Answers


1. Do all classrooms in the District have projectors?

Yes, this was included as part of the Classroom AV project.

All general education and special education classrooms have Epson interactive projectors with few exceptions. The exceptions were based on limitations due to the architecture or classroom limitations, ie; small rooms, low ceilings, large music rooms.

2. What software is installed on all classrooms?

Installed software is based on the purpose for specific computers or mobile devices. All computers, however, have the following base applications:

Windows 8
Microsoft Office
Adobe Creative Cloud Suite
Smart Notebook Software
Firefox Browser
Google Chrome Browser
VLC Player
Insight

3. Do all classrooms have sound systems?

Yes, this was included as part of the Classroom AV project.

All general and special education classrooms have Lightspeed sound systems.

4. Do all classrooms have document cameras?

Yes. All general and special education classrooms were equipped with document cameras. The elementary classrooms have Aver 300AF+ document cameras, which were existing in the district and did not need to be purchased. The secondary classrooms received Epson DC-12 and DC-20 document cameras. The science rooms were given the DC-20 document cameras as they have features best suited to science curriculum.

5. Do all students have a school email?

The District converted the network from Novell Netware to Microsoft 365. Microsoft Active Directory accounts have associated email addresses and each student account has an email address. These addresses, while active, have not been advertised to the teachers or students and we are currently evaluating whether to deactivate the addresses unless requested by teachers. The addresses do enable the teachers to reduce the use of paper by having email addresses to send and receive home work assignments.

The student email addresses are restricted to ELPS domain use only. They cannot email outside of the ELPS domain.

6. Do students have access to Microsoft 365 to store files?

Yes. All students have a Microsoft 365 account which comes with OneDrive online file storage. District teachers have been made aware of the online storage and have been encouraged to educate their students on the availability of the space.

7. Is there a plan for training the teachers?

Yes. At the start of the 2014-15 school year, all teachers and para professionals received training on the new Windows 8 and Office 365 software. They also received training on the new classroom AV.

Ongoing professional development opportunities have been scheduled in each building and videos and documentation have been created and shared with the teachers.

The responsibility for professional development isn't taken lightly by the District and all efforts have been pursued to ensure that our teaching staff is comfortable with the technology and able to integrate it into their daily instruction.

8. Is there a plan for training the students on the new technology?

No, there is not a purposefully documented plan. The students receive their training in each of their classrooms where the mobile devices or computer labs are employed. Technology is appropriately integrated into the instruction.

Additionally, the elementary building librarians discuss aspects of the district technology and its acceptable use during the regularly scheduled library/media center visits.

Kali Root, Educational Technology Specialist, has also visited classrooms at the secondary level to work with the students on Office 365.

9. How did passing this technology bond improve the education for my children in the district?

The bond was focused on three areas:

Technology: Updated computers and mobile devices, updated classroom AV.

Security: Added electronic access on exterior doors, video surveillance camera network.

Communication: Updated district telephone system, updated bells and paging system.

The bond served to reduce the expense of funds to repair and replace antiquated hardware. It also served to improve the security of the buildings. Finally, it served to improve the state of the technology accessible to the students and in the classroom.

The district also added two mobile laptop carts and one iPad cart to each elementary and replaced the aging laptop carts at the secondary buildings and added additional carts for both buildings.

How does it improve the education? Technology is only a tool to be used and is not the primary determiner in whether education is 'improved' or not. The improvement of education (instruction) is accomplished by strengthening the core instruction in the classroom. We have equipped the District with better and many more tools to assist in that instruction.

10. Why were the SmartBoards replaced when they were, in many cases, less that two years old?

The pre-existing SmartBoards were designed for use with standard format (4:3 aspect ratio) computers. This would be resolutions of 800x600, 1024x768, etc. While there is nothing wrong with these formats, the newer monitors and computers (as well as most that are commonly sourced now for classrooms) are high resolution, wide format resolutions (16:9 and 16:10 aspect ratios). Using a display surface that is in a different format from the resolution of the computer/monitor can be problematic.

If the teacher computer is using an output resolution sized to the computer monitor, it needs to use the same resolution to the projector. It 'duplicates' this resolution. If you force the second monitor, in this example the projector, to a different resolution, the computer will adjust its resolution to the computer monitor to match accordingly.

The ELPS teaching computers use a resolution of 1600x900 and if the SmartBoards were retained the image would have needed to be sized to fit the horizontal limitation of the SmartBoard. This would have limited the vertical dimension of the projected image and caused there to be a lot of wasted board space at the top and bottom of the SmartBoard display surface.

Using the newer boards allow for the teaching computer to run at its intended high resolution image while still maintaining the Smart Notebook software capability requirement.

For additional information on this, please refer to the September 2014 District Parent Council bond presentation document (located in the Documentation section of this website).

11. Why were the SmartBoards posted for sale on the state Technology Director's listserv in August?

The SmartBoards were not formally listed for sale and as of October 28, 2014, none have been sold. The listserv is a professional communication tool for public education Technology Director's and it is common to communicate to others about surplus hardware and future offerings.

Any surplus hardware will be listed for sale through Public Surplus, email, and the District website, in keeping with Board policy. The state listserv may be utilized as an option.

The sale of major assets had been on hold until the information was sent to the Board of Education.

12. What is being done with the funds from the sale of assets, specifically the SmartBoards?

School code 380.11a General Powers school district and 380.15 speak to the use of hardware (technology) and the transfers of gifts to the District.

In keeping with Board policy, the funds from the sale of assets would be deposited into the general fund account and could be used for future technology needs.

For additional information, please see the Documentation section of this website and refer to the document titled General Powers School District.

13. How is progress on the bond being communicated?

Updates on the bond are provided to the Board of Education, at building level Parent Council meetings (upon request), District Parent Council meetings, and at Technology Committee meetings.

Technology Committee meeting minutes are shared with the Board of Education and district administration team.

For more information, please refer to the Meeting Minutes folder on the Documentation page for this website or visit the Technology Committee page on the Technology Department website.