2012-09-28 Weekly IT Update

This Week:

App Training Reschedule – Doceri vs. Splashtop Whiteboard (iPad Apps)

App Training – Pages vs. OliveOffice Basic HD

PCHS Technology ALEC – Updates

Replenishment – Round 1

Dropout Nation – PBS Frontline

10 High School Teachers – Blogs

How Do They Make Money? – Common Web Sites

 

App Training Reschedule – As I was sick for the scheduled training this week, the Doceri vs. Splashtop Whiteboard will be rescheduled. The new date and times will be: October 10, 2012 at 11:40AM, 12:20PM, and 2:45PM. I will send out a reminder the week prior to this as a courtesy. Also, keep in mind that both of these Apps ARE iPad specific so if you are planning on using them you should have an iPad (or if you’re just interested in learning one of the cool things the iPad can do, come on by!). Sorry for the inconvenience of the date / time change.

App Training – Training for this week will be between Pages and OliveOffice Basic HD. The original plan was to go with CloudOn, a MS Office type of program, but I have been unable to get it to work from any location (and saw the same on another iPad today). So, instead, the plan is to go with Pages (an Apple App) and OliveOffice Basic HD, a MS Office type of program. Each provide alternate ways to create documents on an iPad. Hope to see you there on Thursday, October 4th!

PCHS Technology ALEC – As I go through the different educational technology newsletters each week, I have been posting useful links, articles, videos, etc. on the PCHS Technology site of ALEC. This week I have put up some new links to resources in the English, Business Education, Physical Education, Social Studies, SPED, and World Languages. Each is organized in their own folders and as I find them I am updating the ALEC site. Take a look by doing a search for PCHS Technology. I am updating this a few times a week as I find resources that feel like they may be of use in each department (there is a heavy learning towards Social Studies as this is my background). Enjoy!

Replenishment – It’s that time of year again, computer replenishment time. Replacement hardware for the systems that are out of date and no longer under warranty has been ordered and should be here soon. So if you see a ton of boxes near the Tech Office, you now know why! We’ll be updating the Technology classroom (Gardiner) as well as updating most, if not all, of the traveling teacher laptops. The rest of the replenishment will come in once we get solid numbers of how many students we have at the school so we’ll have a smaller second round come January.

Dropout Nation – This new documentary aired on Frontline (PBS) on September 25, 2012. It’s almost 2 hours long and is about “A film crew spent one year following four students who attend Houston’s Sharpstown High School, where officials are working to improve graduation rates with its Apollo 20 program. Developed by Roland Fryer of Harvard University’s Education Innovation Laboratory, Apollo 20 is built around five tenets: effective principals and teachers, more instructional time, use of data to lead instruction, tutoring and a culture of high expectations for everyone.” Check the entire documentary out at: http://video.pbs.org/video/2283603203/

10 High School Teacher – In this article there are 10 different High School teacher blogs that you might be interested in. Of course ALL of us have tons of time to read blogs in our spare time (HA! Couldn’t type that with a straight face) but it looks like some of these are specific to their fields and the ones I have peeked at look pretty nice and informative. Check it out at: http://edudemic.com/2012/09/10-high-school-teacher-blogs/

How Do They Make Money? – Here’s a pretty cool web site that shows how different online services make money (or don’t). For example, Dropbox, one of the free tools I use on a daily basis, makes money through subscribers and a Freemium (free at the base level, pay for more services at higher levels). It’s pretty interesting how and why companies make money. You can even filter your results by revenue type and service type. Check it out at: http://rcs.seerinteractive.com/money/

 

2012-09-20 Weekly IT Update

This Week:

PCHS Technology ALEC Site – Up and Running

App Training for September 26th – Doceri vs. Splashtop Whiteboard

Falcon Virtual Academy – D49 goes Online

Digital Citizenship – Resources for Students

 

PCHS Technology ALEC Site – Yes, the PCHS Technology ALEC site is up and running. I’ve been adding content to it as I find useful information and have opened a couple of the departmental folders with material (so far Social Studies, SPED, and World Languages but I am adding to it every week). Drop on by on ALEC and do a search for PCHS Technology! Check out the Audio portion of the site this week as I added the latest episode of ‘This American Life’ which talks about students and their lives. Very interesting! So drop on by and take a look! PCHS Technology on ALEC.

App Training for September 26th – So here’s a big one, some people prefer Doceri, some people prefer Splashtop Whiteboard. Which is better for your needs? Which remote whiteboard will reign supreme? Come to one of the three trainings offered that Wednesday and see for yourself. This is one of the trainings that is specific to the iPad so if you don’t have one you won’t get much out of the training. But if you do, come on by! The numbers of attendees are slowly increasing and Nathan Gorsch is going to be getting the trainings in ‘The Spot’ for credit soon! Hope to see you there!

Falcon Virtual Academy – Sure, it’s D49, but they have made a step towards a friendly new approach to online / virtual learning with the Falcon Virtual Academy. As online, blended, and flipped classrooms continue to become more of the ‘norm’, D49 has provided their students with an online academy that is more like a café than a traditional classroom setting (and made national news in the meantime). Take a look at: http://edudemic.com/2012/09/why-a-colorado-k-12-school-now-resembles-an-internet-cafe/

Digital Citizenship – Edutopia has provided links to twelve different videos covering everything from Netiquette to Online Safety. All of the videos are there to promote digital citizenship and the site has even provided some links for follow up questions / conversations  and other resources for you to share with your students.  Check it out at: http://www.edutopia.org/blog/film-festival-digital-citizenship

 

2012-09-13 Weekly IT Update

For This Week

PCHS Technology ALEC Site – Coming Soon

App Training – Upcoming Schedule

Educational Technology –More, more, more

iPads Before Bed? – Think Twice

12 Awesome EdTech Tools – One article

Contest of the Week – Common Core Book Bundle / iPad

 

PCHS Technology ALEC Site – For those that may be interested, the will soon be an ALEC Site dedicated specifically to PCHS Technology. It includes things like Articles, Videos, Audio (Podcasts/MP3s), Images, Web Sites, and iPad Apps. I am also trying to create a group of folders specific to each department so that I can store useful resources in them for your team. I will be adding you all to the course here in the next few days so do a search for PCHS Technology in ALEC and check it out! Any suggestions or requests are more than welcome as I do tend to take constructive criticism pretty well <sniff> <sniff>.

App Training – Yes, I now have a schedule of upcoming App Trainings available (see the calendar on the next page). I have tried to stagger Green/Blue days and checked to make sure that, at least currently, the days don’t interfere. Trainings will almost always be on a Wednesday or Thursday and consist of a 15-minute training for Lunch A, a 15-minute training for Lunch B, and a 15-minute training immediately following the school day. Each week I will try to compare two different apps that are in the same vein. Examples include: Evernotes/GoodNotes, Doceri/Splashtop Whiteboard, CloudOn/OliveOffice, iTunesU/iBooks, TED/Khan Academy, VoiceThread/Notability, PBS/NPR, Flipboard/Pulse News, Haiku Deck/Skitch/ScreenChomp, Wunderlist/Remember the Milk, Idea Sketch/Mindmeister. Currently I have them scheduled up through the first week in December when I figure it will be a good time to wrap it up for the semester.

Educational Technology – In this blog on educational technology, the writing is about how a large percentage of parents and teachers understand that a “greater emphasis on technology would be helpful for learning. “ This information comes from a poll of 800 public school parents and K-12 teachers. If you can ignore the misspellings in the article it provides some insight into the state of technology in education and the future importance it will hold. Check it out at: http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/DigitalEducation/2012/09/new_survey_finds_parents_teach.html

iPads Before Bed? – Paul found this interesting article about how the light of the iPad mimics daylight. What does this mean to you? If you’ve been feeling tired and groggy in the morning it might not be because you didn’t get enough sleep, but instead that your body is ‘waking up’ prior to bedtime with the use of the iPad. Take a look at – http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/9533249/Using-iPads-before-bed-can-lead-to-a-poor-nights-sleep.html  for more on this.

12 Awesome EdTech Tools – For a brief explanation of some of the current FREE Educational Technology tools, check out this article. It covers quite a few tools and resources for the classroom and each explain how they can be used. There is some great information in this article so check it out at: http://www.scribd.com/doc/105125110/12-Awesome-EdTech-Tools-for-2012-2013

 

App Training Schedule

Training Times

Session 1 – 11:40 – 11:55AM

Session 2 – 12:20 – 12:35PM

Session 3 – 2:45 – 3:00PM

All Trainings will be held in the LMC Project Room

All Apps are Free unless otherwise specified

 

Wednesday (Blue) – September 19th – Evernote vs. GoodNotes (Free or Paid – $0.99)

Wednesday (Green) – September 26th – Doceri  (Paid – $30.00) vs. Splashtop Whiteboard (Paid – $19.99)

Thursday (Green) – October 4th – CloudOn vs. OliveOffice BasicHD

Thursday – (Blue) October 11th – iTunesU and iBooks

Monday(Green) – October 15th – TED vs Khan Academy

Thursday (Blue) – October 25th – VoiceThread vs. Notability (Paid – $0.99)

Tuesday (Green) – October 30th – PBS and NPR

Wednesday (Blue) – November 8th – Flipboard vs. Pulse News

Thursday (Green) – November 15th – Haiku Deck vs. Skitch vs. ScreenChomp

Thursday (Blue) – November 29th – Wunderlist HD vs. Remember the Milk

Thursday (Green) – December 6th – Idea Sketch vs. MindMeister

2012-09-06 Weekly IT Update

For This Week

Information Technology Mission Statement – Official

iPad Apps – Whaddya need?

App Training – Socrative

DonorsChoose.org – Work it!

Design Thinking – Empathy, Creativity, Rationality

Tony Danza – Teaching

Study Maybe – Video

 

Information Technology Mission Statement – If you would like to review the new official IT Mission Statement check out the \Staff Public\Information Technology\ folder on the R: Drive. These are the newly established set of guidelines that you can expect from the Pine Creek High School Tech Team.

iPad Apps – For those of you with iPads, what Apps do you need to support your classroom? As previously mentioned, I have some vouchers for Apps in your classroom and if you see something you like just let Jason know and he’ll order it up. Please keep app requests to a decent amount (i.e. $2 – $5 range is preferred) but if you see a ‘must have’ definitely feel free to request it! And keep in mind that some apps are better when purchasing 20 or more copies so if you have a commonly requested app I will probably send out an E-mail to see if anyone else is interested in it.

App Training – So this week was for Dropbox and Google Drive, next week will be for the Student Response System ‘Socrative’.  The nice thing about Socrative is that it is cross-platform (i.e. computers, cell phones, tablets, etc.) and is an excellent tool that provides immediate feedback. If you intend on attending this training next week I suggest pre-loading the Socrative Student version so you can actively participate in the training. Check out Socrative at: http://www.socrative.com/ and download the Student Version at: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/student-clicker-socrative/id477618130?mt=8

  • Trainings for Socrative will be on Wednesday, September 12 at:
    • 11:40 – 11:55AM
    • 12:20 – 12:35PM
    • 2:45 – 3:00PM

DonorsChoose.org – Yes, it does work. Ask Karalyn Mullins, Alisha Donald, or myself. We had a guest speaker during the last school year that gave some guidelines but I’d be more than happy to help you get set up with an account and request for funds. Hey, if I can get funds for the Epic Club, you can get funds for your classroom needs too! J

Design Thinking – One of the topics I have recently added to my ‘Teaching, Learning, and Technology’ curriculum at PPCC is Design Thinking. For those unfamiliar with the concept, it is a way to get students to analyze and interpret data in a ‘out of the box’ type of approach. It is heavily rooted in the realm of 21st Century Skills and is yet another potential tool in the arsenal of methods that have popped up in the last 10 years. If you’re interested, take a look at: http://www.edutopia.org/blog/film-festival-design-thinking-in-schools where there are several videos, plenty of links, and more information on the process.

Tony Danza – So a little over a year ago there was a TV show called ‘Tony Danza – Teach’ which followed Tony Danza as he went through an induction program in an inner city school in Philadelphia. It showed the ins and outs of education, how tough teaching can be, some of the rewards, etc. I actually use clips of the series in my ‘Introduction to Education’ course at PPCC. The point is, next week he is releasing a book called I’d Like to Apologize to Every Teaching I Ever Had that is about some of the challenges facing teachers, etc. I thought the TV series was pretty good so I thought I’d pass the book information and interview on to you. Check it out at: http://www.usaweekend.com/article/20120824/HOME01/308240011

Study Maybe – Some teacher in Florida made up a fun and silly video to parody ‘Call Me Maybe’. Check it out at – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K24hAdkwwrM

2012-08-30 Weekly IT Update

Weekly IT Update

Back to ‘Normality’ – Tech Team

POD Visits – Next Week

Student Logins – ONLY the student

Student Computer Use – Continued Vigilance

Embracing Social Media – Article

Video Projects – List of Resources

Back to ‘Normality’ – As the immediate needs of educators and students begin to be restored to some level of normality, the Tech Team will be more available for your Tech needs.  Traditionally, the first few weeks back are chaos coupled with pandemonium, but by now most students have been able to log in and use their accounts and trouble tickets from educators have been taken care of. If, for any reason, we missed you during this time, please let us know so we can get your tech needs taken care of.

POD Visits – Starting next week (September 4 – 7) the Tech Team will be beginning a regular bi-weekly visit to the PODS during lunchtime to see if you have any tech needs that we can address. These will be friendly drop-in visits and we will be visiting the PODS on both A and B lunches. We’ll be swinging by to see if you have any questions, tech concerns, or to see if you just want to give us cookies, HA! This year we are aiming for more consistency on visits so expect at least one of us every other week.

Student Logins – Remember, students should ONLY be logging in with their own student IDs. It has been reported to us (from a student) that they were told by an educator to have their friend log in to the computer for them to have access during the class. This is a big no-no as it can be a liability when it comes to the internet agreement form. If a parent of a student does NOT sign the internet agreement form yet another student logs in for them allowing them computer access with the internet, it can become problematic. The moral of the story is to please make sure students are only logging in with their own accounts as there problems that can arise if they are using their friend’s account. Thank you for your diligence in this matter.

Student Computer Use – We have been fairly fortunate this year in that we have not had as many cases of vandalism on our computers so thank you for keeping the food and drinks out of the PODS and keeping an eye on your students. That being said, we have had more cases of computer abuse by students in that they are powering the machines on and off and on and off again which oftentimes corrupts the operating system. Several students have been referred to the Dean this semester as, when the system becomes corrupt the only way to fix it is to wipe the entire system and reimage it. Furthermore, we have had students playing around with administrative tools on the computers (i.e. Forefront Protection) and they have been talked to about inappropriate computer use. Between the Tech Team we monitor the POD computers for any actions that seem out of place and then follow up by visiting the students to have them explain their activity. While these appear to be ‘Big Brother’ tactics, it does tend to deter students as the risk of losing their internet access puts doubt in their mind as to if they will use the computer for good in the future. (And please continue to make sure students are logging out and not powering off the computers at the end of their session as the shut downs cause system failures)

Embracing Social Media – Forbes website had a recent article on the importance of social media in an educational setting. Keep in mind that the article is written with some bias towards social media, but the information is sound (and the web site is overly ‘busy’ in appearance). “The school districts that will thrive will be the ones using social media to engage their community, and aggressively enhance and protect their reputation.” Check out the full article at:   http://www.forbes.com/sites/dorieclark/2012/08/23/why-public-school-leaders-must-embrace-social-media-now/

Video Projects – For a bunch of great resources on Video Projects check out: http://www.freetech4teachers.com/2012/08/best-of-summer-video-projects.html#.UD5OHMFlTkc
If you choose to use any of these tools in class remember that it is important to gain at least some understanding of the inner workings of the software as, although the Tech Team is progressive in researching these types of programs, we by no means know everything about everything! Anyhow, take a look, the site has several video projects for several different purposes.

That’s it for this week. Have a great weekend and I’ll see you back here next week!

2012-08-23 Weekly IT Update

Welcome back to the 2012 – 2013 school year! As always, I will go ahead and post my Weekly IT Update here for any of those that are looking for archived versions of the material. I hope you all had a wonderful summer and are ready for another year of fun and adventure!

Facebook – Round 2

Yes, Pine Creek is continuing to pilot the Facebook program again for the 2012 – 2013 school year. As it is a new school year, everyone, teachers and students both, need to fill out the Social Networking form which Nathan Gorsch sent out on the 21st. If you are signing up for the first time as an educator you should be creating a Facebook page specific to your ASD20 account (i.e. a professional account). As a reminder, it is suggested that as an educator you avoid talking about religion, politics, or controversial topics and use common sense when it comes to photographs, links, etc. As of Friday, August 24th, all old social networking agreements will be null and void. I will be working on scanning these over the next week or so and access should be granted shortly after that. Thank you for your assistance in having students sign the updated 2012 – 2013 forms.

Food or Drink in the Pods

As a friendly reminder, please, no food or drink in the pods. We are fortunate at the beginning of this school year as we have not had as many offenders as last year, but we have had a few cases of students having food and drink at the computers. The IT Team requests help in monitoring this as we are starting to run low on replacement parts (i.e. keyboard, mice, DVD-ROM drive, etc.) and the Pod computers are NOT due for replenishment this year. If you see a student that has food or drink near a computer please remind them that there should be no food in the Pods (or outside of the cafeteria based on new policy). Thank you for your help with this as it will help to keep our computers running for the next couple of years.

Student Account Name and Passwords

So far this school year has been MUCH better than last year with students coming to the Tech Room for password changes and we thank you for that. For those that may not be aware, the general login information for a student who is new to the school or to District 20 is: first initial of the first name, first initial of the last name, birth month, birth day, and birth year. An example of a student named John Smith born on February 1, 1998 would be: js020198    So, have a student try this and if for some reason it doesn’t work feel free to send them our way, we’re happy to help.

Provisioning

Another requirement for the new school year is for you to re-provision your network account. What does this mean? You will need to go to https://rp1.asd20.org/apxd1/f?p=170:1:1727199860659862 and the ASD20 Staff User Account Maintenance to update your password. This is to make sure you sign off on the Internet Agreement among other things. Just be aware, as the first couple of weeks go by I will be contacting those individuals who have NOT re-provisioned in E-mail. As we get closer to a couple of weeks out the E-mails will be more frequent. So, please get this done as soon as you get a chance so you can avoid E-mails from me! J It is a once a year maintenance thing so the sooner you get it done, the better.

Distribution Lists

Distribution Lists for PCHS should all be up-to-date now (list names were sent out in an E-mail earlier this week). If you are on a list you don’t feel you should be on or not on a list you feel you should be on, please feel free to contact me and I will adjust them accordingly. You are, by no means, required to use the lists, they are just there for your convenience. And remember if you have a Tech Team requirement please feel free to E-mail PCHS-Tech which will go to Dave Brown, Paul Ruff, and Jason Rasmussen.

Trainings

Starting next week, August 27 – 31, I am planning on having a brief weekly training session on a particular app for the iPads and or computers on campus. Next week I am looking at training on Dropbox and Google Drive, two resources for having files available at your fingertips by storing them in the cloud. Each training will focus on either a single app or on two similar apps to make sure there is no overload in a session. To keep things fair I am looking at hosting one for the first 15 minutes of lunch A and B and the first 15 minutes after school. If you have a request for a particular piece of software, please feel free to contact me. I hope to have a schedule of the sessions available soon but, to keep it fair, I plan on training during both lunches and on a rotation through the week (so the first training will be on a Monday, the next time on a Tuesday, etc.) and the after school session. I will collaborate with the LMC to make sure the Project Room is available for these trainings. I look forward to seeing you there!

For Sale List

As a reminder, there was a For Sale Distribution list set up last year for selling your items. The list was created so those that were interested would receive E-mails while those that weren’t did not. If you are looking for the list in Outlook be sure to check PCHS-ForSale and it will get you to the interested parties instead of sending out to the entire school. If you wish to be added or removed from this list please let Jason Rasmussen know so he can update accordingly.

Senior Gift

For those that were at the Welcome Back Rally for students last week, you may have noticed the giant inflatable screen in the gymnasium. With a little last minute adjustment, the senior class of 2012 approved a portable entertainment system for school use. What we now have for the system is a 17’ wide by 13’ tall inflatable screen, a high-end High Definition projector system (which I received yesterday), a nice high quality Sony receiver, some nice loud speakers, a Blu-Ray player, and the ability to hook up a computer to the system. Basically, this is a 100% mobile high definition entertainment system that can be used for different events with the approval of the senior class representatives. To avoid any potential tumbling screens, Mike Harvell and his team will be working with us next week to attach some anchors to the wall in the gym so the screen will be a little more stable. Thanks to Nathan Gorsch, Kelley Stewart, Angie Chatman, and Lisa McCone for their adaptability in setting us up with such a nice system! Much better than hanging 10 pieces of white paper on the wall with a low quality projector! J

HD Skype Cart

Once again, the High Definition Skype cart is available for checkout this school year. It is completely portable and if you have any questions as to how well it worked last year, check with Heidi Rickard who had several Skype sessions over the course of the year. For the new teachers, the HD Skype cart is portable, has a HDTV, a Blu-Ray player, a HD Webcam, and a nice speaker system. During a Skype session last year, students that asked questions in the back of the presentation room were heard loud and clear by the guest speakers. If you’d like to check out the cart please feel free to let any of the Tech Team know and we’ll help you get it set up!

Pinterest in Education

To keep things simple I am only going to post a single educational link for your review this week. Some of you are familiar with Pinterest but some don’t know what it is. Basically, think of Pinterest as a virtual corkboard. You can post images from web sites, personal photos, recipes, etc. For a quick 90-second introduction check out – http://youtu.be/oJzD4vF5dFA  and, for some ideas on how to use Pinterest in education check out – http://www.edutopia.org/blog/film-festival-pinterest-teaching-learning . P.S. There are definitely some folks out there that love Pinterest (I’m looking at you SM-C!)

Power of a Positive Phone Call

Although this article seemed to be designed for elementary and middle school, it has some useful advice on how to connect with your students’ parents. It has some suggestions on how to set aside a little time each week to provide positive feedback about a student in your class. Yes, 15 minutes is 15 minutes, but it could help build that teacher/parent/student relationship many of us try to achieve. Take a look at the full article at – http://www.edutopia.org/blog/power-positive-phone-call-home-elena-aguilar

2012-05-23 Weekly IT Update

Since I have a few minutes this afternoon I figured I would send out the Weekly IT Update a day early…

Countdown:

Days with Students: 2

Days for Educators: 4

 

Coffee, Coffee, Coffee – Friday, May 25th

Tablets for Checkout – B&N Tablet, Kindle Fire

Online File Conversion – Many File Types

Teacher Printables – Forms galore

Ken Burns – What Makes a Great Story?

Demographics – Historic Change

 

Coffee, Coffee, Coffee – Don’t forget, May 25th in the Tech RoomCoffee, conversation, and movies! We’ve got some fine Caribou Coffee (whole bean, to be ground on site thanks to Dave’s Burr grinder), will have plenty of additions to tweak the coffee the way you like (i.e. creamers, flavorings, mocha, etc.), and hot chocolate and tea for those that are not coffee drinkers. We even have many more To-Go coffee cups this time around as we ran out fast last time (and for those that are much more ecologically friendly, you are more than welcome to bring your own mug). So drop on by and say hi and then go enjoy the ‘Around the World’ Progressive Lunch in the afternoon! This is in appreciation for all of the different components that make up the whole of the greatness of Pine Creek!

 

Tablets for Checkout – Don’t forget, we have a Barnes and Noble Tablet and a Kindle Fire available for checkout. I figure that, at this late in the game, these checkouts will be for the entire Summer. Just a reminder that you will be using your own B&N or Amazon account info and, once returned, the system will be restored to the original configuration so that any personal information you may have had on the device will be removed. This is on a first come, first served basis so just let us know if you’d like to check one out for the break!

 

Online File Conversion – So have you had students come in with a Mac format file that doesn’t read properly in a program? Or a video file that is in the wrong format for PowerPoint? http://www.online-convert.com/ has a way to convert many different types of files into the proper format. Keep in mind, Digital Rights Management (DRM) files such at music downloaded from iTunes will not work as the files are protected. But, if your student has a document that needs to be changed to a PDF, a FLAC file that needs to be changed to MP3, or a MKV to a WMV, this site will do the trick. It just takes uploading your file and choosing what type of output you would like. Check them out, the site is basic but functional.

 

Teacher Printables – Why recreate the wheel? At Teacher Printables there are over 200 forms available for printing and downloading. If you download the .DOC version you should even be able to tweak the forms to your particular needs. TeachersPrintables.net offers 243 free printable forms organized into 23 categories. Some of the categories that I think will be visited by a lot of teachers are lesson plans, passes, sight words, sign language charts, and substitute teacher report forms. The four most frequently printed forms right now are the lesson plan template, field trip permission slips, blank rubrics, and teacher-parent communication logs. Check them out at: http://www.teachersprintables.net/

 

Ken Burns – I ran across this video from Ken Burns today and felt it was worthy of passing on as it fits with so many different courses. It covers some of the key parts of storytelling and how to capture the interest of a viewer or reader. I like how he talks about good story including the ‘good guys’ having flaws and the villains being compelling. When I look at some of the best of the best of TV writing these days this theme definitely repeats itself. Anyhow, it’s about 5 minutes or so and I enjoyed it (of course I am also a fan of Ken Burns work so I might just be a bit biased). Check it out at: http://vimeo.com/40972394

 

Demographics – So I am not sure how many of you heard this last week but the majority of new births in United States has changed from the majority being white to now being minority. Of course, with the tipping of the scales, does the term minority still hold weight? Anyhow, I just bring this up because it is one of those historic moments in the country that I thought was worthy of mention. Take a look at the story at: http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-census-births-20120518,0,5678651.story

 

So, with this update I wrap things up for the school year. Next year will start anew with more information and ideas for the classroom. Hopefully some of these sites have been helpful to you throughout the year and it only gets better as more and more sites are releasing free tools to help. Have a wonderful Summer and we’ll see you next year!

2012-05-17 Weekly IT Update

Getting down to the wire!

 

And the countdown:

6 days with students

9 days left before Summer break (I think I had been miscalculating this earlier as I accounted through the end of the last week of May)

 

This week:

 

Laptops and Hardware – Important Reminder

Computer Vandalism – Keep an Eye Out

Backups – One Last Reminder

The Dos and Don’ts – Teaching

Nearpod – iPad App

Puzzlers – Car Talk

Contest of the Week – $499 Apple Gift Card

Contest of the Week 2 – Mobile Whiteboard

 

Laptops and Hardware – Just a friendly reminder that as we get close to the end of the school year, the Tech Team will need your checked out laptops and other miscellaneous hardware (not iPads) returned. If you need your laptop or other device over the summer, we will just need you to bring it to us PRIOR to the break so that we can make sure it gets logged in to the network and all updates are applied. As for miscellaneous hardware, this includes things like remote mice, clicker systems, etc. If you use these in your room with frequency we will just create a long-term check out for you at the beginning of the 2012 – 2013 school year so you can hang on to them. But, as for laptops and devices that will not be used over the Summer, please bring those in to us so we can be sure they are updated and available at the beginning of the year. Thank you for your assistance in this.

 

Computer Vandalism – As the year comes to an end, computer vandalism has slowly started to increase. Fortunately, for the last several months it has been much better than the beginning of the school year, but in the past couple of weeks we’ve seen more cases pop up. The good thing about this is that most of the vandalism is as simple as disconnecting the network switch or unplugging a few computers instead of more malicious vandalism. The problem is, as these cases rise, it becomes more difficult to monitor which machines are up and down. What does this mean to you? Machines that have been powered down incorrectly or have unplugged network cables will not allow your student to use that computer until it has been fixed. That and boot up times become longer and longer the more times the machine has been powered down incorrectly. So, just keep an eye out for the mischievous as the end of the school year gives more opportunity for students to get antsy. Thank you for your assistance in this.

 

Backups – So I’ve mentioned backups for the last couple of Weekly IT Updates, but I felt it was worth mentioning one last time. Just a friendly reminder to back up your information before the end of the school year. It doesn’t matter how, blank DVD-R, Flash Drive, external USB Drive, or Google Drive, but I do recommend it as a standard piece of semester maintenance (and home maintenance for that matter). There is nothing worse than going for a file that you have worked on for a few hours only to have it come up missing. Personally I take it to a bit of an extreme and have important information backed up on two external drives AND a cloud service (I use both Dropbox and Google Drive). One of the most important things people lose? Personal photographs. So, I highly recommend backing up data. It never hurts to have a copy somewhere!

 

The Dos and Don’ts – So yeah, this article shows up late in the year, but hey, it’s advice that may be useful (or not) to some of you. Basically it gives a list of 10 things a newbie teacher should avoid in the classroom. It’s not new information, just a good refresher. Check out the article at: http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/may12/vol69/num08/The-Don’ts-and-Don’ts-of-Teaching.aspx

 

Nearpod – This app looked promising. While there are several quiz/test type apps for mobile devices, the Nearpod app looks like it allows for a lot more individual control as an educator. The app just came out of beta testing and is open to the public. Here’s a description for you: Nearpod is a free iOS app that teachers can use to create quizzes, polls, and multimedia presentations. Those materials can be shared directly to students who have the Nearpod student app installed. Teachers can view students’ responses individually or as a whole class. Now, granted, we aren’t on a 1:1 program YET, but it’s good to get a jump on some of the cool apps out there. Check it out at: http://www.nearpod.com/

 

Puzzlers – Are you looking for a few minute activity to keep your students’ brains active? Now normally I listen to the NPR Sunday Puzzle quiz on Stitcher (and have even submitted answers a couple of times), but here is a link to access the last 16 years of puzzles from NPR’s Car Talk in which they normally do some sort of math or language puzzle. Best of all, they have all of the answers on the site! Check it out at: http://www.cartalk.com/content/puzzlers

 

Example:

 RAY: An off-duty policeman is working as a night watchman in an office building. He’s doing his rounds and he comes upon a closed door. Behind the door he hears voices; he hears people talking and an argument seems to be taking place. He hears someone say, “No, Frank, no; don’t do it, you’ll regret it.” Bang! Bang! Bang!

The night watchman bursts through the door; what does he see? A dead man on the floor. And the proverbial what?

TOM: Smoking gun.

RAY: And in the room, are three living people; a minister, a doctor, and a plumber. He walks over to the minister and says, “You’re under arrest. You have the right to remain silent.”

How does he know that it was the minister that pulled the trigger?

That’s it for this week. One more IT Update next week and that will be it!

2012-05-10 Weekly IT Update

Good Thursday All!

The countdown continues:

Days with Seniors: 1

Days with Underclassmen: 11

Days left for educators: 16

 

As the first several pieces of information are still worthy of recognition in preparing for the Summer, I am repeating these for your review. Please be sure to review: Phone Moves, Network Cables, Home Drives, School Supplies, R: Drive, Internet E-mail, and Summer Service.

 

This week:

Phone Moves – Don’t Do It!

Network Cables – Don’t Do It!

Home Drives – What to Do

School Supplies – Before Summer

R: Drive – Clean It Up

Internet E-mail – Summer Logins

Summer Service – Planned Network Maintenance

 

Present.me – Presentations + Webcam + Audio

StudyEgg – Video Based Online Quizzes

Thank a Teacher – 2-minute Video

How to Survive – Robopocalypse!

Contest of the Week – Epson Document Camera

 

Phone Moves – If you are planning on changing rooms, rearranging desks, or anything that requires the phone be moved from one location to another, please put in a helpdesk request at help@asd20.org . This is in preparation for any summer moves. Unlike old analog phones which could plug into any phone jack, the phones these days are digital and controlled by network port and phone network address. If a phone is moved from one location to another it will A) not work and B) possibly conflict with another phone on the D20 system. So, if you are planning on moving around, please be sure to contact the helpdesk and they will be happy to assist you. (P.S. It will all be done with software so they should never have to physically move the phone)

 

Network CablesMoving rooms? Changing around computer configurations in your room? Moving your teacher computer to the other side of the room? Much like the phones, if you move a computer and plug a network cable into a different jack it can create what is known in the Information Technology world as a loopback. What does this mean to you? As with the phones, it will make your network connection cease to function and, even worse, it will cause District to turn off the entire 24-port switch in the server room until the loop has been fixed. Unlike the phones, this DOES require a physical fix so will take longer to repair. Please, if you are moving a computer (or several), contact the Tech Team and we’ll be happy to assist.

 

Home Drives – The good news is that the H: (Home Drive) will not be erased over the Summer. The bad news is, any Seniors or students who will be leaving Pine Creek at the end of the semester will have everything erased. Even though staff and student folders outside of these will not be erased, it is still recommended that you back up your data. As mentioned in last week’s Weekly IT Update, the new Google Drive gives you 5GB of storage for free and, after a week of testing it, it is really nice (and will probably be recognized as a source of data backup next year for PCHS). In the meantime, let your Seniors know that they need to back up the data either to a blank DVD or a flash drive as it will be gone by the end of the school year.

 

School Supplies – District highly recommends that educators get their list of necessary school supplies up on the web page before you leave for the Summer. This will help parents get the right supplies with minimal conflict and gives you peace of mind that it will be one less task to do upon returning in the Fall.

 

R: Drive – OK, so it has been brought to my attention COUNTLESS times that the R: Drive is in major need of cleanup. Keep in mind that the space available ranges across all of D20 so it is in a constant state of flux, but, we have files and folders up there from years ago. It is nice to have this repository, but it will be bad when we run out of space next year and need to share a file or information. Please take a look and if there is anything you can do to help clear some of you or your departments old files, it is appreciated. One quick point, please be sure NOT to delete en masse as we heard a horror story of a school (not ours ) that emptied an entire folder for a school without backing it up! And, a last point, if you are clearing data off of the drive, please be sure to make a backup as you can. External drives, flash drives, blank DVD-Rs, and now Google Drive all work well for this purpose.

 

Internet E-mail – So, I know the first thing on everyone’s list over the summer is to constantly check work E-mail. OK, maybe not, BUT, BUT, BUT, please make sure to check in at least once every 30 days lest your E-mails enter the void of cyberspace forever.  Remember that E-mails older than 30 days will go to the Deleted Items folder and, after another 30 days they will be deleted. I am sure most of us don’t get a ton of E-mail over the break but it would not be good to return to school missing important information. The 30/30 policy has been in effect by District since before I was here and, to keep the E-mail server working properly, will continue to be enforced. If not, the server would not be able to handle the sheer mass of files generated by all of the E-mails that are produced on a daily basis. So, just check your E-mails for anything important and be sure to archive them (or resend them) if you need them. You can get to your Outlook Web Access at: http://neo.asd20.org/selfservice

 

Summer Service – Something to keep in mind for the Summer, the technology team at District work for most of the Summer and, with the lack of educators and students, it makes it the perfect opportunity for them to do the ‘big picture’ network maintenance. What does this mean to you? The network may have random outages which includes access to any network resources, E-mail, etc. This includes the network servers, web servers, and prepares us for any planned upgrades. If you have problems reaching any of these resources for more than a day, please contact the helpdesk at either help@asd20.org or (719)234-1777 (and yes, I assume you will be contacting them using a personal E-mail address if the ASD20 E-mail server is down). We just wanted to prepare you for the possibility of unplanned outages.

 

 

Present.me – Here is an interesting new site for those of you that are big on creating final presentations for your classroom or who may be interested in blending/flipping a classroom. What Present.me does is allows you to add audio or video in conjunction with a presentation. So, if you have a PowerPoint presentation and want to include a webcammed video of yourself lecturing at the same time, you can do so. What is better is that it KEEPS the materials together in one place so there is no issue with having to bring every file, video, etc. to do the presentation as it is all online. Although you can only do 3 presentations with the free account, I can see them opening up more if the site becomes popular enough. Here is a better description:

Present.me is a handy service for recording video and or audio to accompany your slides. Present.me allows you to sync your recorded audio and video to your slides then publish everything as one complete package. Here’s how it works; upload a set of slides to your Present.me account, then use your webcam to record a video of yourself talking about those slides. Your video and slides will appear side-by-side when you have finished recording. If you don’t want to record a video, you can simply record audio only.

Check it out at : http://present.me/

 

Thank a Teacher – Although this ends with a little advertisement link, the message is worthy of paying attention to. We’ve got to thank ourselves for being teachers! Check out the 2-minute video at: http://youtu.be/d_pGiUeVFEU

 

StudyEgg – Here’s a cool resource for quizzes that can include timers and instant feedback. The biggest thing about this site is that it incorporates videos from several sites to help provide feedback on an answer. Here’s a better description: Study Egg is a service that is offering quizzes based on video lessons from Khan Academy, MIT Open Courseware, and TED Ed. The premise is quite simple. Pick a topic that you want to learn about in the library of videos. Each video has a series of questions attached to it. When you answer a question Study Egg will immediately indicate if you answered correctly or not. Check it out at: http://www.studyegg.com/ (there is an interactive demonstration on the site which should give you a good idea of how it works). This could be a cool way to take tests and increase retention in your students.

 

How to Survive – Here’s a little lighthearted video for you in your final weeks of class. These could be valuable strategies for you to follow for the upcoming Robot Uprising! Sure, there may be skeptics, there may be naysayers, but it is coming, it is coming… Be prepared for the Robopocalypse! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-G3RoBHMu-o&feature=player_embedded

 

That’s it for this week. Here’s the hoping these last couple of weeks go smooth and quick!

2012-05-03 Weekly IT Update

Let’s see, the countdown…

 

Days with Seniors: 6

Days with Underclassmen: 16

Days left for educators: 21

 

This update contains several pieces of information about preparing for the Summer so please be sure to review at least the titles to see if they are relevant to you. It begins with Phone Moves and ends with Summer Service. After that, my regular Weekly IT Update continues.

 

This week:

 

Phone Moves – Don’t Do It!

Network Cables – Don’t Do It!

Home Drives – What to Do

School Supplies – Before Summer

R: Drive – Clean It Up

Internet E-mail – Summer Logins

Summer Service – Planned Network Maintenance

Back It Up – Student Projects / Finals

Texting and Driving – Did a Bad, Bad Thing

7 Crazy Things – People Say to Teachers

Sound Effects – Free Site for Sound

Contest of the Week – HP Workstation and AutoDesk

 

Phone Moves – If you are planning on changing rooms, rearranging desks, or anything that requires the phone be moved from one location to another, please put in a helpdesk request at help@asd20.org . This is in preparation for any summer moves. Unlike old analog phones which could plug into any phone jack, the phones these days are digital and controlled by network port and phone network address. If a phone is moved from one location to another it will A) not work and B) possibly conflict with another phone on the D20 system. So, if you are planning on moving around, please be sure to contact the helpdesk and they will be happy to assist you. (P.S. It will all be done with software so they should never have to physically move the phone)

 

Network CablesMoving rooms? Changing around computer configurations in your room? Moving your teacher computer to the other side of the room? Much like the phones, if you move a computer and plug a network cable into a different jack it can create what is known in the Information Technology world as a loopback. What does this mean to you? As with the phones, it will make your network connection cease to function and, even worse, it will cause District to turn off the entire 24-port switch in the server room until the loop has been fixed. Unlike the phones, this DOES require a physical fix so will take longer to repair. Please, if you are moving a computer (or several), contact the Tech Team and we’ll be happy to assist.

 

Home Drives – The good news is that the H: (Home Drive) will not be erased over the Summer. The bad news is, any Seniors or students who will be leaving Pine Creek at the end of the semester will have everything erased. Even though staff and student folders outside of these will not be erased, it is still recommended that you back up your data. As mentioned in last week’s Weekly IT Update, the new Google Drive gives you 5GB of storage for free and, after a week of testing it, it is really nice (and will probably be recognized as a source of data backup next year for PCHS). In the meantime, let your Seniors know that they need to back up the data either to a blank DVD or a flash drive as it will be gone by the end of the school year.

 

School Supplies – District highly recommends that educators get their list of necessary school supplies up on the web page before you leave for the Summer. This will help parents get the right supplies with minimal conflict and gives you peace of mind that it will be one less task to do upon returning in the Fall.

 

R: Drive – OK, so it has been brought to my attention COUNTLESS times that the R: Drive is in major need of cleanup. Keep in mind that the space available ranges across all of D20 so it is in a constant state of flux, but, we have files and folders up there from years ago. It is nice to have this repository, but it will be bad when we run out of space next year and need to share a file or information. Please take a look and if there is anything you can do to help clear some of you or your departments old files, it is appreciated. One quick point, please be sure NOT to delete en masse as we heard a horror story of a school (not ours ) that emptied an entire folder for a school without backing it up! And, a last point, if you are clearing data off of the drive, please be sure to make a backup as you can. External drives, flash drives, blank DVD-Rs, and now Google Drive all work well for this purpose.

 

Internet E-mail – So, I know the first thing on everyone’s list over the summer is to constantly check work E-mail. OK, maybe not, BUT, BUT, BUT, please make sure to check in at least once every 30 days lest your E-mails enter the void of cyberspace forever.  Remember that E-mails older than 30 days will go to the Deleted Items folder and, after another 30 days they will be deleted. I am sure most of us don’t get a ton of E-mail over the break but it would not be good to return to school missing important information. The 30/30 policy has been in effect by District since before I was here and, to keep the E-mail server working properly, will continue to be enforced. If not, the server would not be able to handle the sheer mass of files generated by all of the E-mails that are produced on a daily basis. So, just check your E-mails for anything important and be sure to archive them (or resend them) if you need them. You can get to your Outlook Web Access at: http://neo.asd20.org/selfservice

 

Summer Service – Something to keep in mind for the Summer, the technology team at District work for most of the Summer and, with the lack of educators and students, it makes it the perfect opportunity for them to do the ‘big picture’ network maintenance. What does this mean to you? The network may have random outages which includes access to any network resources, E-mail, etc. This includes the network servers, web servers, and prepares us for any planned upgrades. If you have problems reaching any of these resources for more than a day, please contact the helpdesk at either help@asd20.org or (719)234-1777 (and yes, I assume you will be contacting them using a personal E-mail address if the ASD20 E-mail server is down). We just wanted to prepare you for the possibility of unplanned outages.

 

Back It Up – Yes, I did send this one out in a traditional E-mail earlier this week, but if you can encourage your students to back up to multiple locations it would save us and them a lot of heartache. We have had several students come in over the course of this week, some in tears, because they lost data due to a lack of backups. There are some cases where we can restore these files but it depends upon a lot of different factors. Sadly, we have had to let a couple of students know that their work over the past few days was gone for good. By reminding students to back up to multiple locations it MAY help in the disappearance of the projects. Not to sound cynical but there are times when these ‘convenient’ disappearances of data may be a result of clever maneuvering on the part of the student.

 

Texting and Driving – With Summer coming up and some students getting their driver’s license, it may be a good time to remind them about the hazards of texting and driving. In this article from WebMD, it is recognized that teens that text and drive are 8X more likely to drift into other lanes. There is also a video I found while looking for the Mythbusters which compares texting to drunk driving (and it turns out texting is MORE dangerous than drunk driving) but this was from a training site in Brussels which was filmed to make it look like the country required the ability to text and drive at the same time. Check the video out at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=HbjSWDwJILs#! and check out the WebMD article at: http://teens.webmd.com/news/20120429/no-safe-way-to-text-and-drive-for-teens

 

7 Crazy Things – So I ran across this one today and found it to be a fun little bit of recognition for the role of teachers and how Summer fits into the equation. It must be nice to have Summer off, right? See them all at: http://community.weareteachers.com/t5/WeAreTeachers-Blog/The-Teacher-Report-7-Crazy-Things-People-Say-to-Teachers-and-How/ba-p/12057?wat_referer=Home

 

Sound Effects – So, did you want to jazz up your PowerPoint or have your students put a little more ‘oomph’ into their presentations? The web site SoundCli.ps ( http://soundcli.ps/ ) has over 10,000+ of free to the public sound effects. There is a search engine for the site which allows you to narrow down the sounds, or you can just browse the site to fit your needs. These may help in any type of video presentations to add some heat ( http://soundcli.ps/sound/fireplace ) to them. All sounds are downloadable and if you sign up for a free account you can manage your audio files through the web site.

 

That’s it for this week! Have a great weekend, we’re almost there!