2003-2004 AATE Meeting Archives

May 2004 - Queen of Angels Catholic School

The May 2004 AATE meeting was held at Queen of Angels' Catholic School. The following findings were discussed:

Some of the AATE schools offer the option at their schools to test out of the In-Tech program.

Homework on the Web
Nice Net (http://www.nicenet.org/)is used by some AATE schools to upload homework. It is a free service, where one can create private templates to publish the web pages.

Student Information on the Web
Most AATE schools do not use the student’s names or pictures on the Web. The schools that do use them only in the private section of the school website, where parents have a login and password.

Some AATE schools use an Intranet to post student work.

One of the schools in the AATE is paper free. All communications go home through the web. Internet access for the family is required by the school.

Some AATE schools post only first names or grade levels on the their websites.

Spam Blocking
Barracuda Networks spam blocking software was recommended: http://barracudanetworks.com/

April 2004 - Holy Innocents' Episcopal School

The April AATE meeting was held at Holy Innocents' Episcopal School (HIES). The agenda items were as follows:
  • E-Books
  • CD-ROM Textbooks
  • Technology curriculum in the MS/US.

Electronic books are being investigated by some schools as an additional source for research. Gale Publishing currently offers a collection of their reference books in E-book format that is called Virtual Reference Library. Info at http://www.gale.com/pdf/facts/VirtualRefLib.pdf.

CD-ROM/Online Textbooks
Textbooks on CD-ROM and/or online are now available from some textbook publishers. The CD-ROMS and online textbooks include the textbook material itself and additional tests, games, links, activities, etc. Some schools in other states are currently using only CD-ROM textbooks (on laptops); other schools are investigating having the students use the print textbook at school and the CD-ROMs or online textbooks at home. Prentice Hall made a presentation about online textbooks at HIES in early April. The information is at http://www.phschool.com/successnet/preview_it.html.

Technology Curriculum in the Middle School/Upper School
HIES asked the other schools about what type of technology curriculum they have in the MS/US. HIES is currently requesting an addition to the curriculum of a Basic Technology Skills class (with a test available for opting out). HIES has put together a document of technology standards based on the National Educational Technology Standards (NETS) Project (initiative of the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) http://cnets.iste.org/).

Below is listed what some of the other schools are doing as far as curriculum:

Marist (7th-12th):
  • A Basic Technology course is required for all new students to take (a test is available for opting out).
  • Other classes in available 7th-12th grade are Computer Integration, JAVA programming, and Advanced Placement Programming.
Blessed Trinity (Upper School):
  • Introduction to Basics (required for the 9th grade); 1 semester credit.
  • Introduction to Web Design; 1 semester credit.
  • Advanced Web Design
  • Advanced Placement Computer Science; includes Oracle Database Academy (Intro to Dbase, Dbase programming, etc.)
  • Middle School learns thru the curriculum.
  • Upper School has classes similar to Marist/Blessed Trinity.
  • Teachers are required to bring in their classes twice a week so that the class has technology integrated in their subject.
  • A 1 semester class is offered in Visual Basic for the 7th grade.

March 2004 - Paideia School

The following topics were discussed at the March 2004 AATE Meeting at Paideia School.

Parent E-mail: Electronic Newsletters
A recent survey of Paideia parents indicated that 88% preferred to receive their school information electronically. As a result, Paideia sends out an electronic newsletter entitled ePi every Thursday during the school year. The ePi newsletter outlines events of the week for each level of school and for the school at large.

When Paideia started sending out the ePi newsletter, several Faculty/staff/administration found themselves unable to send e-mail to outside addresses. After a lot of calls to ISP’s, the technology department found out that the domain paideiaschool.org had been “blacklisted” as a spam domain. To prevent such labeling from happening in the future, the parent e-mail list was divided into groups of approximately 20 addresses each. The ePi newsletter is now sent to each group one at a time.

Parent E-mail: Inclusion of Parent Names in the FirstClass System
Paideia has always included parent e-mail addresses along with other parent information in the school databases. When someone on the Paideia staff wanted to e-mail a parent, they would have to call and get the address from someone in the office. Since the volume of parent information sent via e-mail has skyrocketed in the past few years, a new parent e-mail system has been implemented within FirstClass (Paideia’s communication program) to make parent e-mail more efficient. When someone in the Paideia community wants to e-mail a parent, he/she can simply type in the parent’s first name (or last name), press return, and pick from a list of available names. This is the same way that one can communicate with a member of the faculty/ staff/administration at Paideia. When someone sends a message to a parent name in FirstClass, the message is automatically forwarded to the parent’s home e-mail address (as opposed to an account on Paideia’s mail server in the case of faculty names). Having parent names in the FirstClass system allows parents to e-mail one another and allows faculty/staff/administration to e-mail parents without having to look for unfamiliar addresses. Parents are restricted as to the number of people they can send a message to at any one time so a disgruntled parent can not use e-mail to blast complaints about the school.

Success of Palm Program
Paideia distributes Palms to specific administration, faculty, and coaches to enable instant information on students, parents, and medical personnel in situations where time is critical. All Palms are synced with Paideia’s online databases and the FirstClass communication system once per week to ensure information is current. Administrators have access to a database which contains information such as phone numbers, parking sticker number, etc. Administrators have used this access to contact “at large” students via cell phone and identify parking violators. Coaches and teachers on field trips have access to databases with emergency information such as parent contacts and medical information such as bee sting allergies. With this information, coaches and teachers can contact parents and get medical help to students at off campus locations without having to first call the school’s office.

Online Instructional Systems
Paideia is constantly researching online instructional systems. Online programs work equally well on Mac or Windows, are independent of the operating system, provide anytime, anywhere instruction, and are usually more up-to-date. Originally, Paideia had researched Quickmind. However, Paideia found the Quickmind activities were extremely limited in the sense that if one does not do an activity in a specific way, he/she has to re-do the activity from the beginning.

This past fall, Paideia started using Learning.com and is pleased with it. Cost is $12 per year per student. Upper elementary students are signed up for the entire year, while Junior High students are signed for a half-year at $6 per student. Learning.com has been used to teach typing, spreadsheets, and other skills necessary for projects. Logins are set up based on the student’s class, and students have to be assigned by a teacher to log in. Records of past work are readily available to teachers for assessment purposes. Although the classroom teacher is still primarily responsible for the basic instruction and guiding students through projects, the Learning.com exercises provide hands on practice in basic skills prior to the teacher’s lecture/instructional time.

ActivBoards and ActivSlates
Paideia recently purchased three ActivBoards for use in their labs. The ActivBoard enables one to project a computer image and control the image on the computer screen by tapping or writing with a digital pen. Paideia also is in process of purchasing ActivSlates to go with the ActivBoards. The ActivSlate enables the student to mark locations, highlight material, or draw pictures from his/her seat. The ActivSlate can be passed around the class so several students can take turns.

Recordkeeping on a Single Database
Paideia recently did a survey of how database information was stored on campus. It was discovered that duplicate information was stored in several areas of the campus causing unnecessary use of time for data transfer and manipulation. Paideia has been researching several online database systems and has been working across departments to determine which system is most efficient.

Making and Storing Movies
Several members shared experiences with managing movie making and movie storage. For movie making, it was agreed that the best platform was the Mac using Final Cut Express. For movie making in Windows, Adobe Premiere was recommended.

For storage, the main issue was trying to store movies in locations that provided the easiest backup and retrieval. Paideia recommends teachers with large movies store them on CD or DVD. At the Paideia technology center, CD’s and DVD’s are available for purchase, and the technology department is willing to help with the backup if necessary. In addition to CD and DVD storage, Paideia is investigating storing movies on their newest Apple XServe. External hard drives were also mentioned as a viable backup location; however, one person in the group reported that the Iomega hard drive tends to lock with larger movies (the larger the movies, the more likely it is to lock).

January 2004 - St. Pius Catholic High School

The following items were featured at the January meeting at St. Pius:

Macromedia Contribute
St. Pius uses Macromedia Contribute for all website editing done on campus. Contribute enables teachers, administrators, and coaches to update and upload their material to the school website. Special features include:

Administrative control: Web administrators can set privileges to determine which faculty can update which part of the school website. For example, an administrator can allow the baseball coach (and only the baseball coach) access to the baseball highlights and schedules. The administrator can also implement other restrictions as necessary such as limiting image sizes, forcing the use of Cascading Style Sheets, and protecting scripts. FTP access can be controlled via the Export Wizard.

Compatibility with Dreamweaver: Contribute provides instant access to Dreamweaver templates; only one copy of Dreamweaver on the school's system is necessary for access to the templates.

St. Pius was able to get Contribute for $10 per users because of the number of coaches at the school. No Mac version is currently available. Open source counterparts for Contribute are available at http://www.freshmeat.net.

Library Databases at St. Pius
The library databases used at St. Pius can be found on the St. Pius Library website at http://www.spx.org/library/library_infodata.html. The following recommendations were made:

EBSCO - an excellent subsciption database for in-depth research
Pathfinder - provides research strategies (both print and Internet) for a variety of projects
Noodle Bib - an automatic bibliography generator. Provides both MLA and APA styles. Cost is between $250 and $300.
NetTrekker - A subscription-based search engine which provides only academic links. Features of NetTrekker:
  • One can save time by not having to filter through links that are not related to the topic being researched.
  • Access to lesson plans developed by teachers across the U.S. are available.
  • Subcategories are available for many topics (i.e. a search under World War II will automatically offer other searched under Winston Churchill, Hitler, and others.
  • All sites provided by NetTrekker (except student-developed sites under ThinkQuest) can be readily cited as legitimate sources. The sites undergo a continual review by a rotating committee of teachers.

December 2003 - St. Martin's Episcopal School

The December 2003 meeting at St. Martin's Episcopal School focused on the role of women in science and technology and how to motivate girls of all ages to enjoy technology-based projects. The following resources were examined and discussed:

November 2003 - Marist School

New Marist Website - http://www.marist.com
Marist recently remade their website using Schoolyard. The remake of their site took about 2 – 3 months time and cost an $8000- $10,000 setup fee plus $1000 per month for hosting and maintenance. The site has several special features including: tracking items being used or not used, swapping out images so the page looks fresh each time you go there, and an Intranet with logins linked back to a database. The website also provides the ability to do electronic funds, calendaring, listserv, email, teacher web pages, school store, textbooks. The site grants access rights to several people in the school who assist in keeping the info current.

Interesting Marist Logon Statistics
  • 99% of their people log on with Windows machines to 1% with Macs
  • 89% use Internet Explorer
  • 6% use AOL
  • 5% use Netscape

Administrative Software at Marist
Marist uses Blackbaud for their administrative software and Gradequick for their grades.

Educational Software at Marist
Mathematics Software - Key Curriculum Press
  • Geometer's Sketchpad (interactive geometry program): http://www.keypress.com Geometer's Sketchpad now has new templates available for instructional purposes. Geometer's Sketchpad plans to become available online via subscription, so students and teachers will be able to access Geometer's Sketchpad online from their school's website.
  • Fathom (statistics program): http://www.keypress.com

Mathematics Software - Audrey Weeks

Keyboarding Software - Thomson Southwestern

Plagiarism Identification Software - Turnitin (http://www.turnitin.com)
Highly recommended. Cost is about $685 for 1000 students and 100 teachers – per year. Papers can be submitted to Turnitin to be checked for plagiarism against websites and other students' papers.

October 2003 - Providence Christian Academy

At the October 2003 AATE meeting, Carol Horner from Providence Christian Academy discussed the steps involved in putting together a successful technology fair. E-mail Carol at chorner@providencechristianacademy.org if you would like a copy of the presentation. www.techfair.org will link you to the State Technology Fair website.

September 2003 - Atlanta Speech School

The discussion at the September 2003 AATE Meeting focused on possible topics for the remainder of the year. Possible topics discussed included:
  • Palm Computing and Other Hand-held Technology (Tablets)
  • Login Issues with NT servers running XP clients
  • General Login Issues (permissions, setting up workgroups, etc.)
  • Windows Software Update Services
  • Wireless Networking involving Projectors
  • Open Source Freeware
  • Student Involvement in School Tech Support
  • Media Literacy
  • Automated Inventory and Licensing of Software