Get your school computers ready for testing season

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The following is shared by Scott Baker, Technology Support Manager, in advance of testing season.

With testing season fast approaching, please remember the following items to ensure your computers and Chromebooks are prepared:

  • Turn off all of the Chromebooks in your COW, rather than just closing the lid. They won’t get their updates until they restart, which could mean they won’t work come test day.
  • Make use of the Chromebooks at the bottom of your COW. If you have more Chromebooks than students, you may not use the last few devices, which means they aren’t getting their updates.  Please have students use them and turn them off when they are done.
  • If you need to use a Mac or PC COW or Lab, please contact the Helpdesk at least a week in advance so we can configure it.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the Helpdesk at 6172, or email  helpdesk@osd.wednet.edu.

Thank you!

Google Drive File Stream to replace Google Drive App on March 12

Computer sitting on top of picnic table with Google search page on screen

The following is a message from the Technology department:

Google has announced that “Google Drive App,” which is software you download onto your computer to directly connect to your Google Drive, is going away March 12; to be replaced with “Google Drive File Stream.”

If you aren’t currently using Google Drive App (this is not the Google Drive Web page; rather, this is something you download and install on your computer), you may ignore this message and do not need to take any action.

If you are using the Google Drive App, you will need to install Google Drive File Stream.  Please contact the Technology HelpDesk for assistance at Ext. 6172, or view instructions:

There are a couple of big differences between Google Drive App and Google Drive File Stream:

  • Google Drive App was a folder on your computer, while File Stream creates a mounted drive (similar to your P drive).
  • Google Drive App stored your files on both your computer and your Google Drive, so you could access your files without an internet connection. File Stream keeps your files in the cloud so you cannot access them without an internet connection.
    • With File Stream you can choose individual files and folders to store for offline use, as described in the link above under “Find & keep files and folders offline”.

Please contact the HelpDesk (helpdesk@osd.wednet.edu, or call Ext. 6172) if you have any questions or concerns.

Don’t dial 9 for an outside line; use 2 to get through

Three phone receivers, all of different colors, laying on a tabletop

The next time you pick up a district phone to dial an outside phone line, no matter what the area code, NEVER DIAL 9 before the number. Rather, ALWAYS dial 2, the area code, and the number. This applies to all area codes, including 360, as well as any 800 numbers.

Note: In an emergency, dialing 911 (three digits) is still the appropriate and preferred method.

Some background:

When the district switched long distance carriers a little over a year ago, we moved away from the state’s managed long distance SCAN system, which forced us to dial a “2” when dialing a long distance number along with a department code for billing.  With the new system we get billed directly from CenturyLink, saving us money and removing the need for the additional dial code.

While the new system is definitely more convenient, it has given rise to a new problem, accidental 911 calls are becoming more and more prevalent as folks are getting used to dialing 9 for an outside line followed by 1-area code-number.  It is very easy in the rush of dialing to double tap the “1” key, and that’s all it takes!  No matter how quickly you realize your mistake, you have placed a call to 911, and if you do not stay on the line to explain that it was an accident the police department will call back to make sure there is not an actual emergency.

Even without the SCAN system, “2” is still an option for dialing an out of district number.  In fact, when you use “2” as the prefix you only need to follow with the area code and number, no need for a “1” at all! This means one less number to dial, and it completely eliminates the chance of accidentally dialing 911!  For this reason we are asking all district staff to use 2 as the default prefix when making outbound calls.

So please, pass it on to coworkers, friends, families, anyone dialing out on our phones; Don’t dial 9 for an outside line, use 2 to get through!

2017-18 Schoology Essentials series for middle and high school teachers

Whether you are just starting out with Schoology or are well on your way, the 2017-18 Schoology Essentials is a series of one-hour sessions focused on specific tools in the platform. The workshops are geared for middle and high school teachers.

Each session is offered as a stand-alone class, but the series is designed to build overall knowledge of the Schoology Learning Management System. Workshops are led by the instructional tech coaches.

Sessions are eligible for compensation through Tech PD or Self-Directed SD. Clock hours will be offered under the blanket Tech PD course at the end of the school year. Please register on pdEnroller in advance. Bring your fully charged laptop loaded with Chrome browser.

Learn how to make Google Docs accessible in Grackle trainings this month

Grackle Docs is a district-provided add-on in Google Docs that allows you to identify and fix issues of accessibility in your documents.  In this one-hour training, you will learn how to launch the Grackle add-on, run its accessibility checker, review the results, and remedy the issues to create a document or PDF that may be posted and shared with students and families.

The following sessions have been scheduled by the Technology department around the district, and additional sessions will be provided. Please register in advance on PDEnroller.
  • October 23: 3-4 p.m. Olympia High School
  • October 26: 3-4 p.m. Capital High School
  • October 30: 3:30-4:30 p.m. Washington Middle School

Applications open for CenturyLink Teachers and Technology Grant Program

The CenturyLink Teachers and Technology Grant Program is a competitive grant open to PreK-12 public and private school teachers in CenturyLink’s residential service areas. The program, funded by the CenturyLink Clarke M. Williams Foundation, is designed to help teachers innovatively implement technology in their classrooms to increase student achievement.

Awards and Eligibility

The CenturyLink Clarke M. Williams Foundation will consider requests of up to $5,000 submitted by full-time classroom teachers employed by a public or private school in a CenturyLink residential service area. Schools do not have to be a CenturyLink customer to apply but must be located in a CenturyLink service area where CenturyLink provides residential phone service.

Previous applicants may apply on an annual basis. For more information or to apply, go to www.centurylink.com/teachersandtechnology

Reminder: Whenever a teacher applies for a technology-based or associated grant, the district Technology Department needs to review the grant before it is submitted. Additionally, whenever technology is involved in a grant application, the purchasing and asset tagging needs to go through Technology.

Application Deadline and Notification
  • Applications will be accepted from October 1, 2017 through January 12, 2018.
  • The review process will be completed and grants presented April 1 – May 15, 2018.