Canvas: Advanced Instructor Workshop

For those teachers who would like to take a deeper dive into Canvas, I recommend checking out this Canvas: Advanced Workshop slide deck.  This resource can serve as a self-guided launching point to learn more about how Canvas can be leveraged in your classroom.

Among the topics that are included are: 

  • Google Integration
  • Instructor Basics
  • Assignments and Grading
  • Assessments
  • Discussions
  • Text/Email Notification Settings
  • Mastery Paths (individualization/personalization)

Further, you’ll find a link to enroll in Kung-Fu Canvas, our Canvas course for instructors, where you can explore Canvas topics from basic to advanced. 

Emergency Alert Test Postponed to October 3rd

UPDATE: The emergency alert system test originally scheduled for September 20th has been postponed until October 3rd at 1:18 PM Central due to Hurricane Florence. 

Original post (dates updated): In order to avoid any confusion in our classrooms, I wanted to share this notification that on October 3rd, 2018, the Federal Emergency and Management Agency (FEMA) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will conduct a nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) and Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) beginning at 1:18 PM Central.

In our classrooms, students and teachers with cellphones are likely to receive test alerts – including an audible notification – at 1:18 PM on Thursday.  

Solving the “Google Authorization” Issue in Canvas

We’ve had relatively few ongoing technical issues with Canvas, but one of the problems that’s been a nagging issue that’s impacted our students and teachers is an issue with embedded Google documents. 

One of the features of Canvas is that it integrates with Google Drive; teachers can embed Google syllabi, assignment descriptions, sheets that students can collaborate on, etc., within Canvas.  Further, students can submit Google Docs as Canvas assignment submissions, embed Google docs in wikis and discussion boards, and so forth.  

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ICCSD Innovation on Education Exchange

Check out the annual Educational Exchange episode focused on the Iowa City Schools’ Technology & Innovation programs.  Some of the topics covered include recent and current technology projects, our recent program evaluation, and the district’s focus on technology integration support and STEM programming. 

An Inexpensive Home Internet Option for Qualifying Families

While the district is able to provide home internet access* for students in our secondary schools who do not have home internet, we sometimes get inquiries from elementary families about options for affordable home internet.  

One option that I’d like to share is Mediacom’s Connect2Compete program, which offers 10Mb internet service to families who qualify for $9.95 per month. 

Continue reading An Inexpensive Home Internet Option for Qualifying Families

Updating Chromebook and Chrome Browser Software

One of the benefits of Chromebooks the Chrome browser is that they automatically update their software to the latest version, freeing up IT staff time to work on other issues.  We recently learned, however, that a handful of ICCSD Chromebooks were stuck on Chrome OS Version 61, which was preventing certain Chrome Apps – like Lexia – from loading.  

At any time, students and teachers can manually check for software updates on a district-issued Chromebook or in the Chrome browser on a Windows or Mac computer.  This can be an easy first step when an application is not loading or isn’t behaving as expected.  In order to check for a software update, follow the appropriate set of instructions below; the first set shows how to update a Chromebook, and the second shows how to update the Chrome browser.   

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Missing courses in Canvas? Read on!

We’ve received a number of support requests from individuals (students and teachers) who are missing courses in Canvas.  In the vast majority of cases, the Canvas enrollments are correct, but the user dashboard is customized such that the courses don’t appear when the user logs in.  Check out the steps (and video) below that show you how to customize which courses appear on your dashboard. 

Continue reading Missing courses in Canvas? Read on!

PowerSchool and Classroom Tech Resources for Teachers and Staff

As we get started with the school year, I wanted to remind teachers and other staff members about some of our PowerSchool and classroom technology resources and videos. 

Power Teacher Pro: here, you’ll find step-by-step guides and videos relating to PowerTeacher Pro.  

PowerSchool Resources: these step-by-step guides walk you through basic PowerSchool tasks. 

Interactive Projector Videos: these video-walkthroughs show you how to use common interactive projector functions, and how to connect wirelessly to a projector.  

Classroom Technology Resources: these step-by-step guides will show you how to identify and use features of our classroom technology suite, including the new suite and the SMART Board/hub computer configuration.  

ICCSD Internet Services Restored

Internet access within the Iowa City Community School District was interrupted this Sunday morning, August 26th, when Iowa Communications Network (ICN) engineers accidentally cut a district fiber optic connection in Tiffin, IA.  

The cut has been repaired and service restored as of Sunday, August 26th at 2:15 PM.  We will continue to monitor connectivity for issues going forward, but do not anticipate additional service interruptions.  

Canvas Assignment Category Import Issue

We were notified today (see below) that Canvas has identified an issue – based upon ICCSD’s submission of the problem – with imports of assignment categories into Canvas from PowerSchool.  While imports are working for some teachers, they are not working for others.  

Canvas Support has sent us an update to apply which they believe will solve this issue.  If you have had troubles importing assignment categories over the past few days, please try again after the update has been applied.  We’ll update this post as soon as we’ve been able to implement this fix.  

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