logoThis site is home to Ramapo Indian Hills High School District Instructional Technology and Staff Development. Here you will be able to find resources and tools to help you become more comfortable using technology with your students and implementing innovative methods in your classroom. Use this website for numerous resources, coaching appointments, newsletters, and workshop materials. I am committed to showcasing some of the great work our staff is already doing while helping to make the technology integration in the classroom both seamless and virtually invisible.


Tech Tip Tuesday: Virtual Backgrounds for Video Conferencing with Canva


So I know the year is almost over, but I thought this was neat, and seeing as there is uncertainty regarding our return in the fall, this might be fun. Canva, recently showed how you can incorporate virtual backgrounds/templates into your Zoom Conference.

Zoom has added a whole section of virtual background templates to their collection, giving you more choice when it comes to making your video conferences as fun or as professional as you like.

They’re fully customizable and completely free. You can create a new background for your next class meeting by checking out this link.

To turn on Zoom background follow this:

Sign in to the Zoom web portal.

    1. Click My Meeting Settings, if you are an account administrator or Meeting Settings, if you are an account member.
    2. Navigate to the Virtual Background option on the Meeting tab and verify that the setting is enabled. 

      • If the setting is disabled, click the Status toggle to enable it. If a verification dialog displays, choose Turn On to verify the change.
      • If the option is grayed out, it has been locked at either the Group or Account level, and you will need to contact your Zoom administrator.

Note: Users must logout of the Zoom Desktop Client and login to it again for this setting to take affect.

Hope this helps!

Tech Tip Tuesday: Appsmash With Screencastify


Screencastify recently updated and now integrated with a variety of other apps. This process (formerly called “appsmashing”) is when you take 2 or more applications and combine their uses (and I currently can’t help but think of Captain Planet right now).

Screencastify can now app smash with a few other awesome tools such as Edpuzzle, Wakelet, and Remind. Once you record and create your flipped video/screencast you can directly upload it to one of those apps just by signing into that account via Screencastify. Check this out!

Hope this helps!

Tech Tip Tuesday: Mark Complete in Frontline


This is a repost

I’ve been asked for a reminder about what to do once a form has been pre-approved in Frontline. Regardless of what form you submitted (Field Trip, Professional Leave, PLC, Quarterly Assessment, SGO, etc) once your prior approvals are complete, the form will make its way back to you, before it can be final approved and award credit. The reason for this is so you can upload and attach any necessary documentation, certificates, etc. Here is what you will need to do:

  1. Click on the LearningPlan tab at the top right of the screen in Frontline.
  2. Locate the form you submitted.
  3. Click on the blue MANAGE button directly to the left of the form.
  4. In the window that opens, click on MARK COMPLETE
  5. The form will open. Note: This is when you will attach any documents you need to. If this is for SGO/Quarterly then you can skip attaching anything.
  6. Scroll to the bottom and click SUBMIT.

That’s it! The form will make its way over to me for approval and you will be awarded credit (if applicable) shortly after.

Quick Tip: To attach files to a form, first you need to click on your FILE LIBRARY. From there click UPLOAD, and find and open the file from your hard drive. It will save it in here. When you go to mark a form complete, there is a “files” section that will list all files in your file library. Check off the box next to the forms you want to attach and then proceed to submit.

Hope this helps!

Tech Tips Tuesday: Using Zoom in LockDown Browser


Today’s tech tip come shared by fellow teacher Mr. Walkowich as he walks you through how to utilize Zoom within a LockDown browser test or quiz so that students can conference with you should they need assistance.

**Make sure the students create a Zoom account through the Zoom website – they cannot use their Google credentials to log in when in LockDown browser. (I had them use their school email accounts, just create a password to use with the Zoom website (not the app)**
1.  Put a link to zoom.us/join in the “instructions” for the test that the students can access during the exam. (LockDown Browser automatically allows students to access URLs placed by the teacher within the exam but will not allow them to navigate away from that specific page).
2. This is the interesting part, but when the students click the link the computer will try to download the information required to join the meeting through the Zoom app but the students can’t access that.  So if they just keep clicking on the link on that page that says “try again”, or “download again” (it’s been different for different students) nothing will work due to LockDown Browser.  Eventually (after clicking once or twice) on those links a new link will appear which will ask if they would like to access the Zoom Meeting through their browser.
3.  They enter the meeting ID and are asked to login with the account they set up through the Zoom website (they can’t use their Google credentials).
4.  They enter the meeting password and then they are in. (I post the meeting ID and password in the instructions of the Schoology test).
I tried it out with my classes and they were able to get in, use the chat or audio to ask questions, etc.  It takes some time to figure out and obviously anyone trying this should practice with their students, but I got my students to the point where they can start the test, access Zoom, and then move forward with the questions all in a span of about 2-3 minutes now that they know how it works.
Anyway, hope this is helpful in some way – I know being able to have my students ask questions verbally makes a big difference for them (especially in this new “digital” testing environment).
Hope this helps!

Tech Tip Tuesday: Virtual Tours With Google and The National Park Service


Looking for something fun to do with your students during virtual learning? Google and the National Park Service teamed up to offer a virtual experience of U.S. parks with a 360 degree adventure!

You can access this by going first going to Google’s Arts and Culture Site (which if you haven’t checked this out yet is a whole other resource to examine). The direct link to the Hidden World of the National Parks is here.

This is a great little resource to spice up your virtual learning with your students and bring a little adventure to their homes. There are also historic sites such as museums, theatres, prisons, libraries, and more!

Hope this helps!

Tech Tip Tuesday: Google Updates and Resources for Virtual Learning


I wanted to share some recent updates and resources that could help you continue to do the great job you are doing with virtual learning. Check out these below:

Google Teach From Home: Information and tools to help you combat teaching from home including a toolkit, how-tos, and more.

Learning Keeps Going: An educator help desk as well as teaching strategies.

Online Games That Are Fun and Educational: A variety of online games geared toward content and different grade levels.

Google Meet Attendance: A chrome extension that helps you collect attendance in a Google Sheet from a Google Video Meet!

Google Meet Grid View: A chrome extension that shows everyone in a Google Meet in a grid view like the Brady Bunch!

Picture in Picture: A chrome extension that lets you watch a video in one part of your screen while keeping eyes on something else, like a video chat, website, etc.

Hope this helps!

Tech Tip Tuesday: New Quizizz Question Types


Quizizz recently updated their question types and now includes 5 different types of questions that you can ask in your virtual quiz/formative assessment. They are: multiple choice, checkbox, fill-in-the-blank, poll, and open-ended. With these new types of questions, your sure to add rigor, dodge easy cheating and get more relevant and original responses far from your basic multiple choice.

Plus, as with ALL Quizizz games, students can play at their own pace or take your gamified “quiz” as homework, as a do now, or as a means of student engagement. What also nice is you can easily throw these new question types into old quizzes or turn old questions into these new question types with the click of a button Pretty cool and dodges wasted time in recreating old things.

For more information about these NEW question types check this out here!

Hope this helps!

Tech Tip Tuesday: Using Schoology Rubrics


To use Schoology rubrics to help make your grading easier with virtual learning select a course of yours in Schoology (note- you will need to create the rubric in each separate course unless you save the rubric to your resources. I HIGHLY recommend creating rubrics in your Resources then copying it later to the courses you want to use it in). From there go to “gradebook” –> “Grade Setup.” Toward the top right of this screen you will see “Scales” (bolded) and “Rubrics”. Select the dropdown “Add” button and select “rubrics.”

This opens the Rubric Editor where you can now create your Rubric. From here you can: add criteria/categories, edit the grading scale and/or descriptor, and attach learning objectives. When you are done, click “create.” This rubric will now show under “rubrics” next to “Scales”.

To attach the rubric to an assignment you created- simply create the assignment as you normally would. In the editing window of the assignment you will need to select a “category” even if you do not use the Schoology gradebook. This is needed in order to connect the rubric to the assignment. Then next to “Scale/Rubric” click the dropdown menu and select your rubric. Make sure “show to students” is checked so that they can see the rubric when they click on your assignment. Here is a screenshot of what an assignment will look like with the attached demo rubric!


What is even better is when it comes time to grade. Simply click on the student’s name under “submissions” (where it shows who submitted the assignment). This will bring up the student’s work. At the top right corner, you should now see a “rubric” icon. Click that to open the “rubric grader” and grade their assignment as well as leave feedback!

Hope this helps!

Tech Tip Tuesday: Screencastify SUBMUT


Screencastify has just created a NEW feature that will be a great addition to virtual learning and their platform. For those of you that use this tool/chrome extension (it really is great!) here is the news:

Screencastifys new feature called SUBMIT, is perfect for distance learning that you can use for free through the end of the school year! This is an easy way to have your students record and share videos with you and one another. It works in a controlled environment. You can create a special link that starts a recording, share the link with students and watch as your students submit videos straight to your Google Drive

The best part? Students don’t need an account or even a Chrome extension! You can request access to this new feature here! 

Hope this helps!

Tech Tip Tuesday: Travelogues


Looking for a neat project during virtual teaching. Have students record their virtual visits to countries wherein a novel they are reading is set, a language they are studying originates, or a historical event has occurred. Travelogues can be created in various formats including a travel journal in Docs, a Slides presentation with embedded content, a video or podcast series, or a Google Site.

Ask students to research the place… give a clear description as well as incorporate images found on the web… have them highlight various attractions found at and around the location and have them create an interactive Google Map marking those spots… have them give cultural background … and more!

Hope this idea gets them engaged