Tech PD offered in May and June

Numerous computers in what appears to be a computer lab or professional development class

Looking for Tech PD as the year winds to a close? Hours for the 2020-21 academic year must be completed by July 31, and the Tech TOSAs are offering a number of synchronous and asynchronous professional development opportunities. See this schedule of current workshops. You may also see offerings in pdEnroller by selecting the region “Olympia” and searching for “TPD”. 

Stay tuned for asynchronous summer Tech PD offerings to be announced at the beginning of June!

Schoology for secondary hybrid groupings

In preparation for hybrid learning at the secondary level, many of you have reached out with questions about steps to take in Schoology. Secondary teachers will NOT get new courses in Skyward and Schoology for hybrid. Students in the A, B and full distance groups will be in the same class on Skyward and Schoology, with a designation for attendance purposes. 

As you transition to hybrid, grading groups in Schoology may be useful for posting differentiated information and resources for A, B and full distance cohorts. We recommend using grading groups to share folders, information, links, and/or discussions, assessments or assignments for the hybrid cohorts. Material assigned to a specific grading group in Schoology will only be visible to that grading group. 

For information and video tutorials on creating and using grading groups in Schoology, please visit the OSD Teacher Techbox, which is linked in the OSD Portal.

Adobe discontinues support of Flash Player; content will stop running Jan. 12

The following is information provided by the Technology Department

Adobe has stopped supporting the Flash Player product, and on January 12 will block Flash content from running. This means that, if you are using a website which still relies on Flash, it will at some point soon stop functioning. It is recommended that you look for alternative resources to flash products. 

Learn more about this from Adobe

Expect phone and file server interruptions on Nov. 11 due to technology maintenance

A bank of wires for a data server and a hand with a tool adjusting technology equipment

The Technology Department will perform essential infrastructure maintenance work starting at 12 noon next Wednesday, Nov. 11 (Veterans Day – no school). This work will bring down the phone system (including Rainbow) and the Edison file server. It will also create potential hiccups with wireless service throughout the duration of the work.

Internet access should be normal, aside from possible wireless hiccups. The Technology Department expects to complete the work on Wednesday evening and will notify staff once the maintenance is complete and services are restored.

Mac users take note: Be sure to connect to OSD Wi-Fi

Abstract art of interconnected blue laser lights crossing

Recently the Technology Helpdesk has received reports of struggles with Zoom sessions not connecting or operating correctly. We have determined that most of these issues are happening to our Mac users. In such cases you (the host) may not have your video showing to your students, while you cannot see theirs as well. Audio may also not be transmitting correctly. 

After looking into this, we have found that Mac computers will often connect to the first openly available Wi-Fi network present. In our buildings, this is OSD Public as it has no password. If your Mac computer automatically connects to OSD Public, you will have Zoom session issues, as described above. 

When you restart or open up your computer on-site for the day, please check your Wi-Fi network to ensure that it’s on OSD Wi-Fi, NOT OSD Public. 

Are you interested in sharing video content with the community?

Video camera filming stage event

Creating and sharing online video content can be an excellent way to engage with students and their families. Olympia School District staff are encouraged to use YouTube to host, caption and share video content. Here are the necessary steps to start this process:

1.   Create A YouTube Account

The first step to creating videos is to create a YouTube account, which is often referred to as a channel. Staff are required to use their district Google credentials to create an account. Once the account is created, it must be registered with ArchiveSocial for archival purposes. Our Communications and Community Relations Department has put together a quick screencast demonstrating the account creation and archival process.

2.   Record your video

Once you have created and registered your account, you are ready to record video. The Olympia School District provides a helpful Google Chrome extension called Screencastify which is available to all OSD staff. Screencastify simplifies the recording and uploading of videos to YouTube. Our Technology Department has compiled this helpful guide on installing and using Screencastify.

When recording your video, it is important to have clear audio. The clearer the audio, the easier the captioning process will be. Audio quality can be improved by using a dedicated microphone or headset and by reducing background noise.

3.   Upload and caption your video

Screencastify users can upload their video to YouTube using the tool itself. YouTube offers three tiers of video privacy – private, unlisted and public. Generally, unlisted is the preferred option as the video won’t appear in YouTube search results, but can be linked to directly. More information on the different privacy options is available in the blog.

Once the video is uploaded, YouTube will attempt to generate automatic captions. This process can take anywhere from five minutes to several hours, depending on the length of the video being uploaded. While these automatic captions are phenomenal in that they remove the need to type out speech verbatim, they are lacking in terms of punctuation, grammar and accuracy. Before distributing the video, the captions likely need to be edited.

Steps on enhancing the accuracy of automatically generated captions can be found on the District’s Website Accessibility Resources page.

4.   Share your video

Once the captioning process is complete, you are ready to share your video. To get the shareable URL navigate to your video on YouTube and click on the ‘Share’ button directly under your video content and click ‘Copy’. Unlisted videos may use this copied, shareable link to direct users to the video via email or on a webpage.

When sharing your video content on other platforms, it is crucial to also include the captions from YouTube. Linking directly to the YouTube video negates this need, but if a video is uploaded to another platform, the captions should be uploaded too. Captions can be downloaded from within the YouTube caption editing tool.

That’s all there is to it!

While the process of creating, uploading and captioning a video can seem daunting, the tools available to OSD staff enable an efficient workflow. If you have questions about creating video content, please reach out to the Communications and Community Relations Department. If you have questions or comments regarding captioning or other elements of accessibility, please reach out directly to Robert Hardy, the district’s Website Accessibility Specialist. We are here to help!

So you want to learn more…

Person typing on a laptop computerAs you head into summer, you may have an interest in continuing to explore and learn about digital platforms and distance learning. Below you will find opportunities for summer self-directed PD courses for 2020-21 PD pay and clock hours. Below that you will find Padlets with curated articles, videos, social media groups and websites that will help you to learn more about each tool. Feel free to comment on or add to the resources on each Padlet. Each column on the Padlet may be scrolled independently. Click the + at the bottom of the columns to add additional resources and ideas for your colleagues.

Register on pdEnroller for self-paced courses for clock hours and 2020-21 compensation:

Learn more about instructional tech tools and approaches:

District network outage set for 3 p.m. this Friday, May 15

Abstract art of interconnected blue laser lights crossing

This Friday, May 15 the district network will be taken down at 3 p.m. for a core network appliance swap out and upgrade. This work will take down all in-district network reliant services such as (but not limited to):

  • Networked server shares
  • Internet (hardwired and wireless)
  • Phones (internal and external)
  • Faxing

The outage will not affect the ability to email staff from off campus.

The My OSD Portal will remain functional during this time, including the Participation Tracker. The district website may also continue to be accessed while the server work is being completed.

Staff will be informed when the upgrade is complete and the network is available again for in-district use.