Technology Newsletter

March 2021

Please find the latest district-related technology updates, tips & tricks, and how-to's below. Please feel free to provide us feedback on our Technology Updates newsletter so we can better serve staff across the district. As a reminder, all Technology Newsletters are archived/linked in the Technology Resources section of our Staff Information Page on our website.

I hope you all have the opportunity to view the on-demand videos Charity Nix, Microsoft Training expert, created for us - there are SIX fabulous training webinars for you to choose from - or choose them all! If you need assistance accessing them (refer to Beth's On-Demand PD document), please let Beth or me know.

Tech Support for Distance Learners: 507.337.9092 or

How To Prepare For & Have a Successful State Testing Experience ~ Using Student Devices

State testing is already stressful enough – here are some things that you can do to make the entire process easier for you and your students.

The Week Before Testing Starts

Check for Windows & Microsoft Store Updates

  • Windows Updates

  • Start > Settings > Update & Security – Click on “Check for Updates”

  • After installing the device may require a reboot. This screen will display a “Restart Now” button if required.

  • Microsoft Store Updates

  • Start > Microsoft Store

  • At the top right of the screen, click the three dots and select “Downloads and Updates”

  • Click the “Get Updates button”

The Day Before Testing

  • Open the Pearson TestNav App & make sure “Minnesota” is the selected state.

  • Make sure your Font and Scale Settings are set appropriately

  • Start > Settings > System > Display (Scale & Layout = 100%)

  • Start > Settings > Ease of Access > Font Size slider should be all the way to the left & Under “Make Everything Bigger” should be set to 100%.

Before Taking the Test

  • Restart your Computer the morning of the day you are testing (e.g. during Reading, before 1st block) - do not wait until the block you are testing.

  • Close any unnecessary Programs running in the background (Edge, Teams, etc.)

February Newsletter Drawing Winner!

Congratulations to Rocio Filaco - the winner of the drawing for providing feedback on our February newsletter articles. I entered all respondents names into a random name picker and Rocio was the lucky winner. Thank you to everyone who responded - you provided me great feedback! Watch for future opportunities!
PBS Learning Materials ~ CHECK THIS OUT!

Pioneer PBS and PBS have curated FREE, standards-aligned videos, interactives, lesson plans, and more. Search by grade, standard, keyword, content area, and more. How about a vocab graphic organizer you can use in Seesaw?

Teams Meeting Attendance ~ Now Available After Meeting Has Ended!

To get an attendance report from a previous meeting:

Click on the Calendar event/meeting in your Teams calendar and choose Edit

When the event details are displayed on your screen, choose the Details tab

You will see the Attendance tile listed - click it to Download the attendance for that meeting

Go to your Downloads folder to locate the file

Nearpod ~ Engage Your Students ~ Keep Students On Task!

Just a reminder that our Nearpod Premium subscription has been extended through July, so I wanted to encourage you to continue using Nearpod with your students. Click here to go to the Nearpod YouTube channel to view several brief tutorials on using Nearpod. Also, please take a look at the document included below for more ideas on how you can use Nearpod with your classes during distance, hybrid, or in-person instruction. If you have any questions or need additional ideas or assistance on how to use Nearpod in your classroom, please let me know, or you can reach out to Beth as well.. We look forward to hearing and seeing how you are able to incorporate Nearpod into your lessons! REMEMBER: there is a large number (8500+ items)of premade lessons in the Nearpod Library. Go to and log in with your school email credentials and you are set to go!
Schoology On-Demand Webinars

Use our webinars and resources to keep up to date and informed on the latest Schoology tips and conversations from our learning experts

How to Build a Human Firewall (keep yourself safe)

Human error is the #1 factor of K-12 cyberattacks!

**How to help us (tech team) help you**

While we do know a lot about technology, we don’t always know how to fix the exact issue that you may be experiencing right away. The skills that we have allow us to take a high-level look at a situation and begin to narrow down aspects of observable behavior before we can attempt a fix. The skillset we possess is called Troubleshooting.

To troubleshoot an issue when you submit a work ticket, we need as much specific information as possible. Submitting a ticket with a description like “Having Internet Issues” is like going to the doctor and telling him that you have “Issues with my Body.” You would never be that vague in the exam room. Instead, you strive to tell him/her as much as possible so the practitioner doesn’t have to spend time examining your entire body to try to figure out what’s going on. That kind of specificity is exactly what we need to fix your issues in a timely manner.

The simple truth is that when we perform troubleshooting, the problem could lie in several places – including Hardware, Software, Operating System, Drivers, Network, Location, User Account…just to name a few. Our job is to narrow these down as quickly as possible so that we can address the actual problem that the user is experiencing.

To demonstrate, let’s say a student is having problems with a website not loading. After you have done some basic troubleshooting (restart the computer, clear history) and it’s still not working you go to submit a ticket.

Here are two scenarios of how this can play out.

Scenario 1 – (Vague): You put in the work ticket and in the description you say “Student having website issues, come any time.” On our end, we now must find you, then track down the student (because they are no longer there when we arrive), find out which website was having problems, test the website, make sure their computer is working correctly, restart the computer, clear the history and then attempt to fix the root issue at hand.

Scenario 2 – (Specific): You put in the work ticket and in the description you say “Student (username) is having trouble accessing website ( in my classroom. They are getting an error message that says, “Specific Error Message Text.” Other students do not appear to have this issue (or maybe they do?) I have tried these steps to troubleshoot (restart, clear history) but they did not work. Student will be in my classroom at (time) or, you can call them down to the Media Center.“

With a few sentences, we can now rule out the network and location (other students can access), we have a user that we can dial in on, we know the website and with several tools at our disposal we can tell what operating system they are running among other key computer details. We can now focus on the actual problem – rather than trying to track down missing information to narrow down the scope of the problem.

We ask that you please keep this in mind when submitting tech tickets. Often, we can resolve issues with a quick email rather than an in-person visit if you can simply provide us with some key details.

Top 25 Microsoft Teams tips and tricks for 2021

A list of great tips ~ check it out! Even though we are back to full in person learning, I think everyone will find something useful here. Please note the table of contents below the video - jump to the spot that interests you!

Your Technology Team

Todd Pickthorn

Karen Londgren

Nick Esping

Kent Powell