Thursday, April 29, 2010

Tech Meeting Minutes April 29, 2010

Betty Weycker:

"New worst enemy"--Power Point...

Everything she told Teacher Advisory on 4/21, she will tell us today.

School Wires updates, tech updates, parent assist updates...

Kevin Sherrill:  Tech Updates:

AMTR,  need to get machine names correct.  Please help keep names clean, still disabling based on the 30/60/90 day rules

Older computers, are being stressed...
Drive space on servers are reaching their limits of 125 GB.
Student/Teacher files that have music on them will be purged off of H drives., no questions asked--warn your teachers.
May send out a list of teachers who need to be talked with...

Carla:  surplus pickup:

Profile cleanup will be around May 15th--will be "on" for about three days

ASSIST is the NEW HEAT:  (Jim Mendoza) New work order system that is part of School Wires...Teachers will submit work orders that will be routing to tech facilitators...

We will be trained in August.

Three Queues:
Technology (main one)
Assessment Team
and Maintenance

We are a registered technition, and assigned to our building...

Much simplier, cleaner interface
Types of tickets:
incident (break/fix)
Request (need/want)
Change (for tech dept only)

New ASSIST, has the ability to add attachments
When you log in, you will see tickets waiting to be assigned...
More robost integration with our e-mail system
Ability to do Question and answers
One con--loosing details screen...

Implementation / Rollout:
They need to know the names of the rooms at your school
Excel spreadsheets are already in the request for information folder.
Kevin would like by the end of May
Steps they recommend when opening ones of these request for information documents:
Make sure you close i-notes
click on file school wires assist
click on the file, will launch excel
all cells are protected exccept ones in yellow
Nicknames--follow the examples on the ss
Click on the SAVE button, and exit out of the program excel
No check out or check in, keep only webportal open
Service desk should be ready by June 1st
Will start using in ADMIN buildings on July 1st                                     

HEAT will be kept running as an archive...and will run for us through the summer, and ASSIST should start when we get trained in August.

Back to Betty:  Parent Assist: 

No e-mailing of progress reports anymore...
Teachers should still have a list of parents who need individual progress reports printed.
For extra credit things, parents could submit a form to say they saw it...
Tonight, Betty is sending out an e-mail to all parents informing them that parent assist is the method in which parents will get their information on student progress.

Debbie Harmon: 
Teachers have to check the box to "post to parent assist" to populate the date to post to parent, and if they don't parents will never see the detail in parent assist.

For student absences, if teachers don't mark unexcused then parent will not see the absence in parent assist, so teachers should mark unexcused until student brings in a note.  Marking unexcused also drives automated calls thorugh alert now.  So teachers need to mark unexcused under absence indicator until a note is brought in. 

Jackie Pierson:  Destiny:

Destiny is stand-alone database, and it catalogs everything.  Equipment that comes into the building should be cataloged with a bar code, and it can be checked out to teachers (for that school year)  a dcoument camera for example.

If a teacher leaves the school, the destiny assignment follows them, so that's why you should have equipment put in there.  They can also track equipment purchased by PTA, other funding source, etc. So this is helpful too.

There are workshops on inventory and equipment through Media Services, they have the  digital "dolphins" and the "panthers" to scan equipment.  Title 1 equipment it's critical that it be checked out to a teacher. 

You can also check out a LCD monitor to a room, but there is a "set-up" for patron in those cases...

Federal reports are due June 7th for title 1

It's a HUGE BURDEN to inventory the equipment.

Cl Marshall:

AMTR time.  Affects school funding and school scores, and so it needs to be accurate.  Betty will post answers to some questions on the web portal for helping you get the AMTR done. Complete by June 11th--Principal must sign off on it by then.

The guide for the AMTR will be posted on the webportal...

Three new questions


21st Century classroom set-up, and we need to list in Tier3

You can use computrace to help you answer the questions, reference page 59 in your tech manuel on the Tech facilitator handbook

Go directly to the new URL on the instruction sheet

340-your school number
passord is the same as last year (contact CL Marshall if you no longer have this).

Give media coordinator the information they need to complete AMTR

Betty Again:

Purchasing approvals:  initiated this week  will share with principals.
nagging problem:  tech purchasing issues, and what they will support.
We are a system of 8 technitions who support 25,000 devices.
Purchasing should be appoved through technology--every single purchase order will be stamped by Betty Weycker, and will be approved or unapproved. 

1st reason, vendor not approved, device not approved, Betty will send it to finance, and notify the school it is unapproved.

This applies to all purchasing except for PTA and other outside
Professional development survey on share point, 3 questions, on teacher and admin web portal. Professional development needs assessment survey.

On left hand side under surveys...

Budget updates:

Talk to school board members, but in general technology is getting support. Value and need is being recognized.

Betty is loosing EETT funding next year, pays for Alert Now and atomic learning.

Theme money: is on list of items not recommended to be cut. Why not just hire a technology facilitator for every school? Was the question raised...So maybe the thinking is changing.

Wake laptops verses dell: that is a 500,000 purchase---Wake charged $420 last fall , and $320 for the spring wake refresh.

What schools are up for the current 300 laptops? After the election primary...Betty will distribute to thiose in-line.

School Wires & Marlo:

Go to webmaster wiki:
Look at these redesign ideas:
District Standards:

There is also a school wires folder on the webportal.
Font change: trebuche is the district font
Looking at a force font down
Don't call school wires tech support.
We have only so many contact hours with school wires.
Do not delete a section unless you know a teacher is gone.
Directory at the district level--gapping holes will be gone. Teacher will just be listed as "teacher". Soon.
Entire E-mail address will be will show only under a mouse over. Web page column will appear with a link to the teacher web page.
Custodians and child nutrition --they are debating whether to include them or not in the dchool directory.
School wires has an upgrade that will fix some bugs, but Marlo didn't want to take it on during the transition.
Manuel we received is posted on-line.
Departments should be listed as teams
SROs are being told they need a web page too
Colors: spreadsheet on colors
Address and principal, and school hours can now be adjusted.

Teacher websites standards--teacher
Teachers should complete online agreement to follow the standards

How to change pictures on the homepage

Login to School Wires
Site manager
Under tools tab
Choose files and folders
Homepage flash
Choose upload

640 by 265 minimum size...
Make sure whatever u want and centered
Bigger picture sizes can cut things off
EOG proctors
From Patrice Drone at NW Middle:  This is the free online tool that I used to edit my pictures on the website at Northwest Middle School.
Put in a Heat ticket for text on pictures...
Betty recommend two or three pictures...
Barbara Sasso recommends urcha? For picture editing...
Teachers must get some kind of training before they get user name and password, tho it will go to active directory user name and password...
Three options to keep content;

Copy and paste to school wires
Copy and paste to word
Print out old pages
Pictures: no policy to have student pictures on webpage. All public information is just that...
You may want to create ur own form--there is no policy...Betty will post a generic form from Theo Helm's office
In student handbook, parents are directed to notify principal if they want to opt out of having their student picture posted. Can't post students Identified as EC...
Can be a discussion point for your MTAC committee...
School site needs to be up and ready by June 30th. Teacher sites should be up and ready basically by first day of school.
Ideas for redesigning your school website.
Look at redesign page on the webmaster wiki...
Media center needs to be listed as Media Center...and needs to be added as a section and a Quick link
Link Media center from media coordinator's named page..
Employees tab, staff resources under classrooms, and a quick link and under roles...and u could change to just staff.
Widget for a twitter announcements--steven created at clemmons...
PTA pages under parents...
Outline for basic training...Marlo has...on the wiki...

Betty final words:
Schedule of training...will be tough with CO shifting to university...will be an issue at some point things may be down.
Send interest if interested in summer help--they will need it :):

Some Good News:
April 17. Walk for babies--DOT raised over 1000 dollars!!
Also set up computers for over 50 parents... this project will happen again.
Patrick from Flatrock: surgery tomorrow--optimistic believes he will be back in a week...
If you want to donate days to him, contact Betty...
Cable 2 teachers using flip cameras...for National Boards. Better to use traditional cameras if they can't convert to DVD's

Monday, April 19, 2010

School Wires--My Training notes

John's notes:

Training docs on the webportal:


  • School logo only in the welcome section
  • new district font standard:  trebuchet
  • no more than 1 animated gif per page.
  • open in a current window for links to pages with in the district
  • Do NOT highlight large amounts of information--maybe a word or two..
  • background colors in sections minimal
  • Teachers will have the same suggestions to sign off on
  • You will be able to add items of your own under each channel bar..
  • Spell check it is there
  • avoid anchors...and longer pages
  • Pages used for business vacation pictures/personal blogs/recipe pages, etc.

School wires training: 

From Pennsylvania:  Vikey Jacobs  & Mike Garner

Applications are very similar to word/pp/excel

Sign in under:  user options on the right

channels broad categories followed by sections

then the pages of the "folders that live in that filing cabinet drawer"

 When there are 15 or more sections it creates a directorye get asked about often
lunch, announcements,

 Welcome area with basic eye catching information with cool stuff you are doing

 Headlines:  a little longer than announcements, teacher of the month, new grant, date driven appear and disappear according to dates

 Events will pull from the need to update.

 District will push all the regular dates to school calendar...

 5 times entering your user name and password incorrectly you will be locked out, and you will have to contact an administrator...

 Always logout to protect yourself...

 Access my info, add your zipcode so that maps and things will automatically work, verify e-mail address

 e-alert/content alert:  need to turn on for people to be able to sign up to get alerts

 rss feeds,  all over the place...

 4 levels of editorial

 Binders are on the webportal:

 Site director:  Marlo Gaddis

 Subsite directors:  "Mayors of the town"  can fix anything on the school level

 Section editors,  only have access to individual pages...

 Home page editor:  can access headlines/events/welcome/

 Will see site manager under user options when you are on your school's page and signed in...teachers will need to be in "their section" to get site manager rights.

 Available Page types:  page 13:

 Most popular is a "Flex Page"

 Article library pages:  for lots of information--for FAQ's for meeting minutes, agendas, homework, highlighting sporting events, newsletters
This lets you categorize links...
File Libraries:  Try to keep between 8 and 10 mb, comes down to bandwidth realities...
District has overall a certain amount of space, so no limit for individuals for now...
For example, don't upload pictures from past years
They accept about every file type, keep in mind file types, save it as a PDF

Assignments page is also available: 
Students can upload assignments...

 Maps and directions pages,  good for field trips, choral concerts,
You set up the map page...can put directions about arrival and pickup, directions to the office, etc--under details.  Other sites open in a new window.

 Blog pages: 
can allow comments or not...with approval settings...

 Pod cast pages:  audio, video, u-tube, teacher tube,

 Photo Gallaries:  can go on any page, can choose how wide, how long, what order, captions

Calendar Pages:  Only 1 calendar within section/person...
Google docs will do that for you...with forms send direct event to a calendar...
color will only print if you have a color printer, or check their settings maybe set to gray scale.
Colors are based on a legend

 Categories:  standard colors across the board...

 SHARE with parents:  the ability to RSS feed/e-alerts

You only see titles in the calendar view,  there is a check box in assignments that allows you to automatically add assignment to the calendar.

First four events are shown for any one date and for more than that there is a "more"
For Jeff:  page 37, is "my events"

 Back end is called syntricity:

Channels:  you will not see on the front end until you add at least one section under neath them
orange is channel level

And add sections to those channels and pages within a section.  There is a limit to the number of sections you can add
Teachers already have sections:
Section Levels are Green

Be careful working on same page at same time...

Top school level is Blue

We will add sections...

Marlo:  chart out your page

Under departments we can add employees and site protect it (see manuel for more info)

Add my first section
New Section
for a teacher,  drop down shoule be last name, first name
When you create a section, default includes three things, calendar, something, something
Can move a teachers page if they are changing roles at the school.
can move sections or channels location.
HR should drive the ticket...

Page 39 editor items...
Paste from word will keep your editing

Full screen mode takes away your save button...
Suggest copy and paste to a new word document...if your save goes away...

Tutorial button is in the editor

Don't forget Trebuche font default for the district
Size 2 = 10 point font
size 3 = 12 point font for titles

Images "already uploaded to site" are for the area you are in...
shared library controlled by the district

School wires clip art: over 2000 for school wires....

Alternative text is needed because of requirments for americans with disability act.
When you change height in step 3 or 3 of inserting the image, it changes it proportionally
You have to place cursor in the box to insert image
Look at the Help Cards in the back of your binder

Documents/outside links open in a new window

Verify all links and be sure they are age appropriate.

Shortcut to links:  cntrl-K to set up a link...

We are currently in the incubatuion stage, we can't be googled, etc.
Tables page 42

Copying and pasting notes:
Save images as:  can not bring school center images:

Make sure you check link properties--how it opens and whether the link works
F-5 is a refresh key to refresh the browser...
Consider a fresh set of eyes to check out all your links.
Make sure links to documents are uploaded to the new link

You can get a shared folder for your school, and Marlo could add pictures etc for everyone at your school to have access

On each page, create Alert to alert people that you have updated your page...

Iin your section, in the tools tab, you can access a report to see who is subscribing to your e-alert or rss feeds.
Question from Jeff:  globally when the last time people updated their webpage,
Go to the Main school lever, go to tools and site reports, last modified report ("spy" report")
Also, section editors by section to see who is responsible by section.

Back to the channel and into the section, tools, and you can assign editor (you will not see your name)

Have to be in IE 7 or better for the good images to show up...IE 6

User options
:  Your active directory user name

Maybe have one section under each channel and then create more pages
No encourage teachers to only Delete as a final resort..
Hold off on Media Center stuff...

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Atomic Learning Service now provided for all district employees and students


Atomic Learning promotes the practical application of technology in education. Thousands of schools, colleges, and universities have made Atomic Learning an integral part of their professional development programs, a valuable curriculum supplement and an anytime/anywhere software training resource. The atomic learning blog has more information on the many applications it offers:

All Winston-Salem Forsyth County certified staff should now have accounts in Atomic Learning. To login, go to and click the login button at the top. For staff, your  email address is your username and the generic password is (hint:  our district). Technology Facilitators are trained in how to manage training and assessments and more information about that is below.   If you have a staff member who is not able to login, please put in a HEAT ticket.

Students should be able to login with the following format:  User name:  wsfcs followed by their unique student number, and their password is (hint:  our school district)

Marlo Gaddis is the project manager for Atomic learning.

Atomic Learning will also be used for the 8th grade computer skills test, Students will get credit for a passing score.  Students do not have to take the test if they either passed a Technology class in Middle School  or one of the NC online test of computer skills pilot tests.
There should be training assigned for those students… who need to take the computer test.

In terms of staff development, No credit is given for any intro to Atomic Learning face-to-face courses. Tech Facilitators should assign the How to use Atomic Learning course found at the bottom left of the opening screen. Teachers can get credit (.1 CEU) for this course if a workshop proposal is submitted and the course is assigned. The location for the workshop should be Online. No credit will be given for any tutorials or workshops that are not assigned and tracked through Atomic Learning.

In order for the teachers at school to receive credit for any Atomic Learning training, please follow these guidelines:

· The workshop must be submitted and approved in the WSFCS Staff Development Registration and Evaluation database before course is offered. (Location should be listed as Online)

· The workshop/tutorials must be assigned to the teachers in Atomic Learning.

· There must be at least 45 minutes of tutorials assigned with a mandated project upon completion. Minimum credit will be 1 hour with more possible based on the amount of time in tutorials and complexity of project.

· All projects are to be uploaded into the Atomic Learning ePortfolio in order to receive credit. Course facilitator is responsible for reviewing the quality of the project. No credit should be given for a course with no project or for low quality projects.

· Tech Facilitators should track participant viewing of tutorials through the reporting features under Admin Tools. Participants must watch all videos.
· If a teacher has taken the course face-to-face, they cannot receive credit again.

Text to a Cell Phone from a computer?

I got this question today...How to text to a cell phone from a computer...?

Here are the directions:

You basically need and e-mail account and you need to know the person's cell phone number and their cellular provider:

For example, If the person you are texting has service with AT&T, address the text message to the ten digit cellular phone number then "".

If  the person you are texting has service with Verizon, address the text message to the ten digit cellular phone number then "".

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Blogs I follow and how I follow them :)

The following are several blogs that I enjoy reading.  Most of these I found on twitter:

Here's one for the science teachers:

This guy is a Languague Arts Teacher in Raleigh and a real interesting guy!

A couple of principals with a whole lot to say!

Here's are a few from classroom teachers with their eyes on the latest tech tools:

Winston-Salem's Technology blog:

Finally, can't forget our very own Frank and Peggy!:

This is a list of favorite educational blogs from a respected person I follow on twitter:

I look for these things when following a blog, I also try (but fail miserably) when I try and write my blogs:

For blogs that I really like I "feed those blogs" into my i-google home page.  How do you do that?

Here's a detailed list of instructions for subscribing to an blog's rss feed using i-google:

More on Web feeds:

Monday, April 12, 2010

Printing Troubleshooting/Adding a "local IP Printer"

Here is a refresher on printers..How a printer gets assigned to your computer/what if you want access to another network printer?, etc.

The Tech Facilitator has to assign printers through a Utility.  This utility program is only installed on the tech facilitator computer.  Printers are named based on the department of technology standard. So for example, the following printer named: \\406dc01\M406P022501
Prints to room 225.

The first set of numbers is the school code (406)..., and the last 5 or 6 numbers tell you something about the location of the printer.

If you pay attention when you choose to print, that will help save wasted paper and ink. Otherwise, if a printer is on your computer that you don't need or ever use, let me know and I will remove it remotely. In that case, I will just need the name of your computer , and the name of the printer you want deleted or added .

You go to start and programs and choose " Workstation information " to find the name of your computer. You can also determine the name of your computer by clicking on the drop down arrow next to the third box on the windows log in screen (it normally says WSFCS) but the other choice tells you the name of the computer.

You can also go to start and choose printers and faxes from your program list to see which printers are assigned to your computer.

Remember not to use printers as "copiers"--Don't print class sets of papers to the network printer.

There is a way to ADD a local printer if for example a person is at your school but it is not their home based school (for example a shared counselor or social worker).  It can also be used in situations where the Printer Utility is not working for some reason.  Here are directions for ADDING a "Local/IP" printer.

login as WSADMIN or as a teacher
Printers and Faxes
ADD Printer
Choose LOCAL but take the check OFF to Auto detect
Choose the radio button for Create a new port
Choose the drop down arrow to choose Standard TCP/IP
In the Printer name box, just type the IP address of the printer such as: (you get the IP address from printing the printer configuration page directly from the printer, go to the printer's menu, choose the information menu and then choose "print configuration")
(it will fill in the box below for port)
Then the last thing you have to choose the HP driver of the printer (based on the model of the printer, Only for XP machines--Windows 7 will find the correct driver for you!), and give it a name. If the printer model is above a 4100 printer the laserjet 4100 PLC driver usually works just fine  From that point forward, the person should be able to choose that printer from their printer drop down box.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Computer Repair or Accessories

This is another one of those frequently asked questions I get:
  Where to get your home computer repaired?

First of all, many times computers are not working well because of Spyware or viruses, try reading through some of my suggesitons in my earlier blog:

Also,  if your computer will not boot and you have access to another computer,The following blog describes a method you might try to get the data off your harddrive: It might be good to do before sending it off, as they could end up wiping out your hard drive in the process...

Anyway, if those resources do not help you,  I would be happy to do some basic trouble shooting here at school.  I would try booting it up and seeing if I can find anything obvious.  However, I do not claim to be a computer technition, and have little knowledge about things like replacing motherboards or power supplies.  I leave those up to the experts, and that's why I am called an "intructional technologist" not a computer repair man :)

Anyway, there are a few local places that I have sent people in and around Winston-Salem.  One last thing, make sure you don't have an extended warantee or if your computer is still under the basic 1 year warantee--then you might first try bringing it to the place you purchased it, such as BEST BUY for example.

Here is a local guy who I recommend.  He is reasonable and knowledeable,  and his name is Tom Brown and he works out of a Home office  (336)768-5766 --off of Bolton Street in Winston (near Hospice).  Here is his website:

I have also send people to The Computer Place on Jonestown Road,
They also seem fairly reasonable: 133 Jonestown Road, Winston Salem, NC‎ - (336) 659-6364‎

Here are some other locations around town:

Good Luck, And let me know If I can help!

Finally,  the following is a great on-line source for computer cables and other accessories:

For example, You can buy a 3 ft HDMI cable from CableWholesale for $3.65 plus $2.09 for USPS shipping. CableWholesale has many different lengths, sizes and types!

Connecting to Authors on twitter

This blog is directed at Language Arts teachers , but since we all teach reading and many of you enjoy reading, this might be a good place to start for those of you wanting someone to follow on twitter who will add to your " Professional learning network ".

In this article called the "Book Whisperer", Donalyn Miller who is a 6th grade language arts teacher in Texas talks about how she has connected with authors on twitter, and therefore connected her students to a more enriching reading experience.

She also lists authors and book reviewers from her Twitter page. By "following" her or the other lists she has on her twitter page, it might be a great place to start if you are looking for someone interesting and enlightening to follow on twitter.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Bullying Resources/Cyber Safety

With the horrible news of the cyber bullying incident in Massachusetts and a teenage girl whose suicide was attributed to it; there has been a search for answers across the country. Our school has been showing a series of bullying information videos from Learn 360 and following-up those programs with classroom discussions. (links to those videos are below)

Recently, Emory Maiden sent these additional bullying resources via Twitter:

Bullying prevention sites via @cybraryman1
Cyber Safety:
Cyber safety Games for students to play
Hundreds of Internet Safety Resources

With greater and greater use of social networking sites by students it is everyone's responsibility to be aware of the cyber world and to teach proper internet etiquette and also  the dangers of the on-line realm. For example, the following link contains discussion points for teachers to use when students participate in classroom blogs. These same principles apply to other social networking sites.

Here is a link to an article about the Massachusetts case:

Other resources:

School System Security:

Advice to Parents:

Other Articles about Cyber-bullying:

Parents want Teachers punished:

USA Today Article:

Learn 360 Videos on the Topic:
Students can log in to Learn 360 with the following information:

All student usernames will be - wsfcs(student ID)
All student passwords will be - student ID

Example Username - wsfcs123456
Password - 123456


Silent on the Sidelines PArts 1 & 2:

Gossiping Taunting Bullying Its All Harassment

Gossip more than just harrassment: