IT Matters

Fall 2016

Welcome!

Thank you for visiting the fall 2016 edition of the Norton Public Schools Technology Department's IT Matters online newsletter. We hope you find the instructional technology resources useful for you and your role in the district.

MassCUE 2016

We had 35 staff members attend the annual Massachusetts Computer Using Educators technology conference held at Gillette Stadium last month. Administrators, TTLs, classroom teachers, tech staff, and academic coordinators joined other educators from around New England to learn how technology can be used to support teaching and learning. There were a variety of sessions covering all aspects of technology use. From specific applications to demonstration lessons to students showcasing their learning, MassCUE offered something for all of our attendees.


Congratulations to Tracy McGarry, Jen Skowronek and Kim Zajac for presenting a session entitled, "SPEDucational Tech." We have many staff members across our District doing great things with tech who should consider presenting at MassCUE next year. Reach out to Tracy, Jen, Kim or Karen for insight regarding being a conference presenter.

One of the major take-aways from the conference is that we need more time to explore resources together. Maybe to try out an online tool or app during a staff meeting. Talk with colleagues about how it could be used to support curriculum. Invite Karen to a department, team or PLC meeting if you want to give it a try!


Below are some resources collected during the conference that you may find valuable.



Many of our attendees took notes in Google Docs. Please visit the MassCUE collaborative notes folder that can be accessed and explored by any staff member. Feel free to make a copy of any of the documents in this folder.


Special thanks to everyone for their support of my MassCUE Pathfinder Award. It's an honor to work in Norton and with all of you.

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Tech Department Updates

SchoolDude Requests

At the end of this past school year, our department lost Andy as a district-wide support technician. That left three of us to address the hardware and software issues throughout the District. The department has completed 322 requests thus far this school year. We need you to continue to request tech support via SchoolDude whenever you have a technology issue that needs to be addressed. Please do not email or text us directly. We are notified as soon as the SchoolDude request is submitted. We need all requests in SchoolDude to be able to accurately assess the District's needs for tech support. The more information you share helps us to evaluate the problem. Below are some requests we've received this year, we do read them all and humor is much appreciated.
  • I locked myself out of SchoolBrains by entering the wrong password too many times.
  • I lost my laptop power cord. I think I left it in my room with the computers that were removed. Did you find one?
  • I was transferred to the MS and I need to be connected to the email list.
  • Would like help hooking up and setting up my laptop/projector/speakers. There are a lot of cords, lot of hook-ups, and I'm not sure if all of them are necessary. Any that are not necessary, I would like them removed. I would like to be in the room when this is completed.
  • Cannot connect projector. Need it for class ASAP
  • 3 students need to have passwords reset
  • Can't print. I send things to the printer, but they are not there on the printer. On my computer it says they are pending
  • The mousepad on my school computer is operating on its own. It is difficult when I am trying to click on commands because I am in a tug of war. I don't know what is wrong with the mousepad but it's making my life miserable.
  • The 3rd computer facing the outside wall near the door is saying a disk boot error. We also need to have a new keyboard as the one that is there sticks. It is on the table.
  • The screen on our projector flickers. It is Powerlite 470 epson projector.
  • Files have been wiped out. Please assist asap.
  • When I am on internet and want to send an email to someone directly from internet my outlook opens up instead of google mail.
  • My pen for the Bright Link is not working. I replaced the batteries last month too. The green light is lighting up though. It is a pretty old pen that is literally held together with tape.
  • I'm unable to down load and then print...my people have looked at it, and we can't figure it out.
  • I googled it and fixed it! I'm so proud!!!!

If you are unable to access SchoolDude, visit the District Technology page first for help. There's a video posted to walk you through the process of creating an account. If this doesn't work, check with your building TTL before sending an email to Paul, Nick and Karen.

SchoolBrains

The program continues to evolve as suggestions are made by staff and are passed on to the company. We have submitted 326 support tickets since we first adopted the program last year. There are currently 10 open or pending tickets which include feature requests for the gradebook and community portal.


For High School and Middle School staff, this second year of grading in SB should go smoother than the first. If you have questions, comments, or need support, please reach out to your building TTLs, Chris Gale or Chris Cummings, who are there to help. Special thanks to the guidance staff in both buildings and Melissa Thomson at NHS for their efforts addressing all things SchoolBrains!


This is the first year that the elementary staff is utilizing SchoolBrains for the standards based report cards. Last year, attendance only was taken in SchoolBrains in grades K-5. Pamela Anderson from Jen O'Neill's office was instrumental in getting all of the standards for each grade level in the system. Training was provided at each building and individual support has been provided by Karen and building TTLs. There were a few glitches with printing but overall the first go around was a positive process for staff. Thank you!

Google Apps for Education (GAFE) is Now G-Suite

In case you weren't aware, Google has changed the name of its tools for education. From the Google team:


We created Google Apps to help people everywhere work and innovate together, so organizations can move faster and achieve more. On September 29, 2016, we introduced a new name that better reflects this mission: G Suite. The new name and logo will appear in the Google Admin console, online help, and email notifications. G Suite is still the same all-in-one solution that you use every day, with the same powerful tools like Gmail, Docs, Drive, and Calendar.


It's hard to believe we've only been a Google District for just over a year. We are still learning how to best use the tools to support our work in Norton but based on the following statistics, I think we're well on our way.

Google Training Resources

If you want to learn more about how to use G Suite tools, you can visit any of the following online resources. Your building TTL is also a great contact for all things Google!

Online Resources for Staff

A few favorite websites that have a wealth of resources for teachers.

Have a great online resource you'd like to share with your NPS colleagues? Send it along to Karen via email or tag @kwinsper or #technps in a tweet!

Tech Pic of the Month!

Real Time Voting Results

Staff at Norton Middle School used a Google Form for students to participate in this year's Mock Election. You can see the voting data in graph form in Nicole Down's tweet below.
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Have a Tech Pic to Share?

We'd love to share photos of students and teachers using technology in our schools. Please share your tech pictures to be included in future newsletters! Email them to Karen and be sure to include some information describing the photo!

Upcoming Events

EdCampSEMass-at NMS on Dec. 3rd. Free participant driven PD! Great prizes! Still time to sign up and join educators from across the region!

Holiday Card Exchange-December

Hour of Code -December 5th-11th

Global School Net--Ongoing


Please reach out to your building TTL or Karen if you'd like to participate in any of these events!

Tech Committee Meeting

Wednesday, Dec. 7th, 3:45-4:45pm

64 West Main Street

Norton, MA

Join us as we continue to discuss technology tools for learning at all grade levels. This meeting will be held in Karen's office.
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Have a Professional Twitter Account?

If you'd like to share your Twitter handle with the technology department, we'll include you on our NPS Twitter list to make it easy to follow along and share the great things you're doing in the District! Just tag @kwinsper in a Tweet!

Thank you for taking the time to read our newsletter!