MCSD Ed Tech Review

Tools & Tips Worth Your Time

Issue 5, May 2016

Pre-Summer Housekeeping Edition

HAPPY - Pharrell Williams (feat. Minions)

The end is nigh!

It seems like we were just sitting down in the FA auditorium, being welcomed back, trading summer stories, but here we are, the end of another school year. This particular point in the year brings a mix of emotions for teachers: elation (Summer is coming. - Shout out to the GoT fans.), panic (How am I going to get through the rest of this in a few weeks?!), crippling anxiety (They're not worried about the Regents Exam! I'm worried about the Regents Exam! Why aren't they worried about the Regents Exam?!), and dread (I really have to pack all this stuff up? Can't they clean and paint around it?).


With all of this on our minds, it's easy to find yourself mindlessly shoving stuff into closets at 10:45 on the last day of school, telling yourself that you'll take care of it over the summer...or maybe in September. If you're anything like me, the shelves of your closets could be used for a lesson in stratigraphy in an archaeology class, with binders, handouts, and overhead projector sheets going back years the further in you dig.


Again, if you're anything like me, it's even easier to fall into this hole on the digital side of our professional lives. Sometimes it feels like it's easier to just walk away.


There are some things you can do even now, when you feel like you might not make it to the end, that don't take a tremendous amount of time to set the stage for a good start to the next ed tech year.

Classroom Hardware and Network

Get ready for imaging.
  • If you have a district-owned wireless device that has been assigned to you, please return it to the IT office at FA so it can be updated before next school year.
  • Remember that the PC's in your room will be reimaged over the summer. So first and foremost, make sure anything you have saved on your desktop that you want to keep is also saved to your H: drive or Google Drive. It won't be on your desktop when you come back, and no amount of wailing and gnashing of teeth will give our NERIC friends the power to get it back.
  • Please do not remove or lock up peripherals like Hovercams. The IT staff need to plug them back in after reimaging in order for them to work.


Get ready for summer cleaning.

  • Our custodial and cleaning staff do a great job of taking our rooms apart and putting them back together each summer. You can help them out ahead of time, though, by cleaning out your presentation center, desk, etc., and doing what you can to make sure they have the least amount of hardware to unplug and reconnect possible.
  • Remove the batteries from your remotes and store the remotes in a safe place.
  • Make sure your projector is off before you leave for the summer; if you know how to clean the filter on your projector, please feel free to do so.


Weed out your H: drive.

  • Come on, when was the last time you even opened the folder with all those United Streaming videos? No one likes cleaning, I get it. But take a few minutes and take resources that you haven't touched in ages and upload them to your Google Drive, along with anything else you might want access to over the summer without having to come in to school. There are no storage limits on your school Google account, so go nuts! Upload everything you've got. Then delete the things on the H: drive that you haven't looked at in ages. You'll feel better after getting things cleaned up.


Wait...where am I?

  • If you know that you'll be moving to a different room next year, please let Travis Kench (travis.kench@neric.org) know ASAP. Informing the NERIC folks now gives you the best chance possible of having the same hardware you've been using available to you in your new room.

Google Apps

Classroom
  • When you're all done with this year's classes, archive them. They won't be cluttering up your main Classroom dashboard, but you'll still have access to everything in them should the need ever arise for some reason. Also, you can reuse assignments and posts from old classes, even if they're archived; no need to type recurring assignments up year after year.


Drive

  • If you have dragged student work out of "Shared with me," or have folders for this year's classes, create a '15-'16 folder and drag everything in there. Again, with the unlimited storage space on your account, there's no reason to delete things, but there's also no (good) reason "My Drive" should be a hot mess, leave that for "Shared with me," which is a good place to steer clear when we can (remember you can add shared files to "My Drive.") because it's such a mess.
  • The same is true of your Classroom folder. You'll want to leave the main Classroom folder at the top level of "My Drive," but inside it you'll have subfolders for all of your classes. Just as we did above, you can create a '15-'16 folder here and drag all your archived classes into it. This way if you need to find something in the Classroom folder next year, you won't be looking in the wrong place if you have classes with the same name.


Advice for Your Students

  • Students who will be with us again next year can and should follow the same piece advice about cleaning up "My Drive" by moving this year's files into a new folder so they're still available, but out of the way.
  • If you teach seniors, let them know that in the fall their district Google account will be deactivated. It's important that they get anything out of it that they might want before that point. If it's a few individual files, they could download them or share them to a personal Google account and then make a new copy or transfer ownership. If they have a lot of stuff that they'd like to keep, then they might want to check out Google Takeout (here's the site). This tool will let them create a zipped copy of everything (that they have sufficient permissions for) in their account as a single package that can then be uploaded to their personal account.

Your New Year's Ed Tech Resolution

This is a good time in the year to look back and ask yourself if there is anything in terms of tech integration that you wish you had done differently in your classes, or something you wished you had gotten a chance to try but didn't. Make that your New Year's Ed Tech Resolution.


Write it down. Or, better yet, put it in Google Keep (see below). Let it be there as a reminder as you start next year's classes.


If you set your sights on something and you're not sure where to begin to set it up, or you're feeling overwhelmed with the technology, contact me. I'll be happy to do whatever I can to help you follow your resolution.


If you're up to it, share your resolution via this form! It will only take a couple of minutes, I promise, and you don't even have to give your name if you don't want to.

Resource Roundup

Below are 3 tools that you might not have come across before that might make you say "ooooh." A group of us recently attended a Google Summit, so it's all Google, all the time.

Get In Touch

My job is to be here as a resource for you and your students. If you want help learning how to integrate technology in your classroom, please let me know. For more information on the sorts of ways I might help you, look at this.


- Mark Dalton, IT Coordinator