Thursday, March 24, 2011

D219 TV

Starting in April 2011, District 219 will move all video-on-demand services to a new site called D219TV. This new service utilizes an open-source video server called Kaltura, which offers many new features benefitting classroom video users. We believe that you will find this new IPTV to be useful, customizable, and much friendlier for teachers who wish to upload video content for classroom use. More detailed tutorials will be available soon, but take a look at what is already built.


Reminder - Move your SharePoint Files

The SharePoint server will be shut down for good at the end of the school year. We have been encouraging faculty and staff to move their files off SharePoint and recreate that space as a Moodle or Google site.  

We understand that some departments rely heavily on SharePoint and moving several years’ worth of files is a huge undertaking. Please visit the PDC for direction on how to quickly move your SharePoint files to another location.

Spring Cleaning

There are just a few weeks left in the school year and now is the time to do a little “spring cleaning.” Each summer the computers are wiped clean, inside and out, so it is important to move any files you may have stored on your hard drive to your J-drive, back them up to a thumb drive or CD. Once your computer is at the Help Desk for re-imaging, our  technicians will not back up your files for you. Please do not wait until the last minute to clear out your hard drive.  If you need assistance, please visit the PDC.

While you are in the mode of cleaning up drives; review the contents of your J-Drive. If there are files you haven’t used in a while, burn them to a CD or thumb drive and delete them off the network to regain that valuable storage space. OR, begin to move items up to “the cloud” and your Google Docs storage space.  

Make sure that you complete the “Request-for-Feedback” form, when it comes around, to ensure your list of installed software has been submitted to the Tech Dept.

Thank you

Are you ready for a new browser? IE8 /Firefox 4/ Chrome

The other day I felt strangely “outdated” when, of all the people around the table, I was the only one not using Chrome. A few days later I was reminded that Firefox was perhaps the most popular browser among our faculty but I also know that IE (Internet Explorer) is widely used around our District.  Today, I write to you using the new Firefox 4 (it has been out for 4 days and it already claims over 9 million downloads!).

The choice of what browser we end up using in our daily lives is a personal preference and we stick with it. But, by doing so, perhaps we fail to test different waters and may be missing some newer browser features that could enhance our Internet experience. For the next year, you will be at the driver’s seat. Your desktop will have 3 different browsers installed and it will be up to you to try them and make your choice. We will install IE8, for this is the “works better” browser for the new SIS ( Student Information System). You will also have a newer version of Firefox which promises to be more agile than the version that we use today. Finally there is Google Chorme, which is a the perfect companion for Google docs and email.

Not sure which way to go? I suggest you visit and watch some previews and demonstration videos of these browsers and their features.

Software Needs for 2011-2012 - Request-for-Feedback

In past years, shortly before the end of the school year, we asked you to let us know what software you will need for the following year. This year, we a inquiring early, hoping to give everyone enough time to provide feedback. So, if you are one of  those users who have additional software installed in your classroom, office, or Lab, please be sure to fill the “Request-for-Feedback” D219 form that will be sent out shortly after spring break. Please remember that the intention of this form is to document your current, installed applications they they can be re-installed on your computer in the fall.  If you will need new software for next year, then you need to follow the formal Tech Request route.

Be on the look out for the email, containing the “Request-for-Feedback” form.

Windows 7 Coming to D219 Summer 2011 - April Update

Over the spring break we will deploy Windows 7 on 14 workstations in each IRC.  These computers have been pushed ahead of the district-wide deployment, with the intention of introducing our students to Adobe Premier Elements (a video editing tool) and the new HD Flip cameras. The ongoing pilots in the two AS&T labs have been very successful. Those computers will also move to a full Windows 7 deployment.

Upgrading Windows XP to Windows 7 does not include updates to other applications, we are currently working on cataloging and testing dozens of applications that the district uses regularly, building a list of stable and unstable application in a Windows 7 environment.  A “Request-for-Feedback” form will be sent to all of you, which will help us build an applications list for next year. For more information on this please read the article “Software Needs for 2011-2012 - Request-for-Feedback”.

Additionally, we are researching and testing free software, updates, and upgrades that are compatible with the District’s needs.

Quarantined Messages

Almost everyday an email message is delivered to your email account from []. This email contains messages that were quarantined as potential junk or virus-infected messages and have not been sent to your inbox. It is good practice to check the D219 Quarantine Summary message before deleting it. There may be messages contained in this summary that are important.

How to Remove Messages from Quarantine:
  • Open the Quarantine Summary message.
  • A list of Quarantined messages will display.
  • Select the message that you would like to be delivered by clicking on the Subject of the message.
  • The Message Center login screen will display. Enter your d219 password.
  • The list of all Quarantined messages will display.
  • Click the Deliver box at the right end of the message.

  • The message will now be delivered to your inbox.
  • If you want to add this sender to your approved list of senders so that these messages will not be Quarantined in the future, click the small white box to the left of the message and click Approved Selected Senders.

  • This sender will now be on your Approved Senders List.
  • The list of approved senders/domains can be accessed through the Message Center by clicking on My Settings in the upper right hand corner of screen.

Summer Plans?

It’s not too early to be thinking about your summer plans. Summer is the time many of you work on prepping courses for the upcoming year. If you are looking for ways to improve your courses explore these three possibilities:
  1. Moodle -Moodle provides teachers with a means to create differentiated learning opportunities for students, where posting course resources, multimedia content, online discussion and collaboration can go on apart from other groups as needed, thereby allowing for a more individualized approach to student learning.
  2. NROC your course - The National Repository of Online Courses has content already developed in Moodle for over 12 courses and a vast repository of multimedia resources available at both the NROC Respository and HippocCampus. Wehave loaded additional content from other sources in the Utah and Moodle Share repositories. Any of the content in these courses is able to be imported into your Moodle course!
  3. Flip you course - Check out how these instructors are increasing the amount of time they spend working directly with students by making content/lecture materials online.
  4. Stop by the Professional Development Center or contact Phil Lacey if you would like additional information or help implementing any of these ideas.

Tech Leaders Discuss Netbook Tips

The AAL Tech Leaders have assembled a short video called Word To The Wise: Ten Things You Should Know About Your Netbook. In this short film, they discuss ten practical steps freshmen can take to have a better netbook experience. The information is based on the most typical kinds of problems that the Tech Leaders solve at the Help Desk. If you’re using netbooks with students, it might be a good investment in time to review this video with your classes. The Tech Leaders encourage all teachers to suggest topics for future videos and workshops.

Managing Files in Google Docs List: Search & Sort

Having trouble finding documents?  Find documents quickly using the docs search field, and change the display in the docs list with the Sort by option.  

Search - type part of the name of the document in the search field.  Documents with the letter sequences will begin to display immediately.  Continue typing to narrow the search if necessary.

Sort by - the default may be set at Priority, not the most recently updated.   Change to last modified or last opened for a date listing, or title for an alphabetical listing.   Also change the View to Details to display the document details in the docs list.

For more help with Google Docs, visit the D219 Google Apps Learning Center page.

Managing Files in Google Docs List: Organize and Hide

Is your Google Docs List becoming cluttered and seemingly unmanageable?  It can be cleaned up easily with a couple of clicks.  Use collections (folders) to organize your documents and remove the clutter by hiding from the home view.
  • Create Collections:
    • Create New➜Collection➜name the collection
  • From the Home view, select the document by clicking to the right of the name.  To select more than one at a time, Ctrl+click on the document name.
  • Click on Actions.  If more than one document is selected, the Actions options will display on the details pane (right side).  
    • Click Organize➜ select the collection(s)➜ Apply Changes.  
    • While the documents are still selected, hide them by clicking Don’t show in home.  That will remove them from the Home view.  Keep in mind, however, that they will remain when viewing All Items.

For more help with Google Docs, visit the D219 Google Apps Learning Center page.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Google’s Newest Way To Easily Build Amazing Charts

Google’s Newest Way To Easily Build Amazing Charts: "

If you’re like me, you don’t have the time to delve into the world of Excel formulas. It’s not that I haven’t tried. I have. It’s just that manipulating the data and then turning that refined data into charts that are actually understandable is, well, I hate it. That’s why I was quite thrilled to find Google’s answer to this problem: ChartTool.

ChartTool is a simple-to-use chart-making service that lets you simply paste in your data and play around with how it looks. It’s never been easier to whip up charts that are actually easy to use and update. In fact, embedding these charts on web pages is quite simple thanks to the embed API.

You can even make QR codes in just a few seconds and quickly get an embed code to add it to your website. While ChartTool does not create as many of those fancy 3-D charts that Excel does (it still makes quite a few), it likely will be able to in the future. However, if you’re in a rush and need to whip up some exact charts without all the fluff, this is the tool for you.

To test out the Visualization API and ChartTools in general, I put it through its paces and created a sample chart with random data (below). If you’d like to take the tool for a spin, head over to ChartTools and start trying it out. I wouldn’t be suprised if Google Docs incorporated this system into an update in the very near future. In the meantime, bookmark ChartTools and enjoy!

The Edudemic Super Happy Fun Chart

Another Edudemic Super Duper Fun Chart

How Cool Is Edudemic?

Heck, you can even make QR codes!