Easy Digital Business Cards with HiHello

free digital cards

image of digital business card from hihello

We are excited to share the tool, HiHello. Spend about 5 minutes getting signed up and entering in your information and you get a professional looking email signature and Zoom background. The Zoom backgrounds (pictured below) are especially helpful because they can display your name, position, and pronouns which is helpful if you are in a lot of meetings with families and community members. You can also upload the P-CCS logo or your school logo. Get the mobile app and have access to a digital business cards that can easily be shared. Check it out!

image with hihello zoom background

Use Canva for Year-End Slideshow or Video

As the year comes to a close, you may be looking for a way to put together a slideshow of photo memories from the school year. You can use Canva to help create and share these. You can set up a slideshow with images on each slide and add background music. Canva also has the complete video editor so you can customize it to your liking. See the tutorials for each of those options below.

Google LTI and Canvas Known Issue 4/12/22 – RESOLVED 5/9/22

UPDATE: Canvas and Google have worked together to RESOLVE the issue described in last month’s blog post shown below. Thank you for your patience.


Some teachers are experiencing Canvas assignment submissions that are subsequently inaccessible to them. This has been occurring when a Canvas assignment is created and students load a file from Google Drive. When the teachers open Speedgrader, instead of seeing a preview of the document they see a link to an unknown file type that they are unable to download or view.

Error teachers experience with Google Drive submissions

Students will have a clue that submission didn’t come through correctly when they select and attach an item from Google Drive they will see this:

error on student side
Students will see this when their attachment is unsuccessful. They should follow the directions linked below to upload the file as a PDF.

This is a Google LTI issue and we are currently working on a resolution. There are several potential workarounds:

  1. You can create a Google Assignment in Canvas that creates a copy for each student.
  2. Students can download the file as a PDF and upload it to Canvas.
  3. Students can paste the Shared Google link into the comments of an existing assignment.
  4. Teachers can check the “Website URL” entry option under the submission type and students can submit the Shared Google link.
location of website URL option
Teachers can select this Website URL option where students can paste the Shared Google link to their file.

We will update this blog post when the issue has been resolved. Resolved as of 5/9/22

Canva for Education Webinars

image of webinar topics and dates

Do you love Canva? Would you like to learn more about how to use it in your classroom? Canva Learning Consultants are providing “quick hit” webinars this Spring to help you envision how to use Canvas for student collaboration, use it in STEM courses, Arts courses, Humanities courses, and for parent communication. Register for the 30 minute webinar (Tuesdays from 6:00-6:30 pm) and attend live or catch the recording.

Click here to see the options and register.

Suggested Laptop Maintenance

The tech department would like to suggest the following maintenance steps to ensure the best performance from your new laptop.

  • Clear your Chrome Browsing Data and Cookies every couple of weeks (with Time range All Time) / Ditto for all Microsoft Edge users (click here for easy steps)
  • Do a full restart of your laptop at least once a week
  • If you teach in the Virtual Academy, at least monthly come onto campus (the parking lot is sufficient) with your computer. After initially connecting via district WIFI, restart your laptop and log back in, then allow 15-20 minutes for any updates to run in the background while you are on it. So if you are planning to come on-campus for any reason, please bring your laptop, and restart and log into it when there!

Making sure you perform periodic restarts and logging into your laptop while on the district network does several important things to improve performance including clearing the laptop’s Random Access Memory (RAM) which can otherwise over time bog down its system resources and allowing important and useful district updates to to run at start up (as one example, a needed component to run the updated Canvas Studio Screen Recorder requires a one time laptop restart and new log in while in district so a log in script that is associated with user accounts can install it).

We appreciate your help to ensure the best possible performance of your laptop. Please submit a tech ticket if you have any questions.

Matt Miller May

cover of Tech Like a Pirate by Matt Miller

If you have not heard of Matt Miller, author of Ditch that Textbook and other titles, it is your lucky day! His website, books, and podcast are full of great teacher tips. Recently, he has promoted an EfficienTEACH series to help you save time and have a big impact on student learning. Check out some of his fantastic resources below, click the picture to access the links.

How To Install Apps on New Dell Laptops

As of now, all instructional staff working with K-12 students should have been issued a new Dell Latitude 3520 laptop, with the exception of a few make-ups that have yet to be deployed. We appreciate everyone’s patience and want to thank staff for being cooperative, given our expedited time frame to issue all devices in the district. Even we are adjusting to the new technology and all the changes involved with the new Dell laptops. Besides the differences in the look and feel of staff laptops, one of the biggest changes is the addition of the Microsoft Company Portal.

Intune Company Portal - Apps on Google Play

What is the Company Portal?

The Company Portal is part of a new data management system that allows PCCS staff to securely download and install district-vetted programs and updates. The Company Portal can be thought of as an App Store for PCCS, including all apps and utilities used in-district. We surveyed the list of programs that were being used by teachers and staff members in the district and included the vast majority of these in the current app list in the Company Portal. The list of available apps in the portal is ever-growing,

You may have noticed that installing programs outside of the Company Portal prompts for an administrator username and password. This is completely to be expected and is designed to protect your laptop and files safe from malware or malicious programs. Safeguarding devices connected to our network protects our infrastructure and makes our districts less susceptible to cyber attacks. It’s also something our insurance company has begun to insist on for us to remain with coverage.

How do I install the Company Portal on my computer?

The Company Portal should install on your laptop after about an hour of initial use. Once you log into your laptop for the first time, it gets pushed out to your device and usually takes about that long to appear. Once installed, and following another restart, a shortcut to the Company Portal should later appear on your desktop. If you do not see an icon for Company Portal, it’s possible that it hasn’t been pushed to your device yet. A restart often helps, but it is also possible that you can find the Company Portal by searching for it.

If you click the Start button and begin to search for “company portal”, you should see the app populate in the search results. Once the program opens, feel free to right-click the icon at the bottom of the screen and select Pin to taskbar so it is readily accessible when you want to open the Company Portal in the future.

Once the Company Portal opens, click Apps to see a full list of all available apps in the Company Portal.

How do I install the apps I need?

Click the app you’d like to install and click Install. Please do not disconnect from the Internet or close the lid during the installation process. Some apps are larger than others and require more time to download and properly install.

You will know an app is completely installed when you see the blue checkmark and Installed at the top of the screen.

Should I install everything in the Company Portal?

There is no need to install all available apps in the Company Portal. If you have a specific software need, there is likely an app added to the library to meet that need. See the table below for some examples.

To use: Install these apps:
Smart Notebook software SMART Education Software

SMART Product Drivers

Microsoft Office Microsoft 365 Apps for Windows 10

Please note, if it is a paid app or subscription service (and some of them are), and you don’t have the license for it, you won’t be able to run it even if you do install it.


There is software I would like to use and it’s not available in the Company Portal. How can I install it?

If there is software you’d like to use and it provides educational value, you can request to have it added into the Company Portal. Please click here to submit a tech request and choose Computer Software Request. We will gladly evaluate the request and add it to the Company Portal if it is something Teaching and Learning and/or the Technology Department deem educationally valuable for staff members.


I still don’t see the Company Portal on my laptop. What do I do?

If you don’t see the Company Portal, even after searching for it, it may be due to a setting tied to your logon profile. Please submit a tech request and let us know so we can look into it!


Have any questions?

If you have any questions about how the Company Portal works or need help setting up any apps, please submit a tech request and a member of our department would be happy to help you.

Google Docs Email Templates

Ever find yourself writing emails and thinking that you should really save it to re-use later? Google Docs now makes it easier to draft an email in Docs and send it with just a few more clicks.

Entering @email in docs.google.com will load a template complete with To, Cc, Bcc, and Subject lines. It can also be accessed via Insert > Building Blocks > Email draft.

preview of email template screenYou can access your contacts and enter them directly in the correct fields. Then you can draft your email. Because you are in Docs you can share it with your grade-level team or co-teacher for feedback and suggestions.

When you are ready to send, click on the Gmail icon and it will automatically populate the Gmail message with what you entered in Docs. Then congratulate yourself because that yearly email or other frequent communication is saved in Drive to save you time in the future.

Draft email in Docs

This feature was previously mentioned along with some other exciting updates in this blog post.

Awesome Analytics with Canvas Studio

Canvas Studio is a tools that allows instructors and students to actively collaborate through video and audio media.

It has the ability to:
Why would you use it?
And newly-updated View Insights!
  • You have always been able to view graphs on who viewed you video and for how long.
  • Now you can also see what parts of the video get played or replayed most often so you can better understand what was useful for students.
  • You can see a viewer list and easily see the completion rate for each.

Image of Studio viewer list

If you want to chat more about the possibilities with Canvas Studio, submit a tech ticket and we’d be happy to answer your questions and walk through it with you.

Spring Book Study Opportunity

details for book study, can be found in post

The P-CCS Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Department (DEI) is pleased to invite you to participate in a spring book study with the Assistive & Instructional Technology (A&IT) and Technology Departments.

We will be reading and reflecting on the book, Antiracism and Universal Design for Learning: Building Expressways to Success authored by Andratesha Fritzgerald. This book will build on the concepts of Culturally Responsive Instruction and provide practical next steps for building more equitable and inclusive classrooms.

To participate, please be prepared to commit to the following schedule:
– attend two Zoom meetings to discuss the book (April 14 & April 28, 7-8 p.m.)
– complete asynchronous discussions & activities via Canvas LMS.

Course activities will conclude by May 12th. SCECHs will be available and the book will be provided. Space is limited. Reserve your spot by completing this form.