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.

OSD wireless update

Close up of laptop and wireless mouse

Below is a message from Dave Baird in the Technology Department:

Dear Staff,

We made some changes over the summer in our wireless infrastructure and, despite our best intentions, we failed to get the word out regarding what was changed. Here is a brief synopsis of our current WiFi networks and their intended function:

  • OSD-Public – This network has no password requirements and has internet only access filtered at the most basic elementary school student level. Because it is wide open it is inherently insecure, and we found many users switching to this network, intentionally or not, and then experiencing problems connecting to other district resources. This network is intended for use by the general public and is now only available before and after school hours at each building.

  • OSD-WiFi – This network is set up for non-district owned devices used by staff and students. This network requires a login, making it much more secure. Staff and students should use their district username and password when joining this network. Access to  the appropriate district resources is then allowed based on the user’s group memberships (Staff, Student, Admin, Tech, etc.)

  • NOSD-Devices – A network for devices (iPads, tablets, e-readers, etc) owned by the district. This network is restricted to known hardware MAC addresses.  Any device added to this network whose MAC address is not on the known list will not be allowed use the network.

  • OSD-WiFi-Chrome – Wireless network restricted to district-owned Chromebooks.

  • OSD-Chromebook – A deprecated network used by Chromebooks that haven’t received an updated configuration to switch to OSD-WiFi-Chrome. This will go away at the end of the year.

  • OSD_2012 – This network is for district-owned laptops. Any device that users need to login to in order to use. We are starting to see other devices connecting to this network and will soon be implementing an access list similar to the one for NOSD-devices.

These networks all have specific intended uses and rules in place. Using devices on networks other than their intended one can cause unexpected results and the inability to reach desired resources. While we are striving to make joining the right network as easy and automatic as possible, it is important to be aware of which network is appropriate in each case, and to make sure devices are on the proper network when in use to avoid these problems.

End-of-year computer procedures

Desk with laptop computer and other office tools

The following end-of-year computer procedures are provided by the district Technology Department.

Textbooks are turned in, chairs and desks line the hallways, your bulletin boards are bare, and you are waving goodbye to your students as the buses pull away. But what about your laptop and computer carts?  

Returning to your school next year?

You may take your laptop home with you for the summer or arrange with the Technology HelpDesk to store it. If you take it home with you, you are agreeing to abide by the OSD Acceptable Use Policy and are financially responsible for its care and security. Leave your document camera, classroom microphone, and related cords and remotes together in a classroom drawer or cupboard.

Changing schools within the district?

If you are moving to another school in the Olympia School District, you will take your laptop with you, along with its charging cord, dongle, and other computer peripherals. You may take your laptop home with you for the summer or arrange with the HelpDesk to store it. Leave your document camera, classroom microphone, and related cords and remotes together in a classroom drawer or cupboard.

Retiring or moving to another district?

If you are not returning to the Olympia School District, please call the HelpDesk x6172 to arrange return of your laptop, along with charging cord, dongle, and any other computer peripherals. Leave your document camera, classroom microphone, and related cords and remotes together in a classroom drawer or cupboard.

What about the computer carts and desktops in my classroom?

Fully charge and then unplug COWs and Chromebook carts. Lock carts and store them for the summer in a locked room. OSD techs will plug in the carts in late August, but you should also check that the device charges before passing them out for student use.

OSD techs will disassemble lab and library desktops. Place classroom machines on countertops or leave in place, with cords and keyboards available.

Announcing Schoology for OSD

The following is a message from the OSD Instructional Technology Department

Graphic Announcing Schoology for OSD Available Spring 2017Earlier this year, a group of OSD teachers piloted Schoology, a learning management system (LMS). Since September these teachers have engaged in planning, delivering and assessing instruction in Schoology. They enthusiastically recommended adoption of Schoology.

As a result, the Olympia School District has entered into a three-year contract with the Schoology LMS for all OSD staff and students in grades 3-12. Funds for the purchase came from the Technology Levy, which included a line item for the adoption of an LMS.

We think it comes at a perfect time as we have increasing numbers of devices for students and a need for secure, organized systems for content and curriculum. It is anticipated that many staff will prefer to transfer much of their Web content to Schoology this spring as it is specifically designed to house course materials for students. Schoology may also be used to share information with specific employee groups, house professional development courses and provide another tool for communication.

If you would like to know more about Schoology, please see this linked announcement. As always, if you have more questions, we welcome your call or email.

Tech Tip: Be aware of Google Drive Phishing Scam

This week’s Tech Tip, submitted by Chief Information Officer Marc Elliott, addresses how to recognize a Google Drive Phishing Scam.

In the ongoing saga of different types of phishing scams, the most recent to be aware of is a serious one as it leverages Google Drive against the victim, and we are a Google district. It tries to fool the victim into accessing a fake online document to gain access to the individual’s email account.

In this phishing scam, the victim will receive an email with a link to a document (not an attachment) that looks like it’s in Google Drive/Microsoft OneDrive/Dropbox/etc. More than likely, the email will come from a legitimate sender (someone you know) as their account has already been compromised. The idea being that you would automatically trust this sender, and any links or attachments the email might contain.

When the victim attempts to access the online document, they are presented with a log-in screen that either looks like a Google Drive access screen, or a generic log-in screen for different types of cloud storage solutions. While they look legitimate, they are fake log-in screens designed to collect your username and password, thus providing the hacker access to your email to perpetuate the scam and open additional services in your name.

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Awareness is important to recognize these more sophisticated forms of phishing attacks. First and foremost, determine if you are expecting a document from the person sending it to you. If not, exercise some caution before following the link and/or opening an attachment.

Second, if you follow the link to the document and end up at a sign-in page, before entering any credentials, look at the URL/address bar at the top of your browser. The address should indicate that the connection is secure (https) and that it clearly is going to the correct service (Google, Onedrive, etc).

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Third, it’s almost a dead giveaway of a phishing scam when you see a  log-in screen that allows/encourages you to choose the email system provider. As with Google Drive, it’s specific that you should be using a Google account to log in, not your choice of email systems.

Remember, if you have any doubts about the authenticity of the email you have received, take a minute and contact the sender to verify. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of the cure!