Friday, March 24, 2017

Post #25: Network Maintenance, Google Chrome and Flash, MA DLCS Standards

Just a reminder that today, Friday, March 24th, there will be a firewall installation on our district network. This means that starting at 2:30 our internet access at HH could be choppy at times. No one will be able to access iPass starting at 2:30. Please plan your afternoon accordingly.

Google Chrome and FLASH ERROR Message: Google Chrome has stopped supporting the "flash" plugin, which many websites use as part of their web interface. For instance, both Lexia and Symphony Math use flash. If students are using Google Chrome and get a flash error message, please have them use Safari to access the website. Sometimes Google Chrome will work (depending on the version on your computer) and sometimes not. So just keep this in mind if students run into a "flash" error message - try another browser and this usually resolves the issue.

Teachers and TAs for allowing Colleen and I to join a PLC meeting to discuss the new MA Digital Literacy and Computer Science standards. It was wonderful to share these standards with you, to hear how many of you are already incorporating these standards in existing lessons and to share ideas around developing further implementation. As a whole, I think we are covering most of standards. I look forward to continued collaboration!

Friday, March 17, 2017

Post #24: Computer Care, Summer Access, Tech Committee, & Google Add-Ons

A few updates this week. Wishing you all a wonderful weekend. Please let me know if you have any questions or need tech assistance.

Computer Care: I have seen a lot of students having snack/lunch while using their computers. This should not be happening. I am noticing more and more computers with issues. I know the student macbook computers are slow andn old but a little extra TLC will help us get through the year.

Summer Access to online subscriptions: Thought I'd pass this information along as others maybe interested. Our core online subscriptions ATRT, Raz-Kids, Lexia, TumbleBooks and Starfall will be up and running over the summer. At some point in late August, students will be moved into their new classrooms so there could be a short down period.

Our SplashMath trial finishes at the end of June. In the coming months, we will need to determine the value of SplashMath and if we should purchase an annual premium subscription for the 2017-18 school year.

Tech Committee: The Technology Committee met yesterday. We had a wonderful discussion regarding the new Digital Literacy and Computer Science standards. We also chatted briefly about the new student information system (eSchool Plus) along with equipment and PD. Notes from the meeting can be found here. Thank you for a great meeting.  

Google Add-ons: I just read about several google add-ons that could be of interest to you.

Google Sheets Add-on Flippity: Flippity has a variety of templates to generate flashcards, bingo boards, madlibs... It looks to be easy to use. If you wish for a student to add this to their Wayland Student Google Account, you would need to complete the online software request form first. This could just be used as a teacher tool too.

Google Forms Add-on Form Limiter: This add-on is useful if you want to set a time limit to receive responses or set a limit on the number of responses you can receive (wish I had know this several weeks ago). 

Friday, March 10, 2017

Post #23: Medfield Digital Learning Day, BrainPop, Google Docs, March Tech Day Date Change,

Medfield Digital Learning Day: Alyssa and I had a wonderful day of learning in Medfield on Wednesday. I attended with the perspective of learning new ways to use tools we already own or are using. 

If you have any questions or would like to explore these tools or other tools further, sign up for the March Tech Day, which has been rescheduled to Thursday, March 16th.

Here are a few of my take aways from the day:

1. Google Docs:
  • Use audio note feature of Read&Write for Google to record directions in a google docs. Then students can listen to the directions multiple times.
  • Audio notes will stay with a file so it doesn't matter how you are sharing a file with students (i.e, using Google Classroom or simply using the "share" button)
2. BrainPop and BrainPop Jr: There are a variety of new features and games for students. If you haven't been exploring BrainPop and BrainPop Jr, please do! It has so much more than just videos!

Some new features are:

To locate these activities, you can use the search box in BrainPop or BrainPop Jr after you login. See the example below that I did for sortify. (there are 25 activities in BrainPop) 

3. Osmo Management Ideas:

  • When giving directions say "reflectors off" to get the kids to stop playing
  • Cleanup Strategy - inside the numbers box identify how many tiles they need & how many of each; they can count to make sure they have all of the tiles
  • Create a mat - ask students to keep all of their tiles on their mat so they don't get misplaced or mixed up with other groups

4. Google Classroom - Organizing your classroom stream: As the year goes on, the "stream" tab in your google classroom becomes really long with assignments, questions, announcements. It can be difficult to find assignments in your stream. In the fall, google introduced the idea of "topics". Adding topics to your posts is similar to adding tags to a blog post. When you create an assignment, assign a topic. See example below.


After you create assignments with topics, along the left side of your stream, you will see a topics box. You can click on a topic to show just those assignments related to that topic.

Tech 1-to-1 Day - The March Tech 1-to-1 Day has been rescheduled for Thursday, March 16th due to a variety of conflicts. If you are interested in working together, please sign up on the Doodle PollThank you.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Post #22: Google Presentations, Heidi Songs, MCAS, Teacher Laptops, Tech Day

I hope everyone had a relaxing and fun vacation. 

I was able to catch up on some technology blogs - lots of items to share with you over the next few posts. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask.

Google Presentations Update: For those who use Google Presentations, you can now insert videos onto slides that you own and are stored in your Google Drive. In the past, you could only insert videos into your presentations from YouTube. 

Heidi Songs: I came across this article about using Heidi Songs and whiteboards in the classrooms. I think some of you use them so thought I'd share how this classroom teacher uses the songs along with small whiteboards. I'm sure this concept could be modeled with other content as well.

MCAS Computers: In the coming weeks, we will need to coordinate the sharing of computer carts for MCAS practice and testing sessions. Everyone has been flexible in the past and I'm sure that practice will continue. We are fortunate to have access to 5 laptop carts - 2 Chromebook carts and 3 Macbook carts. More details will follow soon.

If you haven't looked at the Tumblebooks website lately - check it out. The website has a new look and new books! They pre-select books for each month that coordinate with holidays and events. New ebooks include Ivy & Bean, Ramona and The One and Only Ivan!

Tech 1-to-1 Day - The next Tech 1-to-1 Day is Thursday, March 9th. If you are interested in working together, please sign up on the Doodle PollThank you.

Teacher Laptops: Regularly backing up the files saved locally on your teacher laptop to the school's network should be part of your school routine. I would hate for you to loose any of your important files if your computer were to stop working. Here are directions on how to save to the network while at school.