Monday, November 30, 2015

News from the ALL Helpdesk Tech Leaders

Holiday Blogs from the Tech Leaders

Lucidchart Diagrams: Diagrams Made Easy

Has your teacher ever wanted your class to make a diagram as a homework assignment, but you can’t find a program that makes it look good? Enter Lucidchart Diagrams, which makes creating things like flowcharts and venn diagrams easy, and fast.

Lucidchart works a lot like Google Drive, where you can share your chart with other people and work on it together at the same time. You can sort out your charts using folders, too. There are several templates available in Lucidchart, such as venn diagrams, flowcharts, circuit diagrams, and tons more!

So if your teacher ever wants you to make a diagram of some sort as an assignment, then give Lucidchart a shot!

Try it out here, or learn more about it at:

By Franklin Moy, Class of 2019

Pushbullet - A must-have app for people with more than one device

Pushbullet is an amazing tool. Out of its many uses, the one I find most interesting is sending links. Once the app is installed on all of your devices, sending links between them is as easy as pressing 2 buttons. On phones and tablets, share the link to the Pushbullet app, and select a device to push it to. On your desktop or laptop, press the Pushbullet icon in the top right corner, and choose a device from there. This is extremely handy when something comes up, and you must leave your computer. Without this app, you would have to spend quite a bit of time searching for the same webpage on your phone, but Pushbullet saves you time and effort, as pushing a link will open it nearly instantly on your other device. If you were viewing a link on your phone, and for whatever reason you want to see it on a larger screen (useful for videos), you can send it to your computer quickly.

Pushbullet has several other features, including sending text messages from any device. If, for example, your phone is far away and you receive a text message, you are able to send one from the device you’re using (even if it doesn’t have a SIM card). The previous feature is especially handy when combined with another one of Pushbullet’s features: seeing your phone’s notifications on all other devices. If you have an Android phone, you are also able to interact with the notifications, e.g. snoozing an alarm or archiving an email. The final useful feature is sharing images or other files without the need of a cable. If you don’t have a photo editing app on your phone, you can push the image to your computer, edit it there, and push it back to your phone, ready to share to social media. If your friends have Pushbullet installed, you can push links, share images, and more to not only your own device, but to theirs as well. This could be useful for sharing things with family members faster than using text messages.

Mariusz Symków
Tech Leader

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PDC Tech Talks for December

Wrap up the Semester
It’s hard to believe that the end of the semester is almost here. Don’t let the season stress you out--you still have time to get your gradebook in order before the last minute rush.  The December Tech Talks will focus on everything you need to be ready for the end of the semester and finalizing grades. We will review settings and reports, using Messenger to send messages to parents and students and the proper procedures to finalize grades.  No lines, no waiting, no stress!

Gradebook check-up:
Get ready for the end of the semester. Review settings to ensure semester exam and semester grades are set to calculate properly. Add assignment flags and comments, view grades as a student or parent.

Finalize Grades, Messages and Reports:
Send class email and campus portal messages to students and/or guardians.  Review end of semester procedures: posting, comments and overrides.  Run student assignment or grade summary reports.

Discover the Power of Storytelling

In time for the holidays, StoryCorps and Google for Education has worked with teachers to create materials to encourage students to interview family members over the holiday. They can record an interview using the free StoryCorps app. With permission from the participants, each of these interviews will be uploaded to the StoryCorps archive in the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. This ground-breaking oral history project will help capture a generation of American lives and experiences while fostering meaningful connections within families, communities, and the classroom. Let your students be a part of the movement.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Announcing Google CSEd Week

Get ready for CSEdWeek December 7-13
Google is committed to increasing access and exposure to Computer Science (CS) for all students, and we are excited to support CSEdWeek on December 7-13. If you are looking to take part in the Hour of Code, below are a couple ideas you can try.
Made with Code Party:
What if every girl knew the amazing things she could create with code? Invite girls to come together to experience the wonder of code, including an exciting new coding project being launched for Hour of Code. Find resources here.
Sail the High Seas with CS First:
In this activity students animate an ocean wave to create the setting for a story set on the high seas. Who are the characters, and how did they end up in the middle of the sea in the first place? That’s for the students to decide and create through code. Find out more.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Speak Up 2015

Speak Up Survey 2015

We are excited to announce that District 219 is participating in Speak Up 2015 from October 1st through December 18th! This survey will help us answer questions, such as:
How are our students using technology for learning in and out of school?
How important are the use of technology to our teachers and parents? What types of technology would our teachers like and how would they use it in the classroom? Do our ideas about technology align with our students’ parents?
What are the hot trends in emerging technologies (e.g. mobile devices, online learning, gaming, simulations)?
 Speak Up Survey
Speak Up is an online national research project that provides an easy way for students, parents, and educators to participate in our decisions about technology, as well as contribute to the national dialogue about educational technology. Since 2003, Project Tomorrow has collected the viewpoints of nearly 4 million students, educators and parents – the Speak Up dataset represents the largest collection of authentic feedback from these key educational stakeholders.
As a participant in Speak Up, we receive free, online access to the aggregated results with state and national comparisons, providing us with valuable data that can be used for our strategic planning, professional development and budgeting plans during the school year.
T Taking the survey is easy!
Follow these instructions to take the survey:
Select your group (e.g. parents, educators)
Search for your school by entering your zip code 60077 and selecting your school’s name from the list. 
The secret word for surveys is nths219.
Read the instructions and begin the survey.
We look forward to District 219’s strong participation in Speak Up 2015! Be sure to take the survey from October 1st to December 18th.

SAVE THE DATE: NICE miniCon 2016 Niles North 1/30/2016

NICE MiniCon is coming
Saturday, January 30, 2016
at Niles North HS in Skokie, IL.

Deadline is December 7th. 

Doing something innovative such as redesigning learning spaces, running student led tech support centers, or designing maker spaces? Submit a proposal to be included in our new Innovation Space where you can share in a more informal and hands-on environment! 

CK-12 Update


Say Thanks This Holiday Season!

It’s the season of giving! From all of us here at CK-12: Thank you!
We’re making it super simple for you to thank anyone this season! Simply send them a free eCard to brighten up their day. They deserve it!
Send eCard

Teacher Voice: Ideas For Utilizing FlexBooks® 

Dr. Milton Huling, a Curriculum Specialist, discusses the many different ways teachers are using FlexBooks® in his Florida district of Polk County. Plus, you can take a look at the science books they've created (and customize them if you want!) 

Learn More

Now Choose From More Than 1,000 PLIX!

We’ve been growing our library of PLIX interactives! Now, students can engage and interact with content and manipulate it for deeper learning using PLIX. Use these as warm-ups, review, or practice, in your class everyday.

Browse Interactives

New And Improved Apps!

Students can now do their homework directly from their phones or tablets! Simply assign practice to your students, and they will be able to access them through our apps for iOS and Android. Bonus: We will take care of all the grading and track their progress!  
Download on iOS

District Saves $1,300 Per Student!

Watch how a school district in El Paso, Texas, said goodbye to traditional textbooks and made the switch to customized digital FlexBooks. Are you next?
Sign Up | Subscribe to our Newsletter

Thursday, October 29, 2015

NROC Developmental English Available in Moodle

The latest initiative from The NROC Project, Developmental English is designed to help learners striving to meet college entrance requirements. The course integrates and compresses the standard developmental English curriculum—reading comprehension, writing, vocabulary building, grammar, punctuation and usage skills—and allows learners to accelerate into college-credit courses. This sequence enables learners to make predictions about their reading, analyze rhetorical structures, build vocabulary, and improve writing mechanics.

Download a fact sheet, including program scope and sequence.

To join the course as a student, teachers can use this link: NROC Dev Engl and enter nroc for the enrollment key.

Contact Phil Lacey if you have any questions regarding the course.

November PDC Tech Talks

 TechTalks Blog

It’s Google Time in the PDC!
Join us for Tech Talks exploring Google Chrome, Google 
Add-Ons and Google Classroom!

Click here to access the Tech Talks Blog for additional information and resources. Add the PDC Calendar to your account: copy this link and add by url into the Other Calendars in your Calendar.

11/3 - 11/5 - Google Chrome
Set your Chrome account so that your bookmarks, preferences, extensions, etc., follow you wherever you go - even home! Explore all the cool Omnibox features (search box). Did you know you can type in simple calculations and the omnibox works like a calculator? Or you can set a timer or check flight times right within the magical omnibox!

11/10 - 11/12 - Google Add-Ons
Google Add-Ons are tools to provide more features in your documents and spreadsheets. There are great features such as mailing labels, mail merge in email or docs, templates and clip art!

11/17-11/19 - Google Classroom
Google Classroom is a platform that allows you to easily share and manage announcements and assignments with your students. If you’ve been frustrated with sharing, organizing and grading student work with Google Docs, Classroom

SWIVL: A Great Tool for Flipping , Self Evaluating, or Student Projects

SWIVL is a tool that uses its proprietary robot base with your smart device to record the speaker's movements. Your recording device clips into the SWIVL robot, which "speaks" to a lanyard that you wear around your neck, the robot pairs with the lanyard and shifts to capture your entire presentation on your smart device.

Set the camera in the middle of the room to capture whiteboard content or the front of the room to capture classroom interactions.

Download the app (iTunes or Google Play) to your personal device and record, the content remains in your control at all times. Check out the User's Guide for additional details.

Drop by the PDC in your building to check one out.

Send Links Instead of Attachments

Google is all about collaboration, so here's a reminder that should help you to keep your content fresh and reduce the headache of version control. 

When you want to send someone a file, simply email them the Google Drive link, that way if there are any changes to the file, every user who has been given access will see it. If you later choose to adjust sharing policies after your email has been sent, instead of trying to sweat about the inability to retract your message, go into your Doc and change the sharing settings. 

By sending the link as opposed to attaching the document via email, you'll be sure that every person who should have access does, and that they are accessing the most current version. If you send a link instead of a file, you eliminate the concern for attachment size exceeding 25MB.

News From the AAL Help Desk

Tips to be Thankful For!

Force Users to Make a Copy of Google Drive Files

The main selling point of Google Drive is the amazing built-in collaboration elements.

Here is a great tip from the Shake Up Learning Blog.  You can force users to make a copy of a Google doc by simply changing the word “edit” to “copy” at the end of the shared link.

Example: Here is a Science Fair Google Document that users have view-only rights. 

Users not logged into a Gmail account request access to edit the document all the time.

By changing the “edit” to “copy”

All users will now get prompted to make a copy of the document and be prompted to log into their gmail account if not already logged in before proceeding.  Great tool for those teachers who post many assignments on their websites.

Learn More...

Accessing Foreign Language Characters and Keyboard Inputs
One of the advantages of students going through the Digital Literacy Program is that they learn how to access their Chromebook’s potential.   

Setting up your Chromebook to access foreign language characters is easy.  Click here for a short step-by-step video.