Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Free Google Apps Online Courses

Good Morning-

If you're not feeling confident with Google Apps or Chromebooks, here are some great online courses put out by the Google Team - and of course, all are free!  All courses are self-paced.

I strongly encourage you to check these out.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Getting Around Chrome(books)

Now that Chromebooks are making headway and the preferred web browser on district Mac's is Chrome, here are some great quick resources for you:
Feel free to leave a comment with resources you have found as well!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Gradebook is damaged and can't be opened.

If you get the error "Gradebook is damaged and can't be opened. You should move it to the trash." while trying to install the stand-alone PowerTeacher application, try this solution found on MBUSD.net below:

PowerTeacher Gradebook has a way of opening Mac that bypass Java which may cause following error: 'Gradebook is damaged and can't be opened. You should move it to the trash.'
  • Click on  (upper left) | System Preferences… | Security & Privacy ➟ Click on the Lock (picture icon lower left) and enter your password (usually district email password) click on Unlock 
  • General ➟ 'Allow applications downloaded from:' click on Anywhere
  • Click on Allow From Anywhere and launch PowerTeacher Gradebook

Thursday, October 17, 2013

YTO - Disable YouTube Ads and More

Tired of YouTube suggesting less-than-appropriate adds in the classroom?  There's an app for that!  If you are running Google Chrome (and you should be) then simply install this extension and YouTube will behave the way you want it to:

From the developer:

YouTube Options: disable pre-roll ads, in-video ads, annotations, and auto-play; change resolution, display size, optional Flash pre-buffering, disable DASH, looping/replay, video audio volume, SSL, keyboard controls, use your mouse scroll-wheel to change the size, volume, or fast forward or fast rewind the video, auto-resize the video when scrolling down the page; download all available versions of the media (this will require installing the full version from the developers website).

Supports HTML5, "Feather" beta, and embedded YouTube interfaces.

HTML5-only features include keyboard support for fullscreen playback and showing or hiding annotations and an option to adjust all video playback speed.

Flash videos are pre-buffered as much as they can be when using the disable auto-play option.  If you don't like pre-buffering, there is an option to turn it off.  There is even an option to observe Wadsworth's constant.  You can try and pre-buffer the entire Flash video by disabling DASH.

Set your preferred video codec to Flash or HTML5, desired display size or resolution, automatically sync the display size to the resolution, expand video to the size of window, or remember your custom size and apply it to all your videos.

Page modifications include the ability to disable everything on the page except for the video (header, guide, video title, description, user comments, suggested videos, footer, playlist, branding) and matting or dimming the background.  You can also restore the video frame from the old YouTube interface and reverse playlists.

Use the page action popup menu to hide parts of the page or everything on the page with one click, turn looping/replay on or off, disable all page filtering once or until you say otherwise, or adjust the display size on-the-fly.

Open suggested videos in a new window, a popout window, or over the top of the existing video.  Mouse-over a suggested video to start it playing.

Extensive keyboard support for most YouTube Options features: start and stop the video, change the resolution and the display size, show and hide page items, and set the video volume.

Create a RSS link to the owner of the YouTube video, Twitter, or Instagram author for The Old Reader, Feedly, or InoReader.

Change the YouTube page icon (favicon) to show the status of the video - playing, paused, stopped, or buffering.

Please see the "Support" link for usage tips and support requests.

Most (not all) features also work with Vimeo, Dailymotion, Metacafe, G4TV, FEARnet, Funny or Die, Hulu, The Escapist, the Dump, and Twitter.

Please note:
* Please only leave reviews in the "User reviews" section.  Please use the "Website" link or the "Report an issue" button in the options for support or feature requests.
* YouTube Options has limited functionality on user or channel pages.
* YouTube Options does not do any audio or video conversions, encoding, or re-encoding.
* To save FLV, MP4, WebM, 3D, and 3GP formats from YouTube and other select sites in all available resolutions, you must use the full version from the "Developer website" link.
* YouTube does not have published or stable APIs for HTML5 video, so options affecting HTML5 video may not work.
* Extensions with overlapping functionality or Flash-blocking abilities can prevent YouTube Options from working correctly.
* Also available for Safari 5.1+ and Opera 15+.
* The page-scroll-resize option is similar to Felix Blaschke’s (forgotten) Intelligent Scrolling feature. If you are Felix or know Felix please have him contact us so we can get his blessing for imitating this feature.

Warning explained:
When installing the extension it says "This extension can access: Your browsing history, Your data on all websites".  This is the default warning for any extension that needs content script access to all websites. This access is needed for detecting YouTube videos on third-party pages and previously opened windows or tabs.

Do not host, archive, or distribute YouTube Options without written permission from smart people on ice, LLC. (spoi).

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Important Update from Pearson

Java Update 1.7.0_45 issue with PowerTeacher Gradebook
and ReportWorks Developer

Pearson has identified an issue where PowerTeacher Gradebook and ReportWorks Developer do not successfully launch on computers running the latest version of Java (version 1.7.0_45) on Mac and Windows.

Pearson recommends that teachers and other staff avoid updating to this version of Java in order to continue using PowerTeacher Gradebook and ReportWorks Developer.


In many cases, users who have already updated to the latest version of Java can use the alternate launch method for PowerTeacher Gradebook and ReportWorks Developer.

Pearson is actively investigating this issue. Additional information will be provided in a future tech note once a solution is available.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Phishing Reminder

As reported a couple times last year, phishing is pretty common through email. Here is an example of a phishing email received by one of our administrators this morning:

From: Kevin Crider
Sent: Monday, October 07, 2013 3:01 AM
To: Kevin Crider
Subject: Notification!
This message is from IT Service Desk informing you to validate your Email Account, we are conducting an upgrade in all Email Account, all users are to verify his/her account information for upgrade, CLICK HERE to go to Validate your account.
You will not be able to receive new mails until you Re-Validate your Email Account.
IT Service Desk.
Though Google's email filters should pick this up, if you receive something like this or similar, please mark as spam and remove.

Note: You will only receive IT emails from district IT, never from an outside source.  Never give out your account information.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Gmail Slowdown Today

According to the Apps Status Dashboard, Google's Gmail is currently experiencing a slowdown.  You can monitor the progress on their page. As of 10:25am:
We're investigating reports of an issue with Gmail. We will provide more information shortly.
No action is required on your end.

Update as of 10:00pm (resolved):

The problem with Gmail should be resolved. We apologize for the inconvenience and thank you for your patience and continued support. Please rest assured that system reliability is a top priority at Google, and we are making continuous improvements to make our systems better.
As of 1600 Pacific Time, Gmail message delivery and attachment download is functioning normally for all users. We apologize for the duration of today's event; we're aware that prompt email delivery is an important part of the Gmail experience, and today's experience fell far short of our standards. We have analyzed the data on user impact and are providing a preliminary assessment of what occurred: 
Between 0554 and 1530 Pacific Time today, 29.1% of messages received by Gmail users were delayed. The average (median) delay was just 2.6 seconds, but some mail was more severely delayed. However, this issue did not affect users' access to the Gmail page or other functionality.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Lab and Chromebook Reservations

Please remember to reserve labs and carts for only the times they are going to be used.  Try not to reserve by clicking the "All day" button.  There are many staff that would love to have the ability to use the labs/carts during your plan period, etc., but booking via the "All day" button, you take away that ability.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Gmail - Your Privacy is Assured

The internet and media are ablaze today with claims that Google Gmail users have no expectation of privacy.  Sadly, that is a wildly misinterpreted statement by the major new sources.  According to an article posted last night on The Verge, Google's case isn't about Gmail users at all, rather users of other email systems that have never signed Google's Terms of Service.  Here is a clip (notice the word Non-Gmail in bold) from the 39 page document:

 According to the Verge,
From there, Google's argument starts broadly and moves towards the specific — that's where the "a person has no legitimate expectation of privacy in information he voluntarily turns over to third parties" line comes in. That's a quote from the 1979 Supreme Court case Smith v. Maryland, in which the court upheld what's called the "third-party doctrine," saying that once you involve a third party in communication, you lose legally enforceable privacy rights. (This is an extremely controversial notion, but for right now, it's the law.) Google's argument is that people who email Gmail users are necessarily involving Gmail's servers in the mix, kicking the third-party doctrine into effect. This is pretty basic stuff.
 You can read the full article here or the case here.

Google Apps for Ed - You're Secure and Private

Another reason not to worry: The Google Apps for Education does not scan education account emails to comply with FERPA privacy:

Google Apps is governed by a detailed Privacy Policy, which ensures we will not inappropriately share or use personal information placed in our systems. Google complies with applicable US privacy law, and the Google Apps Terms of Service can specifically detail our obligations and compliance with FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act) regulations. Google is registered with the US-EU Safe Harbor agreement, which helps ensure that our data protection compliance meets European Union standards for educational institutions.
 So, be assured the privacy of student / staff email communications is protected.

Monday, August 12, 2013

"Teacher" accounts

Reminder that all of the "teacher" accounts on laptops and desktops were removed and replaced with more secure logins and passwords.  For the most part, this only affected laptop users (LUGs / Special Ed) that logged in with "teacher" rather than their open directory account.  LUG's that were re-imaged this summer have already been informed of the new login information.  Those coming back that used to use the "teacher" login on iMacs can contact their building Tech Leader for the new login credentials.

Please do not give the new login information out to anyone other than staff - and do not store it on a sticky note!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Last Year of Sakai

The 2013-2014 will be the last year using Sakai as a LMS for our district.  With so many alternatives out now (the major one being Edmodo) the district feels now is a good time to begin the phase-out of Sakai.  Services will cease on 30 June 2014.

ePortfolios will begin moving to the Google Drive platform with a major push from the Computer teachers and assistants.

There will be workshops offered in your buildings this year to help you with your transition away from Sakai and an introduction to alternative platforms (Google, Edmodo, etc.) but now is a good time to begin thinking about where you can migrate your Sakai data and begin planning for the new year.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

10 Tools Every Teacher Should Master This Summer

Reposted from NHEOT:

According to Common Sense Media, 95% of teachers agree that using technology increases student engagement and 92% of teachers want to add more technology to their classroom.
Getting Smart would like to share 10 great tools that we were introduced to there and the reasons they are so worth taking the time to master this summer. These are the tools that will transform your classroom in the fall because you will notice the definite threads that run throughout all these applications… real-time, collaborate and creative! Those words together are sure to build a lot of excitement around exactly how educational technology is developing and transforming what school looks like!
  1. LiveSlide
  2. Scoot and Doodle
  3. Biblionasium
  4. Ujam “Make Your Music”
  5. Teachley
  6. Sanderling
  7. Graphite
  8. CyberWise
  9. Wevideo
  10. Klikaklu

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Google Apps + YouTube

I hope your summer is going well!

A friendly reminder from the IT Department and your Tech Leaders - all students 1-8 will have Google Apps for Education (GAFE - Gmail / Google Drive / etc.) accounts come start of the new year.  Hopefully you are ready to take full advantage of this in the fall.  If you're not using it at home already, we highly recommend you start playing with it.  We will have a couple refresher courses at the start of the year for those that need it once you're settled back into the classroom.  For a refresher on your own this summer, check out the very useful Google Apps Learning Center.  Everything you want to know about using GAFE effectively (check out their video section too).

Also, with high-speed internet added to your buildings this summer, YouTube has also been opened up district-wide.  It is recommended that you use the Chrome web-browser with the Cleanr extension enabled (we have it enabled by default). Cleanr strips away comments and ads from the videos you view in the classroom.  As you know, the comments on YouTube can get, shall we say, colorful.

If you plan to use YouTube in the classroom this fall, I strongly encourage you to read this wonderful article: The Teacher's Guide to Using YouTube in the Classroom and this article on Guiding Principles on weebly.  It's a little dated, but the material in there is still relevant.

Please note:  YouTube is open to all, including your students for research.  Please be aware of this while in the labs (open / classroom) or with the laptops and iPads in the classroom.  Streaming video is still a resource hog.  Keep in mind that YouTube is a form of Social Media.  There are new sections to the AUP which you and students will be signing in the fall to address the new acceptance of Social Media in the district (YouTube, Twitter, etc).

Monday, June 17, 2013

Firewall Issues 17 June

Please stay tuned for updates on today's firewall issues in the district. The tech department is aware and working on the fix.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Mapping with Google

Announcement  from Google...

Looking to expand your use of Google's mapping tools in the classroom? We have just the ticket! Mapping with Google is a new online course that helps you improve your use of new and existing features of Google Maps and Google Earth. 

Register for Mapping with Google at g.co/mappingcourse to discover new ways explore the world, plan your summer outings, and create and share custom maps and tours.

Thursday, May 30, 2013


As you know, Laura Nelson has setup a PD day via EduPlanet.  Please make sure you can log in before the end of the year to certify you have access and can see the module.

Your email address is the @sau10.org one - do NOT use the old @derry.k12.nh.us.  If your password does not work, simply click the "Forgot Password" link on the website and a password reset will be sent to you.


Thank you!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Sharing Google Docs outside the Domain

For staff using Google Docs on a regular basis, it has no doubt made your life and organization much easier - especially when it comes to collaboration with staff.  I won't get into how to share documents for collaboration, as that has been covered in great depth at all of your after-school workshops this year.

But, you may run into a situation where you need to share a Google Doc with someone outside the sau10.org domain.  What then?

Well, there are a couple things to think about:
  1. Do I want to give this person edit or read-only abilities?
  2. Does this person have a gmail address (user@gmail.com)?
If the person you are sharing with has a gmail address the shared doc will appear in their Drive account and accessing it shouldn't be an issue for them.  If the user does not have a gmail address, the best solution is to have them create one (it eliminates confusion and the potential extra hoops they need to go through to access the document) though I know this can't be required of outside users.

Once you click "yes" to share outside the organization, the user you are sharing with will receive a link will take them to a Google Drive sign-in page with the option to sign-up. They may choose to have a Google Drive account with a Yahoo! email address or any address for that matter, but they will have to have an account before it will give them access to modify this document.

Hope this clears up any issues you may have been seeing with collaboration.

Monday, May 13, 2013

More Phishing

Your Google Mail (sau10.org) should have picked this up and flagged it as spam.  Just incase, please refer to my previous posts about Phishing: http://dcsdtechintegration.blogspot.com/2012/12/phishing.html

Friday, May 3, 2013

Reminder: Update your Email Address

Friendly reminder from the IT Department - please update your email address on websites / mail lists / etc. where you are registered with the old @derry.k12.nh.us account to your new @sau10.org address.

Come fall, we will stop forwarding emails received in your @derry.k12.nh.us account to your @sau10.org and they will simply be rejected (bounced back to sender).

Your PowerSchool addresses were taken care of for you last fall.  You should have updated your address on myNHDOE website and also provide an alternate there.

I set a simple rule in Stamp mail to highlight messages in red if they are addressed to the @derry.k12.nh.us address, so I can contact the sender and have my account updated.

Here's how (inside mail preferences):

Or if you only use Gmail, you can create a filter inside of settings, something like this:

Hope that helps!

Monday, April 29, 2013

FREE presentation on Internet Safety

Pinkerton Academy invites PARENTS and the PUBLIC to an amazing, FREE presentation on Internet Safety this Wednesday, May 1 from 6:00-8:00pm in the Stockbridge Theatre.

Think you know enough about social media? Facebook, SnapChat, Instagram and so much more have their benefits…but oh, do you have to be careful!

Investigator Jennifer Frank, a nationally-recognized expert on the Good, Great, Bad and Ugly of social media, will present to parents and the public in a special appearance. Students are also welcome.

Officer Frank has previously addressed Pinkerton students with “The Many Faces of Facebook and Other Social Media.”

This presentation will open your eyes. Frank has stories you will be truly glad to have heard. She will explain What to do, Watch for and What NOT to do when on-line.

Please make time for this important, free event on Internet Safety: Wednesday, May 1 from 6:00-8:00pm in the Stockbridge Theatre.

Monday, April 22, 2013

gClassFolders Shared Folders in Google Drive

One of our staff (thank you Diane!) pointed me to a great free tool highlighted on Free Technology for Teachers called gClassFolders.  This allows you to create a simple dropbox for your students to hand in and collect assignments, all online.  This could be quite handy for you in the fall when all your students will have full access to the power of Google Drive.

gClassFolders is a free, Google-Spreadsheet-based add-on for Google Apps for EDU that creates class folders for students and teachers to simplify and streamline their experience of using Google's world class productivity and collaboration tools in the classroom.

To setup, just follow the instructions on the gClassFolders website (URL: http://www.gclassfolders.com/instructions/teacher-mode).  I went through the steps this morning and it is fairly straight forward.

Once you are comfortable with that, you can try your hand with Doctopus.

...doctopus script gives teachers the ability to auto-generate, pre-share, and manage grading and feedback on templated Docs for group and individual projects.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Yet Another Java Update

Not sure if this is related yet, but another version of Java was forced down by Apple a couple days ago - and a string of support requests have come in with the inability to launch PowerSchool.

About the updatesecurity content of Java for OS X 2013-003 and Mac OS X v10.6 Update 15 and here article on computerworld.com

IT will keep you updated.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Tango Down

FYI - this morning, Google Apps for Ed is having issues - specifically, Drive.  You are still able to check your email via the web page (it is just IMAP that is down on the mail side).  If you have a personal account, Drive is still fine there.

This is out of the districts hands, but Google is well aware of the issue.  Here is their canned message:
Google Drive encountered an error. If reloading the page doesn't help, please report the error.
We're sorry, a server error occurred. Please wait a bit and try reloading your spreadsheet.
To learn more about Google Drive, please visit our help center.

We're sorry for the inconvenience. Thanks for your help!
- The Google Drive Team

Update 9:20am: According to the App Status Dashboard, there are more services crashing right now:

Update: 9:29am: Looks like Drive is now functioning on the GAFE side.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Great graphic I spotted online today - feel free to share your thoughts:

  Please Include Attribution to OnlineUniversities.com With This Graphic
What do we Know Infographic

Thursday, March 28, 2013

GAFE Resources

With Google Apps for Education (GAFE) becoming the district standard for all employees (and students in the 2013-14 school year) I have decided to put together some additional resources for your reference.  Here are just a few of the sites I've researched that highlight great uses of GAFE with co-workers and students and to help introduce and integrate technology in your classroom.

This page contains links to sources outside the Derry School District.  The IT Dept is not responsible for any content housed/published on those sites.

Various Webinars on GAFE via GAFE Team
32 Ways to Use Google Apps in the Classroom via GAFE Team
Comment-only access in Google documents via Blogspot

Google Apps for Digital Storytelling Projects via YouTube
GAFE Lesson Plan Examples via GAFE Team
Google Lesson Plan Search via GAFE Team

Tips for introducing online collaboration to students via Ed.Tech
Google Drive and Docs for Teachers via Free Technology for Teachers
Integrating Google Tools 4 Teachers via 4Teachers

Educator’s Guide to Google Calendar via EduBlogs
Google Calendar for Lesson Planning via Blogspot
The Classroom Newspaper Google Docs Style via The ThinkingStick

GAFE Sydney Summit - tons of links and resources!
Google Crib Sheets (how to's)

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Transfer ownership of a Google Calendar

It was asked at the Tech Leaders meeting last night if it was possible to transfer a shared calendar (building events and so on) from one staff member to another - should that staff member leave the district.

According to the Google Support Site, you sure can!

To transfer an individual calendar between two Google Calendar products, simply share the calendar with the new owner. Be sure to select "Make changes and manage sharing" in the permission level drop-down to effectively transfer ownership of the calendar. 
While it's not possible to merge two Google Calendar products at this time, you can use this tip to transfer your calendars to your preferred Google Calendar and discontinue use of your other Google Calendar.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Oh where oh where can that google doc be?!

As more and more Google documents are shared among users and groups across the district, questions have arisen regarding the location of shared documents.

So, in response, a couple clarifications about the "receiving" side of sharing:

- If a document is shared with a person directly by providing their individual email address in the document’s Share Settings, the shared document will be added to that person's Google Drive "Shared with Me" list.

- If a document is shared with a group by providing a group email address in the document’s Share Settings, the shared document will be added to each group members' Google Drive "All items" list, but only after the group member has opened the document from the link provided in the "I've shared an item with you." email notification.

And if you have not visited Google's own "How to Share" Google Drive Help page, I encourage you to do so as it provides a very good overview for learning how to share.

Creative Commons - Images / Sound

According to Wikipedia:
Creative Commons has been described as being at the forefront of the copyleft movement, which seeks to support the building of a richer public domain by providing an alternative to the automatic "all rights reserved" copyright, dubbed "some rights reserved." ... Creative Commons has provided "institutional, practical and legal support for individuals and groups wishing to experiment and communicate with culture more freely."
In a nutshell,  when someone gives you "creative common" rights to an image or audio file, you can use it on your websites, presentations or what have you without worry of copyright violations.  You can visit the Creative Commons website to learn more.


The Creative Commons website does a fine job explaining what each license means.  Please follow the link here: About The Licenses.

Creative Commons Image Sites

Creative Commons Search - find the image you need with the proper rights in place.
Open Clip Art - great CC clipart.

Creative Commons Audio Sites

Open Music Search by Google

Feel free to comment below with websites you use for Creative Commons classroom audio / images. 

Google Drive - Coming to Students this Fall

We are now six months into our Google Apps for Ed move.  Your building Tech Leaders have already given six amazing workshops on just about everything you need to know to use Google Apps / Drive effectively in the classroom.  A huge thank you to the Tech Leaders for all the hard work in putting these sessions together for your professional development.

As mentioned at the start of the school, students will be coming onto Google Apps for Ed in September, 2013.  They will have @sau10.org email accounts and full access to their own school Drive accounts.

What this Means in the Classroom

With the students coming to Drive - you can go paperless with homework!  Students will be able to share their assignments to your drive.  No need to worry about incompatible electronic versions you can't open.  No need to worry about lost assignments.  Documents, PDFs, slideshows, spreadsheets - virtually anything can be done online with this.

Not sure how a student can check in an assignment for you to grade?  Make sure you don't miss any of the after school workshops your Tech Leaders are putting together!

You can even have students collaborate on projects with Drive!  They can work in real time from their homes on whatever device they choose:  PC, Mac, iPad, Android device and so on.  Google Drive doesn't care - it's all done in the cloud.

Take Charge of your Classroom 

You already have access to all the power above, and hopefully you have been taking advantage of the training and using Drive.  Come this fall, the power will multiply as students come on board.

And Drive isn't the only thing they'll have access to.  Google Calendar will be a powerful way to share your classroom / building schedules with your students.  Keep them in the loop - with no excuses - with deadlines, tests, quizzes and homework assignments.  Use Gmail to send them reminders - or changes to assignments.

The Tech Team / Tech Assistants have been working hard for the last 6 months to make this transition seamless. So now is the time to start thinking about how students on Google Apps for Ed will enhance your classroom!

Did you miss any after school workshops?  There are many how-to videos available from Google to get you pointed in the right direction. (Note, videos hosted on YouTube are not yet accessible within the district).

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Substitute Addendum to AUP


The district administration will now allow substitute teachers to access technology in the classroom in a limited capacity.  The verbiage is:

Short-term substitute teachers should only use district technologies as indicated in the classroom teacher’s lesson plans. Under no circumstances should a substitute teacher use the school computer/network for email or other personal use. The district does not provide email accounts for short-term substitute teachers.

Your front office will have the sub sign a modified AUP when they come into the building, giving them this access, should you grant it in your classroom.

What this means for you:

  • You may now include the use of technology for your substitute teachers in your sub-plans.  Be very specific in what they are allowed to do (for example, show a Keynote on XYZ to class…).
  • Substitues may now help students use technology in the classroom (computer lab, carts, iPads, etc).
  • For computer testing (NWEA, etc.) - there must still be a classroom teacher present.
  • The sub may not use computers for any personal use.  No exceptions.

I hope this makes things a little easier for you all!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Java vs PowerTeacher Pt 2

We have seen several tech requests come in today related to GradeBook not launching.  It looks like Apple and Oracle have once again released updates to Java due to vulnerabilities (see article here).

Wayland has tested that using software update to get the latest version of Java clears this issue.  So, if you run into this issue, please feel free to run the software update to clear this issue.

If you would rather have a tech come update this for you, please put in a request.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Learning Management Systems

From Wikipedia, the purpose of a Learning Management System (LMS) is:
LMS is the framework that handles all aspects of the learning process. An LMS is the infrastructure that delivers and manages instructional content, identifies and assesses individual and organizational learning or training goals, tracks the progress towards meeting those goals, and collects and presents data for supervising the learning process of organization as a whole.  An LMS delivers content but also handles registering for courses, course administration, skills gap analysis, tracking, and reporting. 
The Derry School District has evaluated and supports the following LMS for use by staff in the district:

At this time, Sakai is the only system that is paid for by the district.  Edmodo and Schoology are currently free - but we have no control if they decide to charge in the future; similar to what Glogster (http://edu.glogster.com/) did 2 years ago.  So my word of advice, make sure you can duplicate your efforts if needed.  

According to the LMS Survey we conducted in January, only 24% of staff use an LMS in their classrooms, 60% using Sakai and 40% using Edmodo.  If there is enough interest, we can have a Tech Leader Workshop this spring on how to use these LMS software applications most effectively in your classrooms.

Also, the new AUP will be addressing the use of LMS in the classroom with more clarity in regards to "the babysitting" of these sites.  In a nutshell, no, they do not need to be babysat by the teacher using them - just monitored in the same way you monitor the activity in the classroom during the school day.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Use of Personal Hotspots

Good Morning-

It has come to the attention of the IT Department through our network monitoring software that there have been several personal mobile hotspots* running throughout the district.  Running a personal hotspot (MiFi Device, iPhone Tethering, etc) bypasses all of the district network security and filtering that is in place and is a direct violation of the student and staff Acceptable Use Policies (AUP).

The network filtering is in place to assure we are in-line with the Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA) requirements for our federal funding and eRate funding.  Bypassing the network filtering puts the entire district in danger of losing all federal and eRate funding.

If you see any students creating personal hotspots in the classroom, please report this to IT or your building administration.  If you, as a staff member, have any personal hotspots enabled, please disable them immediately.  The IT department is beginning to monitor these devices with more vigilance.

Thank you-

*Personal Mobile Hotspot -A small personal device that creates a small area of Wi-Fi coverage allowing nearby Wi-Fi devices to connect to the Internet. 

Thursday, January 31, 2013

[Tech Advisory] Broken Java

It seems as though Java and PowerSchool are not playing well together today.  As of this morning (Jan 31, 2013) any computers running a combination of Java 1.6.0_37 Mac OS 10.6.8 will automatically disable Java - which is required to run GradeBook.  (See thread on Apple Support Discussions here if you want the techie side of this).

If you currently can not run PowerSchool GradeBook due to this issue, please put in a tech request on the district website.

The tech team is currently investigating this issue and will update you here.

UPDATE: (7:55am): Tech team is updating computers with this issue.  Please put in a tech request if you are still unable to run PowerTeacher.

UPDATE (5:15am): Note from Pearson:

UPDATE (2:02pm): Looks like our first tests of the developers version of Java was a success.  The tech team will test a few more machines, then roll out to all that have submitted a tech request.

UPDATE (1:18pm): From the forums we have read, Apple has disabled Java on all Mac's and it has nothing to do with the last version you may or may not have updated to.  Apple has an internal blacklist in the OS - and all current versions of Java are included.  Again, you can read more on the links I posted in the 12:58pm update.

UPDATE (12:58pm): Tech dept testing possible patch to java. Also, more on Apple's Java blacklist here (MacRumors) and here (another Apple discussions thread).

Monday, January 7, 2013

Do NOT Store Passwords

Something the IT Department sees pretty often while working on district computers is stored passwords.  Storing passwords is the equivalent of leaving your car keys in your vehicle with the engine running - this just opens the door for all kinds of bad things to happen.

Having a password remembered makes it easy for anyone with devious intentions to access your accounts; like your school gmail, your home bank accounts or anywhere else you are storing passwords.  Basically, you took away the challenge.

As a note, writing your passwords on a sticky note is just as dangerous!

To Forget Passwords

To protect yourself, here is how to get rid of all your saved passwords:


Click on Chrome -> Clear Browsing Data...:

From the screen that pops up, check these suggested boxes:

Then click on Clear Browsing Data.


Click on Safari -> Preferences...:

When the window pops up, click on Passwords at the top:

Click on Remove All to delete every saved password in Safari.


Click on Firefox -> Preferences...:

In the window that pops up, click on Security and UNCHECK Remember passwords for sites:

Then click on Saved Passwords...:

Click on Remove All to clear all saved passwords from Firefox.

Next time the browser offers to save your passwords, please just say no.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Multiple Google Accounts

In case you were not aware, you can sign-in to multiple Google accounts at the same time.  This is handy at home when you want to switch between your sau10.org and your personal gmail accounts and Google Drive files.

There is a very good help document on Google that will explain this in detail for you.