Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Tivy Tech Tip: Smart Board Exchange

Occasionally, I will share a "Tivy Tech Tip" to help you with both general computer usage and technology integration in the classroom. The tips will be practical and digestable (promise).

This week's tip is for teachers using Smart Boards.  A web site called SMART Exchange is a place where you can find free lesson plans, games, and a way to share ideas with other teachers. Visit the site and learn how you can go to the next level with your Smart Board!

Smart Exchange Main Web Page:  http://exchange.smarttech.com/
-- for Standards-Correlated Lessons (click Texas, then TEKS): http://exchange.smarttech.com/curriculum.html
-- for SB-friendly games geared for 9th-12th Graders: http://exchange.smarttech.com/search.html?q=games&sbj=&grd=g9&grd=g10&grd=g11&grd=g12

If you need help with downloading or implementing, then let me know.  I will be glad to make an appointment with your during your conference period.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Programming RealCare Babies

Katherine Elks has asked me to help her setup the RealCare Babies for two classes. I have help "charge" babies, "program" babies, and install the necessary software to assign and track functions.  Very interesting process. I love watching kids facing when the simulation software caused the babies to cry!  I especially loved the comment from one student, "How am I suppose to sleep if it cried in the middle of the night!  Can't you program it to sleep all night!"  If only real life was that easy...lol.

Gaggle Training

We have recently begun training a few teachers on Gaggle, a powerful  application that will not only allow us to create student email accounts but also a way for teachers and students to work on collaborative projects. recently. I think Gaggle will be welcomed by our students and teachers once we provide adequate training.

It also occurred to me that Gaggle could be a good solution for Homebound students who need access to assignments or a place to send them (at least those with Internet-connected home computers). It might even provide a way for them to be connected to their classmates if they align their study schedules with their classes.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Scheduled Push from Tech Center

This afternoon (Friday, October 8), between 4:00 and 5:00, a scheduled computer update will occur through the KISD server network.  This process will include updating Adobe Flash Player that has been a problem in some classes and labs.

The tech center needs you to do the following before you leave the campus today:
1. Save any open documents and close all open applications on your computer.
2. Log off your profile (Click Start – Log Off) but leave your computer on (otherwise, you will miss the updates).

On a related note, I encourage you to practice the above steps every day when you leave the campus after school.  Since I work on a few computers after school most days, I notice that many staff members simply rely on their screen saver to be a form of security while they are away from their desk.  That’s fine during the day but this scenario may result in you losing unsaved files when I force your profile to log off in order to log in with mine, so that I can work on your PC.  This may also be true during some software update “pushes” that occur every week or so.

Thanks in advance!

Tech Help Requests

Some of you have mentioned to me this week that you placed tech-related tickets through the Help Desk but do not receive an email confirmation or see your request in your web version of the Eduphoria Help Desk (“Review My Requests”).  Guess what?  It’s nothing you are doing wrong.  There has been a recent discovery that some tech help requests aren’t going in to the system. This means that neither the Tech Center nor I are receiving them.  The Tech Center is working on the problem right now.  If this happened to you, you now know for sure that we are not ignoring you…promise.  :  )

Here are my suggestions regarding Tivy Tech Help Requests from this point forward:
1) Continue to place your tech-related requests via the Help Desk.  Use either the web link located in the staff section of the KISD web page or the web link provided below my signature area.  We rely on this system for several reasons and we expect the problems to be resolved soon.
2) Send me a quick email letting me know you tech needs if it applies to the scope of my duties here on campus (edward.mathews@kerrvilleisd.net).  Do this even if you think your tech request goes through because I do not want you to wait while your ticket request is being processed and assigned to me.  Plus, I get email through my cell phone and it will buzz me when your email is delivered.  If I am in your wing or near it, I may be able to help you very quickly (this happened yesterday and within five minutes I was able to get a teacher’s computer running just in time for her next class – this could be you!).
3) Call or text my cell phone in situations where your computer goes down or you need help with something ASAP.  Obviously, you can’t send a web-based tech request if you can’t use your computer.  I will trust your judgment to what is an urgent matter and what can wait until I read your email or get the help desk ticket.  So far, the entire staff has done a great job communicating with me (and being patient with me) so I see no problems here.

I hope the above refined strategy will help both you and me as we together figure out the best method for resolving tech-related issues in a reasonable time period.  In tech-related matters that I can’t resolve, I will be glad to help you place these requests to the right department or person.

On a personal note (yes, a techie does have a personality), I really enjoy being your C.T.C.  What makes it meaningful is knowing that I can help the Tivy staff with their technology needs since I realize that with each repair or implemented solution translates to increase teaching, learning, and office productivity.  It’s been a pleasure getting to know each of you the last few weeks.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Kudos to Mouse Club

Kudos to the Mouse Squad (student technology club) and their sponsor teachers, Matt Turner and Wes Bauerschlag, for helping to install docment viewer in some our classrooms after school this week!  I have enjoyed meeting the group of students involved and love the fact they want to learn more about technology.  They will be installing more next week.  This is also a huge time saver for me!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Tivy Tech Blogs

This blog is designed with the staff and students of Tivy High School in mind; however, anyone is welcome to join.  I am in my fourth week as Tivy's Campus Technology Coordinator.  I simply love every aspect of my new job -- especially when I can help teachers with their technology needs.

Each week I will share practical tech tips that are easy to learn, easy to use, and easy to share with others.  Occasionally, I will report on emerging technologies that offer exciting solutions for educators.  If you have an interest in educational technology or simply looking to learn about technology in digestible bytes, consider joining this blog.  I would love to have you as a reader!