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ConnectKentucky recognizes state’s technology leaders at 2013 Tech Day

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HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. (Nov. 11, 2013) ConnectKentucky, an alliance of technology-minded businesses, government entities and universities that works together to advance technology across the state, honored the commonwealth’s technology leaders on Nov. 7 at the organization’s 2013 Tech Day.

ConnectKentucky presented the following awards at the event:

Small-Business Technology Award: Instant Access Tours/Battery Row Productions

Instant Access Tours is helping Kentucky towns preserve and promote their history online by converting digital maps and brochures into virtual walking tours that can accessed online or by using your smart phone. Its first tour commemorated the 150th anniversary of the Civil War Battle of Augusta with a website, battleofaugusta.org, and a 10‐site walking tour that included signage with QR codes so visitors could access the online content via their smartphones.

Secondary Student Technology Award: Nicholas Boucher

Villa Madonna Academy junior Nicholas Boucher designed and programmed the new Villa Madonna Academy website. The new website has special login areas for students, teachers, and parents and was quite a programming challenge for a junior in high school. Boucher not only made it much more visually captivating but also incorporated better design elements that make the site more user-friendly.

Postsecondary Student Technology Award: Robert Crawford

Robert Crawford, a junior at Northern Kentucky University from Goshen, Ohio, is lead developer for entrepreneurial startup company InstrumentLife. His responsibilities in this role include developing new product functionality within the Drupal framework, performing any support related tasks and working directly with the clients and his managers to ensure new requirements and/or issues are addressed and implemented, within any required parameters, quickly and efficiently. The online application gives users the ability to chronicle performance history and preserve their musical experience, as well as enabling self-promotion and performance sharing within its online member community.

School District Technology Award: River Ridge Elementary – Kenton County Public Schools

Using technology in a way that not only enhances the capacity of the institution but also is teaching a group of young leaders to be informed citizens is what led to River Ridge Elementary School in Kenton County being selected as the winner of the School District Technology Award. Guidance counselor Jill Dilts and school psychologist Jessica Roesch and their 5th-grade media team are using technology to teach 1,100 students and their families the value of digital information. Each day the team uses technology to write, shoot video and edit a product that is professional and based on literacy standards. They incorporate social messages about bullying and safety prevention interviews with local police and fire officials to send to other students and their families. The videos are loaded on the website and families are encouraged to receive newsworthy events from the student lead team. (The videos are available here.)

Postsecondary Institution Technology Award: Murray State University

The Center for Teaching, Learning and Technology at Murray State University (MSU) recently upgraded its Learning Management System from an older system to Canvas. The change was radical and extensive and has provoked a sea change in teaching and learning at the university. MSU streamlined faculty/student interaction, improved student feedback, simplified course organization, permitted native use of mobile technologies and increased the availability of the classroom environment. Faculty can now focus more clearly on desired educational outcomes, and less on managing the technology that supports those outcomes. The availability of high-quality online assistance and an intuitive interface has resulted in less confusion, and greater support with no additional investment.

Postsecondary Institution Technology Award: Northern Kentucky University

Northern Kentucky University (NKU) needed to provide access to discipline-specific software for students and faculty. In the past, converting classrooms into computer labs, purchasing many desktop computers and loading campus-licensed software met the need but that solution took up much physical space, was limited to the number of computers provided and the currency of the hardware, and required students to be on campus during business hours. The implemented solution was a virtual desktop that allows students, faculty, and staff to log into what appears to be a “computer lab machine” via the Internet from any personal device. This solution has revolutionized the way that NKU provides software. This innovation work has changed how students get access to the required materials and allows students to be more productive anywhere, anytime. Benefits include expanded replacement cycle of computers, increased speed of new software installations and security, and reduced electrical usage with more energy-efficient servers instead of desktops.

Government Leadership in Technology Award: Eastern Kentucky University/Kentucky Educational Television

Jan. 11, 2013, marked the culmination of months of preparation among NASA, Eastern Kentucky University and Kentucky Educational Television. The result was a live broadcast on KET from the International Space Station that featured astronaut Tom Marshburn and approximately 160 middle-school students at EKU’s Hummel Planetarium. The centerpiece of the day was a live question-and-answer session with 20 students and Marshburn. The middle-school students in attendance were chosen from EKU’s service area and were all identified as gifted and talented in science or math. Students submitted questions for the astronaut prior to the event and EKU chose 20 students to ask their questions live. Utilizing broadband technologies provided through the Kentucky Postsecondary Education Network, KET, in partnership with EKU, created a 30-minute special program from the question-and-answer portion of the day. The program was delivered live across the state in high definition on KET and streamed live on the web. The event can be viewed here.

Non-profit Leadership in Technology Award: Kenton County Public Library

Kenton County Public Library is a leader in providing digitized history and cultural content, ensuring area residents, researchers, students and policy makers have access to hundreds of thousands of local history images, documents, maps and other artifacts. The library’s substantial online resources include general reference, business materials, newspapers and magazines, e-books, history, culture and society information and more. To view the online resources of the Kenton County Public Library, visit kentonlibrary.org.