EASTCONN Tech Council Meeting on 3/20/08



Technology Assessments
As of 12/31/06, the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) federal legislation requires that every district in the country have a technology proficiency assessment for all 8th graders. The guidelines in the legislation are very vague and don't define what proficiency is. We discussed what some of the EASTCONN Tech Council members are doing.

Mansfield: Mansfield uses Quia for their 8th grade student tech proficiency. The Quia test is a multiple choice exam. Students have one class period to complete the test. They also have a performance assesment, creating a Word document that includes clip art. They have the students take the multiple choice assessment with random questions so that no one has the exact same exam. To have a Quia account, you can go to: http://www.quia.com and sign up for a 30 day free trial or pay $79/year for an annual subscription.

Ashford: They have adapted the Mansfield model and include the following different components. They do this assessment at the beginning of the school year and use the data to help inform instruction.

Ashford Technology Assessment V.2 2007
http://www.quia.com/quiz/939163.html</span>

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Ashford Technology Internet Activity
http://www.quia.com/quiz/986330.html</span>

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Ashford Technology PowerPoint Activity
http://www.quia.com/quiz/986549.html</span>

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Ashford Technology Spreadsheet Activity
http://www.quia.com/quiz/986342.html</span>

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Ashford Technology Word Processing Activity
http://www.quia.com/quiz/980154.html</span>

Ashford also has a portfolio component of their assessment - this is their 2nd year. About 50% of the teachers got about 50% of the students with all of the required items in their portfolios. The portfolios are stored on the local network server. They start building it in 4th grade and the goal is to complete all of the requirements by the end of 8th grade. The student technology portfolio component has been a driving force in encouraging teachers to integrate technology across the curriculum,


Bozrah: Bozrah is exploring using Tech Yes (part of GenYes) which is a commercial product that includes having students complete two different projects. Students get to choose their projects but they must write a project proposal that is approved by the teacher. There is some self-instruction and a Tech Mentor with a portal. It costs $500/year for the first year for 30 kids to have access to their portal. Michel has a grant that is helping her pay for this. She likes the concept of it but they are just starting with it so she's not sure how it will work. For more information, go to: http://techyes.net. This is aimed at 8th graders. Michel is also exploring creating a Wikispace that will showcase the best work of the students.

Jane will e-mail Karen Urgitis at LEARN and ask her what happened to the Tech Assessments Web site at http://www.learncit.org/sta/ and ask if she can re-post it. Jane will also post the report that the RESC Tech Group.

Miscellaneous Updates

Google Docs: Google is now giving free space to schools for posting all of their files, essentially unlimited server space. The CEN filter blocks Google Docs but the district administrator can unblock it. For more info, go to: https://**docs**.**google**.com/
CEN Update: The CEN filtering system will be updated by August of 2008. There's a conference call on 3/25 at 1 PM and 4/2 at 10 AM to begin the dissemination of information and solicit feedback about the CEN update. They want to know what teachers need. This lead to a discussion of filtering issues. Jane reported that the RESC Tech group met with Sarah Edson, the Director of Content Management for the CEN, last week. Sarah is working very hard to build a robust CEN portal with useful content for teachers and students. She currently has no budget but she has begun the process. Check it out at: http://cen.ct.gov/cen/site/default.asp. You can access Internet2 through the Muse link on the K-12 Teachers link in the lefthand frame. You can also get access to a Multi-media Library on Demand from the same area.
Antivirus - What's the Best Server-based Software? Mansfield is looking for an upgrade to their antivirus software. Weston just upgraded to latest version of Norton Antivirus which is called Norton Endpoint and it crashed their system. Woodstock is using Norton Corporate Edition 10 and that's working fine for them. Windham is using Norton Corporate Edition 8 and that's working fine; they are hoping to upgrade to Corporate Edition 12 this summer. They are also using www.free.grisoft.com. If you have older machines, you can load as early as the Edition 8 client and run it with the later server versions. Kaspersky has been getting some good reviews lately. PC-Cillin has also been getting good reviews. RHAM is using McAffee but Bill is not sure how well it's working for them. Ad-aware is a good package for spyware. Pomfret is using Appriver for e-mail SPAM. Windham uses a Barracuda appliance for SPAM. You have to keep the firmware updated. It will also do some archiving. Woodstock subscribes to a company for SPAM and antivirus through a relay server through Apex Technology out of Cranston, RI. They've had very good luck with it. Ashford takes a different approach. They have almost all Macs which require no antivirus software.
Web 2.0 Question - What Other Kinds of Web 2.0 Tools are Districts Using? Kathy Schrock has a nice Web page of Web 2.0 tools at http://school.discoveryeducation.com/schrockguide/edtools.html#Web20_tools.
Study Island: Woodstock is using Study Island which is aligned to the CMTs and gives students test prep practice. For more information, go to: http://www.studyisland.com/
Scratch: Scratch is a free site and program developed by MIT. Kids can develop games and more. Michel and Verna are going to the conference in July and will give us a report at our first Tech Council meeting next fall. For more information, go to: http://scratch.mit.edu/.

Virtual Servers/Virtual Machines - Is Anyone Using Them? Rich and Jason have played with them as a sandbox but is not deploying them. Rich votes for VMware rather than Microsoft's version.
Moodle - Is Anyone Using It? How? RHAM is using Moodle at the cost of $70/year at Hostmonster because he didn't want to use server space. A few teachers are piloting some online courses. Moodle includes quizzes and tests, threaded discussions, etc.
Clickers - Is Anyone Using Them? Jane reported that the Alliance of Regional Educational Service Centers has an agreement with eInstruction for discounted sets of clickers for school districts all over the state.
Brainormous - Check it Brainormous at http://www.brainormous.com/. It's a free site dedicated to fun and education!
enGrade - Check it out enGrade at http://www.engrade.com/. It's an online gradebook that's free!