Staff Tech News, Tips & Updates

Technology Information & Updates from the August 21st TA Meeting

posted Sep 5, 2017, 10:24 PM by MICHELLE YORK

Below are my notes from our August 21st TA meeting.  I had planned to get this out to you much earlier than now, but things have been pretty busy.

I know that this is a TON of information, but I tried to include any of the information we received that may directly affect staff or students.  Every item may not affect every person, but I wanted to give you all of the pertinent information.  This will allow me to redirect some email questions directly to this blog entry.  All blue underlined sections are links to other documents/videos/etc.  At least take a look at them so you know what's there.

Feel free to ask if there's something that you don't understand or still have a question about.  If a link doesn't work, please let me know.  If you see something that you believe is an error, let me know.  I typed this quickly and late at night.

  1. Login issues

    1. If you're still having trouble logging into google or other TPS accounts from home, please make sure that you're following the directions from this link sent earlier in the year.

    2. If you're still having login issues, please put it on my electronic tech request form so that we can look into the problem. Remember that the link to this form can always be found in my email signature.

    3. If you're having issues with logging in on cell phones, the district recommends that you download the actual Google app for your phone if logging in on a browser does not work.  So instead of trying to log into Drive or Gmail from the phones web browser, try downloading the ACTUAL Drive or Gmail app from the phone's App Store.

  2. Student Usernames/Passwords

    1. I sent everyone a link to the "master" document earlier in the year.  This is where you can retrieve usernames and/or save passwords as they're reset so that you (and any other staff members) can access information as needed.  

    2. We will likely be using this form (or a similar one) at the end of the year when it's time for teachers to reset student passwords for the following year.  We've had too many issues with staff losing the paper versions that we've used in the past.

    3. The district is considering having a staggered schedule for password resets by grade level.  So all Grade X passwords would expire in one specific month, then all of another grade level would expire at a different time.  No decision has been made--it's just something they're looking at to help with the problem that we always have with passwords expiring over the summer.

    4. There is no way for TA's or other district staff to reset all students passwords (or even a small subset) at once.  They have to be done individually.

    5. If you (or students are receiving a message that says "cannot connect to the server", it's possible that the password has expired and needs reset.

    6. Google has a quota on how many password reset requests it can handle at one time.  Once this quota has been met, their servers stop taking requests until those clear up.

    7. Thus, once we reset a password, it COULD take 24-48 hours for the network login password resets to sync over to Google's servers and allow logging into all of the Google apps. If we've reset a user password once, we will not reset it again until that time has expired and the user can show that he/she still cannot login.  Otherwise, we're causing the 24-48 time limit to start back over again.

    8. When we change student passwords, students MUST then log in on a desktop, laptop, or wired computer so that it will prompt them to change the password to their own (what we give you is temporary for a supposed 1-time login).  Chromebooks will NOT prompt for the password change.  Below is a quote from an email from district IT with more detailed information--especially with regard to students being able to access ReadyGen

      1. Travis True--"We are experiencing numerous problems with EasyBridge applications (ReadyGen & iLit). Most of the issues have to do with students using a temporary password on their Chromebooks. When passwords are reset via the HelpDesk tool, the new password is only temporary. After a password reset, each student must sit at a PC (laptop, desktop, all-in-one), wired or wireless, and log-in. They will be forced to change their password to a permanent password. After the password is reset, the student must log in to their Chromebook with their new password.  We are finding that once the password is changed on the PC, each student can access all their ReadyGen & iLit content via EasyBridge."

    9. If 3rd-5th grade students are still having issues logging into curriculum accounts (EasyBridge/ReadyGen, etc.), please make sure that the Chromebook OS is FULLY updated.  Chromebooks that are not fully updated may have login problems.  Rene can show you how to make sure that Chromebooks are fully updated.

  3. iPad expectations --I will include below a link to a document written by our district IT IPad Staff with expections for teachers with iPad Carts (K-2).  I may then highlight a few points that I want to make sure you pay special attention to.

    1. A quick note about the upcoming iOS 11 iOS update.  This will be released sometime in the next month or so.  It will be a large update to the iPad software itself through the Utility App (General>Software Updates) (not to a specific app within the Self-Service app).  DO NOT run this update (or allow students to run the update) until the district notifies us.  There may be issues with the software itself that the district needs to address.  If everyone tries to update at once, it WILL crash the district servers.  There will be apps that will no longer be compatible after this update.

    2. iPad Expections document -please take special note of the following items from that document.

      1. iPads should be plugged in, locked and secured at the end of EVERY day!  Do not leave them unsecured.

      2. Please take note on how to occasionally clean them

      3. Broken iPads need to be reported to me IMMEDIATELY (via the online tech form)

      4. Lost / Stolen iPads should be reported to the Building Principals AND assigned iPad team member ASAP. We have the ability to brick and possibly track these missing iPads.  This applies to student AND/OR staff iPads.  They have a better chance of locating and retrieving them if they know ASAP (before batteries die, etc.)

      5. Each student should be assigned one iPad that they use at all times.  These are 1:1 devices.  iPads can be labeled with the students name on the cover (a printed label or painter's tape).

  4. ReadyGEN Login (see the linked video on how to login)

    1. Must be logged into Google

    2. Must have only one account in Chrome

    3. Chrome must be up-to-date

  5. Classroom Websites

    1. All certified staff MUST have a website.

    2. New teachers have until January to get their websites up and running--at least with the required components.  

    3. Site naming convention is "HPC-lastname"

    4. The district WILL be checking to make sure that teachers have their sites published.

    5. If you're creating a site from scratch, DO NOT use the New Google Sites.  It is still missing a lot of feature.  Please create using the Classic Sites

    6. Please ask Rene or I if you're not sure how to set up your site or what is required.

  6. MS Office 2013 to 2016 changes

    1. See the above link for changes in the new version of Microsoft Office.

  7. FrontRowEd (math 2ne-8th)

    1. Most of this will be used on Chromebooks.  

    2. If there is a 2nd grade that needs it on iPads, please let Michelle know so that we can request the app to be scoped to your classes iPads.

  8. iStation (reading only PK-8)

    1. This can run on a Chromebook or on an iPad.  There is an app already installed on all iPads

    2. The district has already downloaded student information into your classes.

    3. If you do not know how to login and print off student login cards, please ask Michelle or Rene.

    4. To reset school (if you chose the wrong school domain, the logins will not work) type CONFIG for both the login and password on a chromebook. This will allow you to choose your school again.  On an iPad there is a reset in Settings.

      1. If you type "topeka" when it asks for school domain, you'll see a list of all Topeka schools with accounts.  Choose the one for Highland Park Central.

  9. Cloning computers

    1. ALL computers (except Chromebooks) will have to be updated at some point this semester.  This will WIPE everything and set it back to default).  For student devices, this shouldn't be a big deal since there's not much customization or information saved locally.  Staff should be working to get that stuff saved or backed up so that you can let us know when you're ready for your staff devices to be cloned.

    2. Having your staff and/or student computers (NOT Chromebooks) cloned will likely fix issues you may be having with certain sites.  Some sites (for example, Go Noodle), may come up as blocked.

    3. Cloning will update the launcher, install the new Microsoft Office applications and update the profile policies and permissions so that you have access to everything that students and/or staff members should be allowed access to.

    4. Certain software will need to be reinstalled

      1. Kagan Tools and other Kagan software

      2. Printers

      3. ActivInspire (I've updated the installation directions on my website).  Make sure that your "sound" button on the left side of your board is "ON" so that it will install the sound drivers

      4. Software for AverMedia document cameras

  10. LanSchool

    1. Rene can help you get LanSchool installed on teacher and/or student computers/Chromebooks so that you can more closely monitor student use of the computers.

End-of-Tear Technology Checklist

posted May 22, 2017, 3:24 PM by Michelle York   [ updated May 24, 2017, 8:34 AM ]

Here is a link to the district's newly edited End-of-Year Technology Checklist.  

When you get to the link, it's set to "view only".  You can either print it out directly and hand write on it or you can type on it and then print it.  If you want to type on it first, you'll need to do one of two things.  You can go to File>Make a Copy or go to File>Add to My Drive.  Both will do essentially the same thing and add a blank version of the document to your Google Drive for you to type on.

Once the two-page form is filled out, you may bring the form to me to check and I can then sign the appropriate spot on your building end-of-year checklist.
  • The first page was created so that you could list barcodes of all of your room technology as well as make note of any equipment with which you know there are technology issues.  This would be the type of thing for which you normally fill out my electronic form.  I then usually put a track-it into the district if it's something that I can't fix.  Feel free to use my electronic form (instead of page 1) if you'd like.  This would be for things like 
    • computers that won't boot up, 
    • projectors that have a "clean filter" warning showing.  There is one type of filter warning that can be ignored and turned off.  See the following document on how to check and disable the Activinspire filter warning.
    • iPads with problems (headphone jacks broken off inside, broken cables on charging carts, etc.)
    • Laptops with problems.
  • The top half of page 2 has information about the classroom closeout.  Several of the items say to store "according to building procedure".  I will detail those below.
    • Securely store Promethean pens & projector remote according to building procedure.  
      • These should be stored in the clear box (with green handles) that should be in each room.  Also in here can be the iPad dongles that allow you to plug the iPad in to project on the screen. Please remove batteries from remotes.  The box looks like the one pictured below.  Please store this box in your locked closet/cabinet.
    • Securely store all hubs & chargers/power supply with the device according to building procedure. (Mark chargers/power supply with sharpie or paint pen (could also use masking/paint tape) so we can identify what device it goes to.
      • The hub that goes with voters/activslates are generally left in the USB port on the left side of the top of the Promethean board.  If you don't have activoters or an activslate, you may not have a hub.
    • Remove all batteries from all devices (remotes, clickers)
      • Remotes and batteries are stored in green-handled container as seen above.  ActiVoters/Clickers may already have the batteries removed from last year unless you've used them this year.  These are generally stored in the locked closet/cabinet.
    • Securely store document cameras, cords & other peripherals according to building procudures.
      • Document cameras and their power cord should be stored in your locked closet/cabinet.
  • Bottom half of page 2
    • If you're taking laptops/iPads home with you for the summer, please remember to fill out the District Property Checkout Form as stated in this section.  I sent an email last week if you did not have this form on file with the district.
    • If you are NOT taking devices (laptop/iPad) home for the summer, please turn them into Jan for storage over the summer.  Please make sure that you leave the charging plugs/cables with the device so they're stored together over the summer.  I may ask about this when you turn in your form.
    • If you are transferring to another 501 building, you may take the laptop with you.  You MAY NOT take the iPad as those were purchased with building funds and will be used for a new HPC teacher text year.  
  • Other miscellaneous technology close-out
    • If you log into Chrome and save bookmarks, you also have the option to have it save usernames/passwords for the websites that you visit.
    • If you cover your projector with a plastic trashbag, it will keep dust, dirt and cleaning material particles off of the lens and filter over the summer.
    • VGA Splitters-These can be left connected to computer tower equipment on your desk or stored in the closet with the document cameras.  A VGA splitter looks like the photo below
      • To make it easier to hook up equipment next year, I always suggest that you label each cord and plug with a number/letter/sticker so that next year you (or a new teacher) just have to match the labels. I would do this on the back of the computer, plugs on the document camera and plugs on the splitters.  Below is an example of one component and it's labels.

    End of Year Notes (from May's TA Meeting)

    posted May 16, 2017, 2:14 PM by Michelle York   [ updated May 17, 2017, 12:27 PM ]

    • IT is working on an End-of-Year Technology checkout form for each staff member to fill out.  As soon as we get the updated version, I will send you a copy.  There will be some items that specify that things be done "according to building procedures".  I'll let you know about any specific building procedures after I see the updated form.  
    • I will NOT have teachers fill out the normal end-of-year inventory with barcodes this year.  Jan has inventoried some of the equipment and we have had a lot of the student technology rotating in and out--especially as I've been working on getting old monitors and towers moved out.  I will likely do a new/updated inventory next year.
    • Please label all technology with painters tape and include your last name & room number.  I have painter's tape if you need to borrow some.  Painter's tape removes more easily than masking tape.  
    • Remember that almost all technology will remain in the current classroom even if the teacher moves rooms.  About the only exception to this is the teacher's desktop computer and their checked out laptop/iPad.  Please ask me if you feel there is another exception.
    • If you are leaving the district and need to save your Google files, please follow the directions at the following link: Removing Google files--Tip sheets on how to take out Google data information associated with your account.
    • Elementary student gmail--There are discussions happening about whether elementary students should have access to Gmail.  Travis can turn this off for students having trouble with cyber bullying or other issues involving Gmail.
    • All students AND staff should change their password before summer so that your current password does not expire over before you return in the fall.  I've already sent an email about student passwords, as well as a card to write information for next year's teacher.
    • Wireless issues on Chromebooks- Have students close their Chromebooks as they travel through the building.  They can even turn off the device and then restart when they arrive at their new location.  This may help their device pick up the new WiFi access point more successfully.
    • All Chromebooks should be restarted at least once a week.  Not just closed and put to sleep or logged out--a full restart.
    • Wipe users from Chromebook at end-of-year
      • Step-Sheet -- Remove the account of the student on the last day of using the chomebooks.--shut down for summer
      • Video
    • Summer PD Schedule--I'm not sure if this is on My Learning Plan yet, but hopefully it will be soon.  
      • 2 half-day sessions each day--Not as much training as originally planned--no training in July.
        • June 5-8 -- iPad Bootcamp (I believe that you'll sign up for all 4 AM sessions or all 4 PM sessions) (1 hour college credit)
        • June 12-14 & 16--Chromebook Bootcamp (again, probably the same as above--attend all AM sessions or all PM sessions) (1 hour college credit)
        • June 19th & 22--PearDeck (4 half-day sessions--it's the same thing each time, so you would sign up for 1 of the 1/2 day sessions only.
    • iPad & Chromebook storage for the summer
      • All iPad carts should be stored in the Media Center over the summer (do not need to be plugged in).  Make sure that all iPads are locked in the cart.  Even though the cart won't be plugged in, I would plug in each iPad into it's charger so that it's ready for the cart to be plugged in next year.
      • All Chromebooks should be locked in the carts.  Chromebook carts should be brought to the media center also (carts do not need to be plugged in)
    • Remove batteries from all technology equipment (remotes, Promethean voters, etc.

    Using LanSchool "Classes" to monitor students computers and chromebooks

    posted Mar 30, 2017, 2:40 PM by MICHELLE YORK   [ updated Mar 31, 2017, 9:22 AM by Michelle York ]

    Many of our teachers (at least 3rd-5th and some primary) have had LanSchool installed on their teacher computers.  LanSchool is an application that allows the teacher to monitor the students on their computer and chromebook devices.  Ms. Tegethoff uses it every day and a few others have used it on occasion.  It's especially handy during state assessments.  Chromebooks have the application installed automatically and computers/laptops have to have the application installed by either Rene or me.  Below is some information about how to set up your class lists so that LanSchool will be able to "find" all of your students' computers/chromebooks.  I've also included a link to a quick tutorial about the basics of LanSchool.

    UPDATE (3/31/17)-Travis said that he doubts it could be used to view Chromebooks during testing since they're not actually logged into their accounts.  I may attempt it during testing, but it's unlikely to be able to find their device since there is no login name to search for.  

    Misc. Information from the March 27, 2017 TA Meeting

    posted Mar 27, 2017, 7:59 PM by MICHELLE YORK   [ updated Mar 27, 2017, 8:01 PM ]

    Here are some of the highlights from our TA meeting today.
    • Network Logins A-D-
      • If your network/Google username begins with A-D, your network account was accidentally reset over break.  René and I spent time today trying to make sure that you were able to get logged back in after the reset.  If your username has a number at the end, I've put in a track-it to have the accounts checked and remapped to make sure that they're tied to your specific account and not another staff member in the district.  I'll let you know as soon as I hear that they've fixed any issues.
    • Copy Machines
      • Our copy machines will be replaced sometime by the end of April.  That's the only time-line that I'm aware of.  AFTER this happens, you will need to do the following
        1. First, uninstall the current printers by going to the start menu>Devices & Printers, right-clicking on the printers and choosing "remove device"
        2. Then reinstall the new printers from the map. (Directions for installing printers and adding user codes can be found here.
        3. Make sure that you remove the old printer first.  It will not allow you to have an old and new printer with the same name.
    • K-2-iPads--An update to the iOS was just released today.  You will likely see a pop-up at some point to update.  This will require it to download and then reboot the iPads.  I'm not sure how large the download is or how long it will take, so you may want to run them all at once after school unless you want to walk your kids through it all at once.  If you don't see the prompt, you can go into Settings>General>Software Update and run it from there.  It should be 10.3.
    • PowerTeacher Pro
      • The district will be upgrading to PowerTeacher Pro before next school year.  They will turn it ON for an entire school at a time.  Once it's turned on, it will migrate all of your classes to the PTP (PowerTeacher Pro).  If classes aren't migrated before next year, you will not be able to copy assignments from the previous version of gradebook.
      • They've said that teachers should enjoy this new version of gradebook since it will no longer rely on Java!  Yay!  We will no longer have to worry about updating Java just to run the gradebook.  My understanding is that it will be entirely web-based (instead of "installing" and launching it as a separate app), which means that you'll be able to access everything from other devices and iPads.
      • René and I figure that we'll ask Karen Cline to come and do a 20-30 minutes "training" on the new version sometime in the beginning of May.  That will let everyone finish state assessments before we make any changes.  As that time gets closer, we'll check with Kelley and set up a time.
      • I believe that Karen will be doing a training session on April 28th (for 3rd-5th grade teachers who have the opportunity for a "choice" session).  She will also likely have a training session during summer PD.
    • PowerSchool side note.  If you would like to have your PowerSchool login (username) changed to match your network username (the old system cut it off part way through the name), please let me know and we will ask Karen to make that change.
    Please let me know if you have any questions about the above information.  

    Using this Blog

    posted Mar 2, 2016, 9:46 PM by Michelle York

    I am going to try to add all important tech info to this blog.  If I've sent out information in email that I felt was important for everyone to hear, I'll try to remember to post the same information to this blog.

    We'll see how well this works.  I believe that I've enabled comments so that you can add comments/questions that you have.  This will allow other staff members to see those questions/answers/comments.

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