Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Winter Sessions for Tech 1 & Tech 2

Tech 1 Blended: Tools and Applications 
Wednesday, January 22, 2014 4pm at Niles West 

This face to face course will take you through activities that will introduce you to the tools of the new Internet: Web 2.0. These tools are bringing our kids in touch with the entire world through social networking, wikis, video, podcasting, and gaming sites. Each session there is a new set of tools for you to learn about, experiment and use. Content will include an examination of technology integration using various application tools, instructional software, productivity software, and Web 2.0 / Internet. Participants will also identify relative advantages for choosing tools and applications and resources to draw upon in developing their own technology integration activities.

Tech 2 Blended: Technology Integration, Tools, Strategies, and Assessment

Thursday, January 23, 2014 4pm at Niles West

This is an intensive course where participants will develop an online delivery based learning unit for/with their students and a plan to work with other educators in their school/district to disseminate what they have learned. The project work focuses on creating an environment where students direct their own learning to investigate authentic / real-world issues using the Internet to communicate and collaborate.

To register, follow this link to 219 Univeristy: https://sites.google.com/a/d219.org/219-university/

Upcoming Tech Talks

Resources for these, and all, TechTalks are available at the Tech Talks BlogThe schedule is posted on the Blog. To add the PDC Calendar to your account, copy this link and add by URL into the "Other Calendars" in your D219.org Calendar.

Week of 1/06   Refresh your Website for the New Year (Semester)
Time for a New Year refresher? Dust off that old site...  Add presentations, documents, change the layout to make your site more inviting and easier to navigate. Modify the sidebar, hyperlink to google docs, embed videos and picture slideshows and insert gadgets.

Week of 1/13 Final Exams

Week of 1/20   Using Google Calendars
Leverage the power of Google calendars to improve student and parent access to assignments and events! Create new calendars for classes or clubs and embed or link to them on your website. Students will be able to subscribe to the calendar so they see it on their Calendars and can elect to receive email reminders to keep on top of their work!  We will review settings and notifications that will help you and your students stay on top of everything.   

Week of 1/27  Mastery Manager Refresher
Review CFA data or design assessments for 2nd semester. This session will help you navigate the reporting options available to examine your students’ achievement or set up new paper-based or online assessments.

Week of 2/03  Plagiarism and Google Docs
Students are already creating and sharing in Google Apps. Take it a step further and use these tools to check for Plagiarism. Use Google Search, Google Scholar and the document’s own Revision History to determine if any text has been plagiarized in just minutes.

Week of 2/10  Automating data collection with Google Forms - Doctopus and  Autocrat: You have your Google form; you have your data; now what?   Using these Google Scripts you can have an email message sent out automatically, along with a merged document containing the form data and an assortment of other actions automatically occur. Just insert and stand back!.

Reminder about Quarantined Messages:

As of December 5, emails are no longer being filtered through the D219 Message Center - the Quarantine Archive. This means that you no longer receive the Quarantine Summary emails. 

So where are all these emails going? All suspicious, fraudulent or potentially dangerous emails are being filtered into your Spam folder within your D219 Gmail account.

If your Spam folder is not displaying, click on the Settings gear  and choose Settings. The second tab under Settings is Labels. All the system labels are listed on the top. Make sure the Show setting is selected for the Spam folder. Your Spam folder will now display right under your Draft folder. 

News from the AAL Help Desk

Anywhere, Anytime Learning

Student Help Desk

Our Tech Leaders have another great site to add to your Technology Resource List:

If you are a fan of Prezi, but find it a bit too complicated, then Popplet is for you. Create presentations that are embedded with videos, pictures, and concepts without the rotational effect that can be distracting to some students.  Share, embed, or export project.

As usually, we post our finds in our resources list on the AAL Student Help Desk site: AAL Resources, sort by type or title to find what you need.  

Monday, December 30, 2013

Exemplars and Resources: Video Projects as Presentations

Video Projects as Presentations
As video and multimedia becomes an increasing important and standard medium for information in our lives and the lives of our students, it is important for us to help our students develop the skills necessary to generate powerful presentations. Crafting and delivering a powerful message incorporates a wide variety of skills our students already need to succeed in today's world including ; research, critical thinking, writing, and production.

One of the issues teachers often face when developing an assignment involving student generated multimedia projects is finding exemplars. Drew Skau, a Visualization Architect at Visual.ly and a PhD Computer Science Visualization student at UNCC with an undergraduate degree in Architecture, has compiled the following list of The 20 Most Powerful Storytelling Videos of 2013

While these presentations are obviously of high caliber, generated by talented individuals, they serve as  amazing examples of what we want our students to emulate.

If you are looking for additional tools for multimedia projects for your students, consider the following:

  • Prezi   A web-based presentation tools that offers a seamless single canvas. There are 42 new easy-to-use templates, sixteen new fonts, and the ability to bold and italicize to help emphasize the key parts to their audience.
  • WeVideo Google Chrome App, WeVideo allows users to make video content both on and offline. Projects are stored and accessible through the Google Drive.
  • Pixlr Editor Google Chrome App, fully web-based photo editor. Some of the tools included are, red eye reduction, spot heal tool, drawing tools, clone tools, sharpen and blur tools and many more.
  • Sound Cloud A Google Chrome App, the ability to record, upload and share (privately or publicly) make SoundCloud a great, easy to use tool.

Student Digital Literacy Scores to be Posted to the ILP

 “Advances in technology have drastically changed the way we interact with the world and each other. The digital age requires that we understand and are able to harness the power of technology to live and learn.” --- ISTE 2012
Part of this understanding is allowing students to gauge their technology literacy.  At the start of the second semester, the class of 2017, and all subsequent classes, will have their Atomic Learning digital literacy scores posted in the “Scores and Awards” section of the ILP. These scores help determine areas of proficiency and deficit, providing a baseline for student improvement over the next four years. Students will have four more opportunities throughout their high school career to complete the assessment and improve their final score. The scores are displayed in their Individual Learning Plan (ILP), which can be printed out and used to supplement their college portfolio.

Students viewing their Digital Literacy scores in the ILP will have access to a host of online resources to help them improve their scores in addition to services provided by the Tech Leaders at the AAL Helpdesk.

The Atomic Learning Digital Literacy Assessment questions are aligned with  ISTE Standards (formerly the NETS) for students , which are being adopted all over the world.

“Living in a digital world, the importance of technology is indisputable.” --- ISTE 2012

Get the Most of Google Apps for Education

Google has developed a series of online courses so that you can get the most out of Google Apps for Education. These are self-paced courses are available for anywhere anytime learning and consist of videos, toolkits, and reflection questions designed to build your skills.
Here are the courses available, today;

Understand how to implement and use Google Apps for Education in your schools and classrooms.

Learn tips and tricks for managing Gmail to save you time and resources.

Improve your use of Google Drive to help facilitate creation and collaboration in your classroom.

Hone your browsing skills as you explore how to bring the power of the web to your school.

Course designed by: Chris Bell and Rich Kiker and reposted here from Google 

NICE Mini Conference at Niles North

The 2014 Northern Illinois Computing Educators (NICE) MiniCon is scheduled for Saturday, January 25, 2014.

40+ breakout sessions

The details...
WHERE?  Niles North High School (Skokie, IL)
WHEN?  Saturday, January 25, 2014, from 8:00 am-1:30 pm
HOW MUCH? Free for Niles Township High School Staff - Bring Your Picture ID for admission 
otherwise, it is $5 at the door.  
WHY? Because you’ll be a part of the best local, inexpensive, and immediate professional development experience around. CPDUs available at the end of the day. 

Friday, December 20, 2013

E-mail from Sal Kahn

I received this really cool e-mail from Sal Kahn that I want to share with you.

Hi guybal,
When I first started Khan Academy I managed to pull the site together with some pretty rusty coding skills I had picked up in high school and college. The founders of Facebook, Instagram, and Google all similarly started their journeys with just one line of code. In the last week over 15 million people tried out coding for the first time as part of the 'Hour of Code' - would you like to join them? At the end of your hour, you'll have coded your very own greeting card to send to someone this holiday season:
Coding may seem a little scary to some, but we’ve made a fun hour of coding that’ll have you building things in a snap. What is coding you ask? It is simply writing instructions for computers and the web to make cool apps, programs, and websites, like Angry Birds or Microsoft Word. Now you can be part ofcreating our technology future, not just living in it! Anyone can learn.
If you can type, you can code:
Mark Zuckerberg on why to learn to code
I can’t wait to see what you make. Hack away, future Zuckerberg!
Founder of Khan Academy, lover of code

P.S. Anyone can code - including you! Spend a few minutes checking out the lesson and make a holiday card for someone special.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Nix the "9" When Dialing Out

Are you making a lot of external calls? Give your fingers a (tiny) rest, and eliminate the first digit - the 9 - from your dialing pattern. Effective immediately, you can simply dial 1-847-xxx-xxxx to reach your intended destination, just like you do from your landline at home. In case of an emergency, dial 911. The old dialing patterns (with the 9 prefix) will continue to be active until July 1, 2014.

Added bonus: Missed calls from external sources displayed by your IP phone can now be returned by simply pressing "Dial". No more tinkering with "Edit Dial", arrows, and digits to add.

Background information: Dialing "9" was introduced at D219 many years ago due to the need to differentiate a 7-digit local area call from a 4-digit internal call. Since both could potentially start with a "2" or a "3", it was impossible for the system to know the caller's intent. By requiring a "9" for outside calls, the intent was made obvious. However, a few years back, Skokie became part of an "area code overlay"; this occurred when area code 224 was introduced in the same geographical area as 847. Ever since then, dialing either "1-847" or "1-224" in front of every 7-digit local number was mandatory. As a result, since none of our internal numbers start with "1", we can safely eliminate the "9" prefix and the system will still distinguish between internal calls that start with 2 or 3 and external calls that start with 1.

For any follow-up questions about this article, please contact Sebastian at x3964

Financial System Upgrade to eFinancePLUS

District 219 has switched over to an upgraded version of our financial and human resources management system, eFinancePLUS (from 4.3 to 5.0).  The system, now web-based, ensures that the district will continue to run payroll and other business office tasks.

For District 219’s eFinancePlus training/resources:

For more information on the eFinancePlus system:  

Solving Embedded Video Playback Woes

D219TV is chock-full of useful videos. The Tech Department has been made aware of playback issues with D219TV-hosted videos on Google sites, and have found a work-around.

By posting the video to YouTube, you can then embed the video onto your webpage for smooth playback. If you don’t own the original videos, contact the person listed in the “Submitted By” section of the video details to obtain the file and generate the YouTube URL.

To embed the video into your Google webpage, enter “Edit Page” mode, and then select “Insert,” then click the “YouTube” button. Follow the prompts to paste the URL and make any adjustments to the embedding options you’d like.

Tip from the AAL Helpdesk

Student Help Desk

Our Tech Leaders are always on the lookout for resources for teachers and peers.  If you like Khan Academy, here is another site to add to your Technology Tool Belt.

Search for resources by subject, state standard, and grade level.  

“A non-profit foundation that creates and aggregates high quality, curated STEM content.”

Also, check out our revised website, designed for ease of use and to be more mobile-friendly. Just about everything you need to know about the AAL program is available on our site.

Changes to the Quarantine Archive Email System

At the end of the school day on Thursday, December 5th, emails will no longer be filtered through the D219 Message Center (Quarantine Archive), and you will no longer receive the Quarantine Summary emails.  After that date, all suspicious, fraudulent, or potentially dangerous emails will get filtered into your Spam folder within your D219 Gmail account.  That will now be the single place to look for those types of emails.  

If you want to keep any of your quarantined emails, then please log into the D219 Message Center (Quarantine Archive), from www.d219.org, and be sure to “Deliver” them to your inbox.  At the end of the day on Thursday, December 5th, that link will also be removed from www.d219.org, so please plan accordingly.

Changes to Google’s Terms of Service

The most significant change to Google’s TOS is the automatic inclusion of your Google+ profile information in their Shared Endorsements feature. This new feature connects you with those in your circles who have similar interests by displaying names and profile pics next to reviews and comments to put a more personal stamp on the products and services you may be investigating.

“Feedback from people you know can save you time and improve results for you and your friends across all Google services, including Search, Maps, Play and in advertising. For example, your friends might see that you rated an album 4 stars on the band’s Google Play page. And the +1 you gave your favorite local bakery could be included in an ad that the bakery runs through Google. We call these recommendations shared endorsements, and you can learn more about them here.” From Google’s Policies and Principles, Summary of Changes page

There is no way to opt out of this except to delete your Google+ profile. If you have not yet activated your Google+ profile, then this does not affect you. However, if you have set up your Google+ profile, and no longer want it, then follow these steps to remove the account and related features:

  • Scroll to the bottom to the “Account Management” heading.  
  • Click on the "Delete profile and remove related Google+ features." link.

Be Mindful of Bandwidth Usage

Each year we’ve increased the amount of bandwidth that reaches our campuses in support of our one-to-one program, however, we do not have an unlimited supply.

If you’re noticing a slow-down of connectivity speed, it is likely due to users (not just students, but faculty and staff) taxing the system with downloads and streaming media. We ask that you not stream music or videos, or download movies, books, etc during school hours in order to provide students with first-priority access to valuable online resources.

Feel free to access these resources outside of school hours, and store them on your J drive for use during lessons.

Also, be mindful that anytime you use District 219 tech resources, you are bound by the AUP.

We will continue to increase bandwidth, however, doing so will not eliminate the possibility of congestion. Look at our bandwidth like our expressways. We’ve exponentially increased capacity, yet there are still bottlenecks and rush hour traffic. The District’s bandwidth expansion is only as broad as our service provider’s capabilities, and will never exceed demand. With the addition of innumerable mobile devices, there are several thousand connections made each hour.

NROC / HippoCampus Updates

New Content Almost Here!
Last month, we announced the inclusion of new content from STEMbite, Arizona's Phoenix College, and NASA. This month, we are pleased to announce FIVE more collections coming to HippoCampus in early 2014:
Virginia Historical Society
U.S. History videos from Virginia covering topics such as Jamestown, the Civil War ("Battle of the Ironclads," "John Brown's Raid," and "Grant vs. Lee: The Wilderness to Petersburg"), and more.
Moments in American History
A collection of 38 short videos with overviews of key topics in American History, from Francisco Coronado's early explorations to the Gulf Wars of the 1990s. Content is divided into four time periods: 1492-1750; 1750-1865; 1865-1945; and 1945-present. Includes on-camera interviews with academic experts as well as stills of photographs and famous historical artwork to help bring the subject to life for students.
National Geographic Creative
This collection includes 30 videos and two animations on environmental Science for our Earth Science page, plus eight videos on U.S. History and, for the first time on HippoCampus, nine titles for the topic of World History. Environmental Science titles include, "The Greenhouse Effect," "The Ocean Floor," and "Climates of the World." U.S. History titles include, "Excavating Jamestown," "Juneteenth," and "World War II: The impact of the GI Bill." World History titles include, "Mesopotamia," "The Impact of the Columbian Exchange on Europe and America," and "Feudal Societies: The Impact of the Feudal System in Europe."

From the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration come two series for our Earth Science subject page. The 26 Ocean Today live-action videos explore topics such as lightning, coral reefs, ice in the ocean, tsunamis, marine debris, and other timely topics. The 24 Environmental Visualization Lab videos each feature an interview with a different NOAA scientist on their particular subject of expertise, from tsunami digital elevation modeling to monitoring space weather.

Why U
Join the fictitious and animated Professor von Schmoehawk as he introduces foundational concepts in math--the why behind the math, as opposed to the how behind solving problems. These 55 animations for pre-algebra and algebra cover topics such as the dawn of numbers, functions, and the Cartesian coordinate system, in a clear, lively and fun presentation style.

New Video Tutorial

In Part II of "How To Make a Playlist," Project Manager Beth Pickett takes a brief look at fine-tuning a HippoCampus playlist, including adding details and descriptions.

Friday, October 25, 2013

News from the Student Help Desk

The Tech Leaders have been working on repairing all kinds of devices, and they want teachers and staff to know the following items:

  1. If we can’t repair a device within a class period, students have the option of taking a loaner netbook. Please know that no student should be without a device because his/her device is “in the shop.” They can get loaners if they need them.

  1. We’ve created a how-to video for students and parents who want to know how to use their insurance policy. It’s important that students be reminded that it’s never too late to buy the insurance, and that the insurance policy is something they should hang on to and learn how to use.

  1. We’ve also created a video explaining how to reconnect a Chromebook to the AAL 5G network after a powerwash. Chromebooks have a built-in reset feature, and using it erases the settings for the 5G network. Anyone can learn this simple technique to connect to the fast 5G network.

  1. We’d like to remind seniors and juniors that we have updated images for their netbooks, and that we would be happy to reimage their machines with newer, faster software.