Monday, August 21, 2017

Change Your EdLeaders Network Password

All users should change their EdLeaders Network password. If you receive an email from,, or NetForum, your process should be very simple - click the link and go. However, ELN and IPA have been having some trouble getting things up and running for us this summer, so here's a quick tutorial to check the status of your account.

This video will explain the sign up & password change process:

Once you are in the new EdLeaders Network you'll find that you have been assigned an orientation "course" and you may also see a "program" (containing several courses) called IL Annual Mandated Training. You can work through the courses at your own pace, but you do NOT have to repeat any training that your building principal may conduct at your building in staff meeting sessions.

Here's how to navigate the new EdLeaders Network portal.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Getting Your Tech Questions Answered in District 205

If you need assistance with technology tools, both formal policies and informal procedures are in place to help you use our District’s technology tools:
  • If you are having difficulties with classroom hardware or software, use the Tech Help Request link, which is found under the For Staff tab on the District website. These messages go directly to the Technology Department and will be routed to someone who can help you.
  • If you have questions about content displayed on school level websites or social media presences, contact your building principal.
    • Additionally, every school website has a Contact Us form that delivers an email directly to someone at your building who can help you.
  • If you have questions about content displayed on the District level website or social media presences, please contact me, Technology Director Rick Lawsha, or anyone in his Technology Department, in that order.
    • As with school websites, the District site also has a prominent Contact Us link that delivers messages directly and simultaneously to Technology Director Rick Lawsha and myself. Together, we will always be happy to work with you to address issues as best we can, route your concern to someone if we can’t help, and if needed, revisit the problem if it is not fixed on the first try.
  • If you would like help incorporating instructional technology into your lessons and other classroom activities, please contact Matt Jacobson via email (mjacobson) or phone (2108).
  • Visit the Technology and Learning Website to find LOTS of resources to help you with your day-to-day tech use.
    • How Do I…? pages will help you learn to use tools from Skyward to our school telephones.
    • Tech & PD Updates are archived on this page, too. Returning staff members can refresh their memories about tech they haven’t used for a while by browsing through this list. This page will be posted there, too!
    • Visit our Internet Safety Curriculum pages to find lots of good teaching tips to help keep kids safe online!

Finally, remember that I am always willing to receive your direct emails. Also know that I will try to respond as personally and as quickly as I can. If I am unable to help, I will tell you and I will route your concern to someone who can provide assistance. However, sometimes I may need your help in fully identifying where those specific problems exist.

Mentor & New Teacher Info Updated for 2017

Information for Mentors can be found on the Mentor Information web page.

New Teacher information can be found on the New Teachers web page

If you have any questions, please email mjacobsongalesburgorg

Import SMART Notebook to Promethean Flipcharts

Several teachers have asked about importing SMART Notebook files to use with Promethean Board software. It is extremely simple:

If you use ActiveInspire, check out this quick video:

However, Promethean Planet is moving over to a new environment called ClassFlow, which works really well on both the desktop and the web-based version (for Chromebooks). The process is simple with ClassFlow software, too - here's how:

Just plug a flash drive containing your SMART Notebook files into a Chromebook (Internet connection required) and create a free account to get started!

Create A Classflow Account
2. Click the LogIn button (not Create An Account... trust me...)

3. Log in as a Teacher

4. Scroll down and log in with your G+ profile 

5. Turn off your pop-up blocker if needed and select your school GMail account

6. Go to the Resources tab and click the NEW button. At the bottom of the menu, click Convert and choose SMART Notebook (or Power Point, or ActivInspire Flipchart, etc.) 

Try EduClipper as a Pinterest Alternative

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We understand that lots of educators use Pinterest to gather & organize links and images they find while browsing the Web. Unfortunately, lots of people use Pinterest for purposes that are not appropriate for school. In short: Perverts Pin Porn. So how can you curate Web resources on a site that's safer for your classroom?

EduClipper is an educationally-oriented alternative to Pinterest. It works in much the same way - users can organize websites, images, documents, etc., into “Boards” and “Portfolios” that you can share with others. It even has a mobile app and a bookmarklet: just drag the “eduClip It” button up to your browser's bookmark bar to make things a lot easier.

EduClipper has several education-specific features that allow you to create groups and virtual classes. Teachers can share Boards to all students or create differentiated groups. It will allow you to create Assignments by adding clips, images, Google Docs, etc., to a Board. Students can attach their new work to the Board and share it back with the teacher.

When teachers create a class, a class portfolio is automatically created to help students track their work during the term or school year. Teachers can give targeted feedback via document, comment, or audio/video upload.

Give EduClipper a try!

Note: I learned about EduClipper from Free Tech For Teachers 

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Chromebook Basics for Students & Parents

Here's a brief tutorial about basic procedures & practices for student use of Chromebooks in District #205 (especially students in Grades 6-12 who can take our devices home)...

Here's a similar video geared toward parents...

Student not visible in Hapara Highlights?

Image clipped from
Our district uses Hapara in Grades 6-12 to monitor student Chromebook use. (It is not currently available in our elementary grades) This is an optional service - teachers are not required to use it, but many choose to do so.

Hapara Highlights, which allows teachers view what kids see on-screen, works as a browser extension. We experimented with disabling a student's abilities to modify the setting, but the unexpected consequences of doing so were (1) ELLs and Foreign Language students couldn't use international keyboards, and (2) special needs students couldn’t enable accessibility features. So, that means kids can disable & re-enable Hapara Highlights at will, resulting in students having the ability to “hide” their screens from their teachers’ abilities to view remotely.

Effective use of any technology relies on teachers' strong classroom management procedures. Hapara was never designed to eliminate that need, just assist with it. However, if disabling Hapara Highlights becomes a recurring problem, I would urge you to educate students that behavioral consequences can be activated. Notify building administration as needed.

Before you do that, however, please try the following troubleshooting tips to keep kids in your classroom and continue their learning experience with as little interruption as possible.

First, have the student log in to the device and open a browser window. On the student's device and look for this icon near the top of the screen:
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If you see the icon, click it and follow the instructions on-screen.

To interpret the results, see the Highlights Student Diagnostics Check support article

If you don't see the icon, follow the following steps...
  • First, make sure the Chromebook is updated. Look for an upward-pointing arrow near the time display in the lower right corner of the screen. If you see it, click it and restart the device to update. 
  • Next, with the student logged-in, open Chrome and click the 3-dot menu, upper right corner
  • Point to More Tools and choose Extensions
  • Scroll down to find Hapara Highlights extension and check the box next to Enabled
CRITICAL FINAL STEP: Inform the student that there can be behavioral consequences it the extension is disabled again. Then, if it happens again, follow through consistently and fairly according to your administrator's instructions.

Reference: Item 2.1 on Page 2 of the Chromebook Policy that all students and/or guardians agreed to at registration: 

​"d. ... attempting​ to change the ​... ​D​istrict settings of or to the devic​e​ will subject the Student to discipline.​"​
​"​i. ​The District can and will locate, access, and modify Chromebooks remotely, even when in a Student’s possession. Modifying, disabling or attempting to disable the locator or any District​ ​software​ used for tracking or accessing a Chromebook​ ​is a violation of the Authorization for Student Internet Access and Acceptable Use of the Internet​ and grounds for disciplinary action​..."
See the District’s Chromebook Policy under the For Students or For Parents tabs on the CJHS, LMS, GHS, GHS-N, and District websites. 

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