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Recent Announcements

  • Future hardware and services updates Realizing that the only constant in technology is change, we are planning for a number of hardware and service updates in the next couple of years. As always, these plans ...
    Posted Mar 24, 2018, 3:20 PM by Granger Meador
  • SketchUp available for district Chromebooks and desktops We have enabled the SketchUp for Schools app on our district domain. This free online app is available through our G Suite for Education license and allows users to create ...
    Posted Jan 29, 2018, 1:20 PM by Granger Meador
  • Kung Fu Canvas now available to 6-12 certified staff All teachers, counselors, and administrators in grades 6-12 are now eligible to enroll in Kung Fu Canvas to:learn about the Canvas LMS earn inservice pointsearn equipment incentives ...
    Posted Jan 17, 2018, 7:18 PM by Granger Meador
  • Chromebooks will be tied to district accounts on February 1, 2018 To improve account security and device management, all district-issued Chromebooks will be restricted to district G Suite for Education accounts as of February 1, 2018. Students and staff will ...
    Posted Jan 1, 2018, 8:53 AM by Granger Meador
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Future hardware and services updates

posted Jan 31, 2018, 12:27 PM by Granger Meador   [ updated Mar 24, 2018, 3:20 PM ]

Welcome to the future
Realizing that the only constant in technology is change, we are planning for a number of hardware and service updates in the next couple of years. As always, these plans are themselves subject to change as technology evolves and our funding fluctuates.

WARNING: Any district messages regarding these transitions will be sent out directly by Granger Meador and will NOT have [External] at the start of the subject line. Anything else you see is likely a phishing scam and should be deleted.

SERVICES UPDATES

Service

Currently

Replaced by

Timeframe

Desktop productivity applications Office 2010

G Suite for Ed; Office 2010 will still be available, but Office 2016 only installed as required*

In progress
Gradebook of record PowerTeacher Gradebook PowerTeacher Pro Summer 2018
Network & PowerSchool passwords minimum of 6 characters minimum of 8 characters** Summer 2018
Desktop operating system Windows 7 Windows 10 Secondary in summer 2018; elementary in summer 2019
Staff email, calendars Exchange Server

School Desktop: 
Outlook 2010

Chromebook & off campus: 
Outlook Web Access 

Smartphones & tablets:
Exchange accounts
Gmail and Google Calendar

District Gmail manual


Google Calendar video, manual, etc.
Summer 2018
Websites Google Sites Content management system When Google Sites is retired; we should get a year's advance notice

*Microsoft Office:
We will continue to provide Office 2010 on staff desktop machines. Office 2016 is installed in business computer labs, but will be installed on staff machines only as required because we have a limited number of licenses that don't require annual subscription payments.

Our transition from Office to G Suite is driven by these factors:
  • All certified staff now have Chromebooks for ready mobile access
  • G Suite Apps provide significant advantages for viewing, commenting, and editing shared documents
  • We do not wish to incur annual subscription costs for newer Microsoft Office applications
So we urge staff members to begin migrating:
  • Use Google Docs instead of Microsoft Word
  • Use Google Slides instead of Microsoft Powerpoint
  • Use Google Sheets instead of Microsoft Excel
You can get some tips on these transitions, and the transition in summer 2018 from Outlook to Gmail and Google Calendar at:
**Passwords:
Our current student passwords are only 6 characters and no longer meet Google or Canvas security requirements.
HARDWARE UPDATES

Devices

Currently

Replaced by

Timeframe

Teacher & staff desktop computers 6-to-7-year-old systems with slow spinning hard drives

New systems with fast solid state disks***

Secondary in summer 2018; elementary in summer 2019
Student  desktop computers in elementary classrooms 2 student stations in elementary classrooms Shift current teacher desktops to elementary student stations, but Windows 7 end-of-life is in January 2020 Summer 2019
Secondary student devices Take-home Chromebooks in grade 9; Chromebooks carts in 10-12 ELA Take-home Chromebooks for secondary students Grades 9-12 starting August 2018; grades 6-12 starting August 2019

***The new systems will have 256 GB solid state disks. We will be deploying Google File Stream on them for easy access to your Google My Drive and Team Drives within Windows 10 without consuming disk space.


STUDENT TAKE-HOME CHROMEBOOKS UPDATES
  • We will likely shift all freshman take-home Chromebooks to a new BPS-Chrome WiFi network to help implement the Lightspeed Relay extension, which should provide web filtering off-campus while allowing students to view whitelisted YouTube videos on or off campus
  • Once Relay is working properly, we will tackle the Lightspeed Classroom Orchestrator, which is supposed to allow teachers to set up Google Classrooms and then monitor and control the freshmen's take-home Chromebooks
ENHANCED CONFERENCE ROOMS
  • We hope to eventually have a large monitor or projector in the conference room(s) at each site, hooked up to a Chrome device with remote keyboard and mouse
    • This allows those with Chromebooks to cast to the projector or monitor wirelessly
    • ESC downstairs conference room is the testbed

SketchUp available for district Chromebooks and desktops

posted Jan 29, 2018, 1:19 PM by Granger Meador   [ updated Jan 29, 2018, 1:20 PM ]

We have enabled the SketchUp for Schools app on our district domain. This free online app is available through our G Suite for Education license and allows users to create, edit, and view 3D models.

SketchUp for Schools

To initially install it, visit https://edu.sketchup.com/app
and accept the permissions it requires. 

SketchUp for Schools
Later you can return to that same address to invoke it or, in the Google Chrome web browser, it will have an entry in the Apps group on the left end of the bookmarks bar or in the App Launcher on a Chromebook.

We also have district licenses for free installation of the Windows desktop version of SketchUp Pro. 

SketchUp Pro

The software is similarly used for 3D modeling and its LayOut can be used for plans, elevations, details, title blocks, and more. Have someone at your site file a Help Desk ticket if you need it installed on a desktop system.
Google Drawings available too
The simple and free Google Drawings app is also available for use in any Chrome web browser. It is embedded in Google Docs but can also be independently invoked as a stand-alone app.


Sketchpad app for Chromebooks, etc.

Another free online app is Sketchpad:


Chrome Art & Creativity Extensions

There are also some other relevant Chrome extensions which Google features on its online store which can be used on Chromebooks as well as the Chrome browser on desktops, etc.:

https://chrome.google.com/webstore/category/collection/artistic_extension

Kung Fu Canvas now available to 6-12 certified staff

posted Jan 17, 2018, 7:18 PM by Granger Meador   [ updated Jan 17, 2018, 7:18 PM ]

All teachers, counselors, and administrators in grades 6-12 are now eligible to enroll in Kung Fu Canvas to:
  • learn about the Canvas LMS 
  • earn inservice points
  • earn equipment incentives
  • earn being excused from the 2018 snow day make-up
Kung Fu Canvas was offered to all 9-12 teachers beginning in August 2017. Originally it was not slated to open to 6-8 teachers until August 2018, but with the unanticipated grant that allowed us to deploy staff Chromebooks in 6-8, we decided to open up Kung Fu Canvas for those teachers now.

Go to KUNGFUCANVAS.ORG to learn more!
Kung Fu Canvas

Chromebooks will be tied to district accounts on February 1, 2018

posted Jan 1, 2018, 7:25 AM by Granger Meador   [ updated Jan 1, 2018, 8:53 AM ]

To improve account security and device management, all district-issued Chromebooks will be restricted to district G Suite for Education accounts as of February 1, 2018.

Students and staff will no longer be able to login to a district-issued Chromebook using a personal Google account. They will need to always login with a district bps-ok.org account.
  • Staff accounts are username@bps-ok.org
  • Students' district accounts are username@stu.bps-ok.org
Staff members can still manually share files across personal and district accounts. However, files stored in a student's personal Google account, rather than in the student's district account, will no longer be available on district-issued Chromebooks.

Google Drive Files

If staff members have stored files in a personal Google Drive which they wish to copy to their district MyDrive for direct access on a Chromebook, rather than sharing them from their personal account, see these instructions on moving Drive files from a personal to a district account

Students must use the above instructions to retain Chromebook access to any files they have stored in personal accounts.

Email, Contacts, and Calendar

Staff members will still use the Outlook Web App to access their email on a Chromebook and can set up Exchange Server accounts on other mobile devices. See these instructions.

Students can use these Gmail import instructions to import email, contacts, or calendar events into their district Gmail accounts. 
G Suite Chromebook

More staff Chromebooks coming on January inservice day

posted Dec 3, 2017, 4:03 AM by Granger Meador   [ updated Dec 3, 2017, 4:05 AM ]

On the January 15, 2018 inservice day additional staff Chromebooks will be deployed. 

CURRENT DEPLOYMENT
Currently all high school teachers have a Chromebook. Districtwide, all administrators, Instructional Technology Assistants, and secondary department chairs and core building coordinators have received Chromebooks.

SECONDARY ROLLOUT
One goal is to familiarize staff members with this technology as part of the Student Computing Initiative, helping them learn how to harness it for student use as dedicated student Chromebooks extend from freshmen in 2017-18 to all high school students in 2018-19 and all middle and high school students in 2020-21. So we can confirm that all middle school certified staff members will receive a new Chromebook on January 15, 2018.

ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS
For the elementary schools, PLTW Launch iPad carts are the focus for student use in 2017-18 and 2018-19, but after that district Chromebooks for student use are expected to start appearing at those schools as well, in whatever roles are determined to be most appropriate.

THE CASE FOR EQUIPPING ALL CERTIFIED STAFF
Digital file
Another important aspect of staff Chromebook deployment is increased efficiency. Once all certified staff members have Chromebooks, most paper documents should be eliminated from district staff meetings and inservices. 

Providing agendas, handouts, minutes, and other records via the online G Suite for Education apps like Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides will allow them to be readily searchable and accessible. Moving to cloud-based G Suite documents also allows for easy collaboration and review. Eliminating paper documents also reduces production and storage costs.

THE FUTURE OF TEXTBOOKS
Digital Textbooks
The state has eliminated all dedicated textbook funding; another symptom of its chronic underfunding of public education. So the district must rely on locally approved bond issues to fund basic needs. The 2016 bond issue promoted the district's rollout of Chromebooks to secondary students as a way to reduce textbook costs.

Consequently the district is considering how to incorporate student Chromebooks into its textbook adoption process. Math is the subject area under adoption in 2018 in the state's six-year textbook cycle. So it seems likely we'll begin shifting from physical to electronic textbooks, although the scale of that shift has not yet been determined.

Chromebook carts currently deployed in 10-12 ELA classrooms could be shifted to 6-8 Math classrooms in 2018-19 to help support the use of electronic textbooks since middle school students won't receive Chromebooks until 2019-20.
CURRENTLY DEPLOYED DEVICES

STAFF: DELL 3120
Dell 3120
Since 2016-17, teachers in grades 9-12 and district administrators have had Dell Model 3120 Chromebooks. These devices have the traditional laptop configuration of a keyboard with a tilting non-touch screen that pivots up to 180 degrees. (A small initial group of devices from May 2016 had touch screens.) A small traditional carrying case was included. 9-12 teachers can complete Kung Fu Canvas training to also earn a Bluetooth mouse, spare charger, headset with microphone, and wireless Wacom digitizer.


CLASS OF 2021: DELL 3180
In August 2017 all 9th grade students were issued Dell Model 3180 Chromebooks. These also have the traditional laptop configuration of a keyboard with a tilting non-touch screen that pivots up to 180 degrees. The devices were supplied with always-on carrying cases.
Dell 3180
The freshmen are slated to keep their Dell 3180s throughout their high school career. The district will likely decide in January on what device it will deploy to the classes of 2019, 2020, and 2022 (the students who will be in grades 9, 11, and 12 in 2018-19).



FUTURE STAFF DEVICES

One technology goal of the 2016 bond issue was to provide teachers with mobile instructional devices that could be used while circulating through the classroom. An iPad is handy as a tablet, but cumbersome as a productivity tool, and still considerably more expensive than a Chromebook.

Google is working on adding support for Android apps to the Chrome operating system that runs Chromebooks. A convertible Chromebook with a touchscreen that rotates a full 360 degrees can be used in a variety of configurations. They could be useful classroom-carry devices used in tablet mode if there is sufficient improvement in operating system support and Android app availability.
Convertible Chromebook


G Suite Training Extension

posted Nov 15, 2017, 6:54 AM by Granger Meador   [ updated Nov 15, 2017, 6:57 AM ]

The district has pushed out to district-managed devices and accounts the G Suite Training Chrome extension. This should help students and staff learn to use the many Google apps available to them.

G Suite Training Icon
In the Chrome web browser, when you login to a G Suite for Education service such as Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, etc. you will now see the G Suite Training extension icon at the top right of the window.

Clicking that icon will provide interactive training and walkthroughs, where you are clearly shown and told what to do, including audio instructions.

Interactive walk-throughs

G Suite Training

  • Rich, interactive training - Whether you’re in Gmail, Calendar, Sheets, Slides, or Docs, you can learn and take actions, all at the same time.
  • In-App experience - Training is accessible directly within G Suite, so you don’t need to leave the application to learn how to use it.
  • Currently available for Gmail, Calendar, Drive, Docs, Sheets, Slides, Sites, Forms, Classroom, etc.

Team Drives are useful alternative for workgroups

posted Oct 13, 2017, 11:48 AM by Granger Meador   [ updated Jan 17, 2018, 12:00 PM ]

The district has deployed "Team Drives" within Google Drive as an alternative to the usual "MyDrive".  Team Drives allow a group of district users to easily store, search, access, and edit shared files. This service is targeted toward groups of district staff members; it is NOT suitable for sharing files with non-employees.

A big advantage to this approach, versus having one person create a file or folder and then share items with the other team members, is that Team Drive files belong to the team instead of an individual. So they won’t disappear when their creator leaves the district.
Some things to bear in mind about Team Drives:

Unless you are careful when setting up permissions, everyone on a team might be able to edit the files in that Team Drive. So think before you put documents into a Team Drive or add users to a Team Drive, since everyone with access to that drive could end up with editing rights to everything in there.  However, when adding users to a Team Drive, you can choose to limit them to viewing or commenting access.

Make a copy if you don't want to edit the master version of a document. If you want to customize your own copy of a file in a Team Drive, open it and use File > Make a copy… to create your own version to edit. You can then use File > Move to shift that copied file around, including relocating it into your own MyDrive so that you can share it differently or with no one at all.

You can share files in a Team Drive beyond that team, but sometimes only to district users. You can still share viewing and editing rights to documents in a Team Drive beyond the users assigned to the team. HOWEVER, such shares may be limited to district Google accounts. We are trying to allow staff members to share the files with the general public and with accounts not associated with the district, but that is not always working yet. So for files you want to make public, use your MyDrive.

Team Drive

Google Cast for Education Deployed

posted Oct 13, 2017, 5:54 AM by Granger Meador   [ updated Oct 13, 2017, 6:27 AM ]

We have deployed Google Cast for Education to all district Chrome devices and accounts. So when staff members or students use their district account to log into a Chromebook or log into the Chrome web browser on a desktop or laptop computer, they will automatically have it available.

Google Cast for Education allows you to wirelessly mirror your desktop screen or a tab in your Chrome browser to any other Chrome browser you are also logged into. This means:
  • Teachers can mirror their Chromebook screen, or a tab in its Chrome browser, onto their teacher station computers and thus project it on their classroom screens.
  • Teachers can optionally set up a Google Classroom, invite students to join it, and then selectively allow those students to cast their Chromebook screens to the teacher station and thus the projector for student presentations.
  • In general, students and staff can mirror their own Chromebook, Windows, or Mac screens to other Chromebooks, desktops, and laptops.
Here's a link to a document with detailed instructions and screenshots for setting up and using this feature:



Google Cast

PowerSchool access updates; Canvas LMS online for grades 6-12

posted Jul 31, 2017, 11:20 AM by Granger Meador   [ updated Sep 19, 2017, 3:00 PM ]

PowerTeacher
The PowerSchool system was taken offline in mid-June for the annual rollover to the new school year.

The Parent/Student Portal to PowerSchool will go back online on the first day of school: Thursday, August 17, 2017.

Teachers will receive instructions for accessing PowerTeacher from their sites, probably by email, on the first inservice day: Monday, August 14, 2017. 

For help with PowerTeacher or any other technology service, visit BPSDTECH.ORG for various links.
The district will still be using the classic PowerTeacher Gradebook in 2017-2018, since the newer PowerTeacher Pro gradebooks is not yet compatible with the Canvas LMS.



Canvas
Canvas LMS for grades 6-12

The Canvas Learning Management System is back online for grades 6-12 and is syncing with PowerSchool. Teachers and students in grades 6-12 may use it, although heaviest use in 2017-2018 will be in the Freshman Academy since those students receive their 1:1 Chromebooks in August 2017.

We are not licensed to use Canvas below grade 6, so elementary teachers and their students should not access the service.
NOTE: As of 8/11/2017 we are unable to synchronize all new teacher accounts and their courses with PowerSchool. We are working to resolve this issue. PowerSchool access for routine attendance and grades is not affected.

Accounts for students new to the district for Chromebooks, Canvas, and other network functions are slated to become available on Wednesday, 8/16 if all goes well.

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