November 2020 Technology Newsletter
By: Michael Kealy
Please Welcome Isaac Otero To The Technology Department!
Chrome OS Updates
Classlink: Makes Accessing Apps and User Accounts Easier
Our department will be launching Classlink this week. Students will see a Classlink pop up screen in their web browser upon login to their Chromebook. Students can either login using their BCSD credentials or close the browser tab. Clean Data Trainers are scheduled for a presentation on how to use Classlink next week and will be able to assist teachers and staff in their buildings as we add more apps and expand the offerings in Classlink.
Quick launch summary
You can now accept all pending knocks in bulk in Google Meet. Admitting participants or students all at once helps limit interruptions during the video call. Note, only the meeting organizer can see or approve requests to join a meeting.
You can now replace your background with an image in Google Meet. You can either use Google’s hand-picked images, which include office spaces, landscapes, and abstract backgrounds, or upload your own image.
Google is changing the default editing mode for Microsoft Office files in Google Drive on the web. Now, when you double-click on an Office file, it will open directly in Office editing mode.
Previously, double clicking would open a preview of the document, from which users could choose whether to open in Office editing mode or download the file. You can still use the preview mode by right clicking the file and clicking "Preview,” or by pressing ‘P’ on the keyboard while double clicking the file.
Take Laptops Home and/or Turn Them Off When Not In Use
During the call, one of the Technology Directors indicated that the incident in their school district was not nearly as bad as it could have been since many teachers take their laptops home and/or turn them off at night. In this instance taking a laptop home or turning it off prevented the spread of the ransomware software throughout the network from machine to machine.
Based on this new information I want to encourage all district users to either take your district issued laptop home with you or turn it off when you are leaving it in a school building. This will help mitigate the spread of malicious software should our district experience a cybersecurity incident.
Reminder: Check Out The PowerSchool Performance Matters Data Dashboard
Administrators and Teachers, in PowerSchool check out the new Performance Matters Data Dashboard! The dashboard includes relevant information about each of your students along with early warning indicators to help you identify students that may be struggling.
To access the dashboard a teacher should login into PowerSchool and click the square icon (pictured below) in the upper right hand corner and select "Performance Matters".
REMINDER: Adobe Flash Is Going Away in December 2020
Check the websites you frequently use and in your instruction now to see if they use Adobe Flash as Adobe announced in 2017:
Adobe is planning to end-of-life Flash. Specifically, we will stop updating and distributing the Flash Player at the end of 2020 and encourage content creators to migrate any existing Flash content to these new open formats.
If the website(s) you use contain Adobe Flash please begin thinking about alternatives. Adobe has said they will end support for this product on 12/31/2020.
Reminder: Please remove files that you no longer need/use
The Technology Department noticed that many users throughout the district have many files that they have not accessed or used in a very long time. Please clean up your home drives and delete any old files that you may no longer need/use.
To tell which files are the oldest you can sort your folders by "last modified" which will show you the last time a file was modified. Files that have not been modified in over a year or more should be considered for deletion.
REMINDER: Technology Assistance By Appointment Only
Just a reminder that all stakeholders should submit a help ticket (firstname.lastname@example.org) to report technology issues. In person/on-site support is only available by appointment only due to COVID-19. Walk-in's are not permitted.