MPS iTech Weekly Newsletter

December 11, 2020, Volume 1, Issue 7

Spotlight on Success

This week's Spotlight on Success is brought to us by Woodrow Wilson Middle School ELA teacher Nicole DeConti! We asked Nicole for some words of wisdom for teacher to be successful in the hybrid learning environment.

"As we're working in the hybrid environment, I have learned that it's okay to let go of control and to take risks. I have found it incredibly helpful to ask the students how they like to learn in the hybrid environment, and I have tried many tech tools to support their learning.

At this point, I have found that different technology works better for certain assignments, and that it's not always the same for each group of students. My students have taught me a lot about themselves as learners and thinkers, and they have reminded me that technology isn't that scary once you give it a try. I've been able to better meet the needs of all students by letting them make choices when it comes to technology, and by letting them take the lead, too."


New MPS iTech YouTube Channel!

Last week, you met the new and improved MPS iTech team. We will be working on creating tutorials and instructional videos on all things itech and adding them to our new YouTube Channel! Please subscribe to the channel and click the bell to receive notifications when new videos are uploaded!

MPS iTech YouTube

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Update your new Surface Pro!

All teachers have, or will receive a new Microsoft Surface Pro. This device is a touch screen device with a detachable keyboard, and runs on the Windows operating system. If you are familiar and comfortable using a Windows desktop PC, this will be an easy transition. You will notice a faster and improved experience, especially if you were previously using a Chromebook.

These new devices do require the most recent Windows updates, which you can do. Complete directions for completing the Windows update can be found on this document.

As always, reach out to the Tech Department with a SchoolDude ticket if you would like assistance with this.

Peardeck introduces the Shared Teacher Dashboard!

Peardeck just recently rolled out a feature that many of you have been asking for - the shared teacher dashboard! Now you can share access to a Peardeck presentation's Teacher Dashboard with another educator! To do this:

  • From your Teacher Dashboard, click the three-dot menu.
  • Choose "Invite co-teacher".
  • Select the Copy button to copy the link to your Dashboard.
  • Send this link via Gmail or chat to the co-teacher.

This video demonstrates the above steps.

Turn on your Google account sync!!

When you sign in to your Google account on a windows device, you will come across a dialogue asking you to "Link data". Do click this when you see it, then on the subsequent window, "Yes, I'm in" referring to the sync.

What this does it links your MPS Google account across all of the devices you are logged in to. If you create a bookmark on your desktop PC at school, you will see the same bookmark on your Surface Pro when logged in at home. You will also have access to your browser history which can facilitate accessing the various websites you use throughout the day!

Zoom Meeting Issues

Several teachers have been reporting issues with their Zoom meetings, including the sudden need for students to manually enter passcode, and random unsuccessful joining attempts. The reasons for these issues cannot always be easily explained, but can be remedied fairly easily in many cases by creating a new meeting link.

If the last time you created a meeting link was early in the school year, it is recommended that you create a new link for your class. Also, if you created a link with a recurring date/time and you are noticing increasing issues with your link, it's time to update!

As you are likely communicating the virtual meeting times with your students using Google Classroom, Seesaw, Class Dojo, or email, your students will know when they need to logon. Therefore, when you create your new Zoom link, you can create a recurring link with no fixed time. The date or time of the meeting does not make the link active, you starting the meeting as the creator and host makes the meeting active. Removing the recurring date and time seems to have fixed most issues thus far.

As usual, reach out to with questions!

Professional Development

Next week we will be completing our December MPS Professional Learning Cycle on Engagement. Thank you to everyone who has participated. It has been a time of thoughtful, collaborative learning that can be made immediately actionable in the classroom. The facilitators from the Office of Teaching & Learning appreciate your active participation and willingness to collaborate with your colleagues. As are reminder, these were the topics that were considered during the month of December:

  • Adaptive Challenge: How to engage the disengaged/absent learner?
  • PearDeck: Engaging the Reluctant Learner
  • Zoom: Strategies for Face-to-Face Learning
  • Seesaw: Engaging the Reluctant Learner

Next week's drop in session includes:
  • Getting to Know Your Surface Pro
  • Self Care

Our January MPS Professional Learning Calendar will be shared before you leave for winter break. Please contact Michelle Gohagon should you have any additional questions.

MPS Instructional Technology

Please visit the MPS Instructional Technology website for additional training resources and ideas for implementation.

MPS iTech YouTube Channel