Friday, May 31, 2013

Search for New Student Information System

District 219 was recently informed by Global Scholar that the company has decided to stop future development of its Student Information System (SIS)  and Pinnacle Instruction (PI and PCA) products. The company states that it is committed to providing support for these products through June 2014, and that it will support the Gradebook for the foreseeable future.

The District is investigating alternative solutions to provide a robust Student Information System and provide the functionality for paper-scanned tests and online assessments.  The District will continue to use our present systems while we begin the implementation phase of the new system. Our goal is to make a recommendation for a new SIS to the Board of Education by the end of this summer.
We recognize and appreciate the time, effort, and energy that everyone has put into learning the current system. Our goal is to integrate a new system that best serves our students and is minimally disruptive to our staff. We will keep you informed as we move forward.

Summer Clean Up

There's a week left of school and the window of opportunity to clean up your computer's hard drive, and network J drive is closing. 

Each summer the computers are wiped clean, inside and out, so it is important to move any files you may have stored on your machine's hard drive to your J-drive, to a thumb drive or burn it to a CD . 

Please do not wait until the last minute. Any files left in your local machine will be lost when we re-image it.

 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, move them up to “the cloud” and your Google Docs storage space. 

Also, help us get your computers ready for next year. Make sure that you complete the “Software Re-install Request for 2013-2014" form to notify us of your software needs for 2013 -2014.

Join the Google+ D219 and Technology Communities

Google+ has been available for faculty, staff, and students for some time. If you don't know what Google+ is, go here to find out: Google+Features

You can stay in touch with colleagues over the summer, just start adding your colleagues to your circles and you can share useful information and tools with just a click.

Join a community that caters to your interests or create your own. Be sure to join the D219 Technology community to stay up-to-date on the netbook deployment and other useful news. 

Switching to Google Chrome

The Tech Dept highly recommends that you use the Google Chrome browser when using Google Apps. For those of you, like the Tech Dept, who are Google Docs devotees, you may have also learned that using another browser, namely Internet Explorer and Firefox, restricts much of Google Apps' functionality.  Using Google Chrome in conjunction with Google Apps provides users with one-click access to innumerable tools with exclusive enhancements. Google Chrome is installed on every computer in the District, all the end-user needs to do is set it up. 

If you're ready to make the switch to Chrome, check out this doc for instructions on how to move to Chrome.

Moodle Update!

Over the summer, District 219 will be upgrading its Moodle server from v1.9+ to 2.4x. This is a significant upgrade as the look and feel will have substantially changed. Your existing courses will be copied over, and all basic features should remain functional. We will do our best to ensure no information is lost by archiving copies of courses as they exist, at the conclusion of the school year.

The Professional Development Center will be hosting sessions on Moodle 2 over the summer, to help with this transition. Additional information will be shared as it is available, such as the changeover date.

To explore what Moodle 2 has to offer, explore the following links:

Moodle2 toolguideforteachers from Gavin Henrick

EBook: Moodle 2 for Teachers

Monday, May 20, 2013

2013 Spring Cleaning Tips From the AAL Help Desk

Cleaning Your Electronic Devices:
Dirt and grime buildup on electronic devices are best combated with the use of a screen cleaning solution and microfiber cloth. Using a commercial kit (found at most stores in the electronics section) reduces the likelihood of damaging your equipment.  **Please avoid using Windex because the chemicals inside are too harsh for LCD screen and will damage the porous areas.

Periodic cleaning of the vents located at the bottom of netbooks and laptops (where the cooling fans are located) with canned air is essential for optimal performance.

Refresh Netbook Image:
Cleaning your netbook involves more than wiping down the outside. Stop by the Help Desk and have your netbook rolled back to that Out-of-the-Box experience. Not only will this speed up your system, it removes all those forgotten an unused programs you downloaded to test.  BEFORE your system is re-imaged, Please backup your files.  Don't know how to do it? Then learn how to do when you drop off your netbook, or schedule an appointment.

Please refer to our AAL Help Desk website for other useful tip or information relating to the netbooks.

New HippoCampus Content

New HippoCampus Content

Coming this Summer to!

New Content: What To Expect

In order to keep pace in a time of rapid economic, social, and personal change, HippoCampus, powered by the NROC Project, is refreshing its content over the coming summer months.

Art of Problem Solving screenshotFirst, we are bringing in over 330 math videos from The Art of Problem Solvingcovering Pre-Algebra, Introduction to Algebra, Geometry, and Probability, plus prep materials for the middle school-level MATHCOUNTS competition and high school-level American Mathematics Competition. These videos have high-production value and systematically cover topics in a relaxed, informal tone. Average video length is short and to the point--a great lecture supplement, brush up for homework, or material introduction!

Dallas County Community College District screenshotNext, the Dallas County Community College District is contributing over 90 videos in English, US History, Sociology and Business. This variety of academically-rigorous material will open up HippoCampus to a wider range of students and educators, bringing the power of digital media to learners of additional subjects. Tell your colleagues!

Helping launch the new English subject page at HippoCampus is a highly interactive series of tutorials in English Language Arts fromSIATechThese cover everything from identifying and correcting sentence fragments, to understanding and interpreting poetry. The 35 videosprovide a solid understanding of fundamental concepts in
English, as well as opportunities for students to practice putting those
concepts to use in a fun and non-threatening environment. At the end of each lesson, students can generate a printable report that shows their work and can be turned in to their teachers for feedback and monitoring of student participation.

Coinciding with this refresh is the end of our distribution agreement with the University of California. Effective June 24th of 2014, UC courses will no longer be distributed through NROC or HippoCampus. This includes U.S. History, American Government, some Physics content, and more. For a complete list of collections and availability, click HERE.

These materials were chosen for their high production value, quality and accuracy. They have all been thoroughly vetted by our editorial team and subject matter experts for academic rigor. 

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Protecting Reputations Online

As we and our students begin thinking of Prom and Summer activities, take a few minutes to view and share this video from Common Craft, the authors of the Plain English tutorials. As people become restless this time of the year, reminders are always valuable... 

Find out how your decisions on sharing things online can impact your life in the real world. 
Learn to think before you click.