September 2017 - Welcome Back, Bloomfield!
We completed the migration from Microsoft Email to Google Gmail on schedule (August 1, 2017);
We completed the upgrade to PowerSchool Version 10 with New Gradebook (in early July);
We distributed new Chromebooks or reimaged Laptops for Faculty (in June);
We purchased new software (Newsela, Discovery, Defined STEM) for student use this fall;
Also New for 2017-2018-
We added a page to the Teacher Academy web site called 'Verified Registration Lists for APPROVED Courses' which includes all the current registrations for the courses offered; it is usually updated within 24 hours of submitting a registration for a course; registrations are not confirmed, until voted on by the Board, but this list allows teachers to see how many and who is signed up for courses; the lists from the summer will remain until the new courses are offered.
Needed for 2017-2018-
Teacher 'Leaders' for the District Tech Committee.
Read below for more news on the various topics above and other news.
FORM FOR ENTERING TEACHER WEB SITE ADDRESSES
If you created a Google Site, be sure to provide the URL of the published site.
Click on the link above to view the form in a new window below and answer the questions.
Have ready the URL for your web site.
Summer Tech Work -
- Summer Tech Work completed . . .
- At the HS: Purchase, configuration and disbursement of 500 Chromebooks for student use; 3 LCD repair/replacements, including Sewing Room, as well as installation of a 20-Mac Lab for the HS TV Studio; installation of mini-PCs with cable-connections to LCDs/Smartboard in 13 classrooms; and under the design leadership of one of the two new HS Librarians, Angela Brisini, a new projection/audio system in the Media Center. Additionally, Facilities completed installation of electrical capacity in the back room for secure storage and charging of Chromebooks.
- At the MS: Purchase, configuration . . .of 800 Chromebooks for student use; repair/move/replacement of three interactive whiteboards;
- At the elementary schools: 27 installations of new interactive LCDs; 33 move/repair replacements of existing interactive whiteboards; installation of mini PCs in 9 classrooms; and the purchase of 270 Chromebooks in 9 carts (one in each school) for student use.
- Click here for a complete list of 2017 Summer Tech Projects and status.
Please give credit to Karen Przezdzecki of the Technology Department for her masterful management of vendors, facilities, custodians, and gnarly Directors, as well as the summer worker supervisory skills of José Sarmiento of the MS, to get all this work completed in time. Check out this page for more information and photos on summer tech work.
Hints About Managing the Email Migration -
- You now access email by going into Google and clicking on Mail. Use Chrome browser to access Google.
- Email addresses are unchanged. All staff are still @bloomfield.k12.nj.us, and all students are @edu.bloomfield.k12.nj.us.
- Gmail became the District email service on 8/1/17.
- It took some days for the thousands of servers on the Internet to update with the information. During that time, some email may have been delivered to your old Inbox in Office365, but all email, as of 8/1/17, has been migrated to Gmail.
- Don't use Office365 anymore for email, including Outlook on your PC or laptop. Use Gmail and access it via Chrome browser.
- Do not use smartphone apps for Outlook any longer. Use apps for GMail.
- As previously announced, these items did NOT migrate from Office365: PST mail files/folders stored on your local computer; contacts or 'People' ; calendar appointments/events from Office365. You can continue to access these items in Office365/Outlook, but you will have to re-enter or migrate them to Gmail.
- Here are directions by Karen Przezdzecki on how to use Outlook to export Contacts from Office365 into Google.
Everything, other then email, remains fully functional in Office365. You can continue to use SharePoint, web pages, Yammer, Delve, as well as online Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. You can also continue to download and install Office 2016 locally on up to five (5) Windows's or Mac computers. See below for more directions on how to use Office365.
Bloomfield Teacher Academy Procedures
Please follow the directions on the page below to submit a proposal to teach a course in the Fall 2017 Bloomfield Teacher Academy:
Course proposals are due by Wednesday, September 27. Teachers are encouraged to consult with their Supervisor or Principal when submitting a course proposal, as administrators have final review. It is best if you consult with them.
Any questions, please let me know,
Also, read below for a window to a massive PDF document (to be searched, not printed) on course evaluations for all classes offered so far, since the first course in Spring 2016.
Tech Tips/News As You Start the New Year -
- Page of links worth bookmarking (requires login to Office 365).
- Project Guttenberg: Free ebooks, classical and new, in a variety of formats.
Autobiographical slide show to start the year: Turn students from 'consumers' of learning to 'producers.' The computer allows the student --when properly instructed-- to turn all his learning into a personal acquisition, something that he makes part of himself. At the beginning of the year have students create a Google Slide presentation about themselves. Here is a lesson proposal, with template, from a Google educator. Require that the lesson refer to their Slide presentation throughout the year. Have them update their slides with what they learn, how their learning is relevant to their lives. Older students would probably benefit more from a straightforward 'Learning Journal' --which you could do as a simple shared document, or open-ended assignment in Classroom-- but perhaps the aesthetics of a Slide presentation will be more attractive! For students who are resistant or phobic to writing, the Slide presentation allows more flexibility.
- Start classes, or the day, by reviewing articles from the NY Times, 50, 60, or 130 years ago. Review old ads, news, editorials, etc.
- Converting SMART Notebook files to Google Slides
Bloomfield Teacher Academy - Fall 2017
See below for a massive PDF on the evaluations for every class ever offered as part of the Teacher Academy.
Window for proposing courses for the fall 2017 semester -
- Wednesday, September 13 to Wednesday, September 27.
- Click here for directions on submitting a course proposal.
TENTATIVE window for administrative review/finalization of courses -
- Thursday, September 28 to Thursday, October 5.
TENTATIVE window for registering to take courses -
- Friday, October 6 to Friday, October 20.
TENTATIVE first possible date of courses-
- Monday, October 23
The purpose, origin, design of the Bloomfield Teacher Academy is not essentially different now from when it started in 2015-16. Click here for the inaugural explanation of the BTA philosophy and procedures. (Requires login to SharePoint - which is the same as your login to Google.)
New Software -
- New as of 8/28- Pearson ExamView for CMP3, Algebra I and other subjects will NOT run on a Chromebook. In order to run ExamView, the teacher will have to the run the product CD on a laptop with a CD/DVD player, or borrow/obtain a CD/DVD player for the PC-Mini installed with the SmartBoard or Epson Interactive LCD. However, Pearson recommends using, in place of the legacy ExamView product, which is not receiving any further updates, the use of the Active Ebook Bundle for CMP3 Grades 6-8 and Algebra I, etc.. The Active Ebook Bundle includes online Quizzes and Tests and is accessed via the PowerTeacher Portal, and Apps. See the September 2016 Tech Bulletin and the article on "Pearson Connected Math Program (CMP) Online Resources." There is no 'web equivalent' planned for the ExamView suite.
- Newsela - Newsela is adaptive news service for K-12 students that delivers texts at the appropriate reading level for each and every student. With their existing Google account, teachers can login and see insights on students’ progress and assignments so they can improve their critical thinking skills and measure their progress in real time. Click here for a page of resources.
- Defined Stem -Defined STEM provides teachers with standards-aligned project-based lessons. Our engaging performance tasks answer the question: 'Why do I need to learn this?' that is on every students mind. To achieve this, our curriculum follows the Understanding by Design Framework® co-developed by award winning author Jay McTighe.
- Discovery Education [working on it - service expected soon]
- The New York Times - Every staff and student can activate an online subscription to the NY Times by following the directions on the above link. Includes access to archives of old editions of the NY Times prior to 1980.
- Gmail - A more elaborate set of 'Get Started' Directions
- Google Calendar - Use Calendar to post assignments and homework.
- Chromium OS/Neverware/Cloud Ready - Old netbooks, laptops are being turned into open source Chromebooks. Explanatory video.
Teacher Academy Course Evaluations (Updated 9/12/2017)
Click below for a massive PDF with all course evaluations for every course offered as part of the BTA. Open the document in a new window and search for teacher's name, course topic, or a specific course number, or title. But don't print out the document! It is over400 pages. The courses are sorted by their course number.
PowerSchool Resources -
(Teachers should only use the new Gradebook, PowerTeacher Pro. Once signed into PowerTeacher, click on the button for PowerTeacher Pro. Do NOT use any link for the old (2.8) Gradebook. Grades from previous years have NOT been migrated. Teachers will have to start fresh with the new Gradebook.)
PowerSchool - You can find the following information in PowerSchool in the indicated set of screens of the Admin Portal (the list on the left, as you view student data): Parental Web Access Accounts, Addresses, Demographics, Family, Historical Grades (for grades 6-12), Bell Schedule View, List View, Matrix View, Modify Schedule. For users with sufficient rights to view other confidential information, see below:
- Special Ed/Classification Information (IEP information, CST Meetings) - Special Education ( - Information on student classification is regulated/managed by Student Services; PowerSchool is updated nightly from their 'Special Ed' program; teachers without needed access through PowerSchool should contact Student Services - To find a list of all classified students in a school, in the Admin portal, run the Stored Search for "Special Education All Classified.")
- Bus Information (Bus_Route_Pickup, Bus_Stop_Pickup, Bus_Time_Pickup, Bus_Route_Dropoff, Bus_Stop_Dropoff, Bus_Time_Dropoff ) - Custom Screens, Bus Info (NB This information updates nightly and should not be edited in PowerSchool. Contact Transportation with any questions or needed changes so that they can update VersaTrans.)
- Network Account/Password [Student District Email Address (e.g.,email@example.com), Student Portal Username (e.g., 203123), Student Portal Password (e.g., someword), Parent Access ID (e.g., 6353), Parent Access Password (e.g., ABCD), Network Username (firstname.lastname@example.org), Network Password (e.g., someword] - Custom Screens, Email Student (NB This information should not be changed, as it effects multiple other systems. HS Students set their own passwords; for all other students, teachers should submit Tech Help Desk requests for password changes.)
- 504 Information - The screen "State/Province - NJ", click on the Tab = "PreID Ask Access" and scroll down to the section on "Program Information." (NB You can also run this search to find all students in 504 program for a school: NJ_PID_504=1)
Bloomfield PowerSchool Discussion Board - This is an Office365 'Discussion Board' that was established two years ago to collect information peculiar to Bloomfield related to PowerSchool. It is mainly for office staff, but has information related to anyone who uses the 'Administrator' -which includes all MS and HS teachers, who by default have accounts in both the Teacher and Administrative portals. For example, you can search the Discussion Board for directions in how to obtain a list of ESL students, or export information on selected students to Excel. It has been updated for the new version of PowerSchool (v. 10) installed over the summer --references to the old Gradebook have been deleted-- but any questions specific to the new Gradebook (PowerTeacher Pro) should probably be addressed through the PowerSource site below.
PowerSource - This is a web site dedicated to supplying resources for using PowerSchool. Every teacher has an account, and recover his or her password, by clicking on Forgot Password. If you do not receive an email response, submit a Tech Help Desk ticket.
Training Videos for Teachers RELATED TO PowerTeacher Pro - the new HTML Gradebook (All require login to PowerSource.)
PowerTeacher Pro: Using the Scoresheet (Learn how to use the PowerTeacher Pro Scoresheet to score assignments.)
PowerTeacher Pro: Filling Comments (Learn how to fill comments and use the Smart Text feature in PowerTeacher Pro)
PowerTeacher Pro: Modifying Standards Grade Calculationss (For K-5 teachers, learn how to modify standards grade calculations in PowerTeacher Pro.)
PowerTeacher Pro: Creating and Duplicating Assignments (Learn how to create and duplicate assignments in PowerTeacher Pro.
Version 10 Training Server for Administrator Portal (ONLY ACCESSIBLE WITHIN THE DISTRICT)
Version 10 Training Server for Teacher Portal (ONLY ACCESSIBLE WITHIN THE DISTRICT)
Version 10 Training Server for Parent/Student Portal (ONLY ACCESSIBLE WITHIN THE DISTRICT)
PowerPoint from PowerSchool on How to Use Standards-Based Grading WithOUT Numbers or Averages (Requires PowerPoint or Viewer)
(The PowerSchool Training Server portals are accessible ONLY within the District, which requires valid passwords and appropriate access rights. If you do not have a functioning password on the training server, create a Tech Help Desk ticket, or email a PowerSchool administrator.)
Setting-Up Gmail / Transition Tips -
- Do not use Outlook to access Gmail. Access Gmail with your Chrome browser. You will enjoy the greatest functionality. Secretaries --and only the building secretaries!-- will have Outlook installed on their computers and configured to access their Gmail but ONLY for the specific purpose of running Mail Merges to send email messages, as needed. (It is also suggested that you cease using OWA and Outlook.com on your SmartPhone, as those apps are specifically designed to work with Microsoft Outlook email, not Gmail.)
- Managing SPAM: Removing messages from going to SPAM. If email incorrectly goes to SPAM, follow the directions to remove it.
- By default, Gmail sets the Inbox to sort and group email by Conversation, or topic. All the email responses in a specific thread (email with the same Subject) are grouped together. Most people seem to prefer a chronological sort to their Inbox, viewing all new messages at the top. To turn off 'Conversation View,' in your Inbox, click on Settings, then Settings again, and under the General tab, click "Turn Off Conversation View." (That General tab in Settings, is also where you can set-up your Signature - what appears at the bottom of emails that you send.)
- One of the most powerful features of Gmail is the Google search engine that allows you to search your entire mailbox. Usually, you can find messages that you are looking for simply by typing a word or name in the search box. But you can also use keywords to search for specific messages, conversations, or types of email. Here is a link to 'search operators' that you can use as you search for specific email.
- Google will automatically place all received email in special folders, depending on how it detects their content. If you click on the Settings button in your Inbox, then 'Configure Inbox,' you can turn on all or some of the folders for Social, Promotions, Forums, and Updates. You will still see a notice on the tab when new items are delivered there, but items that are routed to those folders will not appear in your Inbox. Some folk like this expanded 'Clutter' function; some do not.
- Office365 is still available for use, including local download of the most current version of Microsoft Office for PC or Mac.
However, email in Office365 is no longer functional. One change that you might consider making in your setup of Office365 is the start-up page that you see when you first log into Office365. Since we are no longer using email in Office365, change the first page that you see when you log into to OneDrive, or SharePoint, Office365 Home Page, or Yammer (if you use that service), from email to something else. There would be no reason to go to Mail or Outlook.com or Calendar in Office365. To change your initial start-up page in Office365, log into it, click on Settings in the top banner, then "Office 365 Settings," Start-Up page, and select your preferred page.
To install Office 2016 on a PC or Mac, log into Office365, click directly on the text "Office 365" in the top banner, and then select "Install Office 2016." It can take up to 45-60 minutes for the installation to complete, depending on your selections, but you should be able to work on other programs, once the installation begins. Under the educational license with Microsoft, you are permitted five (5) total installations.
You can use a Chromebook to run web-based Office365 applications (Word, Excel, etc.), but you cannot download the locally installed versions of those programs. The full, local version of Office 2016 will install only on a PC or Mac.
Setting-Up Google Calendar/Transition Tips-
- Over 1/2 billion people use Google Apps, but many are unaware of the power of the Calendar application.
- Google 's Calendar program allows you see in one place all calendars shared with you.
- The Calendars that you choose to display appear on your screen to the left of your calendar. As you click on them, their events appear on the calendar.
- The calendar events appear in the color indicated. (NB Events appear differently on each individual's calendar, depending on selected colors, etc. Moreover, events appear differently whether they are limited to hours, or all day.
- You can view all the calendars shared with you or available to you by clicking on the Settings icon, then Settings, then the Calendars tab, then the section for "Shared Calendars". Click the check box to "Show in List" if you want them available for display.
- From this screen, you can also configure your Notifications for each calendar.
- The Calendars that you choose to display appear on your screen to the left of your calendar. As you click on them, their events appear on the calendar.
- To be sure that you are only viewing one calendar's events, click on a calendar name on the left display, and from the dropdown, select "Display only this calendar." If you have permission to enter events into another calendar, you can do so by double clicking in the calendar when it is the only one displaying.
Regarding Chromebooks -
The District now has almost 3000 Chromebooks: 1500 distributed to students in grades 7-9 as part of the 1:1 initiative; almost 600 in elementary schools in carts (until they can be folded into the 1:1); 300+ in carts at the HS for students in grades 10-12 (again, eventually to be folded into the 1:1); and the remainder in the hands of faculty and staff, or in the schools as spares to loan to students who break theirs.
One new feature of student Chromebooks --the C740's: by default, when you use a Chromebook in the student OU or machine group, and you start to type your name to login, it will complete the login with the student email domain of "@edu.bloomfield.k12.nj.us." If you are a teacher or staff member, you simply have to press the @ key to type your own email address (e.g., JSmith@bloomfield.k12.nj.us). We are hoping that this login feature makes it quicker and simpler for the younger students who are using the Chromebooks.
Regarding Google -
- New teachers have to request permission to create courses in Google Classroom. When you log into Classroom, and do not see the option (the plus symbol, +) click 'Request Access.' Requests from teachers are usually processed within 24 hours. If not, submit a Tech Help Desk ticket.
- Teacher Web Sites should be constructed in Google "New" Sites, which is a relatively easy way to create informative web sites (such as this exemplary Tech Bulletin!).
List of Extensions
Below is a shared spreadsheet from Eric Curts, a Google trainer, who offers a variety of resources on his web site. The spreadsheet below is a list of Extensions for Google Chrome. The list includes a lot of extensions that many teachers are already using, such as 'Google Dictionary' and 'Awesome ScreenShot' and 'Google goo.gl URL Shortener.' Other Google gurus whom we have consulted over the past year have recommended a few apps and extensions not on Eric's list below:
- Extensity, for managing all of your apps and extensions, allowing you to turn them on or off easily.
- Print Friendly and PDF, for converting a web page into a streamlined page or pages for clutter-free printing.
- Select and Speak It!, for turning audio directly into text.
A great app --akin to the old mind-mapping software-- is MindMeister. It offers easy way to organize and brainstorm content.
Please email your representative on the Tech Committee any other extensions that you recommend.
Microsoft Office 365 vs. Google App Suite / Plusses and Minuses
Microsoft Office 365
SharePoint allows relatively easy, robust creation of web sites. ?
OneDrive has limited storage space. -
Email is free, but archiving is a third-party expense. -
SharePoint allows creation of Custom Lists with detailed record logging for easy rollback. +
Collaboration is possible, but not robust and limited. -
Education users get five local installations of Office 2016. +
No Microsoft equivalent (free and robust) to Google Classroom. -
Google App Suite
? Google 'New' Sites is easier than the old version, but not as robust as before.
+ Google Drive has unlimited storage for education users.
+ Both email and archiving are free services for education users.
-For lists, there is Sheets, but revisions are wholesale replacements of many changes.
+ Collaboration is easy to manage (all active users are visible) and robust.
-No equivalent to local, executable Office 2016.
+ Google Classroom
Old News -
- Here are links to previous Tech Newsletters. Out-of-Date Information has generally been crossed out. For the curious, it is interesting what has changed, developed over the past two years:
- May 2017 -
- January 2017 - (This issue and all links below are in SharePoint - requiring login to Microsoft Office365.)
- September 2016 - (Directions for accessing Pearson CMP3 resources through PowerSchool Teacher/Student Portals; how the District manages student passwords.)
- June 2016 - An article in the right column about how student passwords are managed, still unchanged, and a description of the T: drive (since expanded to include parent emails in T:\Universal\155 Broad\Parent Guardian Emails)
- Spring 2016 - Inaugural issue for the Bloomfield Teacher Academy, with login, registration instructions, and overall rationale, none of which has changed very much.
- December 2015 - Brief articles on use of Gradebook for 'future' assignments, list of SharePoint sites (some are now obsolete).
- September 2015 - Contains info on teacher accounts in the Admin and Teacher Portals of PowerSchool, how to activate Office, now 2016, on a PC or Mac, the PowerSchool Discussion Board, which has Bloomfield solutions to many questions. New issues/questions can be submitted. -- NB That Discussion Board is being updated to reflect the new Gradebook and functionalities in PowerSchool version 10, but many of the solutions from version 9 continue to apply to the new version.
Special Repeat Announcement Regarding 'Personal' Computer Equipment
Please know that --as previously announced in the last Tech Bulletin-- we have been warned by law enforcement authorities that any computer that has information potentially relevant to a criminal investigation can be confiscated on behalf of the police for an indeterminate period of time. For this reason, please abide by these work restrictions -
Use only district-supplied computers at school for your work; do not bring into school a personal computer, or laptop, or printer;
Use only district email for work-related communications; do not use personal email to interact with parents, student, community, or staff;
Use personal smartphones sparingly in electronic communication that is work related; personal equipment, including iPhones and other smartphones, are not immune from confiscation by police; while we can replace a district-owned computer, laptop, Chromebook, or printer that they take, we can do nothing about your cell phone or tablet or other equipment, i f they take it.
We have been told that the confiscation of personal cell phone, and its isolation from any use, for over one year, has happened in neighboring districts. Use district equipment as a rule and whenever possible. If you do not have the equipment that you need, place a request through your Principal or Supervisor.