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Technology Help (BPSDTECH.ORG)

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  • Great Google apps, extensions, and add-ons By Granger Meador, Exec. Dir. of Technology & CommunicationsI collected a slew of teacher-recommended Google Chrome apps, extensions, and add-ons at the Encyclomedia 2017 conference. I've shared ...
    Posted Oct 18, 2017, 1:35 PM by Granger Meador
  • Team Drives are useful alternative for workgroups 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 ...
    Posted Oct 13, 2017, 11:48 AM by Granger Meador
  • Google Cast for Education Deployed 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 ...
    Posted Oct 13, 2017, 6:27 AM by Granger Meador
  • PowerSchool access updates; Canvas LMS online for grades 6-12 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 ...
    Posted Sep 19, 2017, 3:00 PM by Granger Meador
Showing posts 1 - 4 of 21. View more »

Great Google apps, extensions, and add-ons

posted Oct 18, 2017, 1:08 PM by Granger Meador   [ updated Oct 18, 2017, 1:35 PM ]

Apps & Extensions

Team Drives are useful alternative for workgroups

posted Oct 13, 2017, 11:48 AM by Granger Meador   [ updated Oct 13, 2017, 11:48 AM ]

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:

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 have 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 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 are limited to district Google accounts. You can't share the files with the general public nor with accounts not associated with the district. 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 ]

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 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.

PowerTeacher & PowerSchool Portal on summer break

posted Jun 16, 2017, 2:38 PM by Granger Meador   [ updated Jul 23, 2017, 10:16 AM ]

PowerTeacher access and the student/parent PowerSchool Portal were disabled in mid-June for the annual rollover to the new academic year. That rollover has been completed as of mid-July the Canvas LMS available across grades 6-12 appeared to be synchronized with PowerSchool.

Instructions for staff access to PowerSchool for 2017-2018 will be provided on the 8/14 inservice day. Meanwhile, 6-12 instructors may be able to see tentative class schedules with student enrollments in Canvas, but please bear in mind those will continue to change as students register for courses; high school students register August 7-11.

The district will continue to use the existing PowerTeacher Gradebook in 2017-2018, but will likely migrate to PowerTeacher Pro for 2018-2019.
Summer Break

Promethean reverses course on ActivInspire

posted Jun 16, 2017, 6:48 AM by Granger Meador   [ updated Sep 6, 2017, 11:59 AM ]

Staff members who use ActivInspire software with their Promethean electronic whiteboards should migrate to the new ClassFlow Desktop software by June 2018. 

Promethean has reversed its previous stance that ActivInspire would no longer be supported after 9/4/2017 and that users would be forced to migrate to ClassFlow Desktop by June 2018.

In early September 2017 Promethean announced that customer feedback has led them to continue to maintain and support ActivInspire.

They have indefinitely suspended their conversion service from ActivInspire to Classflow, but end users can still use the auto converter that exists in ClassFlow to import ActivInspire charts.

ClassFlow has a simplified user interface and functions to enable collaboration with students via mobile PCs and tablets and Promethean announced it remains dedicated to developing it as a next-generation cloud-based platform.


Sign up for Tech Training from Eighth Floor in April or June

posted Apr 17, 2017, 1:43 PM by Granger Meador   [ updated Apr 17, 2017, 1:47 PM ]

April and June 2017 are the last opportunities for free training for BPSD staff members from The Eighth Floor.
Sadly, that excellent training program will disband at the end of June. Tulsa Tech and Tulsa Community College have made the decision to dissolve The Eighth Floor partnership. (No doubt due to continued cuts in state funding for common, vocational-technical, and higher education programs.)
Bear in mind that most training courses are conducted at the offices of The Eighth Floor on the 8th Floor of the Skyline East #1 building at 6111 E Skelly Dr in Tulsa.

8th Floor

District Chrome Bookmarks

posted Mar 29, 2017, 6:38 PM by District Webmaster   [ updated Sep 20, 2017, 6:17 AM by Granger Meador ]

BPSD Folder
Login with your district account into the Google Chrome web browser (not just Google, but the Chrome browser itself) and you'll get a "BPSD" set of bookmarks with links to various services and a spreadsheet of phone extensions.
BPSD Bookmarks
Once you are actually logged into Google Chrome, a "BPSD" folder will appear in the Bookmarks Bar for most staff members. The icon for that folder has shading, unlike the icon for any user-created bookmark folders.

If you click on the BPSD folder, you'll find a set of pre-set bookmarks to district websites and services. The entries are tailored toward the common needs of a particular work site.

If you have suggestions regarding additions or deletions to the bookmarks pre-set for your work site, please relay those via email to Granger Meador, the district webmaster. Please note your usual work site in your email.

Managing Multiple Google Accounts

These bookmarks only appear in the Chrome web browser, not others such as Firefox or Internet Explorer. They also only appear in Chrome when you are logged into your district Google account. For staff members, that account username has the format "username@bps-ok.org" while for students the format is "username@stu.bps-ok.org".

Many staff members also have personal Google accounts. You can switch from one account to another in the Chrome web browser:

  1. Sign in to Google DriveDocsSheets, or Slides.
  2. At the top right, click your profile photo or email address.
  3. Click the account you want to sign in to or click "Add account" to add a new Google account to the listing.
  4. A new window will open to your other account.
You can also add multiple "profiles" to Google Chrome to make it easy to switch between accounts:
On a Windows computer, you can even save multiple copies of the Chrome icon on the desktop or pinned to the taskbar, with each one set to load a different profile in Chrome.

For Windows 7:

  1. Launch Chrome.
  2. Click the "more" icon at top right.
    More Icon
  3. Click Settings.
  4. Scroll down to "People".
  5. Click "Add person".
  6. Enter your desired profile name.
  7. Select your desired icon.
  8. Make sure "Create a desktop shortcut for this user" is checked.
  9. Click "Add".
  10. Find the new Chrome shortcut on your desktop.
  11. Right-click (not left) the new Chrome shortcut, and click "Pin to taskbar".
    1. Alternately, drag the new shortcut to your taskbar.

New Employee Portal

posted Mar 9, 2017, 3:35 PM by Granger Meador   [ updated Sep 7, 2017, 2:21 PM ]

New portal
The district has used paperless payroll for some time, with employees accessing their paystubs online. The same electronic "portal" with that information also provides the employee's leave records, professional development points, etc.

NEW EMPLOYEE PORTAL debuted in March 2017. Paystubs from 3/10/2017 onward are visible in the new portal, while the old one has no updates after 2/23/2017. The new portal should also have employees' current leave balances, professional development points, etc.

Instead, a unique username and password are used to access the portal. Employees were sent the new link, username, and password via board mail in mid-March 2017. After you login to the new portal, you can click "Options" at the upper right to change your password.

At the time of the first payroll, Payroll Supervisor Angie Niko will send out the passwords to the sites which are generated by the system. Existing staff who already changed their password will NOT receive a form. The passwords will come directly to the sites, probably at the same time as the initial paper check stubs, but in a separate envelope.
If you encounter issues with the new portal, please contact the appropriate payroll coordinator:

Laurin Sharp
Ms. Laurin Sharp
Certified & Non-Contracted Pay, Benefits, Leave; Certified Contracts
(918) 336-8600 ext. 3519

Ms. LaDonna Viles
Ms. LaDonna Viles
Classified Pay, Benefits, Contracts, Leave
(918) 336-8600 ext. 1018

Currently the old portal can still be accessed, but it has NO UPDATED INFORMATION AFTER 2/23/2017:

District Email Changes

posted Jan 25, 2017, 11:44 AM by Granger Meador   [ updated Jan 25, 2017, 11:44 AM ]

Stop Phishing Attacks

Earlier this month, a recent rash of spam emails from outside of the district led to some district email accounts being compromised and acting as SpamBots. Outlook Web Access was disabled, as that was the primary way the spammers were using the stolen user credentials for their attacks. 

The district was lucky not to have been blacklisted, but that could easily have happened and would have led to severe email disruptions for weeks or more. To help keep this from happening again:

  1. Arm yourself with knowledge. The best defense against falling victim is to be aware of how spammers are trying to trick you. Please review this information on phishing attacks. Familiarize yourself with the methods used so you can protect yourself. 
  2. Scrutinize any suspicious emails. We all must be careful to examine any emails that are received from an outside entity, especially emails requesting login information. The district’s Technology Services department will never send blanket emails requesting this information from you or ask you to click on a link and enter your credentials to re-validate them, update your settings, etc. If it were necessary to obtain your password they would contact you directly, preferably in person. If you do receive a request for your login that appears to be from Technology Services and you are suspicious, talk to your site Help Desk Tickets contactThose folks are in frequent communication with Technology Services and can help determine if a request you’ve received is legitimate. In the end the burden is on each of us to guard our login credentials. 
  3. [External] flags are being added to the subject line of emails from outside sources. Effective 1/26/2017, Technology Services will change our email system so that the subject line of any email coming from a source outside the district will begin with ”[External]”. That will help you know if a request for information or a link is coming to you from a source outside of the district, as opposed to coming from district personnel’s accounts. 

Outlook Web Access & Exchange Email on Mobile Devices

Outlook Web Access will be restored on 1/26/17 but could easily be turned off again if Technology Services notices another uptick in spam coming from district accounts. This time we were lucky, but the next time could have disastrous results. Please remember: Eternal vigilance is the price of email access. J 

When Outlook Web Access was disabled, email service was still available on personal mobile devices via district Exchange accounts. Here are instructions for setting up your district Exchange account on an iPhone, iPad, or Android device.

District Wi-Fi Changes

The district’s wireless network (WiFi) has been upgraded for easier access and more licenses. All BPSD employees and all students in grades 9-12 (but NOT students below grade 9) can access the new BPS-SECURE WiFi network on their personal devices. 

To use it, go to the WiFi settings on your mobile device, select the BPS-SECURE network, and enter your usual network login username and password. A certificate will be downloaded to your device, which you must Trust. You’ll then be connected with that device whenever you are in WiFi range. 

BPSD employees and students in grades 9-12 should NOT try to use the BPS-GUEST or bpswireless networks. BPS-GUEST is for non-district users and can put district users into a loop. bpswireless is only used for district-owned devices.

Detailed instructions with screenshots on connecting to BPS-SECURE, etc. are online.

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