School board sees tech breakthroughs

Stan Moore, who was employed as the district’s technology integrationist this year, introduced the board members to the new touch screen Chromebooks, and Google Cardboard technology.

Moore is available to the staff all day long for help using the new technology. He conducts training with the teachers on Tech Tuesdays. He is also developing the school’s social media for such things as late start notices and weather warnings.

“I am most excited about social media,” he told the board. “Facebook is such an important tool to build the culture of our school.” Working with Twitter and Instagram is also being developed.

“This will be more informative, to showcase what’s going on in the Osakis Schools,” he said.

All students K-12 will have an hour of coding during the week of Dec. 4-10. During that time, the older students will team up with the younger students.

Possibilities for the social media include community connections, alumni connections, programs and clubs, and student leadership.

Moore advocates transforming the library into a learning center, “A 21st Century center, catering to K-12 students,” he said.

Work is already beginning on this, according to Supt. Randy Bergquist, who reported the library has been cleared of five or six really long book shelves to make space for new learning centers.

Social Studies Teacher Matt Hoelscher joined the discussion when the Google Cardboard technology was demonstrated. This is a virtual reality platform for use with a head mount for a smartphone. The fold-out cardboard viewer is a low cost item, at two for $25, designed to encourage development of virtual reality applications. The phone is placed into the back of the cardboard viewer and the content is viewed through the lenses.

Hoelscher showed the School Board a video he took of his students who were taking a virtual reality tour that day with the Google Cardboard.

“We went to Egypt,” he said. “I am a museum tour guide.”

Students used their own smartphones, but there were some issues with certain phones running the Cardboard compatible applications.Moore and Hoelscher will give a follow-up presentation at the November Work Session.

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