SEMTEC The SE MN preK-12 Technology Coordinators

Welcome to SEMTEC! Home of SE MN Educational Technology Leaders!

Note - SEMNET is scheduled to meet at 8:30-9:30am

SEMTEC - March 15th, 2013
Wood Lake Meeting Center (Southeast Service Complex) Rochester, MN

9:30 - Welcome!

9:40 - Updates - SEMNET, Legislative, SSC, eRate, MN TEA, other

10:00 - Brainstorm Conference update - what was learned, info to share, etc...

10:30 - MN Computers for Schools Update

11:00 - eTextbook Collaboration information and discussion

noon - lunch provided (bring your own beverage) - Discussion Topics?

12:30pm - HighSchoolCube Presentation (Web-video)

2:00 - adjourn

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9:30 - Welcome!

9:40 - Updates - SEMNET, Legislative, SSC, eRate, MN TEA, other

SEMNET - Meeting that morning focused primarily on the planning for the collaborative eTextbook and/or shared course development. That took much more time than expected for that meeting. More on what was discussed will be brought up during the planned session for that in the agenda. Otherwise, it turns out that none of the SEMNET schools ended up using any of the pricing that was made available through the Internet Provider RFP in the eRate 470 that SEMNET submitted on member schools behalf. There is some question if SEMNET will do that again next year, but it sounds like pricing was actually lower for schools contacting vendors directly. Next SEMNET meeting will be May 3rd.

Legislative - Dale was not available today, and he usually handles Legislative updates. Not much is being heard from anyone. A look at the Minnesota Rural Education Association website’s legislative area didn’t show much for information - earth shattering or otherwise. You can view the info here:

MN REA website:

Legislative update page:

The MNREA website has other resource links as well

SSC - Kari was on-hand for SSC updates, but not a lot new is happening for SSC at this time - primarily continuing various training offerings. SSC has it’s organizational meetings over the next couple of weeks as well.

eRate - deadline for 471 submissions for FY 2013 was yesterday. Sounds like everyone got their paperwork in. Some discussion about using a third-party rep (such as Fazil, through SEMNET) or a vendor for handling erate paperwork. Some vendors charge a percentage of reimbursed income, some charge a flat rate (some around $2400, others lower). Fazil’s pricing is through SEMNET membership and is quite a bit lower than vendors that we are aware of. Several districts handle erate themselves.

MNTEA - Telecommunications Aid from the state had a late window this year. In past years, the window for applications was in November. This fiscal school year, it didn’t take place until the end of February. Only schools in SEMNET, WeTec or other recognized consortium WITH an approved Technology Plan is eligible for the MN TEA reimbursements. If you are unsure about the status of your school, contact the Minnesota Department of Education. If you are unsure about the status of your school for TEA, contact the Minnesota Department of Education

The MDE does maintain a list of schools with approved Technology Plans:

On the MDE page, go to the Data Plans Tab, then to the “Data Reports and Analytics option beneath that. This should get you to that page:

Once there, in the list, find the “District Information” heading, and under that is the School Technology Plans and Approval Letters area. Use the selection tools to choose the options you want to view the Tech Plans and approval letters for a specific district or all districts.

10:00 - Brainstorm Conference update - what was learned, info to share, etc...

Reports from those that attended this year were generally very positive. Sounds like there were some fun swag items again in the vendor area as an added bonus. Brainstorm continues to be a highly recommended IT education conference. Make plans to attend next year.

There are also some that are considering attending the Iowa 1:1 conference in Des Moines this year in early April. Cost is $50, and you can generally show up on site and attend

The ISTE Conference is also excellent. It’s in San Antonio this year at the end of June.

10:30 - MN Computers for Schools Update

My bad! Jim Christensen will join us at the May 3rd meeting!

11:00 - eTextbook Collaboration information and discussion

An advisory group is being formed to help determine if SE MN can create a collaborative effort to create either an eTextbook for a certain discipline area, and/or create a course with resources that could be shared/used in the cloud.

That group brought some questions and information to the SEMTEC group (Bryan and Jen are a part of that Advisory group) based on a presentation that was given at SSC the Tuesday previous to the SEMTEC meeting.

Materials included:

eTextbook Writing Process Guidelines

Originally created for collaboration group in South Central Minnesota

eTextbook Resource Page

Information shared by Linda Smith from Cannon Falls

This is a Google Document of the agenda from the meeting that took place on Tuesday, March 12th about eTextbooks/online course building collaboratives at the Southeast Service Cooperative

This is a web-based Prezi presentation that contains info that follows the agenda in the above document but contains links to a number of resources.

Digital Curriculum for 8th Grade

Application and outline of Digital Curriculum collaboration effort that the SOCRATES group in South central Minnesota created.

During the discussion, Jen and Bryan went over some of the materials that are provided above. More information from upcoming meetings will be provided to the SEMTEC members to share with their districts, especially as the collaboration effort begins to look for interested districts and teachers.

There was some discussion then about what the area Technology leaders might see from such efforts. Primarily, there will be a need for guidance in creating documents that are device independent. PDF documents may be the best option in that regard, and a number of free tools (CutePDF, PDFViewer, etc) are available to convert documents to PDFs. GoogleDocs and OpenOffice also have the ability to save or download or convert documents into PDF format. Other possibilities include web/cloud-based applications such as GoogleDocs which has apps now that work on Tablet technologies, Smartphones as well as different computer platforms because the tool is web-based.

Also some discussion on Learning Management Systems (LMS) that are being used for organization and deployment of content. Moodle seems to be a popular choice. Others are Edmodo - though there was some general feeling that Edmodo - while easy to use - is not very robust. Another favorite is Schoology because of its robust features, ease of use and ability to incorporate GoogleApps tools.

noon - lunch provided (bring your own beverage) -

12:30pm - HighSchoolCube Presentation (Web-video)

High School Cube is a free video upload service for schools to use for streaming live video or creating on-demand video archives. Originally developed in the Chicago area, High School Cube now has a Minneapolis office where representative Shannon Currier (originally from Cosmos, Minnesota and now in Waconia) provides service and support for schools looking to create their online “Cubes”

High School Cube generates its revenue by selling advertising on the cube spaces. Schools can work in conjuction with High School Cube if they wish to, and have a place on the site for interested parties to donate dollars. HighSchool Cube keeps 50% of that revenue, and gives 50% back to the schools through such agreements. Schools can also work with High School Cube to have specific advertising on their sites, with a similar agreement for the division of the revenue. But all that is optional.

High School Cube has an app for iPads and IPhones that allow video captured on those devices to be uploaded as a live stream, and/or captured in real time on a Cube Site.

Students and Student Athletes can create their own cubes and set up highlights from games, and a number of other options that could be used for class assignments, or just for fun.

Shannon’s Contact infomation:

High School Video website:

Cannon Falls is already using the service and Pine Island and Caledonia are considering using it after recent conversations with Shannon.

2:00 - adjourn

Next Meeting - Friday, May 3rd, 2013 - See you then!

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