SCHS EdTech Update

A weekly communication of all things tech related!

12/16/15 Edition: 1

Celebrating the work of teachers and students

Each week I will highlight the work of at least one staff member. My first teacher spotlight is on Renee Smith, a fearless user of Schoology question banks and tests. Today her Life Skills and Parenting classes took practice tests in Schoology, to build background knowledge about the process for both her and the students. Tomorrow they will take it to the next level, completing their midterms in Schoology. Because she has planned ahead, these questions are already saved in her Resources as question banks. She's ahead of the game for next semester!

What's a VPN and why do my kids use it?

Students use a VPN (virtual private network) to bypass security restrictions on our school network. A few teachers have asked what to do about it. Because use of a VPN is a violation of their signed RUP (responsible use policy), consider this an infraction that needs to be recorded and reported. According to our behavior matrix, this is a Level 3 infraction!

The video below explains VPN in more detail - just know that it is designed to sell you their product!

How VPN Works

Broken screens!!!

If you haven't stopped in to meet our new building tech, please go introduce yourself to Patrick Mason sometime soon. He's a great asset to our building!

He shared a fact with me today that you need to hear. Since the rollout, there have been at least 5 broken Chromebook screens per week. The picture to the left shows this week's stack of NINE broken screens. Please remind your students of the following...

  1. Do not put earbuds, pens, or other small items on the keyboard. They are easily forgotten or overlooked as someone closes the lid.
  2. Put the Chromebook in the case whenever moving between classes. NEVER put it in a backpack without the case.
  3. Keep Chromebooks away from the edges of surfaces. They easily get bumped off of a table, desk, chair, bed, etc.

The cost to repair the screen is $50. Students become day-users until that fee is paid.

Classroom Management Tip: Testing using Chromebooks

Here are a few things to consider before you test students using technology.

  1. Can you see their screens? Rearrange the room for the day so that you can stand in one place and see everyone's screen. Get creative with your space... on testing days you can arrange desks so that they face away from your SMARTboard, and they can sit right up next to it. If students know you can see their device, they will be less likely to even attempt to go to other places on their computer.
  2. One window, one tab. Tell students they can only have one window open in Chrome, and they may only use one tab. If you see them open anything else, it will be considered cheating.
  3. Close lids when done testing. Tell students that they must close their Chromebooks once they finish their assessment. No one can reopen their devices until everyone is finished.
  4. Wear your walking shoes. The best deterrent to cheating is your presence. Be ready for a long quiet day of walking around the room, observing the students. This is a simple way to be proactive.
  5. Be very deliberate about your settings. No matter what online testing system you use, there will be some choices to make in the settings section. Don't rush past this step! Think about randomizing question order, timing for when the test opens/closes, letting students see results right away or limiting their access, etc. Schoology has many settings options available, so it gives a lot of flexibility in this area.

And despite all of your careful planning, you know you still might see something like this!!

Mr. Bean - The Exam