Three minute update: January 12, 2009

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.

SMART Board installations – Last week, three SMART Boards were installed in the district; two in science rooms at North High School and one in an elementary classroom at New City Elementary School.  The installations at North High School were paid for by a donation made to the Clarkstown Education Foundation with the request that the money be spent to put SMART Board technologies in science classrooms at North. 

Delivering the inauguration ceremonies electronically to each school – At the latest technology committee meeting the department of instructional technology shared the process by which it can digitally deliver the inauguration ceremonies in real time to each school. The ceremony will be available via a customized web browser on the computers that are in rooms selected by each principal. The event should not be viewed over the web in each classroom. Web connections will likely be overwhelmed (i.e. cnn, others) and our web connection would bottleneck if we had hundreds of computers accessing the web for streaming video at the same time. Instead, we will be using our internal connections to share, via web browser, a cable transmission of the event.

Technology Committee Meeting – On January 5, 2009, the district addressed a variety of items.  The details are available on the district’s technology committee wiki.

Recent work completed while students were on vacation – The following items were recently completed in our schools:

Bardonia: Room 203 Projector mounted and pull down screen installed.

Link: Library – SMART Board and projector both installed.

New City: Library- SMART Board and projector both installed. New Lab- 6 cables and patch panel installed.

FFMS:  Rooms C209 and D207 – Projector mounted and pull down screen installed.  A212- Projector mounted and pull down screen installed. A211, C211, D211 – Projector mounted and pull down screen installed

NHS: Room 407 – Hitachi projector replaced with NEC. Room 143A – SMART Board (SB560) installed. Room 406 – SMART Board mounted.

Brainpop UpdateLast year, in mid-year and in support of teacher requests, the district provided subscriptions to the Brainpop AND Brainpop Jr. websites.  Brainpop has recently changed their subscription model, and, based on their new model, wants to charge our district $9,899.00 for the annual subscription.  Last year we paid $2,800.00 for the subscription. At $2,800 the service is appropriately priced; at $9,899, it’s unaffordable.

I am working to see if we can obtain subscription pricing that is more aligned with last year’s fees and our budget. I realize that the absence of this website is causing some frustration, and am working toward a solution.  I’ll know more soon.  One possible solution is reducing the number of students who access the site.  If this is necessary, we’ll need to review where the software is aligned to the curriculum, and support its use at those levels, and discontinue the open access for all grades.  Another option is choosing either Brainpop or Brainpop Jr.  Any such choice will be made with input from the technology committee representatives and principals.

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