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. 

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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. 

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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.  

Canvas Error

Welcome Back!

From all of us in the Technology & Innovation Office, welcome (back) to school!  While we haven’t had the seismic technology shifts this summer that we may have had last summer in many buildings, read on to learn about the new and ongoing technology initiatives underway in the district.

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Canvas Period/Section Numbers

While I try to avoid getting too technical or specific in these blog posts, I’ve received enough questions on this topic in the past few days to think that it warrants its own mention.  The issue is this:  whereas our high schools and junior highs have 7 or 8 periods, PowerSchool has as many as 14 periods, depending on the building.  When Canvas synchronizes section names from PowerSchool, it uses the PowerSchool period numbers, meaning that the periods shown in Canvas don’t necessarily match the actual period of the day.  This results in section names that seem to indicate period numbers that don’t even exist, such as this section at North Central JH – an 8-period school – that appears to take place during period 14: 

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Handy Tools: the Snipping Tool

A couple of weeks ago I was presenting to a group of teachers, one of whom asked a question that I realized wasn’t addressed in a related how-to guide.  During the ensuing break, I decided to work on revising the how-to guide, a process that included taking a couple of screenshots, much like this one (below). 

Several of the teachers who were watching me develop this guide were in awe of the tool that I used to create my screenshots, the Snipping Tool.  One of the hidden secrets in Windows, the Snipping Tool is one of the utilities that I use on an almost-daily basis.  Whether I’m creating a how-to guide, developing a presentation that includes examples, reporting a software error, sharing a Google Map, or capturing a website, the Snipping Tool is my go-to.  

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