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Appleton board of education gets tech update from staff

Posted at 10:45 PM, Oct 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-12 23:45:17-04

APPLETON, Wis. (NBC 26) -- Six weeks in to Appleton Area School District's virtual instruction, staff gave the Board of Education an update on how technology is working for parents, students and teachers.

"Our district has really become reliant on a few big technology resources," Matt Zimmerman, Appleton's Director of Technology Services and Innovation said. "Canvas, Infinite Campus, Classlink and Google are all systems that if they go down, we have trouble. And we've experienced one of them going down each of the weeks that school has been in session."

Without discussing a move back to in person instruction, Zimmerman and Kelsi Van Fossen, a teacher and district learning manager, tried to show board members the many adaptations that both staff and parents have taken on to make virtual classes work.

"It's been a really big workload, so that's really what we've been talking about, and how to take care of ourselves, because that's not easy to do right now," Nicole Dutter, a special education teacher in Appleton said.

Dutter is also a mom to an AASD student, so she has seen both sides of maneuvering the new normal.

"It's a new technology, and new technology always has growing pains," Dutter said.

Some parents have even seen computer skills growth from their younger students, like Melissa Prast has seen in her kindergarten twins.

"I'm really impressed that a lot of the activities they're doing are hands on, engaging, age appropriate," Prast said. "I think that was my biggest concern that they have never used a computer, much less a tablet, how can I help them be successful? But now they're like, 'Mama, let me log in! I know how to do that!'"

Superintendent Baseman said there will be weekly updates on different virtual instruction topics going forward.