Tech Time

whats-new

Newest Technology Employees

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Photo Credit: Shawntee Cowan

We are excited to add these three gentlemen to the IDEA TEAM and Duncanville ISD family!

Classroom Technology Equipment Survey

standards-equipment-surveyBeginning Wednesday, December 5, Technology will be conducting a quick survey designed for staff members who have received technology standards equipment last year or this school year. Feedback from this survey will be used to gather understanding on equipment use, equipment functionality and vendor installation evaluation. The survey will close at the end of the day on January 6.

Be sure to use this opportunity to provide the district with data that will be reviewed, analyzed and considered. Your input is an integral part ensuring that technology in our district is functioning at its maximum potential and is assisting in writing student success stories one at a time.

So far over 130 staff members have completed the survey! Thanks to all of you that have participated so far. CLICK HERE to begin the Fall Classroom Technology survey.

Do You Need More Time in Your Work Day? Try Classlink.

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http://www.classlink.com

In the technology-focused, web-based world that we live in, it is inevitable that many of the resources that we use require us to memorize various usernames and passwords. I am almost certain that at one point or another we have all forgotten our usernames or passwords.  I am also quite sure that we have all run into the age-old issue with “getting locked out” of our accounts after too many failed attempts of  entering the wrong password. Perhaps we have even wasted valuable instructional time or work time searching for the password that just seems to be on the tip of your tongue. If you have even one of these experiences, I have great news for you!

This year, Duncanville ISD technology purchased a new system called Classlink that offers a perfect solution for all staff members and students. This single sign-on system offers a platform for storing apps (shortcuts to websites) and files. With just one click of an icon, users are quickly directed to the website of their choice without having to log in again. This resource eliminates the stress of having to recall various passwords, which in turn gives us all back valuable time to what we love!

Another added bonus is that this resource can be accessed on many of the devices we use daily, such as PC, Mac or mobile devices. Classlink has the potential of truly changing how we teach and conduct business.

Ultimately, Classlink has introduced to our district unparalleled productivity through a singular interface to multiple data resources.

Check out what teachers here in the district say about Classlink.

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Quotes from Kimberly Landrum, Hastings Elementary  and Janessa Quintanilla, Brandenburg Intermediate

I’m Sold! How Do I Get Started with Classlink? 

If you are ready to dive in using Classlink, select the “Getting Started” video below. If you need additional assistance, please contact one of our Instructional Technology Coordinators at ideateam@duncanvilleisd.org and they will be able to assist you.

Updating Passwords

As part of our district’s technology processes, all district passwords are updated every 90 days. If your password does not automatically update on Classlink, the “Updating Classlink Password” video below will be of assistance to you.

ClassLink Help Videos

 

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Click this video to begin your new journey with Classlink.
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Click this video to learn how to update sync your new password in Classlink. 

 

Student Password Reset? Piece of Cake!

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Kiosks are currently located in halls “I’ and “J” at Duncanville High School.

As contributing members of a global society, Duncanville ISD students are provided with usernames and passwords to access the District network, web-based programs, data storage and more. From time to time, students may forget their login information, especially after holiday breaks.

One way DISD technology is working to empower students to keep track of their logins is through the use of Classlink  (mentioned in the article above), as well as our new Student Password Reset Kiosks. Currently, DHS is piloting a system that consists of two affixed kiosks stationed in different locations at the high school. These kiosks will allow students to reset or unlock their password in a matter of minutes. Before students can use these features, they must first take few minutes to enroll in the SSRPM (Self Service Reset Password Management) system by answering up to 3 security questions. Once this process is complete, students then have the ability to reset or unlock their passwords using the kiosks or any computer/mobile device by going to www.reset.duncanvilleisd.org.  This system/website can also be used by all district employees as well.

Once the data from this pilot has been reviewed and analyzed, a determination will be made as to whether or not additional kiosks will be installed in other locations at DHS as well as middle school campuses.

Parent Academy Engaging Families

pa-jan-19As we continue to serve our students and our community, the IDEA Team regularly conducts sessions at the DISD Parent Academy. This academy provides parents with the opportunity to learn and discuss current trends in social media, online websites and to understand the tools students use each day.  Although most sessions are geared towards parents, some sessions will also include students. It is highly beneficial for both parents and students to partner as they navigate this digital world.

Please be sure to make parents aware of these opportunities. Staff members are welcomed to attend sessions as well.

More information on session dates and times can be found at our Parent Academy Website.

New iMacs in the House

Earlier this school year, 165 new iMacs were deployed to DHS CTE classrooms. Students have enjoyed using these new 27 inch, 5K retina display devices as they compose, create and develop content.

In addition to the new iMacs stationed in classrooms, the IRC and library lab have received 20 Mac devices. The purpose of the IRC Mac lab is to promote career and college readiness through a flexible setting.  The formerly under-utilized area will also be open for CTE students as they prepare for scholastic/leadership/hands on competitions, industry recognized certifications, and college readiness exams.

Not only do we have new Macs, but we also are pleased to announce that we also have a Mac Certified Specialist who now manages all Apple products for our district. Ian Bell, our Specialist, has been an integral part in the implementation and deployment of these new devices. Ian has also implemented a Mac loaner process for the CTE department. This process will ensure that all Mac labs are equipped with the correct number of computers to accommodate students in their classrooms. There are 15 Macs designated to serve as “loaners”. If a Mac malfunctions in a lab, a process is now in place to replace the malfunctioning Mac with a loaner Machine. This loaner machine will remain in the Mac Lab until the assigned Mac has been repaired.

Lastly, 2 iMacs have been added to the Summit high school computer lab and a plan to install 2 iMacs at PACE high school has been confirmed.

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Photo Credit: Ian Bell

Microsoft Office Suite for Just $9.95

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Microsoft Home Use Program Now Available

All Duncanville ISD staff can now participate in Microsoft’s Software Assurance Home Use Program (HUP). This means that all staff are now able to receive a licensed copy of most Microsoft Office desktop PC applications to install and use on a home computer for only $9.95.

Under the Home Use Program, users may acquire a licensed copy of the corresponding Home Use Program software (e.g. Office Enterprise) to install and use on a home computer. You may continue using HUP software while you are under our employment and as long as the corresponding software you use at work has active Software Assurance coverage.

Please note that some product and language versions may not be available at the time you place an order. For up-to-date information on the availability of Home Use Program software, please visit http://microsoft.com/licensing.

Access the Microsoft Home Use Program Website and Program Code, visit our Technology Intranet.  (District Login Required)

 Hour of Code is Here!

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The Hour of Code

Coding for kids? That’s right! Whether we want to admit it or not, coding is the way of the future. Computer programming is all around us. From the cars that we ride in, to the watches we wear, everyday we encounter devices that have been programmed.

So what is coding? Coding basically is a set of instructions or rules that computers understand-much like a recipe. People write code to make many everyday devices function efficiently.

Duncanville ISD students have the opportunity to get involved in coding! Hour of Code 2016 will occur during Computer Science Education Week, December 5-11. However, you can do an Hour of Code at any time!

The Hour of Code is a great way to promote computer science and peak the curiosity of students by helping them explore the world of programming. Click HERE to get started.

What is Hour of Code?

Hour of Code is a non-profit organization that encourages students to learn computer science and coding lessons in a fun and easy way. Students are offered the chance to program well-known games or activities at the basic level. In other words, they are learning by playing!

How Can My Campus or My Students Get Involved?

Visit Code.org to find free activities and planning guides to learn coding for all age groups. If you are interested in hosting at your school, you can SIGN UP on the Hour of Code website. This will allow you to host a one-hour introduction to computer science. If hosting is too much for you, have your students pair up and just try it out this week.

If your students or classes are participating in Hour of Code this week, show them off! Send FERPA approved photos of your students coding to the IdeaTeam and they may be published in the next blog.  All photos can be sent to ideateam@duncanvilleisd.org.

Toshiba T20Z Update

You’ve asked, we’ve listened. Last school year, many staff may remember that after 10 minutes, the Toshiba T20Z entered the state of hibernation. We heard from staff members that this 10 minute time frame was not conducive to classroom instruction. Taking this into consideration, technology leaders moved to extend hibernation wait time from 10 to 45 minutes. This decision has made a positive impact on classroom instruction and has made many teachers and students happy.

We highly value feedback from staff on anything we can do to improve in technology. Keep that feedback coming!

Need Help? Enter a Ticket

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The IdeaTeam strives to meet our high expectations for quality customer service each month. Since August, we have closed around 7,071 help desk tickets and have maintained a satisfation average of 96%. As we continue to focus our district’s goal for operation excellence, it is imperative that we document the work that we do using help desk tickets.

How can you assist us? It’s simple, enter help desk tickets. Often times staff members ask why help tickets are so important? Here are just a few ways we use these tickets:

  • To track progress and the status of technology request
  • To hold technology leadership and staff accountable and to encourage professionalism and communication
  • To provide technology with data on how to measure progress through surveys and reports

So although we are eager to help when we see you in hallways or when receive your email, we ask that all requests be presented via help desk ticket or phone call.

Adding Help Desk Notes

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Have you ever wanted to follow-up on a request that you entered or wanted to respond to question presented to you via help desk ticket? We have answers for you! Download the Help Note Idea Guide or take a moment to watch the short video below to learn how to add notes to your help desk tickets.

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Video Lasting 1:41 Minutes

Learn in Your PJ’s with the Digital Funatics Webinar Series

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Digital Funatics, a webinar series offered by our Instructional Technology Team, offers a variety of technology sessions during the evening hours. These interactive, one hour sessions allow all staff members to participate while at home, Starbucks or on the go. The webinar series can be accessed via laptop, computer or mobile device (iOS or Android).

Staff members who would like to participate can do so by registering in Eduphoria.  Recordings of past sessions can be found on our Technology website.  Sessions begin at 7:00pm and are typically held on Monday evenings. Be sure to register before attending so that you are aware of the topics and availability of the session you wish to attend. Our next session will be held on January 9.

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Claudio Zavala presenting

Until Next School Year

Don’t Forget!dont-forget-sticky-note

Change Your Passwords Before You Leave for Break

Don’t get caught locked out of your account this summer. Take just a few moments to reset your password before leaving for summer break. Any staff that finds themselves locked out of their account over the break can visit  https://reset.duncanvilleisd.org/ to reset or unlock accounts online. Instructions can be found on our technology website. Be sure that you have enrolled into your Self-Service account, while you are still on the DISD network.

Take Home Personal Technology Items

DISD Technology is asking all staff members to bring home all personal technology devices or equipment over the summer. Due to campus cleaning, salvage pick-ups, equipment relocation and more, it may be best to remove these item to avoid misplacement or accidental damage of equipment.

***WayFind Teacher Assessment Due Date Extended!***wayfind

Great news! Due to the hectic schedule that all teachers face at the end of the school year, technology will be extending the WayFind Teacher Assessment through the summer. The assessment window will close at midnight on July 31, 2016. We truly appreciate DISD staff taking the time to complete this assessment. The data collected from this assessment will allow the IdeaTeam to plan for technology professional development for next school year. It will also provide teachers with an idea of their own strengths and areas of growth in relation to technology.

Register for Summer Technology Training

idea team trainingDon’t forget to come out and join the Idea Team’s Instructional Technology staff for great hands-on training this June.

Register in Eduphoria ASAP! Sessions are filling up quickly. Search for the IdeaTeam to locate available sessions.

 

 

Set it Up Right!

Now that many staff have received a new classroom technology ecosystem, it may be a beneficial to plan ahead when setting up classrooms for next school year. Keep in mind where HDMI face plates and phones are located in classrooms and plan accordingly. Early planning will allow for a more effective teaching environment for students and staff.

Tips for Room Setup for Next School Year:

  • Move teacher desk and chair away from HDMI face plates to avoid accidentally hitting or breaking the cables or the plate.
  • Move student desks in groups or rows where all students can see the whiteboard.
  • Avoid placing teacher desk too close to the whiteboard as to block the projection view.
  • Plan to leave space on the whiteboard to allow for the full view of the projector. Keep bulletin board borders, decorations or word walls away from projection view.

Don’t Forget: Laptops

Back-Up Your Desktops and Laptops

While computers are a part of everyday life at school, they are not perfect. Lost information can lead to a very stressful situation. All important data should be backed-up before leaving for summer break. Back-up instructions can be found here.

Safety First Laptop_On_Car_Seat_3187186-300x225

When carrying your new laptop (or teacher/staff iPad) around this summer, don’t forget to that thieves may like your device and data just as much as you do. Be sure to avoid leaving your device unattended or exposed in your car. Also keep in mind that Texas gets hot! Remember to refrain from leaving your electronic devices in the car as well.

Final Toshiba Laptop Deployments

The last two opportunities for teachers to receive new Toshiba 2-in-1 laptops is June 3. Be sure to sign up in Eduphoria for a training and exchange session. Older laptops must be turned in on or BEFORE June 3.

  • June 3 at 8:00am at the IdeaHub-Register in Eduphoria HERE
  • June 3 at 3:00pm at the IdeaHub-Register in Eduphoria HERE

3 Tips to Keep in Mind to Protect Yourself From Hackers

comptuer virusHackers are always on the prowl ready to implant viruses or steal vital data. Take note of the tips below to avoid hacker infiltration.

  1. Duncanville ISD will never email you asking you to provide your username or password by email. Never provide secure information without verifying from the DISD technology department.
  2. Always look at who the email is coming from, much like a phone call. If you don’t know the person asking for such things, delete the suspicious emails or ask for help from DISD technology. 
  3. Strengthen passwords. At a minimum, passwords should be eight characters long, contain upper and lower case letters, numbers and symbols. Click here for tips for creating passwords.

Let’s prevent our district from falling victim to these crimes. Be careful and always use your best judgment by erring on the side of caution.

Creating Shortcuts on Your Desktop

Many users utilize web link shortcuts on their desktop in order to quickly access important websites. Many of our DISD users have created a shortcut to access Eduphoria. Since the Eduphoria link has recently changed, users will need to update this shortcut. Click on the video to learn how to update the Eduphoria shortcut as well as any other website.

eduphoria video

Summer Tech IDEAs

As you take time to relax this summer, here are a few ideas that you may be interested in pursuing that will start your school year off right!pinterest.JPG

  1. Clean out your Outlook email box. This includes deleted items and junk email.
  2. Clean out your storage drives on D: Cloud or Google Drive. Be sure to delete unwanted files, especially large files.
  3. Pin a few great tech tools on Pinterest. Learn how to use Pinterest for Education by clicking here.
  4. Follow at least 3 educational technology Twitter feeds. Click here to help you get started. The IdeaTeam Twitter Basics training can be found here.
  5. Update your staff webpage. Take a few minutes to analyze your teacher website. What do you like about your current webpage? What can be done better? What should be updated for next school year? Summer may be an excellent time to update your teacher photo, add useful websites, links or tools.
  6. Find at least 3 great Google apps to use to enhance your lessons. Click here to learn how to add a Google app.

DHS Panthers to Win 2nd Place Honors in UIL Computer Science Competition

Congrats to the Duncanville HS Computer Science Team who brought home 2nd place honors in the District UIL competition held at Midlothian HS on Saturday, April 2nd. This year’s team included returning member Omar Cerpa, along with Joshua Lewis, Hannah Ismail, Sarah Jimenez, and Coach Teresa Prather.

The Computer Science event consists of an individual written problem-solving portion as well as a team computer programming portion.  In the programming portion, our Panthers matched the performance of the first place team; very impressive considering Mansfield is the one to beat in this event in our district year after year.  Of all individuals participating in the written portion, Omar Cerpa placed 6th this year, once again proving our Panthers can compete with the best in the district!

Congrats to the Winners of the “Test Your Technology Hardware Skills” Challenge!

The 3 individuals below received a handy-dandy prize from the IdeaTeam:

  • Sherri Smith
  • Devin Hanes
  • Hope Wilcox

Last Week’s Challenge Answers:

  1. USB/Printer Cable
  2. Monitor Power Cable
  3. HDMI Port
  4. Audio Cable
  5. Network Cable
  6. HDMI Cable
  7. DVI Cable
  8. VGA Cable

Have a GREAT Summer! ~The IdeaTeam

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Resources:

(2016, May 31). Retrieved from Claims Journal: http://www.claimsjournal.com/news/midwest/2011/09/29/192099.htm

(2016, May 30). Retrieved from Yeni.mobi: http://en.yeni.mobi/images/?q=don+t+forget

(2016, May 30). Retrieved from Pratosmart: http://pratosmart.teo-soft.com/scusa-ma-esattamente-cosa-fate-voi-hacker/

(2016, May 30). Retrieved from Wayfind: http://www.icyte.com/system/snapshots/fs1/9/7/c/0/97c02cbd940e9821b8946f1c960b1f712e2ddd39/index.html

(2016, May 30). Retrieved from Zaika: https://zaikazabardast.com/2012/08/03/summerrecipes/

Rounding the Corner

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iPad Pilots and Roll-Outs

As part of the district standard and bond, our technology team has currently deployed 680 iPads to campuses for student use grades K-2! We began our deployment process with a pilot that consisted of teachers from Merrifield and Bilhartz elementary campuses. Once the pilots were completed and pilot recipient feedback was analyzed, any known issues were addressed and the district-wide deployment began.

“We love the iPads…!!!” explains Karolina Fullerton, 2nd grade teacher at Central elementary. “It’s so great to be able to be a Century 21 kind of classroom!! . . .We’re truly grateful. . .”

Both teachers and students have expressed their excitement about the new devices and what they positively contribute to classroom instruction. “I’ve already seen a difference in learning since using the iPads”, stated Ambreen Das, a kindergarten teacher at Merrifield Elementary.

For training resources on iPads, visit our Instructional Technology website.

Tips for Taking Care of iPads

In order to prolong the life of our district’s iPads, listed below we’ve included some helpful tips to keep in mind:

  • Please be sure to place iPads in a locked cabinet when not in use.
  • If left out charging during the day, please make sure to lock the classroom door when leaving the room. (Including teacher issued Toshiba laptop)
  • Frequently monitor student use.
  • Continue to remind students of management procedures put in place for use.
  • Keep iPad case on the device at all times.
  • Use a microfiber cloth to clean smudges and smears.
  • Avoid humid or extremely hot environments.

 

Tank Tops, Flip Flops and Technology Training?

JOIN US THIS SUMMER in June for Technology Training @ the IDEA Hub!

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  • Attend one or a combination of sessions.
  • Half day and 45 minute sessions offered.
  • 37 different topics to choose from.
  • Potential Trade Out Days.
  • Hands-on sessions available.
  • Get a jump start on fine tuning your skills!
  • Don’t forget to register in Eduphoria!

New Toshiba Teacher Laptop Deployments Come to an End

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We are pleased to announce that ALL Duncanville ISD campuses have now be provided with the opportunity to receive their new Toshiba laptop! Our team has done an outstanding job deploying 864 laptops and training staff all across the district. The IDEA Team have conducted 32 after school sessions which includes 1 beta session, 2 pilot sessions and 4 make-up sessions. All teachers who will be returning during the 16-17 school year are asked to trade in their old laptops for new ones. Final laptop exchange sessions will be announced to campuses soon. Please keep watch for these dates. Teachers who will no be returning next school year will need to follow the normal HR exit procedures when turning in their laptops.

Text Bigger? Yes, Please!

Now that teachers and administrators have not received their new Toshiba laptops, it’s time to customize the device to fit user needs. Many staff members have already began changing our desktop background or adding apps to your start menu. One other adjustment that may be beneficial to you is learning how to adjust the size of the text on our device. If the text on the Toshiba laptop is not large enough, there is a quick and easy solution available.  Click below to watch a video that provides step by step instructions on how to change the size of your text. More help resources can be found on our Instructional Technology website.

text change video

Skyward Student Information System Conversion on Track

Skyward Image

The district has now entered its 125th day in the District Skyward conversion process. Over the past few months, Skyward has conducted over 100 hours of training as well as over 40 hours of programming consultation with various staff members in preparation for the conversion.

While Kyle Berger, CTO, works to oversee the conversion process, Michelle Anderson, Manager of Information Systems, coordinates and facilitates the migration process. Ms. Anderson’s team have also been an integral part of the success of the conversion. Their efforts have proven valuable as they continually make strides to move us towards our goal. At this time the overall project is reaching all milestones and objectives as needed to achieve the go live date of July 1.

Certifications

Many staff members have done an outstanding job working to learn the ins and outs of thecertified system. We want congratulate the following members who have already received Skyward certification level for parts of the new district student information system. Several of these staff members have already received multiple certifications. 

  • Chad Fitzgerald
  • Danielle Price
  • Katie Lene
  • Charmaine Malone
  • Shante Demerson
  • Avyon King
  • Tengemana Knight
  • LaTonya Irving
  • Robbie Carter
  • Moshae Fobbs
  • Carla Coggins
  • Nneka Bernard
  • Suzanne Gardner
  • Amy Kile
  • Tijuana Hudson
  • Terri Vehon
  • Terrance Chase
  • Wanda Carter
  • Laverne Dorsey
  • Gail Brayton
  • Yoland Munoz
  • Vanessa Barrera
  • Maria Caballero
  • Shanequa King
  • Debbie Arney
  • Yvette Herrera
  • Ramona Perales
  • Stacie Aldridge
  • Suzanne Hague
  • Erica Johnson Williams
  • Ed Marcell
  • Jayne Brown
  • Fay James
  • Essica Graves
  • Susan Tizsa
  • Margaret Willis
  • Mary Marcias
  • Catherine Rush
  • Sherry Lackey
  • Tomica Jackson
  • Christina Valderas
  • David Marshall
  • Monica Smith
  • Deborah Backus
  • Stephanie Talbot

Congratulations for a job well done!

Help Desk Match

At one time or another, when using technology you may have noticed that there are many different cables and ports that you come in contact with. HDMI, VGA, USB. . . What’s the difference? Let’s test your skills? Click here to play the game for a chance to win a price. The first 3 participants with all correct answers will be contacted and sent a prize through inter-office mail. Answers will be posted in the next blog.

Click image below to begin:

test your skills

 

Apple QuickTime Deletion for Windows Users

noqtMany of you may have heard QuickTime for Windows has the potential to lead to a virus. What you’ve heard is correct. The Department of Homeland Security issued a high level threat alert in relation to Apple QuickTime software on the Windows based PC. Simply put they said, “Urgent Call to Action: Uninstall QuickTime for Windows Today”.  Apple has acknowledged the threat, however they no longer are supporting Windows QuickTime and they have no plans to repair computers running the software. At the district level, Duncanville ISD Technology has auto-deleted QuickTime from all district windows computers. No action will be needed for staff members. 

If you currently have QuickTime on your home PC, it would be beneficial to delete it as soon as you can. QuickTime auto-installs when iTunes has been installed on your computer.

Click Here for assistance with uninstalling QuickTime from your personal computer at home.

If this issue is not addressed, there is a high potential for negative consequences which include loss of confidentiality, integrity, or availability of data, as well as damage to system resources or business assets. More information can be found at the US-CERT website.

Troubleshooting Tips for your Projector

As with any new technology, there is always a learning curve or kinks that may need to be worked out. If you experience trouble with your equipment, keep the following in mind:

Issue: Projector is not getting a signal.
Tip: Restart the computer with the HDMI plugged in. (Do not shut down, simply restart.) Keep in mind that your computer should not be left on at

Issue: Interactive pen does not align with cursor after calibration.
Tip: Restart the computer and unplug/replug the USB cable going from the wall to the computer.

If any of these issues occur and the suggesting tips do not alleviate the problem, please enter a help desk ticket. Refrain from standing on chairs to unplug/replug cables or attempting fix the equipment.

CONGRATULATIONS TO. . . .

The following DISD staff members for winning last week’s Hidden Message Challenge!

  • Dawn Fluitt
  • Beverly Warren
  • Lori Schuster
  • Mary Michal Moore
  • Farrah Woods

Come Tech It Out!

Students and Staff Excited About New Technology

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Hyman Student: Isaac Zenon

Over the past few months, many Duncanville ISD students and staff have expressed their excitement about the new technology being implemented in classrooms across the district. Currently, about 85% of all eligible classrooms are fully equipped with the district’s standard equipment. The remaining 15% are scheduled for installations during the 3rd implementation phase beginning in April.

Student enjoys using the "magic pen" (ActivPen)
Hyman student, Elijah, enjoys using the “magic pen” (ActivPen)

Hyman Elementary staff members have reported that they have seen a major difference in how students are learning since the arrival of our district’s technology classroom ecosystem. “My students think it is the coolest thing ever!” says Hyman teacher Claudia Galvan. “It has increased engagement in my classroom as well as participation from students who were previously reluctant to share their thinking.”

The use of the Boxlight interactive projector, in combination with the Lumens Ladibug document camera, allows teachers to transform instruction in their classrooms. No longer do students desire to use simple worksheets, they now request to use the new technology instead to provide them with a hands-on experience in learning.  Teachers are also being trained by campus Library Media Specialists, as well as campus-assigned Instructional Technology Coordinators on how to use Promethean’s ActivInspire

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Hyman Teacher:Teryn Lackey, Student: Aubriana Luna

interactive software that works seamlessly with the projector. This software allows for student collaboration, active personal involvement and the use of multiple modalities. The software also includes a free membership to Promethean Planet which offers nearly 100,000 pre-made teaching lessons which can be filtered by TEK, subject area, keyword and more. Hyman teacher Kate Lagemann explains, “I love ActivInspire.  I have had so much fun finding interactive lessons to do with the kids.  It is so easy to pull each lesson from Promethean Planet into Activinspire and tweak and use for my TEKs and classroom needs.”

Why is It Important to Use Classroom Sound?

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Hyman Student: Jesse Garcia

Audio volume is an essential element in effective, quality communication and classroom instruction, therefore it is a critical component as we are educating our students in our classroom environments.  Inadvertent behaviors such as turning ones back to write on a board, reading a difficult passages or classroom distractions often have a negative impact to the quality of verbal communication.  In order to ensure the quality of communication and address inadvertent negative impacts, we are in the process of implementing the use of Audio Enhancement Classroom sound system this school year. We are already seeing a positive impact; one such example comes from Ms. Lackey from Hyman Elementary: “Even though it took some getting used to, I now use my microphone daily. This helps keep my students focused and keeps me from having to raise my voice”. We also have reports from teachers that the use of the system assists them with their classroom management. Learn more on the benefits of classroom sound on Audio Benefits Montage. 

Outlook Desktop Version Now Available at Home

web apps

Checking emails have never been so easy! Although the newly updated web-version of Outlook is a great a resource to use, the desktop version can now be used even when away from the DISD network! Click here for a chance to win a prize. Simply log into your computer at home or any location that can connect to Wi-Fi, launch the Outlook applications and wait 10-15 seconds for it to load. Once the load is complete, all typical email tools will now be easily accessible.

Tech Tips from the Instructional Technology

Classroom Standards Tips

The DISD technology classroom standards initiative provides many opportunities for success for the students and staff. As technology usage increases, it is important that all users know how to utilize the equipment to its full potential. In addition to the training sessions and training materials that are offered by our district’s Instructional Technology team, help documents called IDEA Guides are also beneficial.  Our newest help guide titled “Tips on Equipment” provides an assortment of the most common tips that offer users helpful time-savers related to various types of technology devices. Download, save, read and keep these tips handy!

I’ve Been Tech Trained, But Forgot How to . . . !

We have great news! Our Instructional Technology team has a large number of training resources that can help jog your memory. Here are just a few of our most common training topics. *Note: Training sessions are stored in Safari Montage. Please login to view.

Toshiba Portege Z20t

Classroom Audio System

Boxlight Interactive Projector

Lumens Ladibug Document Camera

Visit our Instructional Technology Webpage for more!

Hardin Promotes a Digital School Environment

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Hardin Teacher: Cathlyn Weir, Student: Raivionna Walker
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Hardin Principal: Crystal Cross, Teacher: Cathlyn Weir, Student: Mitzi Marquez

The unique gift of empowering students is a rewarding and vital role for campus principals. As campus leaders, it is critical to ensure that students are top priority. One way that Crystal Cross, principal at Hardin Intermediate, ensures that students are first priority at her campus is by embracing technology as an integral part of teaching and learning.

During a recent data meeting, one of her teachers, Cathlyn Weir, mentioned how thrilled she was to utilize the new technology–especially ActivInspire. Ms. Weir was so excited that she invited Ms. Cross to her class to see students successfully raising everyday content to another level. Ms. Weir explains her excitement this way, “I look forward to seeing great things come from Duncanville acquiring ActivInspire… the students will learn while having FUN, which is critical to retaining the concept.” Ms. Cross’ support for her staff allows them to feel safe using sharing their teaching successes using technology.

“I attend the technology PD sessions on campus so I can learn along with the teachers.  Staying informed allows for meaningful conversations with teachers and students.”  Ms. Cross, who has attended almost every technology training offered on her campus, exhibits a high level of welcomed excitement when speaking with students regarding their technology use.”The students are ready to dive into more of a digital school environment, and I charge myself with continuing to learn options to support that dive”, believes Ms.Cross.

In short, Ms. Cross’ commitment to ensure that technology and teaching are being woven into meaningful and engaging lessons, allows her to ultimately contribute to writing one student success story at a time.

Technology: A Worthy Investment

As DISD technology continually strives to provide each student with the necessary skills to achieve lifelong success, we are thankful for the many groups and individuals who made the technology classroom standards implementation a reality. Focus groups and individuals comprised of staff members, studentsdock lock and community members all collaborated collectively on the decision to provide technology equipment to Dville campuses. This decision has proved to be beneficial and has already began enhancing classroom instruction.

All staff members can contribute to ensure that technology equipment is being cared for by all who utilize it. Listed below are some helpful guidelines.

  1. Take full advantage of technology equipment found in classrooms. Equipment such as the document camera, teacher microphone and laptop should be set up and ready to be operated at all times in your classroom. Start off with basic usage, if needed. After practicing and mastering the basics, then begin to add the use of more functions as you feel comfortable. Always reach out to your Library Media Specialist or Campus Instructional Coordinator if you need help.
  2. Lock-down secondary keyboard dock using the dock lock that you have in your possession. This will allow you to keep your cables locked in and ready to go when your turn each day.
  3. Store small technology items when not in use. Items such as a projector remote, audio microphone, document camera remote, interactive pen and charger cables  should be placed in a cabinet or drawer each evening. (*Note: Microphones may be left out to charge overnight).
  4. Always enter a help desk ticket if you feel that any form of your equipment is not working. Waiting to report issues can sometimes cause more extensive damage and frustration.
  5. Remember to turn off equipment when not in use such as projectors and interactive pens.
  6. Be extra careful in order to refrain from accidentally damaging cables such as a USB or HDMI cable. Lost or damaged cables must be replaced by campuses.

No Logon Servers: Why?

No logon Servers

Have you or your students ever attempted to use your laptops on your campus but instead encountered a message that said “No Logon Servers”? This often times can occur when staff or students shut the lid on a laptop without properly shutting down.

Here are some helpful tips:

Laptops should be shut down by selecting: START MENU>SHUT DOWN>WAIT UNTIL IT IS FULLY SHUT DOWN BEFORE CLOSING THE LID.

  1. PCs should be shut down by selecting: START MENU>SHUT DOWN.
  2. AVOID forcing the power off by pressing and holding the power button down.

What do I do if receive this message?

Enter a help desk ticket in Eduphoria or call the help desk.

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manny newOriginally from the Dallas area, Manny comes to us with 11 years of experience in the Information Technology (IT) field. During 9 of these years, Manny specialized in the area Audio/Visual Technologies.  After graduating from Sunset High School in Dallas Texas, Manny also attended Mountain View Community College. Not only has Manny worked diligently to strengthen his own skills as an AV technician, he has also worked to strengthen others when he previously served as an AV manager.

Manny is married to his lovely wife Ruth and has a 1 year old daughter who he adores. We are pleased to have Manny on the Idea Team!

 

web Krystal

 

Krystal comes to us from Chicago, Illinois where she has made Dallas her home for the past 5 years. She has been married for 13  years and has one son who attends Hyman Elementary. With over 8 years of experience in administrative education, she currently working to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree in Education.

Welcome to Duncanville ISD Krystal!

 

 

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Stephanie, from Alvarado Texas, comes to us from Cedar Hill ISD. She has over 10 years of experience in PEIMS and over 23 years of experience in education. She has been married to the love her life for the past 35 years. She has 4 sons (1 set of twins), 7 grandchildren and one grandchild on the way. She enjoys working with people and is excited to join the Dville team.

We are glad to have Stephanie aboard!

 

 

Congratulations!

To the following DISD staff members for winning last week’s Hidden Message Challenge! Who will be next?

  • Audra Sanders
  • Chase Natalie
  • Darrian Miller

Words from Technology

Z:Drive Storage Limit

Beginning this semester, current Z:Drive/D Cloud network storage accounts now have a limit of 10 gigs. When attempting to save content on a district network drive, if an error message is received indicating that “100% Quota Threshold Exceeded”, the reason for this may be that the user has exceeded his/her allotted limit.  In addition, an email notification that alerts users that they have exceeded their limit may also Quotabe received. Should either of these scenarios occur, content must be reviewed and any unnecessary data must be removed.

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It may be a good idea for all district users to periodically review the amount of space remaining in network drives. This can be done by right-clicking on the Z:Drive, selecting properties and viewing the remaining storage.

In order to accommodate growing users in Duncanville ISD, the technology department has increased our previous network storage size by 200%.  Limits must be placed on all network drives so that all users may have ample access to secure storage.

Brightbytes Survey Coming Soon!

It is that time again for our BrightBytes teacher (including paraprofessionals) andBrightbytes administrator (including counselors) survey! BrightBytes is an educational data analytic company that assists districts in learning more about our staff and students’ technology access and use for learning. This data will not only be used to determine the technology-based growth of our district, but it will also be utilized to plan professional development training sessions and to understand district needs for the coming year. All responses will remain anonymous to protect staff privacy.

The survey will open at 8:00 AM on Monday, February 1st. It will take approximately 10 minutes to complete. The last day to complete this questionnaire is midnight on Sunday, February 14th. Please look out for more detailed information to come from campus administrators as well as the district website. 

 

Made with Pride Honoree from Technology

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Dr. Cron presenting Bethany with the Made with Pride award.

Congratulations to our very own Bethany Mullins for being honored with the Made With Pride in Duncanville award for staff members. She serves as both Receptionist and Help Desk Technician at the IDEA Hub. Always with a smile on her face, does a wonderful job serving the DISD staff with their technology needs. Way to go Bethany!

Cosmetology Class Uses Lumens Document Camera for Student Make-Up Demo

Mary Robare-Smith, DHS Cosmetology teacher, found an interesting way to use the new Lumens document cameras provided district-wide in the DISD classrooms standards. Over a 2-day period, over 90 cosmetology students gathered in the East Seminar room at the high school to observe a make-up application demonstration applied to DHS student Sydney Munoz. The demo was conducted by Jenn Karsner and Briana Dai of Make Up Artists Unleashed. “I felt this would offer a more in-depth look into the presentation by showing detail and reaching a mass audience at the same time”, Ms. Robare-Smith explained. “We definitely plan on incorporating this new technology in our lesson plans and for the use of demos for future guest artists to come”.

Document cameras can be utilized in many different ways, as demonstrated by DHS cosmetology. More ideas on document camera use can be found by viewing  Document Camera Magic: Eleven Dozen Ways to Transform Teaching.

Brandenburg Students Excel in TCEA Robotics Competition

What is Brandenburg Intermediate’s key to success in robotics? “Great teamwork and problem solving”, says Steve Pettit the Brandenburg robotics team sponsor and Special Education teacher. A total of 30, both 5th and 6th grade, students meet every week to enhance their skills in Science, Technology and Mathematics through the use of robotics. Students learn robotic skills on Lego Mindstorm NXTs and EV3s. They are presented with challenges that require them to make their programming more precise. The groups also learn how to use a touch sensor, sound sensor, light sensor, and ultrasonic sensor to enhance the functions of their robot.

We are proud to announce that the Brandenburg robotics team took the top 3 awards in “Food Frenzy” challenge at TCEA Area Robotics competition on Saturday, January 16. Learn more about their experiences on the DISD district website. We are thrilled for them and wish them well for the State Competition!

Find out more about their program on the Brandenburg campus website. 

Toshiba Laptop Deployments Over Half-Way CompletedToshiba Schedule

New Toshiba Z20T’s are making their way throughout Duncanville ISD. So far 13 different deployments have been conducted. Each deployment consists of an exchange of laptops (old to new), hands-on training on device use, as well as basic skills on the use of Windows 10. Now that we have completed deployment to all elementary school campuses and administrators, we will now begin deployment at intermediate, middle and lastly high school campuses. Please see the provided schedule for more details on upcoming deployments.

For teachers at elementary school campuses who were registered to attend the deployment by technology but were not able to attend, please make plans to attend our make-up session. This can be done by registering in Eduphoria  by 3:30pm on January 25th.  This deployment will be held at the IDEA Hub on January 26.

Questions or assistance with the new laptops can be addressed by calling the technology Help Desk at x2300 or by enter a Help Desk ticket in Eduphoria. 

Bilhartz News Crew Keeps the Campus Informed

Bilhartz students and staff never miss a beat with the Broadcasting club in full-swing. This 10-member crew is led by 3rd grade Bilingual teacher, Crystal Hernandez-Graves. “We already had daily announcements at Bilhartz, but since technology is constantly evolving we wanted to further involve the students and make more use of those resources.  We realized the students would benefit and enjoy the announcements more if they become a part of them”, says Mrs. Hernandez-Graves, their sponsor.

Students work diligently to provide the campus with outstanding news coverage each week. In addition to providing news, announcements are also used to teach character, review their campus vision, pledges and reinforce their learning campus-wide. The team works together to research and gather their own content which they use to create the scripts for each day’s announcements. “Since starting the club we have seen so many positive changes in those club members, such as increased self-esteem, confidence, language/communication skills and improved social skills”, Ms. Hernandez-Graves noticed.

Once the footage is shot and edited, they utilize Safari Montage , our district’s digital media distribution platform, to store their content. Classrooms then access the digital content and display it on their new Boxlight Interactive Projectors. 

Not only does this crew have fun with campus announcements, even the staff gets involved! Click below to view the Bilhartz Elementary announcements and school spirit video. Please note that users will need to log into Safari Montage with your district username and password to access the video.

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Video stored and played on Safari Montage.

 

Band, Choir, Music and Other Rooms Up Next  for Standards Equipment

What’s coming next in the technology standards deployment many are asking?  Our next phase consists of planning out and deploying technology equipment installations for atypical rooms. These rooms have characteristics such as, but not limited to, high or oddly-shaped ceilings like those found in band, choir and theater rooms. This phase also will address classrooms that have additional needs different than the typical standards. Our goal is to begin working on these types of rooms in April.

For more information regarding our Standards Timeline and Classroom equipment, please visit our website. Thank you for reading our blog. Click HERE for a chance to win a prize.

Google Summit in Duncanville ISD a Success

The Idea Team is pleased to announce that the Google Summit sessions held January 7-9 were a success! Many DISD staff members attended the sessions and learned useful skills that they will apply to their professional areas. From Google Forms to Google 360 photos, everyone left with new tools in their toolboxes to enhance learning and instruction in the classrooms.

Congratulations to Smith Elementary teacher, Tara Flatt-Ferguson, who won a brand new Google Chromebook at the Summit. Way to go!

5 Things You Want to Know

Duncanville ISD Schools Participate in Hour of Code During Computer Science Week

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This past week, many students in Duncanville ISD celebrated Computer Science Week by participating in a nation-wide event called the Hour of Code. While some high school students showed off their skills using Alice 3 and Greenfoot software, some lower grades had a blast coding using free software from Code.org. Students worked independently or in groups to learn, understand and solve basic to extensive tasks through programming. Coding not only teaches our students extensive problem-solving skills, but it also strengthens skills in logical thinking, self-management, team building, and mental flexibility. It also enhances skills in all subject areas, especially those focusing on Math and Science.

The great news is that coding is not limited to Computer Science week! It can be done at any time. Code.org offers free online courses that can be completed at school or home. Find out more at studio.code.org. 

Bilhartz, Hyman and Smith Teachers Receive New Toshiba Laptops

Over the past several weeks over 300 new Toshiba laptops have been deployed to campuses. These recipients include principals, pilot participants, early-bird participants, Bilhartz, Hyman and Smith elementary staff. This week, we have plans to deploy to Fairmeadows, Central and Acton elementary staff members. After the first of the year, the remaining elementary campuses will receive their devices, followed by intermediate, middle school and then high school.

Overall, deployments are going very smoothly. A special thanks goes out to all campuses who have come ready for their deployment. Many staff members have shown up with all of their data backed-up prior to the deployment, ALL of their equipment ready to turn in and disk drives free from CDs/DVDs. For more information on what you can do to prepare for your campus laptop deployment, visit our website. 

Clearing Saved Passwords=Protected Computer

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Many people ask the
question, “Is it a good idea to choose to save my password when my browser asks”? While it may be convenient to save your password, in some cases this may pose security risks. Not only can users who have access to your computer log into various accounts that you have setup, they can also gain access to secure student data that you have stored within your computer. In addition, although our filters work double-time to prevent viruses and malware, some sneaky viruses can actually steal saved passwords.

You may also want to consider that the technology help desk has received cases that an issue with eSchool prevented them from accessing their account. In other words, they were “locked out” of the system. After taking a deeper look into the issue, it was discovered that this occurred when eSchool continued to search for a staff member’s password after they had changed their password. The browser automatically saving their password caused the system to continually auto-log them in with the incorrect password. This eventually relayed to the system to lock their account.

When deciding whether or not is a good idea save your passwords in your browser, remember that all employees must comply with FERPA (Family Education Rights and Privacy Act) and the Public Information Act as outlined in our district handbook and board policy.  DISD’s  Employee Acceptable Use Agreement (AUA) states that “As part of your duties. . . Caution must be taken to insure that student data is not exposed to those without an educational need to know.”

Detailed instructions for how to clear your browser’s saved passwords can be found on our district technology website. 

Learn the Best Setup for  Your Technology Equipment

classroom setupWith all of the wonderful new technology being placed into the hands of students and teachers, it may be helpful to learn best practices for setting up cabling for your laptop, document camera and projector.  While our technicians and Instructional Technology Coordinators assist with this process during initial set up and training, it may be useful to have access to a tangible reminder to refer back to. This information can be found in the Idea Guide portion of the website, as well as many other useful resources.

Have a Safe Holiday!

We hope you all have a wonderful holiday break. Safe travels and enjoy a restful time with family and friends.

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Idea Team

 

It’s Coming!

Hour of Code

Coding for kids? How is that possible? Whether we want to admit it or not, coding is the way of the future. Computer programming is all around us. From the cars that we ride in to the watches we wear, everyday we encounter devices tHourOfCodehat have been programmed.

So what is coding? Coding basically is a set of instructions or rules that computers understand-much like a recipe. People write code to make many everyday devices function efficiently.

Duncanville ISD students have the opportunity to get involved in coding! December 7-13 is Computer Science Week. Our workforce is in dire need of a generation of programmers. The Hour of Code is a great way to promote computer science and peak the curiosity of students by helping them explore the world of programming.

What is Hour of Code?

Hour of Code is a non-profit organization that encourages students to learn computer science and coding lessons in a fun and easy way. Students are offered the chance to program well-know games or activities at the basic level. In other words, they are learning by playing!

How Can My Campus or My Students Get Involved?

Visit Code.org to find free activities and planning guides to learn coding for all age groups. If you are interested in hosting at your school, you can SIGN UP on the Hour of Code website. This will allow you to host a one-hour introduction to computer science. If hosting is too much for you, have your students pair up and just try it out on December 7. 

hour of code example

Don’t Forget to Back-Up!

It is always best practice to back-up your laptop or PC device. You’ll never know when your hard drive decides to call it quits. It is important to know what your options are. Learn Data-Backup1WHAT, WHERE  and HOW to back-up your important data by reviewing the IDEA Team’s IDEA Guide for backing-up files.

Backing-Up on the D:Cloud/Z: Drive

Listed below are a few tips to keep in mind when using the district’s cloud storage:

  • Remember to use district storage for educational content.
  • D:Cloud/Z: Drive is for business use. Personal content such as, but not limited to, personal videos, personal accounting or non-business related photos should not be stored on the this device.
  • Be sure review your drive often and delete any information that is no longer needed.

*Note: If you are a candidate for a new Toshiba laptop, don’t forgot to back-up as soon as possible. Be ready for the upcoming laptop exchange roll-out! [click here for a chance to win a prize]. Thanks for reading!🙂

Standards Installs Ahead of Schedule

Interactive projector installs scheduled to begin starting January have began this week! Alexander Elementary school is the first of 7 elementary campuses to receive installs. We hope to complete all elementary interactive projector installs during the early part of spring. Document cameras are also coming in early for elementary schools as well. Along with these installs, staff members will receive hands-on training.

Sound Installs Start This Week

We are pleased to announce that sound installations began at DHS on Tuesday of tFile_000his week! Both teachers and students will enjoy the benefits of hearing classroom instruction clearly and evenly throughout the room.

Teacher Tips For Use:

  1. If you can hear yourself, then then you are talking too loudly. It takes little effort for the entire classroom to hear your voice no matter where they are in the room.
  2. Remember to charge you teacher microphone each night. Although  the battery charge will last 12-14 hours, it is best to make a habit of charging your device daily.
  3. Don’t be afraid to use your microphone. Although some make feel apprehensive about projecting their voice. Just try it! You will notice a major difference in they way your students respond to your instruction.

Resources:

Tech, Z. (2015, December 1). Disaster Recovery and Backup Resources. Retrieved from Zarr Tech: http://www.zarrtech.net/services/data-backup/

Wikipedia. (2015, December 1). Retrieved from Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Code.org