By: Amy York and Lucrece Medlicott
September Media/Tech Notes
Everything in blue is a live link!
Change is a comin'
- There are a lot of changes coming this school year in terms of technology. We will be moving from our current Novell environment to AD. This particular change will not affect you a whole lot other than slightly changing the look of things when you log in to your computer. When they come to switch us over, currently scheduled for November 13th, the entire school will be offline during this transition.
- The second change is a big one. First, because Windows XP support is expiring on April 15th, we will be upgrading to Windows 7. This will occur at the same time they move us to AD, on November 13th. Second, because of the upgrade to Windows 7, many of the computers in NHCS will have to be retired because they cannot run Windows 7. For some schools, that means every computer in their school will be retired and they will be left with none. There will not be any money to replace computers for at least another year and a half. So, the technology department has no choice but to evenly distribute the computers that are left between all the schools. What does that mean for WBS? It means that at the same time they come to upgrade us to AD & Windows 7, they will be taking two computers from every classroom to give to a school that has none. You will be left with two student computers and one teacher station per classroom. The Library will still have at least 6, possibly 8. I know this is upsetting. But because of budget shortfalls, technology has not been able to replace the oldest computers in our system and the time has run out.
- There are many pluses to having Windows 7. Our Microsoft Office software will be upgraded to a current version, as well as several other applications. Some of the oldest student software will no longer be available, but there are alternatives now that are much better anyway. I know that there are not many people that are fond of big changes, but I also know that our staff members at WBS are very good at adapting, and I think we will be fine. As always, I am here to help in any way that I can.
How do I......?
- Something not working in your classroom? There is a RED Help button located in the Teacher folder in your Novell-delivered apps. It is also on the Teacher section of the WBS website and on my Tech website. When you click the Help button, you will be taken to a short form to fill out to let me know what you need help with. When you submit the form, I get an email letting me know you need help. This is the best way to ask me to fix something. It creates a record for you and for me so that we can keep up with what has been done to resolve the problem in the event a work order has to placed.
- Need help editing your Google Site? I've created tutorial videos for editing your Google site that are currently available on the NHCS county website, as well as in a playlist on the WBS Youtube Channel. These short videos will help you get your website up and running smoothly. If, after watching the videos, you still need help doing something on your website, please make an appointment on my calendar located here. (please note appointments begin Sept. 14. If there is no button, then that appointment is already taken.)
- Want to safely share a Youtube video with your class? You'll find a link on my website to SafeShareTV. This is an awesome way to share a video with your class, commercial free. Go to the safesharetv website, paste the link to the video you want to show your class, and it will give you a link to use if you're linking it on your website as well as show you the video within the safesharetv website so you can show it to your class right then on your smart board. It's a great tool and helps you avoid those sometimes embarrassing, inappropriate commercials and pictures that can pop up on youtube videos.
- Need an appointment with Amy? My appointment calendar is up and running. Go to my website and click the Appt. with Amy button and choose a time slot. I will be sent an email with the appt. request and will respond as soon as possible. You will get an email letting you know if I have accepted your request. Make sure you check it because there may be times that I have to cancel. Please note appts. start next week, Sept. 14. If there is not a button during a time slot that means I am either not available or it has already been taken.
- Want to use the laptop cart for the first time this year? First, go to the checkout calendar located on my website and checkout the appropriate cart. The black cart has 24 working laptops (two more are out for repair). The orange cart has 20 working laptops. Then, let me know you are using them for the first time this school year. I'd like to come to your class and explain a couple of things to your class to get everything off to a good start. I won't take more than 5 minutes! The laptops in the orange cart MUST be put back in the right way or the latches break off. This costs our school $75 for the repair. I know I sound like a broken record, but PLEASE put them back in the right way (plugs on the bottom, latch pointing UP).
- Submit pictures of your class for the Facebook page or PR purposes: YOU are the storytellers! When something good happens in your class, we need to know about it and we need pictures! When your class has a special visitor, takes an awesome field trip, does a cool project, etc. we need you to share it with us! Perception = Reality. If you only remember what school was like when you attended, then your perception is that it's still the same. The media finds enough ways to make us look bad. We need to counteract that with what's good about our schools! We have caring dedicated teachers, staff and admin, and students who are excited about learning. We do a GREAT job and the world need to know about it! So, submit your pictures (make sure they are good, clear pictures) and a story to go along with it so we know what to say about it. Only really clear, bright pictures with a story can be submitted for the county website. You can also upload pics to our Photostream and they will appear in our gallery slideshow on the school website. (Please don't send me dark, blurry pictures or just pictures and no description of what's happening.)
Here are a few Cool Tools I've recently found:
- Book Wizard App : Level your classroom library with this awesome little app that will scan your books and get instant book details, including reading level, levels for guided reading, lexiles and grade level. Save and manage your book lists in the app or create a Classroom Library List in the app or on Scholastic.com.
- Kahoot : A highly engaging, game-based classroom response system. Students LOVE it! Great for BYOD classrooms and for use with our iPad mobile lab.
- Kid-safe Search Engines : Need your class to do some research but worried they will get inappropriate results just using Google? Try these kid-safe search engines for worry-free research at school or home!
- WBS Youtube Channel : There are many wonderful resources and playlists on our Youtube channel! Updated frequently, it currently includes our Google Sites, Edmodo, and iPad tutorials, as well as our WBS read aloud project where teachers and students read their favorite book on video, plus MUCH more! Check it out!
- Follow WBS on Facebook & Twitter! We post pics and important information frequently. Encourage parents to follow us as well so they can stay up to date with the latest happenings at WBS!
BookFlix and TrueFlix
BookFlix is an online literacy resource that pairs classic video storybooks from Weston Woods with related nonfiction eBooks from Scholastic to build a love of reading and learning. The engaging way to link fact and fiction, BookFlix reinforces early reading skills and introduces children to a world of knowledge and exploration. BookFlix can be accessed from school and from home!
- Perfect for use in the classroom, school library or home
- Accessible to every child - early readers, reluctant readers and English Language Learners.
TrueFlix is the only online resource that leverages the award-winning True Books content to help students hone literacy skills, build knowledge of subject-area content, and cultivate 21st Century skills through the inquiry process. TrueFlix can be accessed from school and from home!
- Is a perfect Whiteboard resource with its collection of introductory videos and media types, leveled texts, voice-over reading features, and soft assessments
- Allows students to graduate from "learning to read" to "reading to learn" and master content area knowledge in science and social studies
- Supports the Common Core Standards with its featuring of multiple text types and a cross-curricular, nonfiction focus with a soft assessment feature.