Email & Printers

We are currently experiencing an issue revolving around printing and email. We are working on the issue. We will need to reboot a couple of servers to resolve the printing issue. This will also effect email temporarily. No email should be lost.

Functionality should return fully shortly.

Accessing MI-STAR from home

Some people have experienced trouble accessing MI-STAR from home. While we can’t support every different computer and computer set up that is out there, here are some things that you can. These are the things that most often help people fix their problem.

*Note that all of the links above open an additional tab and link to an external site. 

The steps for these vary based upon what type of computer that you have, what operating system, etc. However, please see the step by step directions below for some general guidance. These should help you  and give you very valuable tips on what to uncheck during the installation.

Adobe Reader Install

Adobe Flash & Shockwave updates

Phishing

Eastern Michigan University has issued a nice reminder about Phishing scams and SPAM. I’ve received permission from them to repost that information here.

With the holiday season upon us, we are seeing an increase in the volume and the quality of email phishing scams.  Phishing is an attempt, usually made through fraudulent email, to steal your personal information.

Phishing emails usually appear to come from a well-known organization and ask for your personal information, such as, credit card number, social security number, EMU ID or password. Some recent phishing attempts have gone so far as to use the EMU logos to give them “authenticity.”  Other phishing attempts may appear to come from sites or companies with which you do not even have an account.

In order for Internet criminals to successfully “phish” your personal information, they must get you to go from an email to a website. Phishing emails will almost always tell you to click a link that takes you to a site where your personal information is requested. Legitimate organizations (including the EMU IT Help Desk) would never request this information of you via email.

Here are some things to look for in an email that may indicate a phish:

 

  • Generic greeting. Phishing emails are usually sent in large batches. To save time, Internet criminals use generic names like “First Generic Bank Customer” so they do not have to individually type all recipients’ names. If you do not see your name, be suspicious.

 

  • Forged link. Even if a link has a name you recognize somewhere in it, it doesn’t mean it links to the real organization. Roll your mouse over the link and see if it matches what appears in the email. If there is a discrepancy, do not click on the link. Also, websites where it is safe to enter personal information begin with “httpss” (the “s” stands for secure). If you do not see “httpss”, do not proceed.

 

  • Requests personal information. The point of sending a phishing email is to trick you into providing your personal information. If you receive an email requesting your personal information, it is probably a phishing attempt.

 

  • Sense of urgency. Internet criminals want you to provide your personal information now. They do this by making you think something has happened that requires you to act fast. The faster they get your information, the faster they can move on to another victim.

You should change your passwords often. A good time is when you reset clocks. At that time, change your important passwords. Also, don’t use the same password for multiple sites. The most popular passwords are:

  1. password
  2. 123456
  3. 12345678
  4. abc123
  5. qwerty
You get the idea. Don’t use those. Good passwords should not be based upon a word. They should also include alpha characters, numeric characters and punctuation.

Advanced Tip: If you hover your mouse over a link (without clicking on it), it should show you the real URL that you would go to. (See below). Notice that there is no real name. Also note that holding the mouse over the link www.att.com/managemyaccount really leads to a totally different site (which I won’t type out here, but starts with issueswith….

Screen shot of SPAM Email

 

Hangin’ Out at Bryant

Chris and Troy had the opportunity to spend the day at Bryant Middle School. Ms. Shannon Peterson took us up on our offer to come to the school and hang out all day. Teachers can come down and get answers to their questions on using technology. Specifically, we focus on iLearn, iBlog and Promethean.

Here are just a few answers, tips, tricks, and solutions where we were able to help:

Promethean:

  • Creating a draggable copy of an item on a Promethean flip chart
  • Calibrating a Promethean Board
  • Putting a Timer on a Promethean toolbar
  • Scanning an item and placing it on a FlipChart page
  • Toolbar basics
  • Importing SmartBoard resources into Promethean
  • Editing SmartBoard resources in Promethean

iBlog:

  • Setting up an additional page on iBlog
  • Setting up an iBlog page to post from an iPhone
  • Connecting an iPhone to iBlog
  • Reestablishing a blog
  • Posting to a blog
  • Setting up a new blog
  • Adding Links to a blog
  • Adding categories to links on a blog
  • Deleting default links on a blog

iLearn:

  • Enrolling in an iLearn course
  • The basics of using iLearn in a classroom
  • Kids voting for President online
  • Sorting Student responses by last name
  • Grading student responses
  • Book reviews through iLearn
  • Students using Personal Dropbox to save files

Other:

HelpDesk

We are always looking for ways to be more efficient and to provide the best possible service. To that end, we have developed a HelpDesk Ticket. This helps us be efficient by making sure that we get all of the information that we need to help you. Quite frequently, some will email us “my printer won’t print”. This doesn’t help us very much as we don’t know where the printer is or what won’t print (is there a paper jam, does the printer not turn on at all, etc). In order to help with this, we’ve added the HelpDesk Ticket under the Staff tab on the Dearborn Public Schools Web page. This will allow you to fill out a form to receive assistance. The form helps collect all of the information that we need to help. We hope that you’ll find this HelpDesk Ticket easy and effective. Please below for a visual representation of the links.   We will continue to strive to make sure that we provide the best possible service for you and the students. Thanks.

Deleting Email

Our email servers are filing up. You can help.

This is where you can help. Simply delete your “deleted items”. [That’s right, when you “delete” something, it doesn’t really “delete” it. This is analogous to throwing something away in your kitchen trash bin- eventually you have to take the kitchen trash bin out to the garbage can. ]

Please follow these simple steps:

  • On Outlook 2003 –
    • Open Outlook
    • Right Click on the “Deleted Items” folder
    • Select “Empty Deleted_Items Folder”
    • Click “Yes”
  • On Outlook 2010 –
    • Open Outlook
    • Right Click on the “Deleted Items” folder
    • Select “Empty Folder”
    • Click “Yes”
  • From the Web Site-

Please note that this should be done weekly. However, right now is a crucial time.

{This would also be a terrific time to clean out your inbox, delete those items that you don’t need, and then delete your deleted items again.}

Thanks.

Teacher Filtering

As you are aware, the district is required to provide a filtered Internet experience. By federal law, we must filter access. However, the law has different scopes. For example, the filtering that we must do for students is different than the filtering that must be done for staff.

To that end, we have been working on providing appropriate access to all of our personnel. This is a much larger task than it sounds, but something that we have been working diligently on. We had previously opened up access to teachers to YouTube. We have continued to work on our filters and settings so that teachers have much wider access to the internet. I’m happy to report that we have made some substantial changes that allow teachers access to appropriate sites.

One of the challenges that we face is to communicate to teachers sites that are available to them, but blocked for students. Essentially, we don’t want teachers to create lesson plans that revolve around students accessing particular sites only to discover that those sites are blocked for students (but not teachers). This is why you may have to authenticate to get to some sites. Then we face another issue. Teachers don’t want to authenticate constantly. So we need some balance. For this reason, once a teacher authenticates, that starts a clock whereas the teacher won’t have to authenticate for a bit.

We are working extremely hard to provide the very best experience for staff and students. We do block a wide variety of sites that are inappropriate for the educational process. We are required to do so by federal law. It is also just the right thing to do.

Please note that we rely on algorithms for web site filtering. Occasionally, I get asked

“How could you block….”?

or

“How did you let …. get through for …. grade”?

We really don’t spend all day just looking at web sites to see if they are appropriate or not. We rely on complex rules and algorithms to make determinations. We then intervene as necessary.

*By the way, the same issues revolve around SPAM. Yes, occasionally a piece of SPAM does make it through our filter. However, we don’t read each piece of email prior to you receiving it. We eliminate literally thousands of SPAM emails for every single one that does make it through. 

Music

One of the issues that comes up frequently is the issue of copyright (see the September 10th post). One of the areas that copyright has made the news is in music. Frequently, I get requests to open sites that are dedicated to music. Music can be powerful in education. It can help students focus. However, just because one has access to a music site, doesn’t mean that it is legal to play that everywhere. This quickly gets to be a grey area.

The sites that I’m most often asked to open, are sites that are designed to be listened to by an individual. These sites are not designed to be played for a group (that frequently includes schools). Reading through Terms of Service policies can be loads of fun (not really, usually it involves a bunch of “what?”, rereading and trying to figure out-1. what they meant to say, 2. what they really said and 3. what it means to schools legally).

That being said, there are some good resources on the web that can be used. One thing to look for is Creative Commons licensing. Creative Commons attempts to clarify what can be used and how (I use Creative Commons for everything that I publish). The idea behind Creative Commons is to make it easy to understand what can be used and how. For example, they have a license that says that you can use the material but must provide attribution as to who created it.

Please note that there is a difference between Royalty Free and Free. Royalty Free means that you don’t have on going charges to use the music. Frequently, Royalty Free music must be paid for in the beginning, and then you are “free” to use it. Royalty Free music is not usually what people (educators) are looking for.

So what’s this got to do with music? Well, since I’m receiving lots of requests, I thought that I’d find a couple of sites that teachers can freely use.

Kevin McLeod provides a wide range of music that you can download and use (with attribution). If you use any of the music in a presentation, add a slide with credit to Kevin for the music. [ There are ads on the page. Try clicking on any of the selections under Genre, Search, or Feel, then scroll down and pick a song. Click the arrow to listen, Click “download” to, well, download. ]

Musopen is another site that provides free music.

Musopen (www.musopen.org) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit focused on improving access and exposure to music by creating free resources and educational materials. We provide recordings, sheet music, and textbooks to the public for free, without copyright restrictions. Put simply, our mission is to set music free.

Again, please be wise about music usage. Just because it is technologically possible, doesn’t mean that it is the right thing (or legal) to do.

If you have questions, drop us a line.

 

Follow this blog

Get every new post delivered right to your inbox.


Skip to toolbar