Clarke County Schools

August 2014 Instructional Technology Newsletter

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It’s a new school year and CHANGE is the name of the game!

Epson LCD Projectors

Classroom projectors take a leap forward!

Nearly all of the district’s classrooms have an Epson interactive LCD projector with a mini computer mounted on top. This has allowed teachers to work in an untethered environment using a wireless keyboard and mouse. However, it has not allowed teachers to connect their laptop to the projector untethered; until now. This summer the technology teams got together to make sure that all of the Epson interactive LCD projectors are connected to the network. By downloading an Epson utility, all teachers can connect to their classroom projector wirelessly. By doing so, teachers can display anything from their laptop onto the projector. The projector will also play audio from the laptop. The utility is called “Epson EasyMP Network Projection” and can be found by clicking on this link or by doing a Google search. We've included a short video showing how to find it and install it. The only thing not offered is full interactivity of the displayed image. For that you will still need to use the mini computer. In addition, Epson also offers an app called “Epson iProjection”. Using this app, teachers can connect an iPad to the projector and display a website and anything in the documents folder as well as the images folder. Here’s a quick video tutorial showing how it works. We are also in the process of making sure that Reflector works, which will allow iPad users to display anything that is on their iPad onto the projector. It actually emulates AirPlay and gets installed on a laptop. It’s not free, so it won’t be installed district wide but it will give us some options that we didn’t have before. Should you have any challenges with this, our Instructional team will be more than happy to help.

Epson Easy MP

Personal Learning Device

As I’m sure you know by now, students in grade 3 through 9 will be allowed to take devices home this school year. Final plans are in place to make sure that schools are ready to go when students return. So what we used to call laptops, netbooks, Chromebooks will now be referred to as Personal Learning Devices. Schools will be given some flexibility as to their exact rollout dates but we would hope all schools are comfortable assigning a PLD to students for take-home no later than the week of September 2, 2014.

ITS assignments

While we try as much as possible not to make any changes to the ITS assignments, we just had to do it. We’ve also been fortunate enough to add one more member to our team. Please welcome Steve Piazza as the newest member of our team.

ITS assignments for the 2014-15 school year are as follows:

Joel Frey: Alps ES, Timothy Rd ES, Chase ES, Winterville ES

Todd Hollett: Barrow ES, Oglethorpe ES, Gaines ES, Hilsman MS

Carrie Siegmund: Cedar Shoals HS, Clarke Central HS

Scott Wilkerson: Fowler Dr ES, JJ Harris ES, Whitehead Rd ES, Clarke MS

Clint Winter: Cleveland Rd ES, Stroud ES, Coile MS, BHL MS

Steve Piazza: Barnett Shoals ES, Whit Davis ES, HT Edwards Campus

All of the Instructional Technology Specialists will work with their individual schools to set a schedule that works for all involved.

Summer Institute

The district’s second annual Summer Institute was a huge success. Thanks to all of our presenters, organizers, supporters, etc. If you helped, thank you. And thank you to Cedar Shoals high school for hosting the event. As we do with every endeavor, we learned a lot and got some very good feedback with suggestions on how we can make next year’s even better.

Tech Leaders

In an effort to extend the professional learning beyond the ITS, we are asking schools to identify a group of teachers to serve as Tech Leaders. This model was piloted at BHL and Whit Davis ES this past spring and was well received. Tech Leaders would be asked to assist with PL and serve as an instructional technology resource. Your Instructional Technology Specialist will work with your school to help identify, recruit, bribe or whatever it takes.

Live without your power cord

Isn’t it ironic how laptops were always meant to be portable and cordless devices? But what’s the first thing you see when people enter a room with a laptop? They’re almost always looking for a power supply to plug in their power cord. But another approach (that we highly recommend) make sure that your laptop is fully charged before you go into your next meeting, PL session, workshop or wherever you need to use it. A fully charged laptop should last at least 3 to 4 hours. If your laptop will only hold a charge for an hour or less, submit a help desk ticket and Technology Services will take care of it.

Smart Software

Not too long ago, we made a district decision to transition away from the use of Smartboards and along with it, the Smart software. While we kept Smartboards mounted in most existing classrooms, all new and remodeled schools did not have the boards installed. For schools and classrooms that still have a Smartboard, feel free to use the Smart software. If you do not have a Smartboard in your room, you cannot continue to use the Smart software.

Another Google feature added

There has been a lot of discussion concerning student access to resources outside of school, especially for those without Internet access. Google offline to the rescue. By using Google offline, teachers can create folders to share with students and place documents and resources that students can access from home, with or without internet. When the student comes back to school, the document is synced to their Google Drive account and updated to the offline folder.

Google Classroom - State LMS

If you haven’t seen by now, Google is about to release their latest addition to their Edu lineup. This time it’s an LMS called Google Classroom. With Google Classroom, teachers can create lessons and easily share with students in one place. We already have quite a few teachers who have signed and and been approved. If you're interested, just go to Google Classroom and request access. In addition, the State LMS (now called Learning Solution) will be piloted with 7th grade math teachers. The State LMS will be accessed through Campus and will tie into the SLDS as well as the LOR. Please stay tuned for more.

MS and HS students with Campus access

In an effort to have our secondary students take ownership of their learning, we are creating user accounts for them to access Infinite Campus. Having access to Campus will allow them to see their grades, assignments, calendar and any notifications that teachers send to their class. Feedback from the Clarke MS pilot this past spring was very positive with improved student efficacy from students at all levels. Campus also has an app for iPhone and Android that gets them connected much quicker.

No “H” drive for students

With the move to Google apps, all students have access to a Google Drive account to store their files and documents. As a result, the old “H” drive that used to be available for students is no longer there.

Congratulations to the Summer 2014 CCSD Club Tech VIPs!

We are happy to announce the Summer 2014 Club Tech participants listed below are now considered VIPs with CCSD Club Tech! These teachers participated in the Club Tech Professional Learning Community this summer that was fabulous!

Summer 2014 CCSD Club Tech VIPs

  • Sook Jin Reagan, Barnett Shoals Elementary School

  • Abby Brink, Barrow Elementary School

  • Angela Wyatt, Barrow Elementary School

  • Aziz Coleman, Barrow Elementary School

  • Todd Elihu, Burney-Harris-Lyons Middle School

  • Kerry Hogan, Cedar Shoals High School

  • Sherry Armel, Chase Elementary School

  • Catherine England, Chase Elementary School

  • Jennifer Thompson-Whaley, Chase Elementary School

  • Becky Begnaud, Clarke Central High School

  • Heather Julian, Clarke Central High School

  • Ginger Lehmann, Clarke Central High School

  • Michelle Pierce, Clarke Central High School

  • Lenora Vaughn, Clarke Central High School

  • Ashlee Wegman, Clarke Central High School

  • Ann Locicero, Clarke Middle School

  • Kristina Patel, Clarke Middle School

  • Jonathon Lawrence, Hilsman Middle School

  • Hailey Sailors, Timothy Elementary School

  • Ashley Cotton, Whit Davis Elementary School

  • Amy Wadell, Whitehead Elementary School
  • Janet Campbell, Winterville Elementary School

Each VIP was awarded a CCSD Club Tech VIP stamp that they can choose to display and will help others in the CCSD community identify them as technology leaders in the schools. The stamp contains the text, "Ask Me" because it is our sincere hope that the Club Tech learning community that we built this summer will carry over into our schools.

Their skills and enthusiasm for building 21st Century learning environments is inspiring. If you would like more information about the Club Tech learning community, please contact one of the VIPs or your school's Instructional Technology Specialist for more information.