IMPORTANT: Before You Leave For Break…

For those of you about to begin a well deserved two-week break, which we hope will be all you hope for and a bit more, before you leave on Friday…

WOULD YOU PLEASE SECURE ALL VALUABLES in the classrooms and office spaces you inhabit. This includes laptops, document cameras, Apple TVs, remotes, and interactive pens. 

Further, would you please make sure all iPads and Chromebooks are in their carts and those CARTS ARE LOCKED and plugged in before leaving.

Finally, would you please also POWER OFF any of the following equipment, if it is equipment you handle:

  • projectors
  • sound amps
  • SmartBoards
  • desktop computers
  • monitors
  • printers
  • copiers
  • and hit the lights on the way out, if you’re the last one ūüėČ

Adobe Spark For Education ‚Äď Now Available For All Staff

Adobe Spark

Are you looking to add a little more¬†spark into your presentations? Then you might want to consider taking a look at Adobe Spark for Education. This¬†graphic design app allows you to create impactful graphics, web pages, and video stories in just minutes. Best of all, it’s free for all P-CCS staff! For a quick tutorial on how to use Adobe Spark, we encourage you to watch this tutorial video from Richard Byrne.

When you are ready to get started with Adobe Spark, you can log in by following the instructions at http://links.pccsk12.com/adobespark.

Want your students to use Adobe Spark? Well, you are in luck! In late January, the technology department will enable Adobe Spark for all students 13 and older, as well as students under the age of 13 whose parents/guardians have initialed the district’s COPPA agreement. Additional details will be shared in a future blog post.

 

Goodbye Smart AMP, Hello Smart Learning Suite Online

Elementary Teachers: SMART amp has transitioned to SMART Learning Suite Online

Dear Elementary Teachers,

SMART amp and its support for student collaboration officially transitioned to SMART Learning Suite Online on December 11, 2018.  Learn more about the transition.

SMART amp was part of your SMART Learning Suite subscription, which also includes SMART Learning Suite Online. Elementary teachers can get started with SMART Learning Suite Online today by signing-in with their school-assigned Google Email.

Being able to attach Google Files will be coming in a software release February 2019.

January 2019 CHANGE to WIRELESS NETWORK

During the week of January 7th, the Technology Department will make a change to our district wireless network. After this change, our wireless network will no longer broadcast at the lower frequency band of 2.4 GHz; it will only broadcast on one band, 5.2 GHz.

Technology equipment that was manufactured in the last nine years, if WIFI-enabled, typically can connect to both bands (N.B. all currently deployed district-owned WIFI-enabled devices connect at both bands). The Technology Department feels comfortable making this adjustment so that devices connecting to our network will default connect to the 5.2 GHz band since its higher bandwidth can provide much faster data connections than the 2.4 GHz band. Since November we have piloted this change in one school and performance results there support this decision.

Staff will be asked to submit a service ticket if they, or students that alert them, experience unexpected wireless connectivity issues after the week of January 7th.

Google Tip Sheet and G Suite Training

Want to brush up on your Google Skills?  Bookmark this Google Tip Sheet to help you on your journey or make a copy to keep in your Google Drive.

Also, don’t forget that you can use G Suite Training that is located at the question mark at the top right-hand corner of ALL of your Google Apps! Here’s a brief video about how it works.

New ProBook Laptop Handbook on your desktop

As the new laptops are deployed to staff, and once you log in, please notice an icon on the desktop that will take you to a page on the website tech.pccsk12.com that will help you set your laptop up. Topics covered include Chrome Sync, Inputs and Outputs, Printing, Connecting to Displays, and Lanschool.  This will continue to be updated as new issues and services arise. Please submit a service request for any issues that might arise and seem outside of what the Handbook can help you with.

Free REMC Virtual Courses for Michigan Educators

Looking to integrate emerging topics into YOUR classroom? REMC Virtual Courses are FREE and open to all Michigan school personnel. You can take courses “just to learn” or you can complete all assignments for SCECHS! The next round of courses begin in January. Staff can register for January – March courses. Here are the January course topics:

  • OER to Support Early Literacy
  • Student-Designed OER for 21st Century Learning
  • Inquiry and Questioning: Igniting Student Curiosity with Technology, Level 1
  • Authentic Student Learning and Gamification
  • Applying Google Apps for Education in Chrome, Level 1
  • Transforming Education – Maker Movement
  • Increasing Efficiency and Productivity

All courses are facilitated by Michigan educators. Each lasts three weeks and consists of two one-hour webinars and four to eight hours of resource review, assessment development, discussion boards and written reflection. SCECHs range from 6 – 10 depending on the course.

Changes to the Google sign-in interface

Starting November 27th, 2018, Google made some small changes to the appearance of the Google sign-in page. These follow changes made earlier this year, which updated the sign-in page to match the Material Design principles used in other Google products.

Specifically, you might notice outlines around some entry fields, and changes to the spacing and styling of other text on both the web and mobile screens. The changes started to take effect on November 27th and may take up to two weeks to reach all users.

Sign-in page that will start rolling out on November 27, 2018
Sign-in page prior to November 27, 2018

Welcome to the new PCCS Tech Website and Blog!

Welcome to the new PCCS Tech blog!  We are excited to announce a new way of getting important tech updates and a new way of searching for resources that you have access to. Now, instead of a long newsletter quarterly, a curated collection of blog posts will come to your Gmail inbox each week! We hope this is a more digestible and more immediate way of disseminating information from the Tech Department.

Based on your feedback, we also made a new Tech website that is easy for you to navigate and more responsive to your needs: https://tech.pccsk12.com

One thing you’ll notice right away is the streamlined look of the site. We’d like to think that the most important feature of the website is the Resources Page.¬† The most exciting part is how easy it is to search for resources based on your particular needs. So, you can search by grade level, device type, Danielson Domain, or subject, helping you narrow down the resources you have available to you as subscribed to by the district, or other resources that are free!¬† This will be easier than a Google search!

Furthermore, you will be auto-subscribed to our blog and website update that will be tailored to your grade level, so you don’t see the information you don’t need, thus saving you time…and who couldn’t use more time?

Google Removes Apps from Chrome Web Store

If you haven’t noticed already, Google Apps are no longer available in the Chrome Web Store. Google has phased them out and has had plans to soon announce Progressive Web Apps (PWAs).¬† PWAs will function just like apps on your desktop with icons that can be launched from your desktop just like a conventional program or app.¬† More on this to come, but in the meantime, the only way to get a Chrome Web App is through a direct link from a software provider’s website or via a link that is still present in your already added Chrome Apps Launcher.¬† To read more, click here.