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: 

Continue reading Canvas Period/Section Numbers

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.  

Continue reading Handy Tools: the Snipping Tool

Canvas How-To Guides

As we get ready to start the 2018-19 school year, our Technology & Innovation team has been busy at work preparing how-to guides to help our teachers, students, and community effectively utilize ICCSD technology resources.  

One of the sets of guides we’ve prepared focuses on teachers’ use of Canvas.  Check out this resource here, where you’ll find walkthroughs focusing on basic Canvas use, course-building, grading, assignments, and more.

In addition to the district-created guides linked above, parents wanting to make use of the Canvas Parent app should check out the guides available for iOS and Android.   

Use Screencastify to Record Screencasts

Did you know that the Iowa City CSD has a site license for Screencastify, a Chrome plugin that allows you to record your entire screen (not just Chrome)?  For teachers thinking about flipping a lesson, staff members providing a walkthrough of an on-screen process, or a student recording a presentation, screen recording software can be of great value.  

The Screencastify plugin allows ICCSD teachers, staff, and students to record an unlimited number of videos, each of unlimited length, which can then be uploaded to YouTube, shared via Google Drive, or downloaded as an mp4 file or animated GIF.  In order to use the ICCSD site license, you just need to authenticate with your @iowacityschools.org or @icstudents.org Google account.  

For instructions or more information, check out our guide.  

ICCSD Summer Tech PD Catalog

ICCSD staff members – teachers, administrators, and other staff members are eligible – should check out and register for our summer technology-focused PD offerings, listed here.  
 
You can sign up for one course or workshop, or as many as you like.  Most of the offerings are short (2-4 hour) workshops; there is no fee to sign up for these, nor is there compensation provided for enrolling in them.  The courses that indicate that they’re available for license renewal or graduate credit are 15-hour courses, and there is a fee associated with the credits earned.  As with the workshops, there is no compensation provided for enrolling in these courses.  

Continue reading ICCSD Summer Tech PD Catalog

iPad Update: Summer, 2018

All ICCSD staff members have received several email notices over the past couple of months regarding our upcoming iPad update project, which will begin at the end of the school year.  I’ve received a number of questions with regard to this project, and wanted to provide some overview information for those of you who use – or have students who use – iPads.  

Project Overview

All ICCSD-owned iPads – this includes those purchased with building, department, grant, or PTO funds – must be turned in to your building office or the ESC tech center by June 1st, 2018.  iPads will be reimaged and connected to our new management system, at which point they will be redeployed back to you.  The purpose of this project is to bring all of our iPads under a unified management system that will allow us to easily deploy and recover application licenses, improve security and manageability, and to identify and fix problems with devices.   Continue reading iPad Update: Summer, 2018

Getting Started with the new Classroom Technology Suite

While this has been shared before, I wanted to provide a new link to our guide to getting started with the wireless video and interactive projector technologies that we’re installing in our classrooms.  Ten new buildings will be brought up to the new suite beginning next year, and we’re excited to provide the support needed to make that a smooth transition. 

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1-r9XWkJ007YHNGkcqD2qqGQfJivAEi1E/view?usp=sharing

If you run into problems following these instructions, or if there’s something that you wish we had included, please reach out to the Help Desk at helpdesk@iowacityschools.org or x4357.   

Trimester Transition in Canvas

A technical limitation in Canvas does not allow two trimesters to be active at one time. As a result, district Canvas enrollment sync for third trimester is paused until Sunday evening, allowing teachers to finish second trimester grades and collect assignments without any technical problems.

This may result in students having incorrect third trimester enrollments in Canvas. PowerSchool is not impacted by this pause and students should use their PowerSchool schedule for class schedule data.  Canvas enrollments should be corrected Sunday night and be ready for class on Monday morning. Canvas is working towards a solution to this inconvenience and hopes to have this problem corrected by fall. Sorry for any confusion this may cause.

Network Outage on Saturday (1/13/17)

I hope that this is the last network outage announcement that we’ll have for a while, but need to notify users of the ICCSD network that we will have an outage affecting all schools in the northwest quadrant of the district beginning Saturday morning at 7 AM and lasting for five to seven hours.  

Affected schools include:

  • Liberty High School
  • Northwest Junior High
  • North Central Junior High
  • Borlaug Elementary
  • Coralville Central Elementary
  • Garner Elementary
  • Kirkwood Elementary
  • Penn Elementary
  • Van Allen Elementary
  • Wickham Elementary

This outage is due to a major fiber rerouting project that must be completed due to a property transaction by the City of Iowa City.  In addition to the aforementioned schools, this outage will also affect portions of the networks of the City of Iowa City, Johnson County, the Iowa Department of Transportation, and The University of Iowa, to name a few entities.  

While we were able to take steps during an earlier phase of this project to avoid outages for district facilities, that will be impossible during this phase of work.  It is our hope that, upon completion, we will have no further network outages in the foreseeable future.  

Internet Outage Update

Earlier today (12/20/2017), ICCSD experienced a district-wide internet outage that was caused by a fiber cut that affected Iowa Communications Network sites throughout eastern Iowa.

As of 9:30pm, the ICN has repaired the fiber and service has been restored. We expect that there will be no further outages associated with this incident.

We appreciate your patience as we worked through the ICN to resolve this problem.