Friday, November 9, 2012

PPS Technology Times - Fall 2012


It’s that time again for…….


The PPS Technology Department would love for you to check out our fall 2012 newsletter.
Featured Articles include:
  • One-to-One Computing: Google Chromebooks
  • The TEC Experience: Success in Transition
  • iTunes U: Delivering Lessons and Teaching from the Cloud
  • Technology and Training Center is now the New Administration Building
  • Meet the Tech Staff: Alyssa Medd
  • Afterschool Tech Trainings Available
It is one of our goals to help keep the PPS staff informed on what is going on in the technology department along with sharing wonderful and exciting ways technology is being used right here in PPS.

If you have a project/event you would like featured in our next newsletter, or know someone who is doing a great job teaching with technology, we would love to hear about it!
Email Jessica Winstanley (jwinstanley@portageps.org) or Paul Murray (pmurray@portageps.org) to share your ideas.

For more information about what is going on in PPS Technology and to access the Common Core app, go to our new PPS Tech Integration Blog at http://ppstechtraining.blogspot.com/.  You can also sign up for trainings and access how to guides at the PPS Tech Integration Website http://techtraining.site.portageps.org

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Tech Tip: Sending Files as PDFs

Tech Tip - PDF vs. DOCX

When emailing or posting documents to websites:
  • If you are trying to reach a broad audience as well as a mobile audience, then consider sharing your documents as PDF and not docx (MS Word).
  • If you are trying to provide a project document that your students can open and edit, then consider docx or Google Docs.
  • To being creating your own PDFs, please see this document.
The Case for PDF:

1. PDF files (read by Adobe Reader) are able to be read on every operating system (windows, apple, etc.)
2. PDF files can be read on every device (computers, smart phones, tablets, etc.)
3. PDF files maintain your intended formatting (fonts, spacing, images, etc.)
4. PDF files cannot be edited by the viewer

When sending out newsletters or other information that are meant to be consumed by the recipient, a PDF file is the perfect choice because you never have to worry about whether or not it can be read.

The Case for DOCX (Word):

1. DOCX files must be read using Microsoft Word. (Not everyone has access to Word or your version of Word.)
2. DOCX files require special (usually costly) programs to be read/edited on cell phones.
3. DOXC files may not be viewed as intended due to font or spacing issues from one OS to another.

When recipients are required to edit or add information to a document then a DOCX file might be the way to go.

AND THE WINNER IS:

PDF FILES!! Most of the information we share is intended for consumption. PDFs are perfect for that purpose.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

K1 is for Young Fives, Kindergarten and 1st Grade Only!


GENERIC ACCOUNTS
Many of you have probably used a generic log in account at some point in time or another.  These accounts include the K1 account, the (BLD)Generic accounts, and the sub accounts.  These accounts were created for very specific purposes.  The K1 accounts are for Young Fivers, Kindergartners  and First Grade students to use until they are trained to use their own student account.
The reason they are called “Generic” is because they are not assigned to a specific person.  Since they are not assigned to a specific person, there can be no accountability for misuse on this account.  This is a big problem when we have students who have lost their network privileges but are still using the network through these generic accounts.  If a child has lost their network privileges, there IS a reason.  These accounts are also not secure because a lot of people have the password to them, so when we have issues with the account, we are unable to track where the problem is originating. 
If you are NOT a Young Fives, Kindergarten, or First Grade teacher, your students should NOT be using the K1 account!!!  If you do have a child using the generic K1 account as it was intended, please make sure to log off the account as soon as they are finished.

We will be changing the K1 account very soon to help reduce the misuse of this account.  If you are a Y5, K or 1st grade teacher you will be notified of the changes and when the changes occur.

STUDENT ACCOUNTS
Student accounts are much different from generic accounts.  These are issued to individual students.  They have restrictions placed on them to keep the students safe while on the school network.  We can easily track what a student is doing on their individual account.  If a problem arises, we have an idea of where we need to go to fix the problem.  Student accounts have much less access than teacher accounts.  Do not let students use your teacher login!  Doing so is not only a serious security risk, but it is also in direct violation of your PPS user agreement.

Students’ usernames are: firstname.lastname
Students’ passwords are a unique five digit number or alpha/numeric code.  They are no longer the last four digits of their student number.  Please help your students to learn their passwords as soon as possible.

Remember it is always safest for everyone to use the accounts assigned to them.  We want to keep the kids safe, your U:drive safe, and our network safe from harm.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

We're off and running!

Welcome back everyone.  We hope you had a relaxing summer and a great first day back with the students. Things have been very busy in the tech department and I wanted to give you a quick heads up on a few things...

  1. New Staff: 
    1. Paul Murray is joining us as our new full time Technology Integration Specialist (replacing Kelly Jensenius who is now the principal at LCE).  Jessica Winstanley will continue as a full Tech Integration Specialist this year as well.
    2. Alyssa Medd is our new Data Systems Analyst.  She has been working hard to get all our data bases set for the new school year including uploads of student data for Performance Series, Delta Math and IXL.  She is also our point person for Gradebook and SIS.
  2. New Tech: The Middle Schools  and CEC are now up and running with their TEC classrooms.  Paul and Jessica will be floating in the buildings the first week to help out as needed.

Friday, May 25, 2012

What are your thoughts on Technology Training here at PPS?

It has been a busy year of training and learning for me this year.  Thank you to everyone who has been infinitely patient with me this year as I figured my way around this new position.  Now that I am a full year in, I am looking for ways to improve technology training here at PPS for next year.  Soooooo, I am coming to the users.  I would really appreciate your feed-back...  Please click on the link and fill out the form to give your opinion on 5 quick questions.

THANKS!  

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Interested in trying a new tech project with your students? Read this first!


In order for us to create 21st century learners, we are looking to the Internet more and more for tools, resources and project ideas.  The Internet is full of great free resources for us to use with our students.  Whenever you begin a new project, it is important to follow these steps:

1.      You need to make sure you read the PPSNet User Agreement and review it with your students. This is something you should do before beginning a technology project as a reminder to students of the expectations. Each student should have this on file already. If you have concerns, check with your office staff. Here is a copy of the agreement: http://www.portageps.org/departments/technology/acceptableuse/aup_revised_2012.pdf
2.      Before starting your project, you should contact Jessica Winstanley and/or Kelly Jensenius to help you solidify your project and/or provide tips and tricks.
3.      As with any project you introduce for the first time, you should always contact your building administrator so they are aware of your plans and aren’t surprised by parent calls.
4.      Next, it is in your best interest to contact the parents to let them know your intentions. This will give them the information they need and alleviate possible concerns. Here is a letter about Google Docs you can personalize, as well as an additional voluntary contract to the PPSNet agreement to help communicate expectations for Google Docs. Feel free to adapt these as needed for the program you are using.
5.      Know your age group.  If you teach students that are under the age of 13, you are not going to want them using websites that require an email address to register for an account.  Free sites that allow us to use them without registering are best for young students - just make sure you check out the site completely for appropriate content and advertisements.  Our Google Apps products are also great tools to use with our younger students.
6.      Start small – you don’t have to use ALL the features of Google Apps or ALL the resources on the web.

If you don’t know WHERE to start but want to, ask for our support! Jessica Winstanley and Kelly Jensenius are available to help guide you. 

Monday, May 21, 2012

Such a great year with Technology!

Coming into this position this year, I had no idea how many wonderful ways teachers at PPS were using technology.  I knew what I was doing in my third grade classroom, but was woefully unaware of what was happening outside my four brick walls.  Needless to say, I have been VERY impressed!  This year I have seen:

  • Skype being used to connect students to the world outside their classroom walls.
  • Google Docs projects that encourage students to share and collaborate - Great 21st century skills!
  • Distance learning experiences that enhance students' understanding of their content.
  • Google sites and blogger to create reports that encourage educational discourse.
  • Multi-media projects that work to enhance students understanding of the classroom concepts by encouraging them to not just know the information, but create something with their knowledge.
  • Teachers creating classroom blogs and websites to enhance communication with their students and parents.
  • Students reviewing for tests and taking assessments via computer programs like Google Forms, PollEverywhere and Pinnacle Instruction.
  • Teacher using their document cameras not just for in class instruction, but also to create narrated e-books, videos of instruction, scans of student work, and much more!
  • Students creating not just consuming information via tools like: Photostory, Prezi, PowerPoint, Inspiration/Kidspiration, Google Docs, Google Sites, Google Blogger, etc.
I have learned so much from all of you this year!  Your dedication to your students, your profession, and using technology in your classroom is amazing.  Thank you for all you do to make PPS a great place to work and learn.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Summer Tech Training Registration Now Available!!!

The summer technology training sign up is now available on the PPS Tech Integration website: http://techtraining.site.portageps.org/
Click on the link, then go to the Summer Training Tab.
Here you will find all the classes offered this summer.  Feel free to register for as many as you would like!

Once you find the class you want to learn more about or register for, click on the title.
This will take you to the registration page.  Read about the class and then register by filling in the form on the page and clicking submit.

NOTE: Please register by June 1!

Any question, email me...
Jessica

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Performance Series Quartile Sheets Updated

I have updated the Performance Series Quartile Sheets to accurately correspond with the NPR/Scaled Scores.  They are on the Performance Series Tab on the PPS Tech Training Website: https://sites.google.com/a/portageps.org/portagetechpd/performance-series
You can also click the Performance Series tab on the blog to be taken directly there.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Google Docs for Teachers How to Guide

Here is a wonderful visual how to guide put together by Richard Byrne from www.freetech4teachers.com for Google Docs (documents, presentations and forms).  It is updated to reflect all the recent changes to Google Docs.  You can ignore the first few pages since you all already have google accounts set up through school (username@portageps.org).


Google Docs for Teachers

After School Tech Training Available for April and May...

There will be several opportunities for technology training in the next month.  They include:

Elementary:
Secondary:

We are also planning a tech training opportunity for after school on May 21 (Elementary) and May 22 (Secondary).  We have not chosen the topic yet, so please comment on this post if you have any suggestions.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Spring Break

Spring break is quickly approaching and a few of you may be wondering how you can access your email or U drive over break.




Don't forget!  You can also access your google docs from any computer that has internet access.  Just go to docs.google.com and sign in using your portage email address and password.

I hope you all have a restful spring break!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Microsoft Word Training Today at 3:15

If you would like to attend Microsoft Word Training today at 3:15, come on over to the TTC Computer lab.  I would love to see you there.  We will be done in time for CIC for anyone who is also involved with that.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Google Docs in the Classroom - Elementary

How are you using Google Docs in your classroom?  What is working well?  What are some shortcomings or things to look out for?

Google Docs in the Classroom - Secondary

How are you using Google Docs in your classroom?  What is working well?  What are some shortcomings or things to look out for?

TECH TIP #22–Google Security

TECH TIP #22 –Security

To: All Portage Public School Employees
From: Technology Integration Specialist
Date: March 5, 2012
Re: How secure are my students using Google Apps?

You’ve been exploring more and more with technology – AWESOME! However, you know that with exploration come questions. These are questions from you, your administrator, students and particularly parents. You need to be prepared with answers especially with chatter of late regarding Google’s new privacy policy and what it means to your web presence and history as you interact with their services. Today’s tech tip should help you.
What is the policy?

Google’s privacy policy changes DO NOT impact our agreement with them in regards to Google apps for staff or student use. That privacy policy remains unchanged. The data belongs to us and Google does not use it as a part of their ad sense or other revenue or research initiatives aimed at commercial gain. The full policy can be found at http://www.google.com/apps/intl/en/edu/privacy.html. It is important for you to read this to educate yourself in their policy. Note: If Google were to modify our agreement, we’d, of course, reevaluate our use of the platform. However, from a privacy policy standpoint, Google apps for education is safe and secure.

So what does that mean to you and your students in the classroom?

  1. You need to make sure you read the PPSNet User Agreement and review it with your students. This is something you should before beginning a technology project as a reminder to students the expectations. Each student should have this on file already. If you have concerns, check with your office staff. Here is a copy of the agreement: https://sharepoint2.portageps.org/buildings/administration/District%20Forms/PPSnew%20User%20Agreement%20Computer%20Agreement-Opt%20Out%20REV%2002282012.pdf
  2. Before starting your Google project, you should contact Jessica Winstanley and Kelly Jensenius to help you solidify your project and/or provide tips and tricks.
  3. As with any project you introduce for the first time, you should always contact your building administrator so they are aware of your plans and aren't surprised by parent calls.
  4. Next it is in your best interest to contact the parents to let them know your intentions. This will give them the information they need and alleviate possible concerns. Here is a letter you can personalize as well as an additional voluntary contract to the PPSNet agreement to help communicate expectations for Google Docs.
    1. https://docs.google.com/a/portageps.org/document/d/1pWfWFzRQzW8c7zLzfQ6resv9VAbfraNCj_ibNBRTkvI/edit
    2.  https://docs.google.com/a/portageps.org/document/d/1s5Ttcxe1vo7jAM0iJEU7hgei3HlXOzvMgwRejt0SU08/edit
  5. Start small – you don’t have to use ALL the features of Google Apps. Don’t know WHERE to start, but want to? Ask for our support! Jessica Winstanley and Kelly Jensenius are available to help guide you.
You can access Tech Tips on Sharepoint at: https://sharepoint2.portageps.org/Curriculum/TechIntegration/Tech%20Tips/Forms/AllItems.aspx

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

TECH TIP #17–Video Only in YouTube

***This tech tip comes to us from www.internet4classrooms.com

Tech Tip: Hide YouTube Spam 
Do you use YouTube videos for education and lessons? Do you notice all the spam and links around the page of your video? You can remove them!

1.       Go to the top URL address bar in your browser window.
2.       Highlight the section that reads "watch?v=" in the video link.
3.       Type the following in its place: /embed/ and hit ENTER. Only your video will appear.









Try it out!

Welcome to the PPS Tech Training and Integration Blog

Hello PPS Staff,
As I was talking with some teachers last night at Grade Group about setting up a blog for their classroom to communicate with parents, I had an epiphany.  I could create a blog for tech training and integration.  I could post tech tips and other links to ways people are using technology in their classrooms.  I know people tend to get sick of receiving hundreds of emails a day, so a blog would let me share information that you could access on your own time when you need it.

I hope this will be a useful tool for us here at PPS!