Monday, December 24, 2007

News from a neglectful blogger :(

The good news is that the Avon Schools and the Lorain Country Distance Learning Consortium (LCDLC) have been so busy it takes the first day of Christmas Break to update our blog… So here is the skinny... :)

This school year the Avon Schools purchased bulk programming from the Greenbush ESC providing our teachers a savings in cost, but even more importantly a window of scheduling before programs are offered to schools for single program purchase. These programs have been very popular for Avon East (grades 1-2) and Heritage South (grades 3-4) in the areas of science, math and language arts. Many of the programs come with materials and resources for the teachers to use as pre and post activities. We have been very please with Greenbush staff making this a great opportunity for Avon students.

Avon High School’s Spanish classes have been very active this fall and winter. AHS students under the guidance of Janice Ventresco have been proving kindergarten and first grade classes at North Elementary School in East Liverpool Spanish lessons one day a week. This is part of a grant with Columbiana County Educational Service Center. In the New Year the HS students will work with the AHS multimedia class to create podcasts of supporting material for the classes to use between connections or as a backup during a calamity day.

Technology Toolbox has been very active this year with 18 schools connecting on December 20th for our session on Podcasting. Schools from the LCDLC, NOTA, NOECA, Miami Country Day and Columbiana County receive the programs for free in exchange for collaborative projects done throughout the school year. Desktop Videoconferencing and Digital Storytelling will be added to the program list over the break. These sessions will be available in February.

Avon Middle School upgraded their Multimedia center combining DL and their computer lab. Avon MS is currently busting out at the seams room wise. The current media center does not have a good location for a multimedia projector so we decided to combine the rooms with two Plasma TV’s proving cable TV/channel 1, DL and a computer image for the lab. The Polycom and the two Plasma’s are hung from the ceiling can rotate 90 degrees proving different groups the opportunity to use the equipment.

The Avon IP test unit is still running and sites are welcome to dial in a use the system to test their connectivity. We try to keep a DVD of last year’s videoconferences playing in a loop so sites can test audio and video, but every once and a while we forget to switch back to the player or leave the volume down on the mixer (sorry about that, but that is what you get for free…). We do ask that sites not use far end control to switch our cameras. That causes problems for other sites dialing in after you have disconnected.

We are really looking forward to a great 2008 in videoconferencing. On behalf of the Avon Schools we wish everyone a Wonderful Holiday Season and look forward to seeing you online in 08!

Paul Hieronymus,
Curriculum Technology Coordinator
Avon Schools
Skype: Hairynomas

Educational Consultant
Lorain County Distance Learning Consortium