Badges

Just a quick reminder that all badges expire as of June 30th. We are working on updating some of the courses, so Required Courses are currently unavailable.

We will let you know when the courses are once again available for completion.

Summer Updates

Summertime and the living is easy, but the work is hard. Some people think that we have the summer off. Summer is actually a very busy time for us. For example, we have the following projects scheduled for summer:
– Update the district web site
– Update iLearn
– Update iBlog
– Update OTRS
– Update Student Sites
– Update DEC
– Update Pin It
– Develop and implement internal Documentation system
– Develop training on Grackle Docs
– Review/Update all Required Courses (ADA,Bloodborne Pathogens,OCR,RBB, Title IX) with generating departments/groups
– Update Non-Instructional Evaluation Process
– Implement e911 on the new phone system
– Update individual school web sites
– Update departmental web sites
– Update RBB reporting
– Update School Specific Google Accounts
– Develop/Implement Workflow Approval Process

We’re actually working on even more. We’ll have more information to follow. Have a great summer!

Newslea

Newsela has been reaching out to me. Newsela is a service that provides leveled readings. A few years ago, they were all the rage. They provided free, leveled readings for students (they still do, but more about that in a minute).

Like many free services, Newsela has a free and paid version. The main point of the free version is to encourage users to move to the paid version (this is referred to as “customer acquisition”). Free works in some situations (FOSS for example), but it is important to understand why something is free. Open source is different than “customer acquisition”.

So, what’s changing in the free version of Newsela?

Beginning with the 2019-2020 school year, news content will remain available in our free version. Alignments to standards and Newsela-curated Text Sets will no longer be visible without a paid subscription.

The other 20+ standards-aligned content genres such as primary sources, reference texts, pro/con paired texts, historical documents and pre-curated Text Sets will require a subscription.

We do have a couple of schools that pay for the premium version of Newsela. We do want teachers to know about resources that are available, while being smart, informed consumers.

Security on Chromebooks

The web remains a fascinating place. It is exciting and ever-changing. Recently, due to security concerns, we had to make some changes to Chromebooks. Any Chromebooks that are used by students are now limited to the DPS network. That is, any and all student Chromebooks can only connect to the DPS wireless network. If those Chromebooks attempt to connect to any other network, the user will see a message that the administrator has disabled this network.

Staff Chromebooks are not limited to the DPS network. Staff Chromebooks will work on any network.

Copyright

A recent ruling reminds us all of the importance of following copyright. HISD (Houston ISD from Texas) was recently ordered to pay $9.2 million dollars ($9,200,000) due to copyright infringement. (Just think about what that $9.2 million dollars could be used for).

Example of the material posted that was ruled infringing.

The staff of the school took willing steps to ignore copyright. However, this is also a reminder that we must follow copyright. Generally, we don’t post material that we didn’t create or that we don’t know is licensed under Creative Commons.

This includes not only print, but audio and video as well.

Thus, it is important to remember that Dearborn Public Schools believes in following copyright.

 

Grackle Docs

We believe in providing access to ALL of our users/parents/community members. In working toward that goal, we are offering every staff member access to Grackle Docs.

Grackle Docs will help make your Google Docs ADA compliant. This will assist you in implementing the wonderful things that you learned in the MyPD ADA course.

Using Grackle Add-ons is easy-peasy!

  1. From the Add-ons menu, select Grackle Docs/Sheets/Slides. (The first time that you use it, you will have to grant it permission to your Docs/Sheets/Slides).
  2. A sidebar will open up that will identify errors and warnings.
  3. Click on each error and warning for guidance on how to resolve each issue.
  4. Clicking the “Here” button on any flagged item will take you to that item in your document to review.
  5. Address each issue one at a time throughout the document.
  6. Select the “Re-Check” button at the top of the window when you have completed each task to receive an updated report.
  7. Continue to revise until all checks have passed.

Bonus Points!

  • With the Docs Add-on you can also select to create accessible PDF from the Export to PDF function at the top right of the Add-on
  • With the Sheets Add-on you can also select to create accessible HTML from the Export to HTML function at the top right of the Add-on

Chrome Extensions vs Add-ons

Recently, we announced that we are limiting staff to approved Extensions (we have been limiting students to approved extensions for quite a while). Staff can request additional extensions. This may be a good time to explain the difference between an Extension and an Add-on. (As a bonus, Web Apps will also be discussed).

Extensions

Extensions allow you to customize the browser experience. Extensions can add functionality, tailor browser behavior to individual preferences, or integrate another application into the browsing experience. Extensions can be found in the browser just after the Omnibox (URL box). You can also find the extensions that you’ve installed by clicking on the triple buttons | More tools… | Extensions link.

Extension Examples:

Here are just a few popular examples:

  • One Tab – Condense all your open windows to one web page.
  • Hypothes.is – Annotate and Bookmark web pages. You can join or create Groups as well.
  • Monosnap – Take screenshots, record video, add arrows, boxes and more. Great for creating visual directions.

Add-ons

Add-ons are extra tools that extend the use of Docs, Sheets, Forms, and Slides. These “add on” functionality to those programs. Add-ons are installed within each application. You would visit the Add ons Menu.

Add-on Examples:

  • AutoCrat – Mail merge for Docs.
  • Grackle Docs – Make your Docs ADA compliant. (This is an exciting new feature that the district is rolling out to all users – look for more information soon).
  • QR Code generator – makes QR codes.

All users should be careful with Add-ons. Generally, you are granting these add-ons the ability to see and manipulate your data. Although we are not limiting Add-ons at this time, we are monitoring the landscape for these as well.

Web Apps

Web Apps are a third category of applications that use a browser. These are applications that run within a browser. These are “stand-alone” applications that will run within their own tab.

Final Thoughts

The world is definitely changing. Many things that we do are getting easier and easier. To quote the wonderful “Hamilton” broadway play, “how lucky we are to be alive right now”.  With all the great features and powerful opportunities, we need to change and adapt to the new landscape. Unfortunately, those with bad intent are changing as well. Thus, we have to constantly monitor our safety and security.

It can be challenging to understand the differences among an Extension, Add-on, and Web App. The important part is to understand what permissions you are giving. It is really important that you understand the end effect of these applications.

Dearborn Moodle Moot (iLearn) 2019

We are excited to bring our fantastic Dearborn Moodle Moot 2019. What is the Moodle Moot? Dearborn’s Moodle Moot will help teachers learn to leverage the awesome power of iLearn in their classroom.

Overview

The Dearborn Moodle Moot is an exciting and engaging conference for educators interested in e-learning.  Learn the skills necessary to turn YOUR classroom into a Blended Learning Classroom. We are focused on practical K-12 training that can be applied directly to your online classroom.  Develop materials for YOUR STUDENTS to use in your classroom. Collaborate with an expert.

Dearborn Moodle Moot flyer

Dearborn’s Moodle Moot 2019 is a two-day event focusing on student learning.

– Day 1 – iLearn. Learn how to effectively use iLearn.

– Day 2 – Create material for YOUR classroom. Four experts will help YOU help your students.

Blended Learning

  • Engage YOUR students in 21st-century learning.
  • REAL world examples of student assignments.
  • Create YOUR own materials.
  • Implement successful resources.
  • Install excellent teacher created resources into your course.

Learn to use:

  • Assignments
  • Workshop
  • Forums
  • Book Module
  • Glossary
  • Page
  • Lesson
  • File
  • Database
  • Labels
  • Quizzes
  • Interactive activities

Create powerful quizzes with automatic feedback (and grading). Add video and audio (students can too). Add interactive elements to your online support materials.

Discounts

We all love a discount. So, we made some available. If you are in the district, we will email a discount code for you. If you are a Wayne County teacher, email us to get a code.

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