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Notes on Electronic Board Packets
Question from 7/21/2010 from Jordan Stephen:
On Wed, Jul 21, 2010 at 7:48 PM, Jordan Stephen
Would you mind sharing if your school board shares and sends out board packets electronically prior to the meetings. Also are there ways that the boe members can make notes on the packets while reading them? What types of services or applications might your districts be using? Did your district provide equipment to the members or is there a system in which they login remotely?
From Tom Donovan, Buffalo Grove, IL:
We're in the process of moving electronic with a homebrew solution involving iPads (Wi-Fi only) for the board members, using ReaddleDocs to download directly from a secure WebDAV share to the iPad. The Supt's secretary will process the board documents into PDFs and follow a naming convention that will allow the files to sort alphabetically and end up in a logical organization. She'll then connect to the sharepoint from her Mac to upload the files. There are obviously a number of implications our scenario, which we'llbe exploring over time and addressing as they come up. One of the most important, of course, has to do with any legal requirements that exist, especially if they are any different from what the Board and administration are already used to. Another thing we'll be learning about is note-taking, which others have mentioned in the context of other solutions. The nature of iOS is
that you can only be doing a single thing at a time, so there's no good way to have a word processor open along with the PDF viewer to easily take notes while looking at a document. Taking notes on an iPad is OK (and if you're not using Evernote, you should be!) and reading PDFs and other documents is OK, but doing both at the same time? Not so much. Readdle Docsallows post-it style notes to be added to a PDF, as well as highlights and bookmarks, but it remains to be seen how useful this will be in practice. As with everything iPad, the best strategy from the start is to set realistic expectations and emphasize that an iPad is NOT just a small, touchscreen laptop. In my limited testing, the WebDAV connection works great. The secretary can upload documents from her computer over the network and the iPad connects flawlessly to access them. I've tried it from within the district (obviously), but also from home over my Comcast
connection. Time will tell if it ends up being more burdensome, given the inconsistencies of home wireless networks. One of my key requirements of our solution is that it doesn't *depend* on the iPads. The documents will exist as PDFs and can be accessed from the secure website using any computer (or anything else that can access and store PDFs, for that matter). We could also email them out, pass them around on a flash drive or CD, or even print them out, in the event of a severe network outage or other disaster. The bottom line is that we have committed to going electronic, but if we find that the iPads aren't useful, that's OK. We'll still have the procedures and systems in place to support electronic distribution. While we'll be letting them keep the iPads rather than collecting them and distributing them just for meetings, I'm going to ask them not to sync with a home computer. Any apps they need, we will provide, and they'll be able to get the meeting materials directly over the network without the need to connect to a computer. I figure that periodically we'll ask them to drop the iPads off and we'll maybe add a few education-related apps that we're using in district and hopefully have some multimedia content to load. Things like the daily broadcasts from our middle and junior high schools and anything else we can collect. I think this will be one of the coolest parts if we can pull it off. Not every board member is able to vist the schools very often and really see what kids are up to, and by using the iPad as a container for electronic artifacts, we can bring more of school to them.
Anyway, that's an off-the-top-of-my head description of what is in the beginning stages here.
Here at Hawthorn, we offer a laptop computer to every board member, but most do not take them. We post the board packet on a secure internet site and most Board members bring a laptop to out meeting to view the documents during the meeting. In some cases they print it out first. The only concerns voiced are when there is a problem with the web site or if an issues happens with the district email system which may delay notification of postings to the web site, etc. Thanks, Jim Batson Technology Services Manager Hawthorn District 73 I just learned our school board is discussing electronic board packet distribution. I sent my superintendent this link for a podcast about how the Troy school district is using iPads and select apps for this purpose:
Is anyone else doing something similar? Anyone see any other pros or cons? They're discussing cheap laptops, which I'm trying hard to steer them away from because of all of the support and maintenance headaches that would come with it, likely off-hours. iPads fit within the $500 budget they were discussing, and the support and training would be next to nil. Thanks, Mike Oliveri Tech Director Roanoke-Benson CUSD #60
Good Morning- We use BoardDocs and we make the public packet viewable on Friday before a Monday board meeting.
Brian M. Engle, Executive Director of Educational Technology Glenview School District #34 Glenview, Illinois 60026 Office Phone (847) 486-7855
Are Board Packets Viewable to the General Public?
Original inquiry: 9/29/2010 from Jordan Stephen: Good morning, A few months ago I had asked about how and what solutions districts are using for electronic board packets. Thanks for all of that information. As our board is still looking at trying various electronic options, the question came up about public access to these board of education members, board packs. My question is how many of your districts make the Board Pack viewable to the public? Both prior to and after the meeting?
Jordan Stephen Director Of Technology East Prairie School District #73 3907 W. Dobson Skokie, IL 60076 OFFICE: 847-673-1141 Ext. 1247 CELL: 847-561-9553 \WWW:
From: "Adam Denenberg" <denen
@wilmette39.org> To: O
@sd25.org Sent: Wednesday, September 29, 2010 7:19:57 PM GMT -06:00 US/Canada Central
We make the board packet available on our district website the Friday before our Monday evening board meetings. Executive session notes are not posted online.
Adam Denenberg Director of Technology and Media Services Wilmette Public Schools District 39 denen
From Jason Livezey: We only provide Minutes and Agendas online as well. A board packet can be requested though by anyone, and we do give them to anyone that asks. The packet the newspapers and public receive is exactly the same packet the board gets except for the agenda and minutes for executive session. Only agendas and meeting minutes are available online.
Mary Jane Warden Director of Technology Services Lincolnwood School District 74 6950 N. East Prairie Road Lincolnwood, IL 60712 web]
My superintendent is considering it. He says nothing is in there that's not public information, so he's even thinking of just putting it on the website. I guess Executive Session info would be separate. Take care, Mike Oliveri Tech Director Roanoke-Benson CUSD #60
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