IT Matters

March 2019


Thank you for visiting the March 2019 edition of the Norton Public Schools Technology Department's IT (Instructional Technology) Matters online newsletter. We hope you find the resources useful and informative.

District Tech Committee

The technology committee is working on developing resources to assist staff in navigating student privacy laws, regulations, and best practices surrounding student data. Once completed, all information will be shared with staff across the District. Here's a preview of the online resources we are using to guide our work:

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MCAS is Coming

We're here to help. The tech department will be available on all testing days at the LGN, JCS, and NHS and as needed at NMS and the HAY. We are reviewing this MCAS presentation with staff who will be administering the computer based MCAS test for the first time. We have purchased headphones for every student who is taking the test and we will distribute them to homeroom teachers prior to the first test date. Take a look at the universal accommodations list which identifies tools any student can use for the online exam. Our elementary tech teachers will work with classes in grades 3-5 to introduce or review the tools. Reach out with any questions or concerns!

Reach Out to Your TTL

This year, we tried something different. Instead of weekly office hours, the teacher tech liaisons have been working collaboratively on providing brief tech tips in the form of a "Tech Wiz" flyer posted in each school. This doesn't mean your TTL won't help you with other tech ideas. Please reach out to them if you:

  • Want to explore digital notebooks, need help organizing your Google Drive, or managing 1:1 devices in your classroom
  • Want to learn how to better communicate with parents/families using technology
  • Are interested in publishing student work for a global audience
  • Need assistance with District provided software
  • Want to try a new tech tool you've heard about
  • Want some ideas on how your students can make films for the Lancer Film Festival

2018-2019 TTLs

  • Jenifer Carline, HAY
  • Jennifer Carlson, LGN
  • Colleen O'Neil, JCS
  • Christina Schilingo, NMS
  • Jennifer Young, NHS
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G Suite Resources

G Suite Updates Blog - take a look at all of the G Suite updates

Google's Official Education Blog

Google's Applied Digital Skills Curriculum where you can find lessons and activities to use with your students or resources to help yourself as an adult learner.

More Google Educational Resources - virtual museums, Google Scholar, coding and STEM resources

What's New in Google Classroom

G Suite User Guide to Accessibility - You may have noticed the accessibility heading in docs, sheets, & slides. This resource outlines all of the ways you can make Google tools more accessible for all learners.

Innovative Approaches to Literacy with GoogleEDU (from the January HAY professional day)

Anything from Kasey Bell at Shake Up Learning!

Google Teacher Tribe on YouTube - You can also subscribe to the podcast from Kasey Bell & Matt Miller!

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Wires, Pliers and Hardware

We've come a long way in the past five years and yet we still have work to do to continue growing as a District in terms of technology use, integration, and equitable access. This section will give a brief update on the hardware and network side of the tech department.

This year, the tech department has:

  • Configured and distributed chromebooks for students in grades 3-11.
  • Distributed JCS/LGN Promethean boards (approved fall 2018 Town Meeting)
  • Implemented a new backup solution (approved fall 2018 Town Meeting)
  • Requested an upgrade to servers/infrastructure (proposed spring 2019 Town Meeting)
  • Requested HAY Promethean boards (proposed spring 2019 Town Meeting)
  • Completed 787 SchoolDude support requests.
  • Sent out 233 chromebooks to be repaired.
  • Ordered and configured iPads received through grant awards.

Plans for 2019/2020 pending funding:

  • Secure new devices for teachers PK-8.
  • Reallocate laptops or chromebooks for all paraprofessionals.
  • Acquire Promethean boards for NMS (pending Town Meeting approval).
  • Reinstate technician position.

Future plans:

  • Upgrade teacher and administrator devices every 3-5 years.
  • Acquire Promethean boards for NHS.
  • Update wireless infrastructure across the District.
  • Expand library media programming to all grade levels.
  • Build an in-District streaming server.

Current NPS Inventory

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2nd Annual Lancer Film Festival

The Lancer Film Festival is back for a second year and we expect it to be even better than last year! The festival aims to celebrate original media created by students and staff. Teachers are

encouraged to include options for students to create films and videos when assigning curriculum projects throughout the school year. Students may then choose to submit their original media creations for recognition at the Lancer Film Festival. Staff are also encouraged to create original films and videos that engage and inspire others. This year's festival will be held on Tuesday, May 7th at Norton High School. We will have a red carpet event with paparazzi again this year. If you're interested in volunteering or want to learn more, visit the Lancer Film Festival website.

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Have a Professional Twitter Account?

If you'd like to share your Twitter handle with the technology department, we'll include you on our NPS Twitter list which currently has 183 members across all schools. Just tag @kwinsper in a Tweet!

Share a Photo!

We love to share photos of students and teachers using technology in our schools. Please share your tech pictures to be included in future newsletters! Email them to Karen and be sure to include some information describing the photo! You can also tag @kwinsper on Twitter.

Cubers Connect!

Students from Norton High School's Cubing Club invited elementary Rubik's Cube fans to join them to create this Tom Brady mosaic. Norton NEED provided the grant funds for the NHS club to purchase the cubes. It was a great cross-school collaboration!
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Thank you for taking the time to read our newsletter!