Duncanville ISD Staff Earn Badges for Online Training
It’s been said that “Continuous personal and professional development is the key to the future”. Many Dville staff members truly understand this key. We are so proud of over 20 employees from various campuses and departments who have earned Technology Badges.
From Google to Excel, various online courses are offered to all staff. Our courses provide individuals with the ability to learn independently through self-paced courses and are designed to give teachers and staff access to professional development at a time that is most convenient with their schedule.
For a complete list of courses, visit our Dville Tech Onlinewebsite. We can’t wait to award you!
Planning for the Future
This past December and January, an outstanding group of individuals representing teachers, librarians, students and parents visited the Idea Hub to begin work on a 5 year technology plan. The committee of 20 members will continue working together in February and March to help create goals, objectives and strategies that will move our district forward in the area of technology. The anticipated outcome is to develop the groundwork for strategic planning for the district’s infrastructure, devices, audio visual equipment, cybersecurity, asset management and infrastructure.
ClassLink Backpack and QuickCards Are Here!
What exactly is Classlink? Classlink is a single sign-on tool that allows both students and staff to quickly gain access to multiple applications on a dashboard using one ID and password. This eliminates the struggle of trying to remember how to log into individual resources.
The Instructional Technology Team worked with teachers to pilot Backpack and Quickcards, two new features of Classlink. After a successful pilot, the team had the opportunity to share these features with the Library Media Specialists to assist with the campus implementation of these tools.
What is Backpack?
This feature allows teachers to add links to student Classlink dashboards saving valuable instructional time by helping kids access resources quickly and efficiently. Here’s how!
What are QuickCards?
QuickCards are barcodes that are printed on paper. They use the same QR Code technology used in food packaging, airline boarding passes, auto parts, and more.
ClassLink QuickCards allow each student to log into ClassLink by placing the QuickCard in view of the webcam. Once scanned, students can proceed to their own ClassLink page to access websites, apps and more.
Coming soon!! Tired of your machine running slow? Want all the new fancy bells and whistles that co-workers around you have? Well you are in luck! Your local technician will be upgrading your machine to Windows 10! With this high quality, white glove service, a technician will come to you and change out your hard drive and transfer your data with no delay to you with Windows 10 already installed. You will be notified in advance as to when your machine will be upgraded.
Backing Up Your Files: From A to Z:\
At some point, we have all needed to get to a document or picture, only to be unable to because it was saved on a computer that has been left at home or is being worked on by someone else.
Your Z: drive is the solution to this. Once you have logged onto the Duncanville ISD network, this district drive allows you to have access to your files from any computer while keeping it secure.
To access your Z: drive, follow these steps:
Click the Start button.
Type “File Explorer” (without the quotes), and press Enter.
Under “Network locations,” double-click the Z: drive.
To save a file to your Z: drive, follow these steps:
While working in a program such as Word, Excel, etc., click File.
Select Save As.
Click This PC.
Select the Z: drive.
Visit ourwebsite, for printable Z:Drive access instructions. If you need assistance relocating existing files onto your Z: drive, please call the Help Desk at extension 2300.
As the district gears up to replace student devices in the classroom, it is important to hear from the users themselves. Following an online survey, a team from the Technology Department visited multiple campuses representing various grade levels to ask students what type of device they would like to see in the classroom and why. The next steps are to pilot various devices, make a device selection and prepare a solid proposal for moving forward with a refresh for student devices.
#dvillereads is a classroom project for Ms. Coleman’s 2nd grade class at Acton Elementary designed to give kids opportunities to be read to outside of school hours. The power of video made that possible. Volunteer readers are videotaped reading a book from Ms. Coleman’s classroom library and a QR code linking to the video is printed and placed on the inside cover of each book.
Ms. Coleman and Ms. Bell, Instructional Technology Coordinator, reached out to Superintendent Dr. Marc Smith via Twitter, requesting his help with the project. He answered by eagerly agreeing to be recorded reading a book to Ms. Coleman’ s students. If you are also interested in reading to students, please reach out to Jasmine Coleman firstname.lastname@example.org or Kristi Bell email@example.com.
New Mobile Device System
Duncanville ISD Technology recently updated our Mobile Device Management System. This new system, Filewave, has a variety of features that will allow for faster response times, seamless updates and increased security. In addition, the system will provide the tools needed for future iPad and Mac upgrades, management and configurations.
What is a Mobile Device ManagementSystem (MDM)?
An MDM is a multipurpose software used by the technology department to monitor, manage and secure Apple devices (and more) that are deployed across the district.
How are we using an MDM in the district?
We are updating all the iPads in the district in preparation for implementing the new Mobile Device Management server called FileWave, from the older hybrid MDM servers LANrev & AirWatch. We recently began piloting Filewave at Kennemer Middle school. Once this pilot proves successful, we will communicate the initiative to migrate district-wide.
Do You BYOD?
Bring Your Own Device: In a technology-driven world, many students and staff chose to bring and use their devices within the district for educational purposes. In order to access the Internet, users must first authenticate using a network called “DISD-BYOD”. If you or the students you serve need assistance accessing the Bring Your Own Devices network, resources can be found by selecting the links below.
Question:Why does my device show that I have access to the Wifi, but my “cellular strength” icon is low? Answer: Mobile devices connect via cellular technology through the use of cellular towers. You might notice that there is a Sprint cellular tower in the parking lot of Duncanville High School. Sprint users will have a higher signal strength than AT&T, T-Mobile and Verison because the towers for these particular providers are much further away than the Sprint tower. The District is looking at solutions to increase or “boost” cellular strength in specific locations.
New Inventory Stickers on the Way!
What stickers are we talking about? Keep reading to find out.
You may have seen the following tags on technology equipment around the district. This white tag is used to inventory all technology gear used across the district. We use this to keep track of aging and newer resources.
In the next several months, the Duncanville ISD IdeaTeam will making the switch to colored asset tags. Each color will reflect funding used to purchase technology gear.
What impact does this have on you? This change will allow department/campus leadership, as well as Librarians to quickly identify which items were purchased using their specific funds. For the end-users (teachers, students and staff) you will continue using technology equipment as you did before. This change will help IdeaTeam and other district staff keep an inventory of all the wonderful technology being used in Duncanville ISD.
Made with Pride Comes to Technology
CONGRATS to Duncanville ISD “Made with Pride” recipient, Brandonn Thomas. Brandonn has served in the district for over year as Network Engineer. His high-quality customer service skills and attention to detail are a delight to those he interacts with. We appreciate his hard work and contributions to the district.
CHROMEBOOK DELIVERIES: The Board recently approved the purchase of 21 Chromebook carts for campuses! These carts will be delivered after the Fall break.
As we continue to make improvements in the area of Technology, the need for new devices for instructional use continue to rise to the surface. As a part of our plan for continuous improvement, we are in the process of developing strategies to not only replace our old laptops, desktops and tablets, but also a plan to continually keep our devices up-to-date and accessible. The first phase of device replacements will begin with student devices. More information about this project to come.
We Need Your Help
Your feedback matters! Members of the Technology Team will be making visits to various campuses and departments to hear what students and staff have to say has pertains to the next device selections. In addition to our face-to-face visits, we will also be reviewing feedback from online surveys from both students and staff. Be sure to complete the appropriate survey and spread the word.
Thanks to our amazing Board and District Leadership, Technology is excited to announce that we have recently installed new storage and backup systems in our district! This storage equipment will provide us with enough space to store data from our programs and files for the next several years. Our new backup system will allow us to save and store copies of our data for emergency purposes. Throughout this school year, we will continually transfer data from the current system to the new system. We are headed in the right direction!
What’s the Plan?
Alexander Graham Bell once stated, “Before anything else, preparation is the key to success.” In order to be successful, we must plan. The technology department is in the process of developing a 5 year plan that will provide a framework of objectives, goals and strategies that will guide us to new levels of success. This planning and preparation will not only include members of Technology, but also various district stakeholders such as students, staff and parents. Our plan will cover six areas 1.) Cybersecurity 2.) Network/ Server Infrastructure 3.) Devices 4.) Asset Management 5.) Audio Visual Needs and 6.) Instructional Technology.
If you are passionate about technology and would like be on a team of individuals who will provide feedback that will positively impact the future of technology, teaching and learning, please inform your immediate supervisor or campus/department leadership. Recommendations for committee member are due on November 15.
October is National Bullying Prevention Month.
The stress is real. The feelings are real. Adults and kids alike are often bullied online through social media and through text messaging. Are we giving kids the coping skills to handle what is thrown at them? Nearly 43% of kids report being bullied online. That’s almost half our kids! Below are resources showcasing what to watch for, conversation starters and ideas on how to address cyberbullying.
Thank you for visiting our District’s Technology blog! We are excited to share the latest news that’s occurring in the technology department and across the district in Duncanville ISD. As new information, updates and changes occur, our main goal is to keep you well-informed.
This year’s blog articles will focus on:
Project Updates and News
Student and Staff Technology Successes
Technology Tips and Trends
Digital Citizenship and Cyber Security
And more! . . .
Please take a minute to “follow” our blog by selecting “FOLLOW BLOG VIA EMAIL” (on the right ) so that you don’t miss a thing! You will then receive an email confirmation to let you know that you are subscribed. Once you select CONFIRM in the confirmation email, you will be able to select the frequency of updates you would like to receive.
Don’t forget to take a look at this month’s articles!
Duncanville ISD Technology
How Well Do You Know the Duncanville Technology Staff?
The Technology department consists of 21 individuals who are excited about serving the students, staff and community of Duncanville ISD. Click the Image below to learn more about our Team!
Do You Need to Access Your Work Files at Home?
When you click on My Files, it will open up in its own tab. You will see a tree view of your storage locations on the left. The ClassLink Drive is cloud storage given by ClassLink. The School Network storage location is where your school network drives will be found. You will be able to see all of your files and documents that you work on at school. You can view, edit and save these files, from ANY device, instantaneously! HERE you will find a help video to guide you.
Help is on the Way!
Why do we need Help Desk tickets?
Our department staff uses tickets to plan out their day by prioritizing their tickets each morning. If your campus technician does not have a ticket for the issue you are having, they will not be aware of the issue. We also use tickets to track trends and recurring issues. How to log in and use Eduphoria
How does having a ticket assist you?
Having an Eduphoria ticket insures that your issue will be addressed. Tickets will not be closed until the issue has been resolved. Emailing your technician or verbally communicating with your technician regarding technical issues raises the chances that your issue will not be resolved. Technicians work through Eduphoria Help desk for cases and are not always able to view their email. Conversations can sometimes be forgotten. Your campus technician can communicate with you through the ticket and you can communicate with them through notes added to the ticket. Here is a short video on how to add a note to your ticket.
Having an Eduphoria ticket provides all information in one central location for review by the end user and technician.
We are excited to add these three gentlemen to the IDEA TEAM and Duncanville ISD family!
Classroom Technology Equipment Survey
Beginning 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.
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!
Brandenburg students learn about Classlink. Photo Credit: Deborah Trujillo
Kim Landrum at Hastings Elementary
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org and they will be able to assist you.
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
Student Password Reset? Piece of Cake!
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
As 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.
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.
Microsoft Office Suite for Just $9.95
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.
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.
Bilhartz students participating in Hour of Code
Photo Credit: Alicia Austin
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 email@example.com.
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
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
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.
Learn in Your PJ’s with the Digital Funatics Webinar Series
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.
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!***
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
Don’t forget to come out and join the Idea Team’s Instructional Technology staff for great hands-on training this June.
Register in EduphoriaASAP! 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.
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
Hackers are always on the prowl ready to implant viruses or steal vital data. Take note of the tips below to avoid hacker infiltration.
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.
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.
Strengthen passwords. At a minimum, passwords should be eight characters long, contain upper and lower case letters, numbers and symbols. Click herefor 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.
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!
Clean out your Outlook email box. This includes deleted items and junk email.
Clean out your storage drives on D: Cloud or Google Drive. Be sure to delete unwanted files, especially large files.
Pin a few great tech tools on Pinterest. Learn how to use Pinterest for Education by clicking here.
Follow at least 3 educational technology Twitter feeds. Click hereto help you get started. The IdeaTeam Twitter Basics training can be found here.
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.
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:
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.
New Toshiba Teacher Laptop Deployments Come to an End
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. Morehelp resources can be found on our Instructional Technology website.
Skyward Student Information System Conversion on Track
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.
Many staff members have done an outstanding job working to learn the ins and outs of the 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.
Erica Johnson Williams
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:
Apple QuickTime Deletion for Windows Users
Many 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 theUS-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!
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.
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
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?
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
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
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.
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, students 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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
Remember to turn off equipment when not in use such as projectors and interactive pens.
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?
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.
PCs should be shut down by selecting: START MENU>SHUT DOWN.
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.
Originally 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!
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!
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!
To the following DISD staff members for winning last week’s Hidden Message Challenge! Who will be next?
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 be received. Should either of these scenarios occur, content must be reviewed and any unnecessary data must be removed.
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) and 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
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
DHS Student Sydney Munuz with artist Briana Dai.
Briana Dai, Sydney Munoz and Jeff Karsner
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”.
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!
Toshiba Laptop Deployments Over Half-Way Completed
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.
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.
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!
Duncanville ISD Schools Participate in Hour of Code During Computer Science Week
Bilhartz student excited about coding.
Robotics students work together to problem solve.
Students work to create a game using coding software.
Students at Bilhartz are excited about their accompllishments!
1st graders explore coding using Code.org.
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
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.”
Learn the Best Setup for Your Technology Equipment
With 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.