Welcome

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.

 

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Tech Tip Tuesday: Final Tip of the School Year and Ending it Right

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The end of the school year is quickly approaching and in order to end the year right, I wanted to post a few quick tips for wrapping it up.

  1. Clean and Organize Your Google Drive: Make sure everything has a folder at the top level. Put everything in a folder. Delete duplicate files. Color-code folders. Take “shared with me” and arrange where necessary.
  2. Back Up Your Files: If you use your MacBook hard drive extensively, I would consider utilizing Google Drive and backup everything there. Cloud storage is key as you can then access anything, anytime, anywhere. You can also consider transferring everything over to an external hard drive or flash drive.
  3. Clean Your Desktop: Organize everything into folders. Create clear names and select to arrange your desktop in a particular order that suits you!
  4. Clean Your Harddrive: Similar to your Google Drive- make sure everything has a folder. Delete duplicate files.
  5. Unsubscribe from Unwanted Email: This takes some time, but can be quite useful. Take the time to open emails you no longer want to receive, scroll to the bottom, and find the “unsubscribe” button. It’s usually hidden in the fine print somewhere. This will save you so many headaches later on.
  6. Clean and Organize Your Email: Throughout the year your inbox gets flooded. Delete unwanted messages, unsubscribe from things you no longer want to receive, create “labels” for things you want to save and organize for later.
  7. Store Images in Google Drive: Images don’t take up that much room until you have compiled hundred or thousands. Set your phone to save images to your Google Drive, or upload all of your images on your computer to your Google Drive.
  8. Update, update, update: This might require you to reboot your computer. DO IT! From an outdated MacBook to outdated Chrome/Safari, etc, take a moment to actually set these things to update and then reboot the computer for a fresh start.
  9. Save Your Schoology Course Material to Resources: Take advantage of Schoology’s resources and save everything there. Next year, it will save you so much time to just copy things over to your new classes.

Tech Tip Tuesday: End of Year Schoology Tips

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Now’s the time to begin taking a moment to make sure you have all of your Schoology materials/courses in order for the end of the year. Here are a few tips to consider to help make a smooth transition through the summer and into next year.

  1. Create and use folders: The method is simple- create a folder for every unit you teach, then within that folder consider using other folders to organize daily/weekly lesson, types of assignments, or self-paced activities. This is easier for students to manage, and makes it easier for you to save everything to your personal resources (to be discussed next). Pro Tip! Go to your personal resources (click resources –> personal –> then ADD new folder) Title the folder the name of your courses. This will help with step #2.
  2. Save all of your material/content to your resources: This is imperative! If you followed tip #1, this step becomes a cinch. Go into each of your courses, then next to the folder/material you want to save, click on the little gear icon to the right of it, then select SAVE TO RESOURCES from the drop-down menu. A pop-up window will appear. You can select a collection from the drop-down at the top (I recommend leaving this with HOME) and then underneath designate a folder to organize it to (select the course folder you just created if you followed the pro tip above). Do this with everything. This saves everything in case your courses get deleted. PLUS- next year you can just go to your personal resources, select the course folder, then copy entire folders/individual assignments over to your new courses! Even quiz questions stay.
  3. Check out this document/Schoology Help with more tips to end the year right!

Tech Tip Tuesday: End of Year Google Cleaning

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The end of the year is quickly approaching. With that, I wanted to share a few tips for cleaning your Google Drive, Gmail, and Calendar.

  1. Make sure everything has a home in Drive: This is key. Google Drive works from the top level down, meaning, if you can get everything in your “My Drive” folder in a folder, then cleaning up the things within these folders will be SO much easier.
  2. Color-code or star your Drive folders: If you right-click on a folder in your Google Drive, a quick menu will appear. Click on or hover over “Change Color” to pick a color for your folder. This makes it easier to locate specific folders in thumbnail/tile view. Also, in the quick menu is an option to “Add Star”. Starred folders appear in your drive drop-down menu, separating them from everything else for quick and easy access. It’s a good idea to update this yearly with your most used folders (especially if you have folders for specific classes). If your classes change, then you can just right-click on the folder and “Remove Star”.
  3. Create an “Archive” Drive Folder: One good idea is to create a yearly “Archive” Folder. Then, drag everything from this year into that folder. This is great if you have a lot of student work that has been shared with you, that you don’t want to clutter up your drive or get mixed up with your own personal resources.
  4. Archive old Email: This is a quick and effective one. Check the box next to an email message, then choose the “Archive” button at the top. This will clean up your inbox, but still make it where all of those archived emails are accessible/searchable.
  5. Hide Old Calendars: In Google Calendar, you can easily hide from calendars you no longer want to see in your dropdown list. Simply hover over the calendar, click on the 3 dots (more option), then select “Hide Calendar”. This doesn’t remove you from them, just removes them from the list!
  6. The dreaded “Shared With Me” Drive Folder: This one is a pain. But simply, just go in here and look for things you want to keep. If you want it, click and drag it to the folder you want to organize it in. As far as everything else? Don’t touch it. The same goes for your “Recent” folder. I wouldn’t try to clean this out.

Tech Tip Tuesday: Having Issues Using Schoology with Safari or Firefox?

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Recently, a handful of teachers have come to me about issues with Schoology when using Safari or Firefox. One of them being embedded content (like a Google Doc or Slide presentation) not loading properly or just getting empty content. Here is an example of one of the Schoology PD modules:

Screen Shot 2018-05-15 at 8.16.09 AM

The image above shows an error in Schoology with an embedded Google Doc that is not loading properly. When you get this you can click the little box and arrow in the upper right-hand corner of the screen and it will open a new tab to the Google Doc. However, this shouldn’t have to be done.

The way around this is quite simple. Simply make sure you re logged into your Google account! To do this, just go to gmail.com –> login with your school account. Then reload the page or navigate to the Schoology page you are trying to access. Once you do that, this is what it will look like:

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Notice the embedded Google Doc that can you interact with right within Schoology. Simple and effective. So if you or your students ever have this issue, just make sure they are logged into their school Google account.

Hope this helps!

Tech Tip Tuesday: New Gmail Rollout

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Google recently released a revamped Gmail. It might take you a bit to see the change roll over from our administrative panel, but here is a quick rundown of how to access the change once it is released in the district and the changes you will see.

  • Once it is rolled out, click on the “gear” icon located on the right side of your Gmail inbox. From there click “Try the New Gmail”. If you don’t see this yet, you will over a little time.
  • A fresh new look. Modern, sleek. Click on the gear icon to access a few other layouts/views as well as integrate add-ons.
  • Besides a cleaned up look, if you hover over an email in your inbox, you will now see icons appear to the right of the email message that will allow you to “archive”, “delete”, “mark”, and “snooze”. . .
  • “Snooze” is a new feature that will remove the email from your inbox for a set time, then bring it back like it is new. A nice way to come back to something at a later date/time and not miss it.
  • Gmail added a “smart reply” feature. This is GREAT on the mobile app. It offers suggestions you can click on to insert as quick messages/replies.
  • Gmail has also integrated Google Keep, Google Tasks, and Google Calendar WITHIN Gmail. You’ll see these icons/apps appear on the right side of the Gmail screen. Click on them to access these apps within and have a smooth transition, without switching tabs, or clicking separate apps.
  • Any attachments will now be shown under the message in your inbox. Again, just hover over the message and see them appear.

Second #RIHPD Twitter Chat!

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I will be hosting the next #RIHPD Twitter Chat on Tuesday evening, May 8, from 8 pm to 9 pm. Our topic for this chat is Self-Care and Wellness! I will post questions throughout the chat and give you time to post, share, comment, and retweet. This will be a great opportunity to earn 1 PDC Hour in you PJ’s! Come to collaborate, question, comment, and share. Share teaching ideas, successes, struggles, resources, photos, etc that will add to our discussion and build your PLN.

The format for our Twitter Chat will go something like this:

  1. 8:00 pm: Intros
  2. 8:10 pm: Q1
  3. 8:20 pm: Q2
  4. 8:30 pm: Q3
  5. 8:40 pm Q4
  6. 8:50 pm Q5

Here’s How to Take Part:
1. Log into Twitter on Tuesday, May 8 @ 8 PM EST.
2. Search for tweets with the hashtag #rihpd in the search bar. Make sure to click “All tweets.”
3. Introductions are for the first 10 minutes.
4. I will post questions every 10 minutes using the format Q1, Q2, Q3, etc. and the hashtag #rihpd.
5. Respond to questions using the format A1, A2, A3, etc. with #rihpd.
6. Follow any teachers responding and who are also using #rihpd.
7. Like and respond to other teachers’ tweets.

New to chats? Here are the rules:
1. Stay on topic
2. Make sure your twitter feed is set to public. (Also keep in mind that Twitter is completely public – that means students, parents, and administrators can and will read what you tweet.)Please do not post or promote paid products unless specifically asked.
3. Always use our hashtag #rihpd, including in your replies to others.
4. Use goo.gl to shorten links when sharing.
5. Check out TweetDeck to keep track of the Twitter Chat.
6. Taking part in the chat on your computer is easier (IMO).

Still want to know more about Twitter Chats? Check out these links:

http://janetfouts.com/how-to-participate-in-a-tweet-chat/

Don’t Forget to “Mark Complete”

I’ve been asked for a reminder about what to do once a form has been pre-approved in MyLearningPlan. 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 MLP.
  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 Maddy and I 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!