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Technology Department Blog

Technology Department Blog Postings
Thursday, November 17, 2016 12:00 PM

Teacher Web Page Training

I am holding a profeesional development today for teachers who want to learn how to create a web page on the new district website. For those of you who are interested in learning more but who cannot attend the training, you can get most of the information from the link below:

 

I can't see the video.


Posted By Laura Deters at 12:00 PM
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Tuesday, November 15, 2016 9:00 AM

Email and Student Privacy

The U.S. Department of Education recently released a video describing proper use of email and student Personally Identifiable Information. It's a great resource, so I'm sharing it here.

 

I can't see the video.


Posted By Laura Deters at 9:00 AM
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Monday, November 14, 2016 1:24 PM

SafeShare.TV--A safer way to share videos

If you've ever used a YouTube video in class, you may have stumbled upon that uncomfortable moment where--at the end of the video--YouTube quickly throws up a list of "related" videos that a viewer might be interested in. Those videos sometimes aren't related at all, and occasionally they can be downright offensive.

Enter safeshare.tv. This website allows you to input a YouTube or Vimeo video (Sorry, it only works with these two services) and click "Submit." The website then embeds the YouTube video into a web page that doesn't have any ads at all. Let the distraction-free learning begin!

Here's an example: https://safeshare.tv/x/Qpa7UjKT3uw#v . By the way, that's my daughter performing her concerto audition for the Cincinnati Symphony Youth Orchestra (Proud Papa Alert). 

If you're interested in creating your own SafeShare video, you can visit the website by clicking here


Posted By Laura Deters at 1:24 PM
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Wednesday, October 19, 2016 8:00 AM

Infinite Campus Outage over Christmas Break

Infinite Campus and the Kentucky Department of Education will be moving our Infinite Campus service from its current location in downtown Frankfort to Infinite Campus’s hosted service in Minnesota. As an end user, you’ll notice little different in this change, though theoretically there should be fewer outages after monthly updates, and quicker recovery when they do happen.

 

The move will occur over Christmas Break, sometime between December 23 and December 30. Though the outage won’t last the entire week, it WILL extend over multiple days. Your best bet is to assume that there will be no Infinite Campus access at all between December 23rd and 30th.


Posted By Laura Deters at 8:00 AM
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Friday, September 16, 2016 8:00 AM

Musings after 12 Years Away from the Classroom

As I mentioned in the district wide meeting on Opening Day, I am teaching a single class this year. It's a ninth grade English class, and after a little more than a month, I'm loving it.

I made the following post to my personal Facebook page a couple of weeks ago, and it occurred to me that it would be applicable for this blog as well. So I'm sharing it here. Hopefully this will kickstart my desire to write blog entries here more often.

--Bryan

 



So I'm teaching a class again this year for the first time since the 2003-2004 school year. Not a demotion--just missed the kids. Anyway, for the most part, things haven't changed much in 12 years. But there have been a few changes:

1) There is a lot more technology. You think I'd know that, since I'm the one that put it all in, but still, it's one thing to know it, and another thing to experience it.

2) I LOVE some aspects of it, such as having a projector in my classroom--totally changes a lot of things and how I do them.

3) I'm also glad to see that so many of my students have smart phones--BYOD is a really possible thing, at least on a small scale. I teach 23 9th graders, and 21 of them carry smart phones or some other Internet-capable devices around with them every day. And I'm not teaching in a super-affluent area. In 2004, I don't think that percentage of adults in the building had a regular cell phone, much less a smart phone.

4) I love that EVERYONE has and uses email now. When students are absent, I just email what they missed in class to them and their parents, along with how they can make up that assignment without having to take time out of their day to come after school to see me. I've only had a few absences, but this communication tool has been great! I really couldn't count on anyone to have email back in 2004.

5) In 2004, no one ever said his or her life goal was to be a professional YouTuber. But I have a student who told me that the other day.

6) It's been 12 years, but there are literally the exact same textbooks in my school. I'm teaching freshmen instead of sophomores, but if I'd been teaching sophomores, I could have read exactly the same stories as we were reading 12 years ago. The books are pretty beaten up now, but they're still here. I guess that's a testament to both the high quality of the textbooks we purchased in 1999 and the low quality of education funding in Kentucky ever since then.

7) A problem I've always had as a teacher is getting excited and losing track of time and thinking we're halfway through class and the bell rings. But I use the alarm on my cell phone (Thanks, Lisa, for the suggestion) to alert me when there are 3 minutes left in class. THAT's been a fantastic strategy for me.

8) I used to always put on the board what it was we were doing that day, mostly because I'm the kind of person who likes to check things off on an agenda so I don't go stir crazy, and I figured there had to be at least one kid in class like me who would appreciate seeing that we were making some kind of progress. But now, thanks to educational "innovation," I have on the white board what we're doing PLUS an "Essential Question" PLUS a "Learning Target" PLUS our homework PLUS my daily electronics policy. It's a good thing that I only teach one class and only teach it first thing in the morning--I don't think there is enough time in between classes to get that done from one period to the next.

9) One big change has occurred in ME. I think it's because my own children are now older than these kids, whereas before they were a decade younger, but...I LOVE these kids! I mean, I love them emotionally, and I want the best for them. I guess before I always knew that there were parents who loved the kids I was teaching, but I mostly saw them as little adults who could be treated as such. These kids are kids to me, and I care so much more about their happiness and their success than I did before.

There are other changes, too, but those are the big ones.


Posted By Laura Deters at 8:00 AM
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Monday, May 16, 2016 8:00 AM

Dealing with Clutter in your Inbox

I had an administrator come to me the other day and complain that some very important messages were being moved by our email system into his "Clutter" folder. He was worried that he was going to miss something important. He isn't the first person to complain to me about this issue. With that in mind, I thought I'd provide a quick tutorial about Clutter.



WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF CLUTTER?

The first thing you might wonder is why we even have a "Clutter" folder. After all, our email system already has a "Junk" folder where email that is most likely unwanted email is being shuffled. Isn't Clutter just a second "Junk" folder?

Well, that's not its intended purpose. Clutter is an artificial intelligence intended to function as a sort of personal assistant. Junk isn't supposed to go to Clutter. What is supposed to go to Clutter are messages that you want to read but that you don't need to see immediately.

HOW DOES CLUTTER DECIDE WHAT'S LOW PRIORITY?

Clutter decides what goes into this folder in two ways:

1) You tell it directly. By taking an email that you consider "low priority" and dragging it from your inbox into Clutter, Clutter will understand to move similar messages (with similar subjects and/or from that same sender) into your Clutter folder. And the reverse works as well. If you keep getting messages placed into your Clutter folder that you want to stay in your Inbox, drag them from Clutter to Inbox and Clutter will learn to keep those types of messages in your Inbox.

2) You tell it indirectly by your Actions. This is one of the most useful parts of Clutter, but it also is what gets it in trouble sometimes. Clutter watches how you interact with your email and makes a determination about whether an email is low or high priority. Do you get a daily email from your subject-area state organization that summarizes chats on their website? Do you skip opening most of them? Once Clutter detects that pattern, it will start shuttling those messages into your Clutter folder. But what if your building principal sends 7 or 8 emails a day? If you can tell by the subject lines that 6 of those emails aren't applicable to you, you might delete those without reading them. Clutter is watching, and it's now decided you don't care about emails from that person, so it starts moving all messages from your principal into Clutter, and you might miss an important, time-sensitive email.

HOW CAN I MAKE CLUTTER WORK FOR ME?
You can "train" it using the instructions above. If you decide to to this, though, please remember that Clutter is NOT a second junk mail folder. The idea is that the messages in Clutter will be read by you--they just aren't priority messages. Knowing this, you will need to regularly (maybe once a day) check your Clutter folder for messages that have been shuffled in there.

I DON'T WANT TO DO THAT. CAN'T I JUST TURN IT OFF?
You absolutely CAN. To do so, log into webmail athttp://www.erlanger.kyschools.us/email (You can't do this from the Outlook client on your computer). Click on the "Clutter" folder and select "Clutter Settings." You can then uncheck the box that says "Separate Items identified as Clutter" and then click "Save." That's all there is to it! Your non-junk mail will all go to your Inbox.


Posted By Laura Deters at 8:00 AM
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Friday, April 1, 2016 8:00 AM

Windows 10 Introduction

 

The district has started rolling out Windows 10 devices, mostly as replacements for staff workstations that are 6+ years old, but we have a handful of student computer labs in the district that are running Windows 10.

The good news about Windows 10 is that it's enough like Windows 7 that most people have been able to make the transition to the new operating system without much help. But that's not to say there aren't some issues. Even I had issues the first time I used Windows 10. I remember saying to myself, "How the heck to I find 'My Computer' on this thing?" It took a little stumbling around to figure it out.

Microsoft understands that a transition to a new operating system can sometimes be frustrating, so they have created a brief introduction to Windows 10. It's free and available online.

You can read the introduction by clicking this link. 


Posted By Laura Deters at 8:00 AM
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Friday, April 1, 2016 8:00 AM

CIITS Tutorial Video

I know that users in the district have had mixed success with the KDE-supplied Continuous Instructional Improvement Technology System, or CIITS. The PGES module was clunky and glitchy at first, the PD 360 module seemed like a great idea but was never used, and even the wealth of instructional resources are hard to find. But one aspect of CIITS has always worked really well, and that's been the ability to quickly look at student data.

KDE has put together a brief video that shows users how to access this information. You can watch the video by clicking this link


Posted By Laura Deters at 8:00 AM
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