Friday, December 16, 2011

December Department of Technology Update

This meeting was held on a webx:  Held on Thursday, December 15th at 1:00 PM


I may have missed a couple at the start :(  Carla Miller was talking and I got cut off...)  If anyone knows what was said in the first few minutes, please email me and I will add to the notes :)

February 21st is the new go live date for the new email

  • Some training will be happening ahead of time; there will be online training, some face to face training as well starting on January 3rd. Updates will come out on the TBT and on the workshop calendar

School Wires Update:

  • Plan of action for improving future problems (like we experienced in November) is now in place…
  • Marlo will include more in a TBT.
  • Also there will be an update about the rotating pictures on the main pages.
  • They are switching to the photo gallery since the rotating imaged may be a source of some problems.
  • Official website rubric for teachers should be coming in the next few weeks. Marlo will put information on the TBT about this.
Learning Village.

  • Common Core training resources—There was a cry for everything in one location.
  • There is now a giant blue bar at the top, with the Common Core resources broken down my level (elementary, middle and high)
  • Middle and High will be complete by middle of next week (December 21st).
  • You will be able to see what’s available to you under the core resources
  • Grade level power points, etc. and new information will be posted as future meetings happen starting in January.
  • January 23 is the next Core training for technology—Theme will be “technology as a tool”
  • Information has also been shared at principals meetings too about these new Learning Village Resources
Betty Weycker/ student use of galaxy tablets?

  • They are not ready yet.
  • More things are being found that we need
    • More infrastructure work need to take place before this can happen
    • For example, we need research the best cart for a charging station
    • Tablets damaged, lost or taken? Policy needs to be written
    • Getting them to be able to work with our active directory.
  • Galaxy tablet will be the choice for online testing/assessments
  • Also looking at a 10 inch device, will continue to post the pricing for the 7 inch device for now
  • But NO they are not ready to deploy in class settings at this point.
  • Still pushing out to admins.
  • Wifi version is on the price list
  • 3G version of the tablet-- there is a little back ordering going on with Sprint,
  • WIFI is the most cost efficient (cost wise) and they encourage this vs recurring charges of the 3 G plan
  • Connect Galaxy to a projector--? –need video out? Maybe a usb to video cord?…Kevin will check on this...
    Other News:
  • Welcome Cory Robins—new technician
  • Marty Creets (sp?) also joining the instructional team.
  • Batteries for light speed microphones—new order is in place
  • Next technical update meetings will be coming in January.  Kevin would like to do more webx meetings--let them get through the opening of the new schools and then things should be better.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Media and Technology Meeting at Southeast Middle School Dec 2011

  • Anne DiPiazza
  • John Downs
  • Kim Gregg
  • Rita Kilgore
  • Deb Neal
  • John Watson
The overall purpose of calling this meeting was to touch base with the members of the media and technology committee; address some specific concerns; and also provide an opportunity to air any questions or concerns.


1) Lab Scheduling/need for additional laptop cart?: (612 lab, 502 lab, Media Center and Laptop cart {or lack thereof} )


Balancing the needs of testing situations and instructional use of the computer labs has become an issue lately. For example, when some teachers want to test small groups for assessments, they often only need computer access for two periods. At the start of the year, we tried to get those teachers to use the 502 laptop lab because of the small size of the room and the small size of these assessment groups.To begin with, the 502 was in bad shape and those teachers had some rough experiences in there. Later, they tended to sign up for the Media Center instead of 502, but this resulted in scheduling conflicts with teachers who wanted to bring in their classes for instructional technology uses.

In an effort to improve the situation in the 502 lab, Mr. Downs did some re-imaging of those older laptops in there and also had to use several of the laptops from the only mobile laptop to make for a room with 28-30 decently working machines. By doing this however, we are more or less taking out the laptop cart for general use in the building.

We discussed the option of buying a new mobile laptop cart for use in classrooms—one that might be more durable and easier to transport than the current ibm cart which is dangerous because of its poor design with wheels that fall off.

We discussed looking at funding options for purchasing a DELL mini laptop cart which is more durable easier to transport and have extended batteries lasting up to 7 hours without needing a charge. The cost is outlined in this spreadsheet:

We can also ask PTA?, perhaps look at other fundraisers and different grant opportunities.

We expressed concern about access to computers with the increased number of tests that have to be taken on-line. For example, we have a field test in 7th grade EOG math coming up in February that may take up to ten days for all classes to complete. Ms. Neal will be working on the scheduling and find out how long the test is supposed to take.

There was also a discussion about the school funding newer computers for CTE keyboarding labs when classes are filled with more than 24 students.  Currently, Kilgore and Daniels have some classes with more than 24 students.  CTE provides only 24 machines per lab.  When classes have more than 24 students are currently using much older and unreliable computers.  Downs suggested the school either needs to look more closely at how these classes are scheduled or look at purchasing new computers.


  • Advise teachers with small groups/separate setting online assessments/makeup’s to first utilize the 502 lab. If the other lab locations are still available on the day of testing, Mr. Downs and Ms Turner are flexible in providing access to the other locations.
  • Pursue funding options for the purchase of a DELL mini laptop cart.
  • The school should provide funds for newer computers in CTE labs if it chooses to add more than the allocated 24 student allotment in CTE

 2) Committee responsibilities in the event of a book challenge:


This topic has arisen as a result of a recent parent concern that was raised about the book Hunger Games being read in 6th grade. The concern made its way to school board members. The teacher did send home a note to parents saying that students were not required to read the book, and could have opted out in favor of an alternative. Parent was alerted to this concern apparently by the content seen in a movie trailer for the upcoming screen adaptation of Hunger Games.

If a challenge is made about a book, should the committee be prepared to read the book in question and offer comments? Or should there be a subcommittee? Need to talk with Ms Gentry?

There was also discussion about how books are vetted in the media center in general and would participants of this committee be interested in helping with that process? Lisa already does extensive “vetting” of books, looking at book reviews, talking to professionals in the subject area, etc.


  • The first stop for a parent should always be the teacher when questioning controversial literature to see if a better understanding on the 'why' a novel was chosen.  Often this will resolve the problem.  
  • Clarify with Ms. Gentry on a "subcommittee" that would serve to evaluate books that are challenged.
  • Continue the current process for selecting books for our school. It is working and we should go with what works.
3) Open Forum/ Questions/Concerns:


Deb Neal—in long term technology planning, she would like to see more sharing of best practices. Lisa and John shared that there are some great instructional lessons happening in the building right now utilizing technology as a tool. Teachers are using “animoto” ( to create fantastic videos. Other teachers are using edmodo ( ) to take tests online and have their students post comments on subject area content. Another team is using live binders ( in a research project.  Lisa is anxious to show the staff live binders at the next manic Monday staff development day on Feb 6th.

Downs had a side discussion with Ms. Gregg about suggestions for incorporating technology into math lessons. We discussed an earlier email I sent with some math Prezi’s : ( )


  • Think of ways that we can share some best practices for utilizing technology--Faculty meetings, single school culture meetings?  Others?  Committee members--talk to constituents and see what they think.
  • Downs offered to meet with the single school culture group in 6th grade math sometime in January to offer suggestions for utilizing technology in math lessons.
  • Downs will also gather some additional math resources on his blog:
  • Try and meet again on a Monday in March when there are no other major meetings.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Blogging Around School

In the past couple of weeks, several teachers at my school have been blogging in different ways.  Some people still ask me..."what is a blog?":  Blog - Blog is short for web log.  Blogs usually include entries on personal observations, event descriptions, multimedia files, links or other material. Blog entries are typically displayed in reverse chronological order. Here's a link to Blogs in Plain English

Ms. Coston started her classes blogging using  Kid Blog is a blogging platform designed for teachers for use with k-12 students.  It is user friendly and students can utilize all the major components of traditional blogs like blogger, wordpress and other well known blog platforms, but in a safe and secure environment.  It also allows for adding pictures, multimedia files and even documents like word documents.

Ms. Coston's students wrote reflection essays about a trip they took to Castle McCulloch.  They first spent a day writing and editing on paper, and then came into the computer lab and learned a little bit about blogs and appropriate on-line netiquette and also the kidblog platform and then typed their blogs.  They also commented on other students' work.  Kid blog is a closed platform in the sense that students must log-in with their given user names and passwords to see each other's work.  It's not open to the "Public".  I helped Ms. Coston set up her classes using their first name and last initial for user name and student number for password.

Meanwhile, 7th grade science teachers had their students blog about "the most severe weather event they had ever experienced".  This too went very well.  Students actually typed up their thoughts on MS word to gain the advantage of spell check and grammar editing, and then copied and pasted their posts to the School Wires blog platform.  Students also read each other's work before posting, and I think that really helped avoid common mistakes in grammar and word usage.

In School Wires it's very easy to create a blog page.  There are a couple of video tutorials in School Wires Help:  Creating a blog page & and creating a blog post under Interactive video Tutorials.

But, basically, from your main site manager page,

  • Select NEW Page at the top
  • Choose Blog for the page type
  • Once your page is created,
  • click on your page, and click on "create a new posting" (this is where you can title the blog question that you pose to students, and then activate it on your page)
  • Then, under APP Options (upper right)
  • Choose the Social Settings tab, and
  • Be sure to check "allow commenting" and
  • Check to require comment approval
  • YOU DO NOT need to do anything under commenting rights :)
  • After comments are posted, you can review those comments from your main Site manager page--they will be linked on the right hand side.

Here are some of the Blog Postings from 7th grade science classes:

Here another blog I have run across recently at school:

7th Grade Book Talk Blogs

Finally, my twitter friend George Couros posted a blog this week about blogging in schools, and there were some good resources with suggestions for teachers thinking about blogging:  Check it out!

This lesson went into great detail about having students first write on paper and suggestions for training students on what makes a good blog comment:

Finally,  here's another video you might show to students about on-line "netiquette"  from Brain Pop:

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Inserting a Picture to Power Point from a Smart Document Camera

I was working with a teacher this week who was creating photo-stories on Photo-Story 3, and was wanting an easy way to scan pictures that students were bringing in from home.  I suggested:  "Why not use Power Point with the document camera?"  Power Point has a built in photo-editor that is very easy to use, and pictures can then be saved as Jpeg's for easy use with other applications like Photo-Story.

Also, most of our teachers have SMART document camera's and these directions are specifically written for working with that camera:  Here goes: (Thanks to Evan Herreid from WS/FCS DOT for showing me this!)

Before you start, make sure document camera is on,  and "camera mode" is in green on the document camera (also make sure the document camera is directly connected via usb to the computer (not a dongle usb mini hub!)

1.  Open up Power Point

2.  From a blank power point slide, Click on insert image from scanner or camera

3.  Choose smart doc camera SDC 280 and take check OFF box that says add picture to clipart gallery, and Click on “custom Insert

4.  A window will pop up with document camera view, Choose play to display document camera view, adjust any focus or zoom, Then, Click on the stop button, then Click on Transfer.

5) What you “took a picture of” will transfer to power point slide, and then simply Click on picture, a picture editing tool bar will appear, and you can crop and edit as necessary.

Then, if you need to save the picture for inserting into other application, you can right click on the picture and save as a jpeg file!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Information and Technology Essential Standards

As part of our year long training on the new NC essential standards, technology facilitators and media coordinators attended training this week at Morgan Elementary School.  Marlo Gaddis from Technology and Jackie Pierson from Media Services headed up the training sessions, and overall it was a good opportunity for technology and Media to get together and share ideas and collaborate.

Here is a link to the Wiki with all the resources made available to us from the district:

The focus of our first meeting is on the two first standards:
  • Sources of information
  • Informational Text

The following are my notes (some stream of consciousness from the training session)

Jackie Pierson:  spoke about the beautiful Media Center at Morgan --take note of the layout:
Instructional area that you are in-- 
  • Plans for these schools were done in 2005, so already some things are out of date for today’s needs (electrical outlets are lacking for example)
  • Print and non print collaborate learning areas

Steven Anderson--Spoke about sources of information

“Google Search stories”  Google did several ( illustrate the power of search, kids are looking for lots of information and we need to help them figure out

Here are the new standards:


  • The technology strands of the SCOS show Blooms Taxonomy progression from classifying information to assessing and examining the  reliably and relevance to analyzing all of those pieces
  • The standards are the core of what the students need to be able TO DO at those grade levels
  • It’s progressing and the skills are building
  • We brain stormed a list of Print and non-print sources that we use and kids use everyday and the advantage and disadvantages of each:

  • Magazines/newspapers/books/old encyclopedias
  • Can be out of date/ information may change
  • Harder to access, more expensive
  • Controlled by commercial aspects, skewed view—Bias
  • Text books
  • Newsletters
  • Photos
  • Art work
Non Print:  electronic

  • Anything that can’t interact with on paper…(if original form is electronic than it is not print)
  • Actual People
  • Radio/TV (reliability concerns, bias)
  • Internet:  (could be print and non-print)
  • (Google, YouTube, Live binder, web path Express through destiny, netrekker, NCWISE owl)
  • Films (independent vs. non print)
  • Primary Resources:  Face to Face (possibly get more authentic information, also reliability biased concerns)
  • Half and half use of print and non print: 
  • E-readers (can be both)
  • Films reliability /commercial bias
  • Songs
  • Pod Caste
  • Google earth
  • Wikis
  • Blogs
  • Broadcast media
  • Email
  • Photos (both)
  • Maps
  • Letters (can be both)
  • Diaries (can be both)

Don’t get hung up on the semantics, the medium is the message.

Line between print and non-print is blurred. Students can get most of their information “on-line”, so Is content any less valuable if it’s found on-line?

What do we mean be transformational media?

Print: Advantages/disadvantages

  • Can be more copies accessible to students if technology access is limited
  • Professional has vetted the print resources?  (Not always the case though)
  • Portability—100%? (Access to everyone)
  • If you drop it, it’s wont break
  • More of a one time cost
  • Static and dated
  • Can be damaged or lost
  • Storage issues
Non-Print Resources:Advantages:
  • Current for non literate or different learning styles and multi-sensory learners
Disadvantages of Non Print
  • Requires energy or is that relevant?
  • Cost
  • Access
We are resource people (the explorers) not teaching the content help people there is not one delivery method for the information.

Where do you find resources?
  • We are discovering that some know of sources of information while  other do not
  • Consumer
  • Google and Wikipedia are excellent resources to find sources
  • Destiny 10 is coming out in December
  • destiny mobile quest coming with mobile access.
  • Webquest and nettreeker both inside destiny help students gleam information that is educationally focused (help them start here)
  • There are lots of Specialized resources in destiny: e.g. college bluebook
It's Critical that we all share and utilize PLC’s, online communities--
They do have an edmodo (  ) media group, and Marlo will send out a code

Primary Resources

Library of congress:  definition of primary resources.
Raw materials of history original documents and objects which were created at the time under study.
Primary sources maybe easiest to find for History.  Science, art and literature maybe more difficult?

We need to change the way we find information.

Central Question: Should we  encourage teachers/students to go back to the primary source vs. a secondary source or commentary?

Common Core is —Call to change, call to higher level thinking

Library of Congress Primary Sources by state:

Personal Speakers provide a special connection--with a primary source person (speaker) can really add to an experience (For example, we had three people in our workshop today who were at Martin Luther King's "I have a Dream Speech")  

The Medium:  Skype to get a connection—don’t forget to utilize technology department

Information is constantly changing—need to continuously explore these resources, have to get a head of teachers and be looking for what resources they might need.

District also has Databases (district pays for some)
Program managers in resource areas are also primary sources

Project for group:
Given a topic, find 6-8 resources
No more than four are web-based
3-4 primary
2-3 non print  (google doc with group searches)

Common craft—way we search the web:

Evaluation of resources  (.org, .gov and .edu,  do not though)

Reliability of sources:  Are they credible?
  • Wikipedia is always criticized, but it is not as bad as everyone says:
    • Community members have to be vetted and approved by communities otherwise there is a disclaimer, and can verify through the links on the bottom. 
    • It is citable.  It is organized and logical.  It is a springboard.

Marlo:  PM Session/Informational Tech:
Chore:  Getting teachers ready
Find, and write directions from media center  


  • Evacuation map
  • Ask for help
  • Different the second time:  walk back through
  • Landmarks are important

YouTube video on giving non-sense directions:

Informational Text:
  • Organizational aids: 
  • Graphical aids
  • Students many times don’t know how those features can be used on-line.
Group:  resources to evaluate for informational text?
  • Not easy to tell what certain things (like table of contents, etc)  are…if we as the information experts can’t tell, how can we expect students to be able with out come guidance
  • Do an activity like:  “A table of contents looks like this...”
  • A site map?
  • What makes sense logically to one webmaster, does not necessarily seem organized to others
  • Citation tools on websites?
  • Problems with digital resources that have no linear “end”
  • We still need to be teaching students strategies to help them navigate
ITES informational Text strand

  • 6th-12—teach them to read to learn (informational text) interpretation is written in the common core under English/Language Arts 
  • Why  do authors choose one type of instructional media over another?
  •  One medium may not be the  best way to convey different aspects of a subject 
  • Look at common core and see how a technology and information skill are embedded—has the potential to be a really cool time, though a scary time for those who don’t like change.

Getting teachers to evaluate resources—What we are doing today is a "think aloud”

It's 2014...What do our classes look like  now?

  • needs to be blended learning...
  • what if we reversed classroom/homework agendas?  
  • Maybe online class information used at school, and then at home students might read or do things that do not require "access"

Do take time to get to know elementary people, and communicate…

How do we share and help teachers and support them?
  • How do we support teachers in the classroom?
  • The sharing has been good,  Marlo— –some really great conversations, open attitudes. 
  • When we come together again in January, talking about technology as a tool, 

This is a process—this is the start of the change, opportunities will be coming.
What was shared at teacher training about technology skills?
Do we know?  

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Tech Facilitator Meeting October 2011

Today’s Meeting: (follow this stream, and see questions and answers)
Family Business:   Tyron Williams last Friday was his last day—went to Charlotte

Standard Core Technology Standards
  • Lots of scenarios depending on your role—we need to be open minded
  • Common Core and Essential Standards Training: Monday, Oct 31 
  • Combined Media and Technology at the meeting
  • Each Media coordinator and tech facilitator will receive 18 contact hours of professional development in the information and technology standards
  • Your role in essential in implementing the standards
  • Media and Tech Facilitators are not the people responsible for the curriculum!—Teachers are the ones responsible for the curriculum
  • Our role is to share the information with the teachers
  • We will be at Morgan Elementary—Try to carpool as much as possible—it is up for registration since last week.
  • Morgan: 8:30-3:30 (hour for lunch) go out if you like—meeting is in the multi-purpose room
Agenda for the Core Standards:
  • Brief overview of the five standards, focus on the first two for this meeting
  • If you are classified, what do you do? (Board Policy—licensed personnel are the only ones who have to come, can’t mandate calssified to come, but Marlo recommends you come to help support your teachers)
  • TBT Message was send to make sure you have your laptop fully charged. May also bring your galaxy and fully charged.
  • You are not taken away from your common core area if you are teaching in one of the other areas. (if you teach something else, or have alternate certification, talk to your principal)
  • We should have fun on Monday—it’s Halloween—if you want to dress up, go for it.
What is your Vision for Technology?—ten minutes

2012-2014 Technology Plan
  • Oct 7 began drafting
  • Oct 20—shared with MTAC
  • Oct 27 Shared with Tech Facilitators (This is a start, not in stone)
  • Nov 4—DOT reviews draft
  • Nov 15—draft due to DPI
  • As part of the Paper Work reducation act: State took requirement for tech plans away, but because of e-rate (federal money) still must have an approved tech plan, also for grant requirements…
  • Plan needs to be clear and realistic and include professional development plan.
  • Must assess hardware needs, and include a plan to monitor progress
  • Look into Future—two year plan (as opposed to five year plan)
  • Imagine it is 2013…what’s going to happen in your classroom?
Each group at today's meeting was assigned one of five priorities of the tech plan

Our group had # 2—Develop a comprehensive sustainable LEA plan, comments were gathered and collected for input.

Youtube for education?

  • Question is: Should this be something we try for teachers?, knowing not everything will be available.
  • It is uncharted waters is why it is a concern mainly because of federal money requiring a safe webfilter.
  • You tube is just getting this started, not a ton of content at this point
  • Don’t want to be the bad guys of giving something that is very limited.
  • Other impacts: bandwidth issues
  • Two weeks for tech facilitators to test it, and provide feedback
  • There has been some good use of it in schools 
  • Don’t forget to join the tech facilitator group on edmodo: join code: o80vh8
Microsoft Outlook Live (change to new e-mail)
  • Intro: to alleviate some of your concerns…
  • Steven is not training you, you can’t log-in yet
  • You are proficient enough to use outlook if you have used other email services
  • Everyone will use the web version of outlook
  • They have handouts/moodles already created
  • Global addresses will be loaded
  • Calendars can be public and shared with anyone
  • Good task feature, flagged emails go into tasks
  • Contacts: global address book will be loaded.
  • Email groups will be determined by active directory
  • If we are being real, January 3rd is a critical time period—opening 2 new schools over the holidays! There are only 6 days to make the conversion--Two new high schools--this has NEVER happened before in mid year
  • They are considering postponing email to over spring break
  • If they were not so nice, they would just start it tomorrow with nothing saved.
  • They are going to move what they can and that makes the process more complex
  • What about semester change? January 24th?  Problem, there is Common Core training around that time :(  (many communications associated with that)
  • Another issue--all the devices (500 mobile devices that have to be dealt with) 
  • Betty will inform us of the progress in their decision
  • Once we change the mail domain direction, it’s all or nothing (can't have two systems up at the one time unless you changed the domain name
  • Thought about changing to but already owned by someone in Australia
  • From 30 days out they will start migrating over and then do an incremental loa
  • Features of Lotus Client?: Street Files, etc. These are some of the complexities, domino applications are having to be recreated and web-enabled, vacation/leave request had to be rebuilt, titan, purchase requisition has to be rebuilt. Blackberry going away to a droid.
  • If it was just email, it could be done much quicker
There is a WeB x on the change to a different Printer utility: 
  • Your technicians have or will be out to train tech facilitators on the new utility. 
  • Web x is on the tech facilitator web portal
  • Chris will take us through the Utility:
Buddy Martin/Chris Corbin Show
  • New Printer utility is better and easier: Printer Management Console
  • Will get you console, will be available on KACE
  • Your school will pop up when you open the console
  • Simple tools to use, you still have printer groups with machines in them
  • Assign them first in the new console, then you can get them out of the group 
  • (in the hammer, you see groups container, inside printer container are the list of machines printing to a printer) 
  • Select them all and remove them after you get them done in the utility.
  • Don’t worry about deleting from utility; just take computers out of the printer group.
  • Chris: If you have printers present applied to the user profile through the group while they are logged in…you may see both
  • so while you are transitioning you still may have to apply the printers in the new utility
  • It won’t hurt to have two printers, 1 applied by the new utility, and 1 applied by group policies…
  • This new utility will solve the issue of shared staff with two different schools.
  • There are help videos on the new console.
  • Recommends a profile sweep, you can request one, and there is one scheduled before winter break.
  • If you need a K drive, request if you need
  • Yearbook drives (I drive)—in order for yearbook users who have permissions to those folders, machines have to be in that group too. 
  • You can do this yourself, by adding member machines to that yearbook group
  • Same thing with CTE machines, they need to be members of CTE group
  • They will keep data as long as they possibly can, but will purge the older folders first, and let you know first if you need to go clean up old/unused stuff.
  • Teachers server quota is 300 MB, and get warnings at 285 MB
  • Send a KACE ticket if you hear that they have gotten a warning and they will send you a screen shot of where—they have saved all their stuff!! (shared drives, etc.)
  • You can show owner’s files in a folder…right click in folder and “show owners"—Good tip from Chad Booth :)
  • login is your email address, password maybe generic one, unless you have changed it.
  • Can use it for missing machines, can freeze a machine remotely.
  • Web x on computrace--Buddy may do one..
  • You will see a new tab called assets
  • Categories: for example: printers—all the information on them can now be seen
  • Technicians will document printers 
  • You can use it to start maintaining inventories in your school
  • Inventory will not be there since they are discoverable…
  • Export out of destiny? Possibly…Kevin will check
  • KACE: There is now a time closed column
  • Default ticket cues—Service Desk people are looking at it everyday…and then pushed out to tech facilitators daily.
  • User survey email, do we need them? Kevin will contact Kace.
Project Updates:

• Race for the top wireless infrastructure roll out has begun
o Contractors are in schools working
o Nov 4th in the evening to install wireless controllers in the data center
o 65 or so schools to do…
o Will be coming behind the contractors in the schools updating the access points—All in an effort to get ready for the student

Betty: SAS Portal:
  • Principals and AP’s have access to the SAS portal
  • Reports Principals can now get:
    • Assignments posted not posted to parent assist
    • They can get teacher and assessment not posted! Wow!
    • Remember average will change for parent view even if assessment is not posted
    • Principals could cut and paste. And send to a teacher…
    • Go to SAS for course failures too
    • This was shared with MS principals
  • Middle and High Schools will be affected first with end of course testing
  • Window opens Oct 31—will share specs of computers that are required. 
  • Read aloud tests will require the use of a CD…(issues with thin client machines not having CD’s)
  • Vendors: coming to schools –there are policies about that, Print Management people need to identify themselves
  • Triad Electronics sent a mailer to schools—if you contract with triad electronics, don’t send her the bill (for projectors)
    • They should not have sent that letter. 
    • DOT will continue to manage repairs for projectors, mainly switch them out (from schools that have refitted with newer equipment)
Web x’s:

Other topics you feel are important, send them to Betty so a web x can be created.
Donation for CL: They gave over $600.00 to the family for a child…
Subs using technology? Long term subs get rights to log-in, but daily subs should not.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Edmodo Excitement

The teachers at SE Middle School were recently trained in the social/learning networking site Edmodo. There has been an enthusiastic response to the platform, and I am excited about what this new tool will mean for student/teacher/parent interaction in a safe social learning environment!

Mandy Durrence came out to our school and did an excellent job explaining what Edmodo is, and presented the following rocket slide show:

Teachers learned about setting up groups (classes) and joining communities to expand their learning networks. I already joined the computer and technology group and learned the power of posting a question and receiving responses from all over the world!

Edmodo has opened up a whole new way of thinking about how we as teachers interact with our students. One area that I can not emphasize enough is the need to have clear and pointed conversations with students about appropriate on-line etiquette and the consequences if they do not comply (students can be set to read only status for example).  I offered the teachers the following resources:
50 crucial rules for students on online etiquette:

Teaching commenting skills to students:

I posted a thread to my computer and technology group on edmodo and received the following stream of suggestions on this issue: (this illustrates one of the great features of edmodo--how you can easily share a threaded discussion like this)

Edmodo also has a fantastic Help Section ( ) with screen shots and easy to understand directions for doing various things. There are a series of guides that you can also print out and keep handy. Even the WS/FCS district "In Touch Blog"  (  )  has an entire series of posts on edmodo that are interesting and very informative.

Finally If you are a teacher at my school, I posted a number of these links including the book mark that Mandy handed to you during the workshop and a printable version of the on-line rubric for student postings on our staff shared drive in the following location: S:\StaffShare\staff development\edmodo

I am looking forward to seeing where this new adventure takes us!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

September 2011 Tech Facilitator Meetings

Betty Weycker:

CL Marshall...Will be missed!
tribute to CL: very sad :(

New on Service Desk: Cameron Cook
Gail Barnhart NCWISE
Amy Shoaf—New NCwise Trainer

Kevin Sherrill: many changes made over the summer

• Definitely aware of all the issues…
• Most of the changes revolve around the server consolidation program, the move to windows server 2008
•Printing was tested and tested, but it ended up “biting them in the rear-end”
• Things have gotten a little better each week
• Kevin was a teacher and a tech facilitator and he does know what it is like...
• The way we managed printers was recommended by vendors, and there is a better and simpler way to add printers.

• They will work with each school individually
• One domain (wsfcs) very large network, 30000 machines, 65000 user accounts, almost need two domains because of the size of our active directory tree
• Age of machines is not helping either :(
• Chris, Buddy, and Sherry are working very hard (80 + hours a week)

Carla Miller Start about surplus/print management, etc.

• Spreadsheets will be posted by the end of the week on webportal
• Process to let them know you have equipment
• Technology facilitator webportal:
o Info for tech facilitators
o Request for information
o Your level, and school folder
 Surplus for fall 11
 Pull down, check document out
 Then open and edit
 All non functioning equipment, this goes to companies that recycle
 Type of equipment, model, serial number, fixed asset, machine name, esn if available (computrace number)
 Then save and close it, asks you to “check in file”, it saves it back and check it back in
Please complete by October 15th, cannot guarantee it can be received after the 15th
 Looking at changing the company who recycles," Scotch Recycling" picks up everything but TV’s
 Looking company who will do it for free
 Monitors (old CRT) have to be disposed of in a different way
 Do go ahead and list TV’s , Jackie will work on this now
 Hold on to laptops that work but are not workable with new network

• WPA/Laptop Re-imaging

o Some have put in tickets for laptops that need to be re-imaged
o She had one temporary employee (if you have a vast amount (15 or 20 or more), put in a ticket, otherwise re-image on your own if you just have a handful
o Two patches were given (Microsoft patches, one and two) Assume image does include those…so okay to put them on, but they are also “pushing” down the patches.
o Re imaging was an attempt to kill two birds with one stone (clean them up too) and get SP3
o There should not be any remaining access points with WPA
o The education building and the other central office building still remain on wsfcs.
o If you see wsfcs that means there is an access point out there still set up for web code…and please submit a ticket and give as much information as possible (location, etc.) The W PA encryption one is wsfcs_something
o Try to  Log-off log on or reboot if they get authentication error message…if students get blocked from certain websites
o If you have a student who logs into an approved website and says ip group denied (means they did not get policies)
o Question: why is that wsadmin does not authenticate?

• Printer Management company:

o Many tickets are still out there about printing.
o Many questions coming from lead secretary
o They should have a list of printers on the management system and many that are not.
o When you get the display 1000 sheets left don't worry, It's the 25% markthat  triggers the order to purchase a new toner cartridge
o Please be as detailed as possible, ip address, the name of the printer and serial number, etc, when entering KACE ticket
o Question of used toner cartridge: Guy Lucas has a company that will take used printer cartridges
o Carla will put in TBT update about the cartridge recycling company
o Unused cartridges from last year?—Carla and her staff will be coming out to inventory—a little tricky, people who stock piled will get compensated—hope to credit in the November billing cycle.
o If you receive a damaged cartridge from the company? Send in a KACE ticket and let them know.
o CTE printers ARE under the management system
o "Strategic Printing Solutions" will fix anything wrong with the printer. There is cap on how much they will fix, before we get charged
o There is a lot of start-up cost with this program…May see a larger bill to start up to get them to a “readiness state”
o After this month’s bills should level out…
o How many schools are printing out progress reports? About half?… Print-outs vs Parent assist Betty will address--basically said schools should not be printing.
o If a technician prints out many test pages, let Carla know (you will not be charged for that)

• Chris Corbin: Assigning Printers

o Vendor Web X—They said: “here’s the way we are migrating from SSO to group policies in windows” to manage printers
o Not working too badly considering the size of our district
o Problem--We are starting to deploy windows 7, having a printer policy on those machines prolongs log-in times (greatly)
o We need to change things a little bit if only for that reason
o Current method of assigning default printer (web x way)

  • o Now, making sure in printer group, making dure policy is on machine
  •  Good news s it is not going to get worse.

o School by School Approach: Start by deleting printer groups
o Deleting groups will not change the printers assigned to a machine
• New Utility for adding and setting default printers: shows all computers in the container, right view  shows all the printer applied to your school
o Can select multiple machines to mass apply a printer, click set to be installed
o Computers will have to be logged off and logged on or refresh to get the printers
o In start menu, you will have a refresh menu
o Use “goey” interface from your machine
o This new tool will give the flexibility of searching by school code, and do multiple schools (for those shared with more than one school)
 Computers DO have to be on for you to do this 
o Profile Sweep can be done per request per school (can sometimes solve printing issues)
o Sometimes students can not see their H drive, (Profile sweep fix can sometimes solve that)
o We are in windows 2008 environment, windows XP is not designed to see windows 2008 domain, (Client based extensions patches help)
o No time to update images, and the two patches are not in there, there’s where one problem lies.
o Still deploying through trend micro, and
o Three things have to happen, printer group has to exist, printer policy has to exist, and
o If you have a machine in a printer group and not showing on a machine, Chris looks at the log for the machine.
o What about PDF’s not printing? Had issue with T-61 and some desktops, says you need to load the printer
 Trying to print NCWISE, (does not like adobe 10)
 Try uninstalling adobe and reinstalling (the one on the AICP)
 Something about T61’s is strange
 Some of the same machines cannot print excel either…does not matter the machine, printer or
 Do not update ADOBE (hey may block that from happening
 There is capability to have multiple versions of adobe (encore program may need 7)
 They will do a web-x next week and go over what they are doing.

o Joining Computers to the Domain:

 Giving a machine a brand new name it works fine
 If you give a machine the same name and rejoin it after re-imaging
 Something happened during the change over
 Something do to with inherit permissions
 Workstation information menu: lets you know if client side extensions are there or not

o Work Orders:

 Need as much information as possible, tell them what you have tried (put as much info in the issue request)
 Have to reassign to service desk if you add a comment
 Getting phone calls from teachers, who leave tickets in the default ticket cue, need to assign ticket to service desk
 Check your cue once a day
 They will look at possibility of sending an email and possibly changing the default assign to automatically assign to the tech facilitator at that location
 Repair process: make sure you put in there –sending in for repair
 Days of pick up have not changed
 In repair cue, lots of ones that are old…should be moving faster now…
 Whenever you put in a ticket for a printer, leave it where it is until repair person comes in.
 Chris and Buddy will set a schedule to visit schools to go over the new process

• Betty: Miscellaneous topics:

o Progress reports should be on-line, period
o Remind teachers of the ability to save an adobe file of a progress report and email that
o Parents should be using parent assist, There is mobile access for parent assist (
o Parents should have a Kiosk station in schools with user name and pw: "parent", pw: "parent"
o Issue—Bus driver access to e-docs—should not be used to print e-docs—we are not going to support that
o Remind parents that Parent assistant is down on maintenance weekends
o WEB-X sessions--shared with Dr. Martin and were effective method of sharing

• Marlo—AUP

o School board policy (6161.1) employees are obligated to report violations of password protection. (so if a teacher has user name and password taped to their monitor, it should be reported to principal)
o Passwords should be treated like ss#
o MTAC is revising policies

o School Wires:

 Ran a script that ties email to their own section/calendar to fix that problem like happened with Theo Helm and teachers getting a ton of e-mail
 C-2 Upgrade:

• The have improved the documentation in the"how do I" tab
• Multiple calendar apps issue: DO NOT put more than one calendar app on a page
• Rotating flash…text is set to point 2, if you change the text, there are directions on how to fix using html
Correct picture  size 684/360
• Webmasters no longer have the ability to edit or add users/unlock users
• You basically can’t create users now, but you can still emulate the users
o School Directories are all up to date based on personnel/marketing and communications (but they have not had deleted orders yet)
o So hide in faculty and staff webpages of people who are no longer there, BUT DO NOT DELETE,submit a KACE ticket for moves
o User Groups: fix for groups that are not working, may have to delete group and re-create
 Delete and add back –if you are not protecting pages then don’t bother doing this
o Assignments Page:
 Item gets duplicated when they add to the calendar
 Fix for right now is to just delete duplicated assignment
 We have 51000 teacher webpages, other big districts don’t necessarily have mandatory pages
 There are 17 known issues right now
 Map and directions page has issues (doesn't work now because yahoo is now charging)
 Images and links—make sure cursor is n the box first—otherwise the image may end up in header
 When adding files, make sure there are no crazy characters in name of file name
 There is a card in the release highlights under tools tab
 Comment approval for blog pages are now right on summary tab
 Should now be getting accurate numbers on hits (maybe)
 Will be new directions on the last modified report.
 Calendars don’t get last modified date unless you change the app
 Take those reports with a grain of salt—look at content first before accusing teachers of not having up to date page
 Don’t punish a teacher because they have planned ahead (like done multiple pages in the summer and
 Directions for running last modified report will be in TBT
 Standard on updating webpage time frame—principals vary in their requirements
 Updated page  will not change to a specific time frame
 Website rubric: this is a draft:
• Based on developing, proficient, accomplished and distinguished
• They want feedback on this rubric
• This will be on edmodo and TBT when it is complete
• Share with Principals if they want to add ideas, but not send to teachers yet
• First row are the sign off guidelines for school wires that were set from the start of school wires
• Open labs first Monday of every month
o Oct 3 330, nov 7 330, dec 5 8:00
o No agenda and not for credit, for getting help with your site
o You do have to register, and you have to cite specific issues you need help with
PTA Workshop: Webmaster training Oct 25th 8-12
o Principal must send message of who they are
o And they must register by visiting the Technology Professional Development Calendar
o Emulate another user, sign in as yourself, go to users (and Marlo will tweek that, not visible to us right now!)
 But it will be next to Users tab, out next to everyone there is a "more and an emulate"
 They will go back and look at that…they will look at permissions
o Where are we on Synergy? Piloting at Atkins and career center
o Other options, typepad,
o School Wires has at least been responsive to our concerns (much better than school center was)
Professional Development Catalog
o Face to face on Mondays or Tuesdays
o Atomic Learning
o Moodle opened on sept 15 (close on December 30th)—have the whole time
o LearnNC: Melissa & Steven are co-trainers (two course 5 weeks more intense) Have to have ten minimum to do
 Registration closes next Friday, PBL, and e-binders
o Simple k12—webinars done every day
Steven mentioned a Password card for Learning Village and other online resources --you can find on learning village.