January 20, 2011
Directions for participating in the community budget forums online
For the first time this year, community members will be able to participate in the budget forum on April 3, through online meeting technology. This will allow those who cannot be there in person or those who prefer to do so from the comfort of their own home to follow the discussion and contribute to it via a video and chat interface on the web. This process is known as a webinar.
The meeting will take place at 7 p.m. in the BCMS auditorium, and those who want to come out and participate in person are still encouraged to do so. This information was developed as a guide to those who want to participate in the webinar.
The district is using online meeting software (Adobe Connect Pro) that allows people to see and hear what is said at the forum and to type in their questions and participate in the meeting from their computer.
Computer requirements to participate
• No special software is required on the user's end. However, users do need to have:
• A computer with speakers (so that you can hear the budget presentation);
• High speed internet access such as Road Runner or DSL; and
• Adobe Flash player to view the video image of forum presenters. (Most computers come with this now. Anyone who is able to view video clips on YouTube or TV station websites should be fine; Adobe Flash player can also be downloaded here for free.)
“Logging-in” to the online meeting
• Go to the web address http://breeze.neric.org/bcsdbudget/. A link to this web address will be provided on the district’s home page the evening of the forums.
• Log-in as a guest: Click the button next to “Guest” and type your name.
• The meeting will begin at 7 p.m. You might want to go to this location and log-in a few minutes early to make sure it is working properly for you.
• For a visual representation of how this will look, scroll toward the end of this page
How the webinar will work
Online participants can see and hear the presenters speaking at the podium and can see the presentation PowerPoint slides. Online viewers can also type in comments and questions, which a moderator at the forum can see and respond to. The moderator will also make individual comments/questions visible to all online participants.
For a visual representation of how this will look, scroll toward the end of this page
The software that the district is using for this automatically records all the comments and questions that online participants type in, so Board of Education members will receive a copy of your input this way, just as well as if you attended in person.
The Bethlehem Central School District is grateful to the Capital Region BOCES and the Northeast Regional Information Center (NERIC) for their assistance in this and for instruction in the Adobe Connect Pro software that makes it all possible.
Please join the district for the first of two community budget forums on Jan. 24, as it again enters a difficult round of budget planning that will require some tough choices and plenty of community involvement.