Tuesday, December 30, 2014

News from The Student Help Desk

Common Insurance Questions

  • Do I have to buy it at the beginning of the school year?
    • No, you can buy it anytime, but we
recommend purchasing it early.

  • What is the best option to pick?
    • Option 4; $0 deductible.  It is a significant difference of saving between the policies.
  • Can I purchase insurance from a different company other than Worth Ave. Group?
    • Of course! Worth Ave. Group offers our students a cheaper alternative than most companies.  Please feel free to shop around.
  • Where can I learn more about it?

Tech Leader Tips

Recommended Apps to explore while on vacation or relaxing at home during winter break. Look for them in the Chrome web store.

Webpage Screenshot - Chrome Web Store.png

This freeware is for taking screenshots (100% free forever).
This extension is able to capture 100% of both the vertical and horizontal content appearing on any webpage on the Internet.

TL - Anguel Hristozov

Quizlet - Chrome Web Store.png
Quizlet is the #1 flashcards and learning tools site, used by over 7 million students and teachers every month.

TL -  Reema Gandhi

We are always available to answer your question.  Anywhere, Anytime Learning

Student Help Desk

Abraham Sihweil

Room 1500

Craig Phillips
Room 2150

CK-12,org Top Content for 2014

2014 was (another) active year of learning for CK-12 users. Presenting this year's most used content by students and teachers on CK-12. We look forward to 2015!
Top 5 FlexBooks
Earth Science for Middle School
Physical Science for Middle School
Life Science for Middle School
Chemistry Second Edition

Top 10
Science Concepts

1Characteristics of Life
2Prokaryotic and Eukaryotic Cells
3Cell Biology
4Scientific Method
5Rocks and Processes of the Rock Cycle
6Organization of the Human Body
7Food Chains and Food Webs
9Scientific Explanations and Interpretations
10Asexual vs. Sexual Reproduction

Top 10
Maths Concepts

1Faces, Edges, and Vertices of Solids
2Two-Column Proofs
3Basic Geometric Definitions
4Addition of Integers
5Surface Area of Triangular Prisms
6Order of Operations
7Same Side Interior Angles
8Triangle Sum Theorem
9Area and Perimeter of Triangles
10Rectangular to Polar Form for Equations

FREE K-12 Blended Learning Course Starts January 13

If you haven't checked out Coursera yet, what are you waiting for?

"Coursera is an education platform that partners with top universities and organizations worldwide, to offer courses online for anyone to take, for free." 

Among the several hundred courses offered, there is a K-12 Blended Learning course coming up that may be of interest to the faculty at District 219. 

K-12 Blended & Online Learning

"The course is designed to introduce K-12 teachers and the community to blended and online learning. ..." K-12 Blended & Online Learning Course Description

Google Apps Updates

Google is always changing. Some of the adjustments are subtle, others not so much. Some changes are truly useful, others most of us couldn't care less about.

Here are a few of the changes to your Google Apps functionality that you might want to pay attention to:
  • Conversion Support for Additional Office Formats. Google has added fifteen new convertable file extensions for its produtivity suite, giving users the ability to turn MS Office dot, dotx, dotm*, docm*,   xlt, xltx, xltm*, xlsm*,  pot, potx, potm*, pptm*, pps, ppsx, and ppsm* files to Google Docs, Google Sheets, or Google Slides. *macros will be removed upon conversion.  

Solve Chrome Slowdowns

Chrome is a terrific browser that millions use, however there is a dark side to it.  

The Chrome browser is hard on memory resources! For every tab you open in Chrome, the browser uses multiple system processes and thus more memory. As you can see from the print screen below, there are 8 chrome.exe processes running, yet in this example in there were only 4 Chrome tabs open. Next to each running Chrome.exe process is the memory usage. 

Chrome uses a LOT of memory. You only have so much memory and when it runs low, you will notice a significant system slow down.  


What can you do about it? 
  • Try limiting the number of tabs you keep open in Chrome. 
  • Use a combination of other browsers such as Firefox and IE. 
  • Use OneTab (https://www.one-tab.com/) to teach your Chrome browser a clever way to use less memory!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Digital Literacy Program Pilot Extended

At the November 17, 2014 Board of Education meeting, Dr. Gatta recommended to the Board the Digital Literacy program pilot be extended for another year. She stated, the program for "ensuring all our freshmen are equipped with the digital literacy skills necessary to succeed in our courses and in a 21st century digital environment" had received positive feedback students. However, there has been a call to evaluate the proficiency level the exam requires. Therefore, a continuation of the digital literacy pilot for the 2015-2016 school year was recommended and approved by the Board. This will give program facilitators more time to refine metrics and materials so students can have a meaningful experience while earning credit toward graduation. 

Infinite Campus Updates


The Beta label has been removed from the Campus Instruction application. Users should still be aware that Campus will continue to enhance this application.

The Campus Instruction Grade Book has been updated so that clicking on student names opens a summary of contact information for the student.

An option has been added to the Grade Book Settings to allow teachers to include a link to a course web site, which is then available in the Campus Portal.

Previously, the system at times failed to generate a timestamp for student assignment submission. A timestamp now appears for every submission and a script was run to add timestamps for submissions that were missing timestamps.

Previously, the scoring cell for an exempt assignment would only be colored gray if the teacher had turned on pass/fail color coding in the Campus Instruction Grade Book. This has been updated so that the scoring cell for an exempt assignment always displays as gray.

When teachers hover over flags in the Roster, all comments display for each flag, even if the student has multiple flags for the same condition.

Seating Charts

The font and picture size on printed seating charts has been increased to make the printed charts more readable. To accommodate this resize, Student Number, Grade Level, and Date of Birth options have been removed.


Previously, an error occurred when copying a large number of assignments from one section to another. This has been corrected.

Progress Report / Report Cards

Canned Comments accessed through Campus Instruction (Grade Book or Post Grades) have been updated to sort numerically by code.

Previously, when posting In Progress grades from one Grading Task to another overwrote the Report Card Comments in the destination Grading Task. This has been corrected.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Free, Online Blended Learning Course from Coursera

The course is designed to introduce K-12 teachers and the community to blended and online learning. In the first 4 weeks of the course learners will gain introductory knowledge of K12 blended and online teaching and learning. During the last 4 weeks learners will use this new knowledge to start designing and developing effective K12 blended and online learning experiences for K12 students. The course content was developed based on standards written by the International Association for K12 Online Learning (iNACOL). This course serves as 50 professional learning hours or can be submitted to Kennesaw State University's assessment center for graduate course credit towards a graduate degree in education. Classes begin on January 13, 2015. 
What is Coursera? Coursera is an education platform that partners with top universities and organizations worldwide, to offer courses online for anyone to take, for free.

Tech Talks

December: Wrap up the Semester
December brings closure to the semester and another year. During the hustle and bustle of the season, why not wind down and reflect on the year with photos and videos? Gather your digital pictures and ideas to create your own masterpiece.  You will be ready to use some new apps for your projects in 2015.

  • Week of December 1 - Working with Pictures: Pixlr, PicMonkey, Loupe Collage, Fotor
  • Week of December 8 - Creating Videos: WeVideo, Animoto, Powtoon

Use these free chrome apps and extensions to edit photos, create collages, cards and slide shows, videos and animations.

Add the PDC Calendar to your account: copy this link and add by url into the Other Calendars in your D219.org Calendar.

Technology Helps Technology

Because replacement parts are no longer available from the manufacturer, Niles North students Robert Reed and Anthony Diaz of Ben Brzezinski's Computer Integrated Manufacturing class helped the IS Dept. by creating new projector remote battery covers. 

These engineering students used an original cover to design, and then print a 3D prototype.These new covers are now used by the IS dept. to replace missing or broken battery covers! And they fit and look better than the originals!

Kudos to the students and Mr. Brzezinski for their helpful and flawless design!

If you are missing a cover, or have any problems with your projector remote, please contact the Help Desk at North or West for a repair or replacement!

HippoCampus Content: 5700+ Videos in 13 Content Areas for your Students

That's why we created HippoCampus.org, your one-stop site for rich media that can be curated as you wish.

Access videos, animation, simulations, and interactive activities for English, Environmental Science, Biology, Physics, and more. Launch content straight from the site, or curate custom playlists for friends and students.

Save Money, Now!

OK. I was not thinking about your finances, but rather at ways for you to help D219 save money.

Here is a simple one. Turn off your classroom projector when you are done!

How many times have you (or I) walked past an empty classroom and saw that its projector was left on? Is it a big deal? well, actually... yes. Projectors are expensive and projector lamps, even more. 

Here are some facts that do not hurt to know:
  • A projector costs the District around $700. Make that investment last longer  by turning it off when you are done using it.
  • A projector lamp costs around $150 and have an expected operating time (lamp life) of around 4,000 hours in Normal mode and 5,000 hours in Eco mode (Epson 965). Turn it off when you are done, and you will extend its life.
  • Projector lamps take a brief moment to get running at optimal performance. If the projector is turned on and off quickly, it can cause the lamp to fail permanently.
  • If your room location allows, ask the Help Desk to set your projector to run on Economy Mode. While slightly less bright, the lamp will last longer.
  • Air intake and exhaust vents need to be clean and unobstructed. Call the Help Desk if your projector needs cleaning.
  • Do not move or vibrate the projector while turned on. The projector lamp is fragile while hot.
For most of us, the projector in our classroom has become an essential tool, one we expect to be reliable and functioning. Let's keep them in top shape by caring for them. Think of all the money that you will be saving!