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.