Summer 2019 Technology Newsletter

By: Michael Kealy

New Technology Throughout The District!

Summer 2019 has been a busy summer getting new technology setup and distributed throughout the district. One goal for the Technology Department is to provide access to students and staff to a variety of computer and instructional technology systems. Check out the articles below to see what's new in your building and available to you!
The zSpace AR/VR Laptop

What is zSpace?

zSpace® is a cutting edge computer system that combines elements of AR and VR to create lifelike experiences for students that inspire curiosity, create engagement and deepen understanding.

The district purchased a set of zSpace laptop computers that will be shared amongst all 6 buildings. Training will be forthcoming on how to utilize zSpace in your instruction and teachers can submit a BCSD Technology Help Ticket to reserve the zSpace laptops for their classroom.

zSpace also offers curriculum and lesson ideas on their zSpace for education page where educators can search by content area or standard. A link to the zSpace Education can be found here:

Apple "What’s a Computer"

Apple iPad's Will Be Available in Every Building

Beginning this school year a cart containing 12 iPad's will be placed in each school's library and can be loaned out to teachers to use in their classrooms. 12 iPad's should be enough to pair students with an iPad in order to introduce students to the iOS Operating System and utilize the various applications "apps" that are available. If you have a favorite app you would like to use with your students please submit a BCSD Technology Help Ticket and the department will put the app on the iPad's assigned to your building.
iPad Pro — Change — Apple

Apple Pencil's Will Be Available To Sign Out and Use With Your iPad's

A set of 12 Apple Pencil's can be signed out to use with the iPad's in your building. To request Apple Pencil's please submit a BCSD Technology Help Ticket.

About Apple Pencil:

Mark up email, screenshots, and more.You can write and sketch on email messages, and even draw directly in apps like Keynote. Take a screenshot, then mark up the shot you just took.

The ideal tool for artists of every kind.Apple Pencil helps you express your creative ideas. Whether you’re painting a watercolor, designing an interior, or retouching layers of a photo, Apple Pencil brings your visions to life.

Apple Pencil is packed with technology designed to make using it completely intuitive. With imperceptible lag and pixel-perfect precision, it feels like a familiar writing and drawing tool you’ve always used.

Tello EDU - Soaring Symphony

Ryze Tello Drones Available To Use

Beginning this school year the district purchased a Ryze Tello Drone for each school building. These introductory level drones can be used teach students about drones and can also be signed out to use in your classroom or for student projects.

Ryze Tell Drones can also be used to easily learn programming languages such as Scratch, Python, and Swift Programming has never been this fun with Tello EDU! The drones are controlled by an app which will be installed on the iPad's assigned to your building.

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Portable Green Screens

This year the district purchased a portable green screen for each building. The portable green screen can be easily moved and setup in any classroom. Green Screens can be used by students and staff to create virtual backdrops when making videos. The technology department is installing the Green Screen by Do Ink app on the new iPad's as well as iMovie which Apple recently announced will contain a green screen feature. Please submit a BCSD Technology Help Ticket or contact your Library Media Specialist for additional information.
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Dell Interactive Panels

This year BHS as well as a handful of classrooms in each school building are receiving new mobile 70" Dell Interactive Panels. These cart based interactive monitors give teachers the ability to project in high definition (HD), annotate their screen, and change the configuration of their classroom at any time without having to worry about students facing one wall where the board is mounted. Simply plug in the power cord to an outlet, USB cord to your laptop, and HDMI cord to your laptop and you should be ready to begin using your board. Additional training information regarding use of the new boards will be forthcoming.

A special thank you to the facilities team for assisting in the setup of the new boards!

Dell Chromebooks

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BCSD District Is 1:1 This School Year!

I am excited to share the the Beacon City School District will be completely 1:1 this school year, meaning there will be a device for every student K-12. After a successful 1:1 Chromebook launch at Rombout Middle School last year, the district is gearing up for a 1:1 Chromebook launch at Beacon High School this year. The Chromebook carts from Beacon High School have been reallocated to the elementary schools helping the district to be become completely 1:1.

Summer G-Suite Updates

All classes moving to Google Classroom with the Classwork Page in September

All classes moving to Google Classroom with the Classwork Page in September

Posted: 08 Aug 2019 06:22 AM PDT

What’s changing

Last year, we introduced a new version of Classroom that provides additional features, including a Classwork page to help teachers better organize assignments. Newly created classes automatically include this Classwork page, with the option for instructors to revert classesback to the version of Classroom without Classwork.

The previous version of Classroom (without the Classwork page) is deprecated and will be discontinued on September 4, 2019. This means that new classes will be created using the version of Classroom that includes the Classwork page—instructors will no longer have the option to revert to the version without Classwork. In addition, all classes still using the previous version will be automatically converted to the version of Classroom that includes the Classwork page on September 4.

Why it’s important

Any class materials that exist in the Class Settings page will not be carried over, however instructors can create the same experience in the new Classroom by adding the same materials to the Classwork page. Note that you’ll still be able to access these materials, excluding links to YouTube content, via Google Drive.

Additional details

For more information and resources on Google Classroom for your instructors, check out our Help Center and Teacher Center. Your instructors can also view this video on how to create resources in the Classwork page using topics.

Helpful links

Stay up to date with G Suite launches

Google Classroom - Class Resources Topic

Priority page in Drive now available for all G Suite editions

Priority page in Drive now available for all G Suite editions

Posted: 07 Aug 2019 06:46 AM PDT

Quick launch summary

Earlier this year we launched a new Priority page in Drive, which makes accessing and organizing your most important files easier. This feature is now available for all G Suite editions.

On the Priority page, you’ll see your most relevant documents and are able to take action in line, like replying to a comment or reviewing recent edits, without opening the doc. In Workspaces, you’ll see related content grouped together for easy access, or you can create your own personalized workspaces. To learn more about the Priority page in Drive, see here.

Originality reports for Google Classroom and Google Assignments launching to beta

What’s changing

We're opening a beta for originality reports. The feature scans a student's work for matches across billions of web pages and books, which can make it easier for instructors to evaluate the academic integrity of work and provide constructive feedback to the student. Originality reports can be used within Google Classroom and Google Assignments.

Note that Google Assignments is an improved and expanded version of Course Kit. If you’re already part of the Course Kit beta, you’ll automatically have access to Assignments.

Who’s impacted

Admins and end users

Why you’d use it

We've heard from instructors that they frequently use Google Search to check if student work is authentic and that they spend a lot of time giving feedback about missed citations and improper paraphrasing. This feature makes that process more efficient and effective by integrating the power of Search into our feedback and grading tools.

Additionally, this feature gives students real-time feedback about issues before they turn in a document, giving them the opportunity to improve their work and learn from their mistakes before final submissions.

How to get started

  • Admins: Admins can express interest in the originality reports beta for Classroom here. All Assignments beta users will automatically have originality reports. To express interest for the Assignments beta, see here.
  • End users: Once enabled in your domain, end users can turn originality reports on per assignment by checking the originality reports checkbox within the assignment creation process.

Additional details

Once the feature is generally available, instructors will be able to access originality reports at no charge for up to three assignments in each course they teach. Schools that would like unlimited access can upgrade their instructors to G Suite Enterprise for Education. During the beta, all instructors can use originality reports as much as they would like, at no additional charge.

Regardless of what G Suite for Education edition their instructor is using, students will only be able to create reports up to three times per assignment when enabled by their instructor. This applies to the beta and when the feature becomes generally available.

If your domain has turned on the Assignments LTI tool, you can also use originality reports within Google Assignments in your LMS. Note that when new coursework is set up within Assignments, you’ll need to click the checkbox to add originality reports to the assignment.

While this feature is in beta, originality reports will only work for Google Docs and will only be available in English.

Helpful links

Remove or select a custom color for chart borders in Google Sheets

Remove or select a custom color for chart borders in Google Sheets

Posted: 08 Jul 2019 10:20 AM PDT

Quick launch summary

You now have more options for customizing chart borders in Google Sheets. Currently, the default border for a chart is dark gray — now, you can change the border to a custom color or remove the border:

  • Double click on any chart to open the Chart editor and select the Customize tab.

  • Under Chart style, you can select a border color or select “None” to remove the border.

Switch to a blank screen and set advanced time options for presentations in Google Slides

Quick launch summary

We’re adding two new features in Slides Present mode to help you better control and customize your presentations:

Keyboard shortcuts to switch to a blank screen
Using new keyboard shortcuts, you’ll now be able to change to an all white or black screen while presenting. This can be helpful when you want to pause a presentation to answer a question or further a discussion without any material on screen.

While presenting, press “B” to turn your screen black or “W” to turn your screen white. You can resume presenting by using any other keyboard or mouse action. To see more keyboard shortcuts for Google Slides, see this article in our Help Center.

Looping and auto advance time options for presentations
New options allow you to set auto advance time in present mode and presentation looping. You can access these options by clicking Settings (gear icon) in the presentation navigation bar. Your settings will be applied once you hit play and begin your presentation.

With these settings, you can easily set your presentation to loop, which is useful when presenting at a conference or for displaying information on a kiosk. To learn more about presenting in Slides, see our Help Center.

Stay up to date with G Suite launches

Google Offline Access

Now that the district is 1:1 it is important for teachers take into consideration those students who may not have internet connectivity at home. Google offline access can help students complete work even without an internet connection. However, as educators we must design homework assignments that do not require an internet connection such as going to website.


A reminder that you will more than likely need to re-join the BCSD Public wifi network. You need to re-enter the password for the network every 90 days. The password is: beaconcity

Reminder: Please Do Not Move or Permanently Label District Owned Technology Equipment

As we begin a new school year this is just a reminder not to move or place permanent markings/labels on any district owned technology equipment assigned to you. The Technology Department is responsible for tracking the location of equipment and from time to time may reallocate equipment to new users. Thank you for your cooperation.

Thank you Technology Dept. Team and Technology Summer Student Workers

I want to start out by recognizing members of the Technology Department and our Summer Student Workers, who are BHS Students, for their hard work this summer in getting technology prepared and setup prior to the school year. Great job everyone!
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