MPS iTech Weekly Newsletter

November 17 2020, Volume 1, Issue 5

Spotlight on Success

This week's Spotlight on Success shines the light brightly on two MPS School Psychologists, Marybeth Abbatello and Ashley Zagorski. Marybeth and Ashley were highly recommended for how they are using technology for counseling and working with groups to practice social skills.


We asked Marybeth and Ashley to tell us about their success, and their thoughtful answers are below. Thank you Marybeth and Ashley for sharing your success and your dedication to your students!


Do you have any words of wisdom or tips for your colleagues on how to be successful in this hybrid environment and/or integrating technology with your students?

  1. Develop a growth mindset- we’ll admit that initially, we were unsure about how to incorporate technology into our work as a School Psychologist at the elementary level. Our students are used to hands-on activities in counseling and working together in groups to practice social skills. We don’t consider ourselves very “techy” and we were overwhelmed by learning so many new platforms. We decided that we need to practice what we preach and develop a growth mindset about working within our hybrid model. Once we dove in and started playing around with Bitmojis, Peardeck, and Screencastify we found ways to be interactive with our students that have been pretty exciting!

  2. Don’t reinvent the wheel- We truly are all in this together! There are so many resources out there that our colleagues around the country are sharing and discussing. When developing our Bitmoji School Psychology Offices, we each relied heavily on the Facebook group, “Bitmoji Craze for Educators”. The group is focused on sharing Bitmoji classrooms and offices that others have created. All of the content is free for anyone to copy and personalize for their own use.

  3. Have fun with it- Don’t overstress about fumbling in a video, taking a few tries to become comfortable with a new platform, or reaching out to a colleague for help. I think I recorded a screencastify explaining my Bitmoji Calming Room to students at least 5 times! It can be easy to compare ourselves to what other people are doing, but we are all doing an amazing job- remember we are still in the midst of a global pandemic and are learning a completely new way of educating our students- be gentle with yourselves and keep up the great work everyone!

Thank You & Tech(ish) Tip of the Week

Thank you to all educators who participated in the MPS November 3 Professional Learning Day. Your participation, enthusiasm, and willingness to take risks was invigorating and a testament to your professionalism and dedication to your students.


We have heard you loud and clear when you say that you wish to learn and collaborate from your colleagues as they are your greatest professional resource. Therefore, we hope you will take advantage of the following:



  • Share Resources with Your Colleagues: Have you created a learning resource that you are excited about, or found to be successful in your classroom? If so, simply share it to middletownshares@mpsct.org. Once you share it, we will take it from there by making a copy for your colleagues to access and informing everyone of your learning resource.
  • Wednesday Tech Drop-Ins with Steve Matthews: Please click here to see the available drop-in sessions with Steve Matthews. From 9:00-10:00 every Wednesday is a topic-based drop in with Steve. This week's focus is the Hapara Workspace. Additionally, there is an open drop-in session from 2:00-3:00 to support your tech questions. Register here.



If you have any questions about these opportunities to collaborate please contact Steve Matthews or Michelle Gohagon.

Chromebook Operating System Update

The Technology Services Department has been following an issue with Chromebooks that has been affecting the quality of Zoom meetings as well as some other issues when running multiple tabs at the same time.


Google has released an update to resolve these issues. We have done successful testing on multiple devices to make sure that this update will address these issues.


Chromebooks should start to download the update over the next couple of days. Please make sure Chromebooks are turned off daily, this will help to get the update installed on the devices.


Directions that show how to check the version of the Chrome OS and how to force it to update can be found linked below.

Tidbits!

If you have been using SafeYouTube.net, consider this:

Viewpure.com is an alternative to video.link (the updated version of SafeYouTube.net). The latter has been proving to be troublesome as of late, so it is recommended to steer clear of it in favor of View Pure.


To use, find the desired video on YouTube, click "share" and copy the URL, then paste into the "Purify" box on View Pure. Lastly, copy the URL from the address bar at the top and paste where you need it!

Back up your files to your Google Drive!

When it comes to saving and keeping those important files, your go-to spot should be in your Google Drive! Why save there as opposed to directly on your device?

  • Your device may need updating, or change altogether from time to time and it can't be guaranteed that all of your files will be transferred to your new device.
  • You may want to access this file on different devices.
  • You have unlimited storage in your Google Drive!

To upload files from your computer to Google Drive, go to drive.google.com, or click the Google Drive icon found under the "waffle". Next, select "+New", then "File upload" (or "Folder upload" to back up an entire folder). Then locate your file on your device and click "open". Your files will be uploaded to Drive where you can now access them from any device that you're signed in to with your Google account!

Hapara classes synced with Google Classroom

If you're classes in Hapara were created by using the Google Classroom sync option, you will have to resync any time a student or co-teacher is added or removed. To do this:

  • Click on the class name in your Manage Classes dashboard.
  • Select "Class Info".
  • Click the "Sync Class" button.

You'll see the listing of teachers or students update when it's completed!

Professional Development

Steve will be holding drop-in sessions on PD Wednesdays beginning this coming Wednesday, November 18th:


  • 9:00-10:00am: Create your Hapara Workspace. We will walk step-by-step through the creation of your first Workspace. Zoom link
  • 2:00-3:00pm: Open drop-in. Stop by with any and all questions! Zoom link


We are looking for your input! Please fill out this form to give us your feedback regarding future sessions and their structure.

MPS Instructional Technology

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


http://middletownitech.weebly.com/