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Milltown Elementary School Principal Tami Geltmaker explains the Crawford County Community School Corp.’s new video teleconferencing (VTC) system prior to the board of trustees’ meeting on Feb. 21. Pictured with her are trustees Tracy Kerns, left, and Debbie Kaiser. Photos by Chris Adams

CCCSC has 'big plans' for video technology


February 29, 2012
The Crawford County Community School Corp., with its schools spread throughout the county, long has faced the challenge of easily being able to pull staff together for meetings, as doing so often requires educators to be away from their building for significant periods of time.

However, thanks to video teleconferencing (VTC) technology recently installed throughout the corporation, that now appears to be a thing of the past.

Prior to its Feb. 21 meeting at Milltown Elementary School, the corporation's board of trustees was given an up-close look of the system by the school's principal, Tami Geltmaker.

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Trustee Lee Holzbog uses the NASA application on an iPad. The iPads can be integrated into the VTC technology.
"We're just now getting this rolled out," she told the trustees, adding that, with up to eight sites able to be connected via a high-speed Internet link, the system has many possibilities.

For example, grade level meetings of teachers at all five elementary schools are now just a click away, Geltmaker said. Not only can they view and hear each other, despite being in various locations, they can share and even edit documents as a group by bringing them up on the screen, she noted.

Other VTC uses include staff professional development sessions, interaction between classrooms and virtual field trips, as the system can even connect to a remote site.

The technology lends itself to use with iPads the corporation purchased with textbook dollars after receiving a waiver from the state, Geltmaker said, adding teachers have had no problem loading the tablets with educational apps.

"We have people who have hundreds of these for free," she said of the apps.

To demonstrate how easily the touchscreen devices can be used, Geltmaker led the trustees in trying their hand at a program from NASA that details the planets in the solar system.

Amy Etienne, the corporation's Title I administrative assistant and data manager, added that she also is able to record short presentations for staff to view when they have time.

"Now, if they have five minutes during recess or lunch, they can watch it and not miss any time," she said.

In addition, Etienne said, it ensures that all staff hear the same message. If she were to travel to each school, there is always the possibility that she may forget something, she said.

"We've got big plans for what we're going to use this for," Geltmaker said.

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