IT Matters

October 2018

Welcome!

Thank you for visiting the October 2018 edition of the Norton Public Schools Technology Department's IT (Instructional Technology) Matters online newsletter. We hope you find the resources useful and informative.
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Celebrating Dot Day!

Students across the District (and the world!) celebrated International Dot Day on September 15th-ish. Encouraging students to "make their mark," staff provided learning opportunities that incorporated the book The Dot by Peter Reynolds. In the photo above, students in Miss Carlson's 1st grade use the Quiver app and school iPads to turn their drawings into 3-dimensional shapes.

Summer Projects Update

  • 270 Chromebooks were at end of lease and were sent back to HP this summer. This meant we had to locate devices by serial numbers and move to a central location for pickup. Chargers were sent back as well.
  • 450 Chromebooks arrived for our incoming 6th graders and to provide 1:1 carts for grade 3 students and additional devices in the NHS library. Devices were unboxed, configured, labeled, and sorted by class prior to distribution.
  • Chromebooks used by last year's 8th graders were transferred to NHS.
  • Collected NMS chromebooks were sorted into new homerooms and delivered during the first week of school.
  • Chromebooks for students in grades 9, 10, 11 were distributed during the first week of school thanks to NHS teachers and our high school student help desk.
  • eSpark iPads previously used in grades 3-5 have been reallocated to grades K-2.
  • Flex iPad carts at JCS have been reassigned to the Little Lancers Preschool.
  • We doubled our bandwidth to account for additional devices on the network.


We know that many of the projectors being used at the primary and middle school levels are 6-8+ years old. We are working to provide equity across grade levels and content areas while also addressing failing equipment across all schools. We have many classrooms that still have wires hanging from ceilings and projectors on carts that must be addressed for safety reasons.


A capital request has been put forth to the Town for 33 interactive projectors or interactive flat panels. If approved, we are planning to upgrade LGN and JCS classrooms with new projection equipment. We are aware of additional needs at both the HAY and NMS and will reallocate viable equipment until new technology can be purchased in future budgets.

Wifi Networks-What's the Difference? NPS vs NPS Chromebooks vs NPS BYOD vs NPS Guest

If you are an employee of the Norton Public Schools, you should be able to access the NPS wifi by logging in with your NPS network username & password. These are the credentials you use when you log into a computer (NOT your Google account). Students may also log onto the NPS wifi network with their District credentials. Filtering is based on user accounts.


All student chromebooks and ipads are on the NPS Chromebooks network which is a separate network just for these devices. Student filtering is in place on this network.


The NPS BYOD network is for any device that is not supplied by the District. Students who bring their own devices from home can use this wifi network. Student filtering is in place on this network.


The NPS Guest network has the strongest filters and is open for anyone to join--no passwords required. You may notice that certain websites and social media apps do not work on this network. Please tell students not to switch to this network as they will not get better access. The NPS Guest network does not allow access to any school owned devices such as printers, copiers, or servers.

What can your TTLs do for you?

Each building has a teacher technology liaison (TTL) to assist with technology integration and curriculum support. Our 2018-2019 TTLs are:



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



Contact your TTL if you:


  • Need help setting up Google Classroom, organizing your Google Drive, 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 some ideas on how your students can make films for the Lancer Film Festival


Your TTLs don't fix hardware problems. They are teachers who can assist with applications that impact teaching and learning. If you need help with hardware when something breaks, please put in a SchoolDude request and Nick, Paul, or our NHS Help Desk students will assist.

Be On the Lookout!

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PD Day Resources

This year's professional learning day was a great success thanks to the many staff members who offered new and innovative sessions. From using green screens and augmented reality to building relationships and exploring empathy toys, it was a fun day to learn something new! Many people shared that there were so many great sessions to choose from they often couldn't decide! Here is a link to the folder with resources from the day if you are interested in exploring on your own: Professional Learning Day Shared Resources Folder
Mark your calendars for upcoming technology professional learning opportunities!


  • Maximizing GSuite for Education workshop at NHS- Tuesdays, Oct 16-Nov 27th Hybrid sessions both face-to-face and online. FREE for NPS staff! Register by 10/12 https://goo.gl/7BEC7L
  • MassCUE Conference at Gillette Stadium Oct 18th -19th, Teachers may choose to apply contractual funds to attend this conference. Prior approval of building administrator required - submit through SmartPD.
  • Edcamp SouthEastern MA HERE AT NMS Dec 1st! http://edcampsemass.weebly.com/

TECH Pics of the Month!

Thank you to the NMS staff who opened their classroom doors to the educators visiting from Somerset. I had the pleasure of walking around with the team and everyone was very impressed with your efforts to make learning with technology meaningful for students.
Digital Breakout in Social Studies
Digital breakout in Social Studies class!

Have a Tech Picture to Share?

We'd 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.

Aesop/Frontline Absence Management

New this year is the online software to manage absences. All staff have accounts where they can submit an absence request. Staff was introduced to the software on PD day and emails were sent with registration information. If you have not yet set up your account or you need assistance in doing so, please reach out to your building TTL who can assist. This software is paid for in place of the stipend a staff member had received in prior years to call for substitutes.


We expect to have the correct number of sick, personal, and vacation days in all staff accounts by Tuesday, October 9th. If you have any questions regarding the number of days listed in your account, please reach out to Liz Simone esimone@norton.k12.ma.us or Matt Wells mwells@norton.k12.ma.us.

SchoolDude

We will continue to use SchoolDude this year to request help with technology hardware issues. The link to the support request form is here. The beginning of the year is always a busy time getting everyone set-up with the technology in their classrooms. Thank you for your patience as we address the tech support requests in a timely manner!

Budgetary Cuts to Online Resources

Unfortunately, due to the challenging budget in FY2019, the technology department was forced to eliminate some software subscriptions. The following programs were cut for the 2018-2019 school year.
  • Discovery Education Streaming
  • Accelerated Reader
  • MyAccess
  • Gizmos
  • eSpark
  • Wixie
  • Newsela

We will work to identify alternatives that are comparable and cost effective or advocate to include these back in the FY2020 budget.

Have a great online resource you'd like to share with your NPS colleagues? Send it along to Karen via email or tag @kwinsper in a tweet!
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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. The date hasn't been set yet but we expect it to take place in late April or early May. To learn more, visit the Lancer Film Festival website.

District Tech Team Meeting

The first meeting of the District Tech Team will be held on Wed. October 10th at 3:45 at Central. If interested in joining this group, reach out to Karen. All are welcome to attend to discuss all things technology!

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 and try to include you here in our NPS Tech Tweets! Just tag @kwinsper in a Tweet!
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Thank you for taking the time to read our newsletter!