Join this Year’s Ditch Summit

promotion for ditch summit

Once again, Matt Miller is putting on the Ditch That Textbook Digital Summit. It is a free online conference for teachers to discuss technology, pedagogy, and more. As usual, you can access the recording, notes, and presentation resources through the end of the summit, January 5, 2024. You will also gain access to videos and presentations from previous summits.

It begins December 11, 2023. Go to https://ditchsummit.com/ to learn more and register.

Create Your Own Connections Puzzle

Many people enjoy playing the New York Times game, Connections. Did you know you can easily create your own Connections puzzle to share with students or vice versa? No log-in  is required, just create the puzzle and share the link. This could be a great way to review vocabulary and find connections between concepts.

image of puzzle maker

Try it yourself! https://connections.swellgarfo.com/

November Edtech PD Offerings

This month, teachers are working through the professional development window. You have until November 30 to complete 6 hours of professional development courses. We have over 200 offerings available at Canvas Catalog. We have several new courses to help you utilize the district’s edtech tools including:

Other courses highlight: Canvas, Newsela, Canva, Edpuzzle, Seesaw, WeVideo, IXL, and Read&Write for Google. Search the Catalog for those items to see the options.

 

Canva for Education School Teams

We have recently updated Canva to incorporate school teams. Now we can send up a brand kit for each school and have more ability to choose what tools are available for different age levels. Additionally, if you have student classes rostered to you, you’ll have a “class” set up in Canva which works like a shared folder. Two important things to be aware of:

  • Going forward, please use your Canva school team, especially if you are using it with students. You can change teams with the team switcher:

  • If you have designs in the other team that you want to use with students, you can copy the design to another team.

steps to copy to another team

If you are already a Canva user, the next time you log out and log back into Canva, you’ll be joined to the new school team. Your pre-existing content will be accessible by switching between teams; you can copy designs to your new school team by following these steps. Click here to log out of Canva to get started.

  • Please read the Canva teacher’s guide, even if you’ve used Canva before – there are a few differences between our new organization-wide version of Canva and versions you may have used in the past.
  • To learn more about using Canva to support your work, check out Canva’s general learning site (Canva Design School) or their Teacher Resources page for resources specific to K-12 students and teachers.

Seesaw Rebrand! Look for the new icon October 27!

Seesaw is rebranding! Seesaw began over a decade ago with a mission to provide every elementary student with joyful and connected learning experiences that lay the foundation for success in life. On October 27, 2023 Seesaw will launch a new logo, app icon and marketing website inspired by the learning loop. They’ve updated our colors and fonts to demonstrate our commitment to accessibility and enabling all learners to participate effectively.

To support the transition in your classroom, seesaw has created classroom printable materials, resources, and an FAQ to answer questions. These will allow your students and families to get familiar with the new brand logo and icon. Find these exciting resources here.

At PCCS all K-2 students have access to seesaw for schools through clever with rostering through the district. If you are not in grades K-2 and want to use Seesaw with your students, you can do so by sharing a code for students to join your classroom in Seesaw. If you have any questions about Seesaw, please submit a tech request.

Resource: Science Journal for Kids and Teens

screenshot from website

 

Are you looking for an exciting way to bring real scientific research into your classroom? Science Journal for Kids offers a free online science magazine featuring peer-reviewed research papers adapted into kid-friendly language.

Each article on the site includes:

  • Assessment questions and answer keys
  • Introductory videos
  • Keywords, reading levels (some articles offered at multiple reading levels), and curriculum alignment
  • Some articles are translated in up to 5 languages
  • Additional teaching resources like slideshows, labs, quizzes, and recommended websites

The Science Journal for Kids team selects recent, high-impact research papers covering diverse topics like pollution, endangered species, climate change, and more. They rewrite the papers using common vocabulary, real-world examples, and funny anecdotes, when appropriate, to make them accessible and engaging to students.

The adapted articles are then reviewed and approved by the scientists who authored the original research. Experienced science teachers also provide supplementary materials like presentations, hands-on activities, worksheets, and quizzes to easily integrate the articles into your curriculum.

With Science Journal for Kids, you can introduce your students to cutting-edge scientific discoveries in a format they’ll understand and enjoy. This free resource saves you time in locating age-appropriate materials and supplements them with everything you need to actively teach the concepts.

Bring some excitement into your classroom and tap into your students’ natural curiosity! Visit Science Journal for Kids and Teens today to explore this invaluable teaching tool. If you are inclined, check out the TED Talk from the founder below:

October 23, 2023 Third-Party Google Apps Change

Google sign-in option

As online and digital learning has expanded in schools, many educational applications have been adopted that collect student data – sometimes more than necessary for their core educational purpose. Protecting student privacy is crucial, which in part explains why Google is implementing new security measures on October 23rd that will affect Google Workspace for Education users.

Google Workspace for Education, which includes tools like Gmail, Docs, Sheets, and Slides, has provided schools with collaborative learning solutions. However, Google is putting additional safeguards in place to limit third-party access to sensitive student information. If you have chosen to “sign in with Google” or connected an app to a Google Doc or Sheet, you have been asked to allow another app permissions to data associated with your Google account. Google is now adding more safeguards to help restrict these permissions, especially for students.

For Google Workspace for Education users, new data protections will be enabled by default. Data sharing with third party sites and services will be limited. Certain advertising targeting practices will also be prohibited.

Over the last month, the technology department has done its best to review a lengthy list of more than 2000 third-party applications that one or more district users have enabled to work with their Google accounts. Some third party app integrations with District Google accounts have been or will be blocked on and after October 23 as part of this process. In many cases, if being able to use Google Sign in is not possible, a user could instead sign in with their username and password (a password reset may be required if the user does not already know their password). Other integration permissions that are revoked might yield some other inconveniences.

Please note, if you have a third party app whose Google integration stops working, the integration is required, and there is a legitimate educational purpose for continued app access, please submit a tech support ticket for review. 

While Google’s increased security may affect some workflows, protecting student information is paramount. Thanks for being flexible so that learning can continue to thrive in more secure digital environments.

Read&Write Toolbar Adds Two New Features

We know that as educators, you constantly strive to make learning more accessible and engaging for your students. That’s why we’re thrilled to introduce some exciting updates to the Read&Write toolbar that will empower you to do just that! The two latest features, Rewordify and Simplify AI, are designed to transform the way your students interact with digital content, making it easier to understand and more inclusive for all. Let’s dive into the details of these fantastic enhancements.

1. Rewordify

Rewordify is a game-changer for teachers and students alike. This versatile tool is now available on the Read&Write web toolbar, making it accessible on websites, Learning Management Systems, emails, and more. Its primary mission is to simplify text, ensuring that students encounter fewer barriers when reading and comprehending content.

How does it work? Rewordify identifies complex or difficult words within a webpage and replaces them with simpler, more easily understood alternatives. This feature promotes reading comprehension and helps students tackle challenging texts with greater confidence. Rewordify is a valuable resource for students of all ages and abilities, as it fosters inclusivity in the classroom and supports diverse learning needs.

2. Simplify AI

Introducing Simplify AI, an innovative beta feature within Read&Write for Google Chrome. This cutting-edge tool takes web content and transforms it into a more digestible format, enhancing accessibility and understanding. Developed by OpenAI, Simplify AI relies on advanced AI algorithms to perform its magic.

Simplify AI is your secret weapon when it comes to breaking down complex web content. It distills lengthy, convoluted passages into concise, clear, and easy-to-grasp summaries. This feature is a boon for teachers and students tackling challenging articles, research papers, or any online content that could benefit from simplification.

However, it’s important to note that Simplify AI has a few limitations:

Word Count Limits: Simplify AI can be applied to content ranging from approximately 75 to 2300 words. This range is carefully chosen to accommodate various types of content while maintaining readability.

Usage Limit: Each user can utilize Simplify AI a maximum of ten times per day. This restriction is in place to ensure fair access to this powerful tool among all users.

Incorporating these updates into your teaching arsenal can revolutionize the way your students engage with digital content. Whether you’re using Rewordify to make text more accessible or Simplify AI to provide concise summaries, these features empower your students to comprehend complex information with greater ease.

By leveraging these tools, you’re not just enhancing reading comprehension; you’re fostering an inclusive learning environment where every student has the opportunity to succeed.

YouTube Error 150 in Google Slides

Are you a teacher who’s been frustrated by the Error 150 message when trying to play embedded YouTube videos in your Google Slides presentations? You’re not alone! Recently, YouTube made changes to its policies, resulting in this inconvenience for educators.

Understanding Error 150

YouTube videos embedded into Google Slides may display an Error 150 message due to changes in YouTube’s privacy and embedding settings. Error 150 typically indicates that the video’s owner has restricted its playback on external websites or platforms like Google Slides. Here are a few reasons why this error occurs:

  1. Privacy Settings: The video’s owner has set the video’s privacy settings to “unlisted” or “private,” which prevents it from being embedded in external websites. Only videos set to “public” can be embedded into Google Slides without encountering Error 150.
  2. Embedding Restrictions: Some content creators choose to disable the option for others to embed their videos on external websites. This setting also leads to Error 150 when attempting to embed such videos.
  3. Policy Changes: YouTube occasionally updates its policies and settings. If a video was previously embeddable and later becomes restricted by its owner or YouTube’s policies, it can result in Error 150.
  4. Copyright and Licensing: If YouTube detects that a video may infringe on copyright or licensing agreements when embedded in external websites, it may restrict its playback and display Error 150.

To resolve this issue, educators can either request video owners to change the privacy settings to “public” or consider using alternative methods, such as downloading the video and inserting it as a file into Google Slides. Another alternative is to play the video directly from youtube instead of embedding. If you still want to have an ad-free experience this can be achieved by placing a “-” in between the t and the u of the youtube video’s url. A final alternative if the goal is to have a youtube video as a part of a slide style presentation is LUMIO. Elementary teachers already have accounts and that can be accessed through the waffle. Middle and high school teachers can request an account by submitting a tech ticket at helpdesk.pccsk12.com. If you’re interested in learning more about LUMIO you can access information is this previous blog post.

New Canvas Support Workflow

We want to inform you about a recent change to our district’s Canvas support process. In the past, you had the ability to reach out directly to Canvas support through phone or chat, but we’ve now transitioned to a different approach. If you encounter any issues or need assistance, please submit a support ticket from the Canvas Help Menu.

Canvas report a problem

 

We understand that this is a shift from the previous service level, and we appreciate your understanding. Additionally, we encourage you to explore the Canvas guides (instructor, student, and observer). There are also guides available for the mobile applications. You can utilize the new Panda Bot as valuable resources to help navigate Canvas effectively during this transition. Your satisfaction with the support we provide remains our priority.