I saw this posted on the Google Apps Blog.  We are ahead of the game here by adopting Google Apps already.

America's Dairyland schools moooove to the cloud
Posted by Julia Stiglitz, Google Apps for Education Team 

When it comes to education, Wisconsinites have always been on the cutting edge. The very first kindergarten in the US was founded more than 150 years ago in the town of Watertown, WI. In higher education, the University of Wisconsin-Madison awarded the first Ph.D. in chemical engineering ever granted in 1905. Continuing the trend of advancing education in the state, K-12 schools in Wisconsin are going Google.

Thanks to a collaboration between the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction and the 12 Cooperative Educational Services Agencies (CESAs), over 850,000 students and 55,000 teachers across Wisconsin will have access to Google Apps for Education, professional development and technical deployment support.

 
 
I will be enabling a new network security feature on Wednesday June 29th that will require everyone to authenticate when accessing websites outside of the school realm.  The school realm of websites are a select group of safe and necessary websites determined in-house.  You can see the list below.  Additional sites can be added to the school realm but only if they are for productivity.  The intention of the school realm of websites is to allow those who are on these Internet systems all day - for their convenience to not have to authenticate every hour.  For example the office staff can access Infinite Campus or Skyward where they work all day, so they will not need to authenticate to get to those sites.

Any attempt to access a web site outside of the school realm will require all users to authenticate, this way all web traffic can be logged by user and by device for 30 days.  Once authenticated, the system will know if you are a staff member or student and there will be different levels of web filtering (once I have configured it).

This method is necessary in order to be able to fully manage who is able to access the Internet.  With student owned devices there was no way to fully disallow a student from accessing the Internet when he or she had lost privileges. 


When you are prompted to authenticate you will use your regular Network Account and Password you use to log onto your thin clients.  This will affect all users and students on both campuses. 

All student accounts will be re-created this summer with a new shorter version going from Kindergarten to 12th grade. 

The school realm of websites is a growing list.  Here are the basic sites that are in the list:

School Realm of Websites

School Website - csdk12.net
All of Google Apps (Docs, Gmail, Calendar, etc.)
Dropbox.com
iGoogle.com
Infinite Campus
Skyward.com
DPI
Wisconsin.gov
Schoolspeciality.com
iscorp.com
MarwoodConference.org
Accelerated Reader
Star Reading
All Wisconsin school websites that are wi.us
 
 
It is a very rainy day so I am working on getting the district forms in electronic format.  I was sent a form for an Application for Approval of Credits and I have built it into an electronic fill-in form, however I still have some work to do on it.  It is not a straight forward type of form.  

FormLizard is the solution I am using. I can start with any form that is editable in a word processor.  Then I easily add form field names using square brackets like this [[ ]] where you would normally write in answers to the form questions.  For example [[first_name]].  I enter these on the document in the spaces on the form.  Once I have entered a field name for each question on the form then the document is ready for upload.

I Then upload the form in RTF format to FormLizard.  It parses the document and picks out the field names I entered.  Next I define all of the form fields as to their data type and enter in help text etc.  Once finished with defining all of the fields the next phase is building the electronic questionnaire.

The way FormLizard   works is the user goes to the site and sees all the available Interviews, that is what they call the process of filing out a form.  I convert the form into an interview.  The reason it does this is because in many instances filling out forms is a multi-form process.  I could create an online student registration that not only fills out the registration form but also a medical card and any other forms that go along with registering a new student.

So my next step is to create the interview process.  In the case of the Application for Credit Approval that form has multiple sections, you fill out the top half if you have already completed the course work and got the credits and the bottom half if you are about to start the courses.  So I broke the interview up into the parts, part one is your name and date and that part is mandatory, then you can pick the section to fill out.
Like I said I have work to do on it yet.


FormLizard is built into out Google Apps.  So on the More . . . menu at the top of any Google Apps page you will see FormLizard and it will automatically log you in using your Google Apps account.  Or you can go directly to our site at http://csdk12.formlizard.com and sign in with your Google Apps account which by the way is also your email address.
 
 
If you are printing from your iPad using AirPrint you will need to know the username and password.
Airprint User Name and Password
Glidden Campus:
Username: print
Password: print

Park Falls Campus:
Username: airprint
Password: airprint
 
 
I was talking to my cousin yesterday, she is the media specialist for a school district near Eau Claire.  She said that most public libraries and many K12 schools are using Overdrive.com as an e-pub electronic library and checkout system.  I feel it is crucial that our school begin to build an online library of e-pub electronic books. 

The Overdrive.com system is compatible with PC, Mac, iPods and iPads, Sony readers, the Nook reader and any reader that supports e-pub format.  The Kindle will be available soon on this service as well.

The way Overdrive.com works, the school would subscribe to the service every year.  A portion of the subscription goes towards the purchase of e-pub content.  Of course additional content can be purchased anytime.  Patrons then go to the website, enter a student ID or library ID and then browse the books in the school's online library.  Once a book or books are located they add the books to their cart and then check out.  During the check out the system will download the books to the device.  The books remain active for 2 weeks then expire automatically on the device and are then available once again for check out.  If a book is not yet available the patron can place the book on a wait list.  I imagine there is some sort of email notification when the book is available.  

I am not 100% familiar with the way the system works but there is an excellent video showing how it all works. See the video here

Here is a link to the Park Falls Overdrive.com web site.  I downloaded the Overdrive APP to my iPod, all I need now is a library card from them and I would be able to sart to check out books!!
 
 
SyncDocs is the ultimate way for you to move to the Cloud while at the same time using your favorite document editor like Word or Open Office.  

Once installed on your Windows PC SyncDocs will keep any folder you choose in full sync with your Google Docs.  The installer creates a desktop folder called "My google Docs" by default and once installed all of your Google Docs will appear in this folder.  You can drag and drop any files or folders you want synchronized to your Google Docs right into this folder and they will be synced up to your Google docs account.

But it gets better.  Open Word and and create a document, save it to your SyncDocs folder you have chosen to be in sync with your Google Docs and the file will immediately be synced to your Google Docs account in Google Docs format.  Now open a browser and go to your Google Docs account online.  Open the document you just created with Word and edit it online using Google docs.  When you are done editing Google Docs will automatically save the file.  SyncDocs on your PC will resync the edited document back to your PC with the changes you made online.  Re-open the file in Word and you will see your changes.  SyncDocs automatically converts the file formats for you so your file is still a native Word doc on your PC but a Google doc when you are online.

One thing worth noting.  The synchronization only works from your PC, your Google docs account does not do any synchronizing.

Watch this short informative video showing how SyncDocs works.
 
 
With a class list in Google Docs you will be able to instantly share files with your students.  There is not even a need to email the share link to the students.  Once you share your files to your class they immediately appear in their Google Docs.
Click here for detailed instructions on creating a class list in Google Docs.
 
 
All Windows-based laptops are frozen in a preconfigured setup using the Deep-freeze software program.  In order to make any permanent changes to your system such as settings changes or to install software you will need to thaw your computer first.  Follow the steps below to thaw the computer:
  • In the system tray (lower right corner) find a small icon of a polar bear.  
  • Hold down the shift key and double click the polar bear icon.
  • A login window appears.  The account name is Admin.
  • The password can be found here.
  • Once you login a control panel appears.
  • In the list of choices select the middle choice to thaw the computer one time.
  • Apply and Reboot the system.

After the computer restarts, check the polar bear icon.  It should now have a red X over the top of it.  This means the computer is thawed.  You may now make permanent changes to the system.  When finished, restart the computer and check the polar bear to make sure there is no red X.  The system is re-frozen.
 
 


There is a cool set of Google Apps desktop icons that you can install.  They use a stylized Google Chrome window.   The icons only work on Windows systems.

Google Apps Desktop Shortcuts
 

First Post!

6/13/2011

 
This is the Chequamegon School Districts technology website.  Please find information about current activities of the technology department posted here.  This is June 13th and I am in the process of creating this site.