Kristin, the Upper School Technology Coordinator, and I traveled down to North Shore Country Day school today for the first of our two meetings for this academic year (the next meeting is schedule for Lake Forest CD on April 19th).
We started out with a lively discussion of social networking...most schools indicated that they block the big social networks such as myspace, facebook, xanga etc. All schools, however talked about the importance of figuring out ways to incorporate the popularity of social networking/blogging into the curriculum. We discussed the importance of educating students about the kind of content that should/should not post on their spaces. And we moved into a conversation about leveraging this technology in the classrooms—perhaps something this popular could be used to expand classroom discussions outside of the classroom.
Later in the meeting we talked about the role of technology support personnel in a school…is the role to provide services that teachers ask for, or should technology staff provide teachers with materials, support and suggestions that they think are applicable in the classroom--probably a never ending discussion but an important one to continue to come back to as technology and the needs of teachers/students change.
I asked a question about managing podcasting on an enterprise level…nobody really had a strong opinion on best practices for this tool. It is still hard for me to picture a way to do this on a large scale. It is nice that we're starting small with this technology!!
I asked another question about providing public side WiFi access in schools…some already have it, and some are preparing to make that service available. Some schools filter their public side access, some do not.
Near the end of the morning we talked about classroom presentation systems, their replacement cycle, and how they’re installed/managed. Latin school actually did 70 in-house installations this past summer for a cost of $5000/room. I think most people were pretty shocked by this. They do have a central control consul via a web browser/Crestron control solution that at a minimum allows all projectors to be shut down at a certain time if they’re still on. They also have a simple wall control that allows the teacher to push a button to select a source and it has a knob to adjust volume. That sounded like a nice, simple system with a central management solution that has the potential to lower maintenance/system operating costs over time (eg-bulb replacement should theoretically be less as projectors will not remain in the on position 24/7).
We had a nice lunch and walked around the school a bit before driving back to USM. All-in-all, it was definitely a day very well spent. It was fun connecting with this group once again as it has been over 2 years since I’ve been to a meeting.