’s strategic goals.

Specifically, we will place an HP 3525DN printer in each elementary art room (one per school).  This will be connected directly to the computer in that room, and if the school wants to network it (it does have a jet direct card), that will involve another drop or a switch.  This is not included in the deployment!

I have selected this particular printer based on these facts:

  •   Each cartridge yields about 7,000 pages.   
  •   Each cartridge costs about $250  
  •   Average cost per page is 3.6 cents (.0357)  
  •   Print speed is up to 30 ppm (mono) / up to 30 ppm (color).  
  •   The printer has a gigabit card installed and can be networked as necessary  
  •   Maximum monthly duty cycle is 7,500 pages (hopefully less than that per year for us!)  
  •   Maximum resolution is 1,200 x 600  
  •   Energy star compliant  
  •   Toner cartridges do not dry out (inkjet cartridges do)  

These printers will be installed before the end of January.  The department of instructional technology will supply up to one cartridge of each color per year as necessary and any additional cartridges (approximately $250/each) need to be budgeted for by the school.

World Language teachers use Voicethread to improve student engagement and learning – Technology learning facilitator John Calvert has been working closely with the world language department at Felix Festa Middle School and North High School on a project that provides world language students with the opportunity to use interactive, multimedia, online tools anytime/anywhere to improve their proficiency in world languages.  Students in Ms. Eve Millard’s class at Festa are already actively engaged in this program, and the enthusiasm has spread to North High School, where  world language teachers participated in a Voicethread professional development workshop led by John Calvert .

Grant provides North HS science department with additional SMART Boards – Thanks to a generous donation that was given to the Clarkstown Education Foundation, two SMART Boards will be installed in the North High School science department.  Science teachers were asked to submit a proposal for how the technology would be used to transform the classroom by increasing student engagement and learning.  The department selected Ms. Heidi Lappi’s proposal, and the SMART Board is scheduled to be installed before the second semester begins.  The location of the second board is still to be determined!

Changes at South High School – During a collaborative meeting with member the English and art departments earlier this week some great ideas were shared, including small steps this year that can make a big difference to the staff and students we serve.  Immediate action items include:

  • A projector will be mounted in room 200 (writing lab) – The department of instructional technology will provide the projector, cabling, mounting hardware, and installation and South High School will provide the electricity in the ceiling.  Jack DosSantos will install prior to second semester.
  • A projector is scheduled for installation in room 205.  This was scheduled to be installed in 352, but re-prioritized a week or two ago to room 205.  Because it was already in the queue, it will be finished well in advance of room 200.
  • The replacement remote (for projector) that was stolen last year is being ordered by the school
  • A Macintosh computer has been ordered by the department of instructional technology and will be installed in room 334, where there is currently a laptop connected to the SMART Board.  This new computer is intended to serve the SMART Board and should not be re-allocated.

SMART Board to be installed in New City Elementary School classroom for autistic students – As a result of strong advocacy by New City Elementary School teacher Ms. Colleen Glassey, a SMART Board will be installed in the classroom that serves that school’s autistic students.  Ms. Glassey approached Principal Deb Forman about the impact that SMART Board technology has on the students she serves.  The board will be installed by the beginning of the second semester.

Resolving wireless laptop connectivity issues that interrupt student learning– The most recent sets of laptops have a spring loaded switch on the left side of the case that turns the computer’s wireless card on and off.  This switch is easily triggered when removing the laptops from the cart, and resetting the card wastes instructional time.  Our technicians are disabling the switch on each of these laptops to prevent this from happening.

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