2004-2005 AATE Meeting Archives

April 2005 - Paideia School

Open Discussion
Paideia hosted a delicious luncheon and most informative open discussion.

Power School
Paideia uses Power School and Razor's Edge. The technology team at Paideia has customized fields and screens for different user groups. The use Power School for billing, transcripts, progress reports, etc. They said that Power School files can easily be exported into Razor's Edge. They are interested in starting a Power School users group. Please contact Kathy Bailey if you would be interested in joining this user group. They offered to five a demo Power School how-to's at a meeting next year if members are interested.

Paideia has also been incorporating File Maker Pro with PowerPoint and saving the progress reports as PDFs that can then be viewed by all faculty members.

Paideia is using Sophos instead of McAfee for virus software. Sophos is cross-platform, works with Barracuda, and is about one-third the cost of McAfee in annual fees and one-half the price for implementing.

All the schools represented that use Barracuda, anti-spam program, continue to be delighted with its performance and price.

Paideia is using Esoft and is pleased with it.

Blessed Trinity is using SonicWALL for content filtering, anti-spam, and anti-virus. It can aggregate T1 and DSL. The annual renewal fee is $1,000.00.

School Web Sites
Paideia has hidden counters on its web page and noted that they had over 10,000 hits last month. Moral of this message is that web site design and content are especially important for private schools.

NetClassroom and Faculty Access Web
Several schools use NetClassroom. Some allow parents to view the grade books at any time. Mount Vernon opens NetClassroom to parents for three days every two weeks. This replaces the hard copy progress reports that teacher formerly had to send home via "backpack" mail.

Nursing Software
Is anyone using a good software package that helps the school nurse track meds authorization and dispensing?

Teacher Training over the Summer
Marist offers Web Wednesdays. If teachers attend 6 of the Web Wednesday training programs, they are given a jump drive.
Paideia polls teachers in the spring, asking them what three things they'd like to learn about technology. Then during post and pre-planning, the technology groups provides 8 half-day training sessions. Paideia has also hired vendors, like Lisa with Active Boards, to provide training for teachers. This training often includes cross-discipline aspects (One session with History-English and one with Science-Math).

At Wesleyan, teachers sign up for half-day classes. The school pays for subs to cover the classes while the teachers are in training.

Marist has active boards but is now adding Sympodium , interactive lecterns, which they like even better.
ActivBoard has an active slate that you can pass around or use to drive the Active Board without being up at the Board.

Certification Workshop
The GAPSC is having its annual Certification Rules Workshop on May 2, 2005 in Griffin. Register online at http://www.griffinresa.net.

NECC is sponsoring a student video competition and is calling for entries. Their web site gives complete details about entering.

GaETC Conference will be November 9 to 11 at Georgia International Convention Center in College Park.

LearningStation has initiated a program entitled "I will LEARN today!" that emphasizes the importance of authentic engagement, as well as the role of technology in supporting engaged learners. As part of this program, LearningStation will be providing grants to participating districts in order to subsidize the purchase of technologies acquired through LearningStation in order to further student achievement. Grant recipients will receive the Education Desktop(SM). The Education Desktop(SM) is a custom web desktop used for teaching and learning while providing engaging tools and applications for enhanced teaching and authentic learning.

Other Topics
Members voted to cancel the May meeting because all school's schedules are so busy in May. Nominations and elections of the officers for next year will be done via e-mail. If you have a nominee for President, Treasurer, or Web Master/Secretary, please e-mail Peggy Pullen or Jo Ray Van Vliet .

A new AATE treasurer is needed. Carol Horner has accepted the position of Director of Technology for Wesleyan School and , after five years of being an outstanding treasurer, wants to turn over the reins to a new treasurer.

Membership for Vendors
Several vendors have asked to join AATE. Members voted that vendors may join but may not vote or hold office. Dues for vendors will be $50.00 for each vendor member. A company may have up to two members.

March 2005 - Holy Redeemer School

The March meeting was held at Holy Redeemer School. Laura Burell spoke about their laptop program and closed-circuit TV program. Mark Karwisch of Showcase, Inc. presented a camera demonstration. A question and answer session followed. Also, an AATE business meeting was held.

Click to access Laura's PowerPoint.

February 2005 - Mount Vernon Presbyterian School

external image AATE_Feb_10_2005%20008.jpg
Connie White of Lakeview Academy informed members about the laptop program at their Upper School. Lakeview Academy began a laptop program seven years ago. In the intervening years, they have learned much about laptop integration initiatives that work and those that don't. On the pro side of the laptop program, Lakeview feels that the laptops motivate both teachers and students, improve communication skills, and provide good alternatives to learning styles. On the con side, laptops can be a distraction. Higher level of network security is needed. You must collect and reimage the computers every summer. Time spent repairing the laptops can be huge. However, Lakeview has established a list of banned programs and this has greatly reduced repairs. You need to provide sufficient training to teachers and get teacher buy-in. It's a huge monetary investment.

Lakeview has 165 students and 190 IBM Thinkpad laptops in the Upper School. The teachers are provided with laptops to use for work. The students pay $2,000. This covers the laptop, Maintenance , software, and a 4 year warranty. Students take the laptops from class to class. The laptops have 802.11g wireless. Students can use the same laptop for 4 years. Teacher laptops are replaced every 2 years. The old teacher laptops become loaner machines.

12 Most Important Points
  1. Teacher Buy-in
  2. Self-Maintain Program School
    They sent one person to received IBM training at a cost of $250. That person does the laptop repairs. IBM reimburses the school $50.00 for repairs performed by the "laptop guru". Students are not charged for repairs unless the problem was caused by the student downloading a banned program. If the repair is something that the on-site technician can't handle, the laptop can be sent to IBM. The turnaround time is one to three days (depending on your service agreement.)
  3. "Out of the Box" Party - The first thursday in August all the students and parents meet at school. They are split into four groups to cover various topics: banned software, maintenance, loaner program, software and wireless, 9th grade curriculum, Acceptable Use Policy.
  4. Online textbooks - Students have a regular textbooks, CDs, and the online version of the textbook, which has all that is in the hardcopy plus many extras. Lakeview online textbooks for physical science, chemistry, and Algebra I.
  5. Vital Source Key - This comes free on the IBM educational laptops or you can buy t for about $14 per copy. It is a huge database of materials including sound files, works of art, etc. Students can access this information from home as well as school. The program includes copyright permissions to use all of their data in student's projects.
  6. Mounted projectors - These are used a lot even by teachers who don't like anything else in technology and are definitely worth the money. Lakeview has teachers come for 2 days of staff development (unpaid days) in the summer in order to get the projectors in their classrooms. All the teachers came.
  7. Moodle - It's free but it has to be set up on your school's server (which Connie said is not hard.). It is an interface that allows teachers to login and put in quizzes or use a bank of test questions to compose a test so that students can take quizzes online at school or complete an online homework assignment from home. You can construct true-false or multiple choice question tests or assignments. You can use short answer or essay but these cannot be auto graded. You can also have the students use this program for journaling.
  8. Summer Laptop Institute - Two day summer training program for teachers.
  9. **Banned Program List**
  10. Secure Exam/Classmate - Lets teacher control what students can access, they can even shut down students' Internet access during a class.
  11. Interactive Desktop - This eliminates individual desktop images and replaces it with a standard background on which you can post announcements, photos, sports scores, whatever daily news your school wishes to post. To set it up, you can create a new group policy in XP for all the different groups like teachers, staff, and students and enabled the active desktop functionality in group policy. Maintaining it is easy. You type all the announcements in a Word document and save it as a web page linked to your server. (MVPS computer teachers liked it so much, our system administrator (Raj Jose) set it up for us. It has eliminated all the time wasted with students wanting to change their desktop images constantly - plus they can look at the screen and know immediately if it's an A, B, or C day.)
  12. Inspiration, Math Type, (equation editing software from www.vitalbook.com) and Irfanview (digital editing software that's free) have also been useful programs.

Other News
Peggy Pullen mentioned that Visual Communicator ($419) was a good program that combined video editing and teleprompter capability. Marist uses the laptrap for laptops ($39.95 from www.laptopclassroom.com) for students to use when they have their laptops out of the case. She also had information about a mew alptop cart that opens front and back ($1,269) and a teacher station (Sympodiums) which are like SmartBoards but don't have to be mounted. Marist is switching from Smart Boards to Sympodiums. The cost about $500 more than Smart Boards and are produced by Spectrum Industries.

Task Stream is related to portfolios. A groups is being formed to evaluate the concept and determine if Task Stream is useful for education. If you would be interested in serving on the Task Stream project, please contact Peggy Pullen.

January 2005 - The Epstein School

The January AATE meeting was held at The Epstein School.

After an excellent lunch, members could choose to attend any three 30-minute presentations by the following vendors.

  • GreenBorder - Matt Hiltebrand,manager of QA, from Greenborder (matt.hiltebrand@greenborder.com or Patricia Zullo, VP Sales, pzullo@greenborder.com, www.greenborder.com demonstrated the company's product Greenborder Security Agent and Management Server. The GreenBorder Security Agent resides on desktops and mobile laptops, transparently funneling content from untrusted sources into the GreenBorder Environment. A green-colored border around any window displaying untrusted content gives users a visual cue that they are protected against potentially malicious content – regardless of whether they are previewing e-mail in the Microsoft Outlook Client, visiting a Web site, editing files, or downloading and accessing content. GreenBorder protection is active from the moment a computer is turned on. GreenBorder does not rely on detection for protection, so users do not need to receive updates on security threats.
  • Amitrace - Faraz Ahmed, creator of Studio Xi, a TV studio in a box for schools, and Bruce Elisworth, general manager demonstrated Newtek's Video Toaster IV and Studio Xi and showed how easy it can now be to have your own broadcast and edit videos. www.amitrace.com sales@acsvideo.com
  • Apple - Kevin Dunn (kdunn@apple.com) led a session "Kicking off 2005 with Apple." Topics included introductions to the Apple Georgia Team, Apple in Education - 21st Century Learning, and Apple's newest products.
  • First Class/Aptiris - Gary Falcon, President ( info@aptiris.com - Many AATE sites are already familiar with FirstClass as an email and online collaboration tool. The presentation will look at ways to take FirstClass beyond messaging, providing a single portal environment for your community. We'll look at examples including:
    • - Web content management and distributed web publishing
    • - Online professional development course registration and tracking
    • - Online surveys and dynamic data gathering
    • - FirstClass-integrated student information systems
  • Promethean - Lisa Dubernard (ldubernard@activboard.com) demonstrated the latest in Promethean Collaborative Classroom including th]e totally new ACTIVstudio 2, award-winning ACTIVprimary, radio-based ACTIVslate XR and whole class assessment tools, ACTIVotes. More than just an interactive whiteboard... a collaborative teaching environment that is totally integrated.
  • Multimedia Learning Services - Sue Ellen Smith (404-373-4920) demonstrated the Smart Technology's Sympodium.

October 2004: Marist School

The October 2004 AATE meeting was held at Marist School.

Steve Hoecker provided information about the following:

Marist has 1,032 students and 158 staff. They have 22 servers and are adding 10 to 15 gig of storage a week. 503 PCs and 100+ laptops, some of which are wireless. None of these computers has a floppy drive. Students use their USB sticks to transport data.

Marist eliminated all their Solaris products because they found them to be inefficient.

Netilla - Remote Access - http://www.netilla.com - SSL VPN web interface. It is easy to configure and maintain. It can support up to 1,000 users. It is cross-platform and cross-browser. You can segment desktops by groups (different for teachers, users, staff, etc.) It will recognize and download driver for any printer to which you are connected. It has good wireless connectivity with laptops. Netilla costs $18,000 for 100 user license plus the cost of the 4 terminal servers. All students and staff are recommended to have DSL or cable connections to improve download times. The Terminal Services licenses are included in XP. Heavy-duty streaming audio and video capability on Netilla is due out in a few months. Netilla has an optional package that will check service pack, security setting, and virus scan on users' computers before the users can connect.

Barracuda - AntiSpam - http://www.barracudaworks.com - sits behind the firewall and has been blocking 90% of incoming unwanted e-mail. Barracuda updates everyday and is completely configurable. It allows each user to fine-tune what they consider spam. It costs less that $1,400 and takes 20 minutes to install. The maintenance fees are $300 to $600 per year. Paideia, Blessed Trinity, and Marist all use Barracuda. They were averaging 1,200 viruses a day prior to this.

Fortigate - Internet Filtering - http://www.fortinet.com - hardware/firmware based firewall. Filters web content, e-mail, intrusion dedection. It is not updates as frequently as Barracuda. It costs about $7,5000.

Roaming Profiles - True roaming profiles including VB script that sets printer defaults to match location of login to nearest printer and then ditches that setting at log out. E-mail Steve Hoecker ( hoeckers@marist.com ) for tips and tricks on setting up profiles.

Database Solutions for school administration, fundraising, and accounting - School administration is switching from Blackbaud to PowerSchool (Paideia is already running this). Fundraising is switching to GiftMaker Pro. Accounting is switching to QuickBooks Enterprise for NonProfits. The switch will save them a significant amount of money .

Wireless Connectivity / Laptops - They've just purchased two mobile labs, each of which has 30 laptops and one wireless printer. The laptops are IBM Thinkpads. The carts are by Bretford and cost about $1,700. The laptops can be plugged in inside the cart.. The cart then can be plugged into an outlet and the laptops are charged in banks of 15 on a 2 hour rotation.

Robotics is a required course at Marist. The class includes a few weeks on several different topics including programming.
Roger Shaddic (shaddicr@marist.com) demonstrated Lego's Robo Lab (Mindstorms) firmware, tower, and RCX-based robots performing various programs. The kit costs about $200 plus 6 AA batteries. He explained that the Robo Lab kit provides students several different languages to program the robots and provides a good introduction to the concept of programming. He has a class with 20 students and 10 Lego Mindstorm kits. They work in class everyday in teams of two. Currently, they are working on projects for the Junior First Robotics League competition. The cost for a team is about $600, this includes the costs of the Mindstorms kit.
He recommended courses taught by Canegie Mellon to provide training for teachers in this field. One course is offered online and the other is a summer course. Carnegie Mellon also offers a robotics camp for students.

T1 Lines
Marist is using US Lec for their T1 lines. US Lec has no upfront costs and requires no contracts

Useful web sites that were shared
www.FundingFactory.com - You register with this site. They send you a box in which you can collect your recyclable ink cartridges and cell phones and send the items to them and your school gets credits that you can use to purchase more supplies and other items.

unitedstreaming is a digital video-on-demand service provided by Discovery Education. It provides thousands of educational videos that you can download or stream. In Georgia, you can get free membership through PeachNet. Call UnitedStremaing at 1-800-323-9084 to set up an account if you don't already have one.

Request for assistance
If you can recommend a vendor for purchasing, installing, maintaining projectors in a classroom, would you please e-mail that information to Peggy Pullen ( pullenp@marist.com)

We'd like to increase membership. If you would like to be on a committee that will contact new school and former member school and see if they'd like to join AATE, please e-mail Peggy at pullenp@marist.com.

September 2004: Blessed Trinity Catholic School

The September 2004 AATE meeting was held at Blessed Trinity Catholic School. The following findings were discussed:

Thin Client Computing with Citrix
Instead of giving laptops to each student, Blessed Trinity has chosed to use Citrix to provide students the capability to access school software and do homework from home. Citrix runs on top of Windows 2000 or 2003 servers. Each unit costs $250, has no moving parts, and is quick and easy to install. The only negative so far is that there are some compatability issues with multimedia programs.

Sanako Foreign Language Lab
Blessed Trinity has a new Sanako foreign language lab. The lab package includes everything - desks, Elice devices (digital recorder units for students for students to use both for listening for for responses), language learning activities and exercises, and a teacher PC.