Chromebook Logouts on Lid Closure

Yesterday, I received a couple of emailed inquiries and a petition from students regarding a change in behavior when Chromebook lids were closed.  Previously, the Chromebooks were set to automatically go to sleep when the lid is closed – this helps to prevent inadvertent battery drain and overheating – and then to wake up when the lid is opened.   Continue reading Chromebook Logouts on Lid Closure

Welcome to the Tech & Innovation Blog!

The district recently distributed a survey regarding educational technologies to parents district-wide, and one parent reached out with questions regarding where they could get more information about our technology programs.  This, combined with the fact that we recently published our 100th article and have been going strong for just over one year, leads me to conclude that it’s about time to reintroduce the Iowa City Schools’ Technology & Innovation blog!

We have over a thousand subscribers to the Technology & Innovation blog, but that obviously represents a very small slice of our larger school community, including parents, students, and other community stakeholders.  It’s my goal that awareness of and access to this resource be spread to as many people as possible.  With that in mind, I’m posting this reintroduction, including links to some of our highlights below.  I’d encourage you to share this post via Twitter, Facebook, and email with anyone who might be interested.  

Continue reading Welcome to the Tech & Innovation Blog!

Extending Gmail with Google Labs

Gmail offers a number of features that allow you to customize your experience, and I’ve blogged about some of those already – such as adding a preview pane (like Outlook) and creating rules to filter incoming messages – but I haven’t yet written about the wonder that is (are?) Gmail Labs.  

What are Gmail Labs? 

Have you ever wanted to be able to automate replies that you send on a regular basis?  Automatically filter out bulk emails?  Add your calendar to your Gmail interface?  These and many more features are available within Gmail Labs, and can be enabled for any ICCSD account.   Continue reading Extending Gmail with Google Labs

Canvas at the End of the Trimester

I previously posted regarding the dates at which courses will no longer be available to students and teachers; in a nutshell, Trimester 1 courses will be available until June 30th, 2018.  Here is a more comprehensive guide for teachers as the end of the first trimester approaches.   Continue reading Canvas at the End of the Trimester

Subscribe to Blog Updates via Text

Taking a cue from a number of teachers here in the Iowa City Schools, I’m now offering the ability to subscribe to receive text message updates when new blog entries are posted.  This is separate from the email subscription option that has long been available, and will hopefully be appealing to those of you who prefer to use your phone / texting as a primary means of getting information.  

In order to subscribe, just click this link: https://www.remind.com/join/h8bh9k 

This service is being provided via Remind.com, which many of our teachers, students, and parents are already using for messaging.  You have the option of unsubscribing at any time by replying with @LEAVE to any of the texts. 

I’ll be excited to see whether this service is useful to those of you who follow the blog!

Brief Internet Outage

There will be a brief – less than 5 minutes – internet outage district-wide on Wednesday, October 25th at 5:30 PM.  This outage is related to maintenance being performed by our ISP to resolve a problem we’ve identified.  

Connectivity should be restored for all devices immediately after the maintenance is completed, with no action required on the part of users.  

Internet Service Upgrade Completed

After a couple of false starts, we successfully completed an upgrade of our internet service through the Iowa Communications Network (ICN) just over a week ago.  The most substantial impact of this change is that our internet bandwidth has been expanded from 1Gb to 3Gb, a critical improvement (more on that below). 

Why was this upgrade necessary?

Once we completed the upgrade, issues we had been facing with internet performance almost immediately vanished.  Prior to the upgrade, we were seeing our bandwidth max out immediately at the beginning of the school day, and it would remain that way until school was out for the day.  This means that – at any given time – we had more demand for bandwidth than our service could accommodate, resulting in slow performance and intermittent drops / loading errors.  You can see this in the chart at right, which shows our demand and usage prior to the upgrade.   Continue reading Internet Service Upgrade Completed

Network Services Restored

The power outage at the physical plant headquarters has been resolved, and internet/phone services should now be working as normal at the physical plant, West High School, Weber Elementary, Horn Elementary, and TREC.  

Most users shouldn’t have to do anything in order to get back on the network, but if you have problems getting network access on your computer after the outage, I’d recommend that you restart your computer in order to reset your network configuration.  

If you are unable to access network resources or if larger-scale problems return, please contact the Helpdesk at x4357 or helpdesk@iowacityschools.org

Thanks for your patience as we worked through this issue.  

Major Network/Phones Outage

A power outage at the physical plant facility on the south side of Iowa City is causing internet and phone outages at West High School, Weber Elementary, Horn Elementary, and TREC.  

Physical plant is working to resolve this power outage.  Once it is resolved, network operations should resume as normal.  

Q: What happens to Canvas courses at the end of the first trimester?

While I’m amazed that we’re already nearing the turn of the calendar to second trimester, I received a question today that reminded me that I needed to get some information to ICCSD teachers and students regarding what to expect.  Specifically, what happens to Canvas courses at the end of the first Trimester?

A: All teachers and students will continue to have access to Tri 1 courses – whether they are yearlong courses or single-trimester courses – until midnight on June 30th, 2018.  This will allow teachers to work on grading, students to reference previously-submitted work and materials, and so forth.  

Since the courses will no longer be current, their status will change to “Past Enrollment” and won’t appear – by default – on students’ and teachers’ dashboards.  Instead, users will need to click the “Courses” button on the left side of Canvas, and then “All Courses” to show both past and current enrollments.  This area will also show teachers their future courses.  

If you’ve read about Canvas, you may be aware that this is not the default behavior; we modified the access end dates to ensure that students and teachers can seamlessly use and reference previous course content until the end of the year.