Archive for category Tech Tools

Time for an Update! Eduphoria Plain Paper Scanner App

The next time you try to scan answer documents to add student results in Eduphoria, you might notice that its time to upgrade your scanner software. Follow these simple steps to ensure that your computer has the most recent version of the scanning software.

1. Launch the Plain Paper Scanner-TWAIN App as you normally would and click Next.

2. In the pop up that notifies you that an update is available, select “Click here to download the latest version.”

3. When prompted, click Run.

4. After the update downloads, the wizard will walk you through the process of installing. Simply click Next on each screen to complete the install. Once the install is complete, you will notice TWO PlainPaper Scanner icons on your desktop. Right click on the icon that is “Plain Paper…” and select delete. You will use the icon that says “PlainPaper…TWAIN” for scanning Eduphoria documents!

Now your upgrade is complete and you are ready to scan answer documents!

 

 

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My Gradebook is CLOSED?!

“Things have been great this grading period. Entering grades, closing things out for progress reports…loving life. But wait! I just went in to add more grades after progress reports and the gradebook won’t let me?! It says [CLOSED] next to each student?!! What do I DO?!”

Ever find yourself in this situation? Well, if you are reading this, you probably are in EXACTLY that situation! The good news is that there is an easy fix for this problem. Let’s walk through the symptom, cause, and solution for this problem.

Symptom: You can’t add assignments, edit assignments, enter grades; basically anything in your gradebook. AND it’s after the progress report time for this grading period.

Cause: 99.9% of the time, this is caused by the students being finalized on the Finalize Grade screen of the gradebook. Check out the image below to see what I’m talking about.

Finalized Grade Screen

Those “Finalized” boxes only need to be checked at the end of the grading period, not at progress report time. Essentially, those boxes lock your grade book from any additional edits.

Solution: To open your gradebook for editing again is very easy! All you need to do is go to your finalize grade screen for any class showing that symptom and uncheck each of those boxes for the students. Once every one is unchecked, scroll to the top of the page and click “Save”. The screen will refresh…check that all the boxes are unchecked still…and then you can close that tab and open your gradebook for editing again!

If that doesn’t solve your problem, give the Help Desk a call at ext. 0220 and we can figure out what’s going on! Happy grading!

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Eduphoria – Sharing Tests the Easy Way!

Eduphoria has been an  incredibly powerful tool this school year and we hope it has made the process of creating assessments, scanning in students answer documents, and accessing the test data so much easier! And you know what? We are hoping we can make it even BETTER!

One of the great functions inside Eduphoria Aware is the ability to share assessments, but if you share from your normal teacher account, you essentially are just sharing an answer key…not the test data that could be associated with it…and that’s not cool! We know you need to be able to easily share assessment data and see how you and your team are doing at covering TEKS and teaching our students, so Technology Services and Research & Accountability have come up with a solution for you! This new solution involves a brand new campus account that has the ability to create an answer key, release it to any teacher on your campus, and then the teacher will be able to quickly print out their own answer documents…no need to release it to their students or take any extra steps. And when you scan in the answer documents, they are all being scanned in as a campus assessment, allowing for campus administrators to see the results as a whole and for individual teachers to be able to compare their results with the campus averages!

So how do you do it? Well, your first step is to watch this simple video:

Pretty simple process, right? You will need your campus’s special username, and you can access that by CLICKING HERE! For the password, check with your campus principal. And that’s all you should need! Happy test sharing and let us know how this helps you…and how we can help more!

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SMART Response connector for Eduphoria!

The SMART Response connector for eduphoria! is an assessment tool that allows you to use the SMART Response clicker system with the eduphoria! aware assessment program.

Learn how-to get the most out of your SMART Response and eduphoria! aware. Videos 1-3 will take you through the entire process of completing an assessment with the SMART Response connector for eduphoria!

Part 1 – Downloading and installing (3:59)

Part 2 – Creating the assessment within eduphoria! (2:31)

Part 3 – Downloading the SOS and administering the assessment (6:35)

Part 4 – Uploading results at a later time and connector log files (4:40)

Additional Resources:

  1. Click here to download SMART Response connector for eduphoria!
  2. Click here for a SMART Response connector for eduphoria cheat sheet
  3. SMART Notebook File – Using SMART Response connector for eduphoria!
  4. Additional SMART resources on iCafe

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Add Some “Zip” to Your Teacher Blog

While your teacher blog can be an effective channel of communication for students, parents, and the community at large, let’s face it; without any images, your Teacher Webpage can appear a bit…well…boring. Never fear! Here at the iCafe we have several sure-fire ways to put a little “zip” into your Teacher Blog.

Get Organized – Use Tables

Using tables can allow you to place content exactly where you want it. Want an image to appear next to your text, rather than above or below it?  Use a table!

To add a table to your latest blog post, simply click on the Insert Table icon while editing your blogpost. From there, you can choose to use the Table Wizard to add rows and columns to your table.

 

Brighten Things Up – Insert Images & Links

Including images of what your students are doing in class, or anything that relates to the information you’re posting is a GREAT way to grab reader’s attention.  Another way to make your Teacher Webpage interactive is to include links to helpful sites, parent information, instructional materials, and more.  When you’re ready to add images to your Teacher Webpage, Check out our Working with Links and Images Cheatsheets!

Get the WOW Factor – Embed Content

In a nutshell, embeding content allows you to create a window within your teacher webpage through which visitors can view content normally found on other websites.  Some things you might want to consider embedding are:

Stuff to Embed:  Videos of Student Created Work (YouTube):


Stuff to Embed:  Instructional Materials from edu.Glogster, edu.Prezi, or other Content Creation Sites:


Embedding Content:  It’s not as Tricky as it Looks!

Embeding HTML sounds really tricky, doesn’t it?  Guess what?  Embeding content does NOT take a degree in computer science!  Boiled down, it’s as simple as Copy/Paste.    Still not convinced?  Check out the Embed Content on Teacher WebPage Cheatsheet , and give it a try!

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Access Audio Files via QR Codes

Image Courtesy, Flicker: Charley Lhasa

QR Codes are everywhere.  You find them in stores, on flyers, on billboard signs along the highway (although that may be the DUMBEST thing ever!), and now all over schools.  More and more teachers are using Quick Response codes in the classroom for all types of situations, such as a self-checking system, to give directions, or just to grab a student’s attention.  They are finding that these adventures are fun and easy for everyone.  Students are even creating codes for other students to use!

I want to share with you yet another way to include QR codes in the classroom: linking to audio files.  Teachers and students alike can create audio files online and then link them to a QR code so anyone with the code has easy access to them.  The audio files could be a student sharing a story or problem they have created.  It could be a teacher giving directions or prompts.  Classrooms or campuses can share upcoming information with parents.  The opportunities go on and on.

Making this happen cannot get much easier.  A website, Recordmp3.org, will allow you to record yourself online.  It then saves the recording to the web. It supplies you with a URL that will take anyone who has it to your audio file.  Copy this link and you are then ready to create your QR Code.

There are many sites that you can use to create a QR Code.  My favorite is QRStuff.com.  Once you open the site you have 4 steps to take:

  1. Choose the type of data you are creating a code for.  In this case it will be a Website URL.
  2. Paste the URL you created for your audio file from Recordmp3.org.
  3. Choose the color of your QR Code.  Keep in mind that darker colors make it easier to scan.
  4. Download the code.  It is a good idea to rename each code and place all your codes for a project into a folder as you are downloading them.  This will help you keep your codes organized. You will need to know where each code will take you.

To walk you through each of these steps from audio files through QR creation, click here to download a cheat sheet that has been created.

Depending on how and where you are using the codes, it is likely that you will need to print them out.  The QR codes do not need to be the size of a full size sheet of paper.  In fact, they scan easier if they are a bit smaller.  A good size for codes is 3.5 x 5 inch or even a wallet size photo.   Click here to download a cheat sheet that will walk you through the printing process.

How are you using QR codes in your classroom?  Audio files would be a great addition to add to activities or to share the amazing things your students are creating each and every week.

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New Buttons in Eduphoria Aware

Eduphoria has had a great start in LCISD this semester! It is such an easy tool to use…and we’ve added a couple of buttons that we think will make it even easier!

Export Grades

One button we’ve added can be found at the top of your screen when you are looking at student results on an assessment. This handy new button is called the “Export Grades” button.

So what does it do? Well…click on it and you’ll find a very nice spreadsheet that has 4 very critical pieces of information: (1) student last name, (2) student first name, (3) student ID number, and (4) the score they made on that assessment. A very easy to pull spreadsheet that can make entering those scores into your gradebook a little bit easier.

Student Tutoring Strips

One report that we have had a lot of requests for is student tutoring strips. Well…now you have it! When you are looking at student results for an assessment, in the quick views drop down at the top of the screen, you have a new option called “Student Tutoring Strips”.

If you check out that view, it will pull a screen that ONLY shows what question each student missed. Then you can print that screen as a PDF, cut out each student strip, and hand those to kids for test corrections!

So those are a few of the additions you can now see inside of Eduphoria and we have a few more things coming down the pike, so keep an eye out. If you have other needs inside of Eduphoria, please let us know in the comments below and we will see what we can do to make that happen!

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Saving Transition Time

Transitioning in the classroom seems like a small thing.  It only takes a few minutes to transition from one subject/class to another.  If the kids are running a bit slow, 2-3 minutes might turn into 5-6 minutes.  That is a small amount, right?

Take into consideration the number of times a day you are transitioning from one thing to another.  Is it 4,5,6…more?  Let’s settle on 6 transitions a day.  At 5 minutes each you have just used a half-hour of teaching time…each day!  That is 2.5 hours a week.  For a 36 week schedule that is 90 hours a year.  It adds up fast.  Imagine being able to get even half of that time back…

Teachers are finding that music is a great way to make transitions smoother and more efficient in their classroom.  By spending a few minutes to introduce the concept they are saving hours in the long run.  Students will quickly associate the song to the task at hand and start the process as soon as they hear it.  By utilizing the same song every day, students also start to understand how much time they have by recognizing how much of the song is left.  Add in the fact that it is more fun than hearing the teacher say 25 times that “it is time to go” and I am sold!

I know what many of you may be thinking, “That is a great idea, but how am I going to get that done every day?  I have enough trouble keeping up with what I am doing now.”  I hear you loud and clear!  You don’t need another thing to do every day.  Wouldn’t it be nice to set your computer to automatically play your transitions every day?  Let me introduce you to the Task Scheduler.

The Task Scheduler can be accessed through your start menu under accessories.  It will allow you to set as many tasks as you want as often as you want.  All you will need to do is have your music files stored on your computer so they can be accessed by the scheduler.  To learn how to do this, a cheat sheet has been created to walk you through the process on a Windows machine.

If you are looking for some music to use for this task or for any other projects you are doing in class, FreePlayMusic.com is a great place to go.  All the music there is royalty and copyright free.  It is all instrumental so you have no worries about lyrics either.  To learn more about FreePlayMusic and how to download from the site, refer to this cheat sheet.

Gain some of your valuable classroom time back.  Give the Task Scheduler a try!

Build a QR Talking Museum

Recently, Janis Knuckols, Jane Long Elementary – Art Teacher Extrordinaire, approached me with the idea of having her students use QR codes to create a talking art museum. I immediately got ridiculously excited about the idea, my teacher-brain nearly spinning out of control thinking of all the great ways this idea could be used across the curriculum!

Think about it! Posting student work throughout your campus attached to a QR code that links back to a student’s audio explanation of what they learned. This same idea could also be used to create an indoor scavenger hunt, give audio directions for a learning center, create an talking picture book…and so much more!

Is your brain spinning too?  Ready to get started? Here’s what needs doin’!

 

Your Kiddos

Have your kids write about their work.  We don’t want this to be super short, but we don’t want it to be super long either…students are going to want to grab their audience’s attention and use great voice in their writing!  “Ba-da-bing!” is a great way to encourage this type of writing.  Here is a short Ba-Da-Bing! and Ba-Da-Bing Sample Lesson that will help explain “Ba-da-bing”, if you’d like to learn more! Feel free to use and share. This lesson and powerpoint were created by the lovely and talented Lisa McNally from George JHS. (Thanks Lisa!)

Microphones

Our district is lucky enough to have sets of microphones that can be checked out from your CITS.  Microphones are a very inexpensive addition to your classroom toolbox.  If you’d like to have  your own – Logitech makes several inexpensive versions (I have a $9.99 model that works fine).   Simply plug the microphone in to the front of your computer where you see the small microphone symbol.

Recordmp3

Once your microphone is plugged in, navigate to http://www.recordmp3.org/ and click to allow the site access to your microphone, and then begin recording!

http://recordmp3.org

Once you’re satisfied with your recording, click “Save Recording.”  Finally, Right-Click and Copy the web address that your recording is given.  Hang on to it for a minute, because you’re going to need it for the next step!

QR Stuff

Finally, it’s time to create your QR code!  To get started, visit http://www.qrstuff.com/ and follow these steps:

  • Data Type – Website URL
  • Paste in the URL (address) that you copied from Recordmp3 into the “step 2” box
  • Change the QR code color, if you’d like
  • Click on the “Download QR Code” button on the right
  • Click “Open”
  • Right-Click and “Copy”
  • Paste the image into the Talking Museum QR Tracking Sheet

**If you have several students working on creating  QR codes:  You can have students download and Save their QR image into a folder you’ve created on a shared student drive, HOWEVER… you’ll want to have them name the file in a way that will make it easy for you to know who’s code is whose (tip…have them include their initials in the file name!).  You don’t want to have to sift through 35 QR codes trying to figure out which one belongs to each student!

Printing

Once your students have made their recordings and you’ve placed their QR codes into the Talking Museum QR Tracking Sheet, just print out the sheet (in color, if preferred) cut out each QR code, attach it to the front of the corresponding student’s project, and post them around campus.

Listening In

Once QR’s are attached to student work, apps such as Scan can be used on generation 4 iPod Touches (the ones with cameras) iPad2/3’s or most smartphones to play back student recordings.  Super fun!!

 

Scan

  • FREE
  • Designed for iPad, iPhone, or iTouch
  • Use a site like QR Stuff to create a digital scavenger hunt for your students.  Link your QR’s to book reviews, Discovery Education videos, and other online learning tools…then have students use the Scan app to follow your digital trail!
  • Click Here to find out more about the Scan app

Hungry for More?

The CITS team hase started a Google Doc listing ways to use QR codes in school.  Click here to visit the doc.  If you have other great ideas, please add them to the list!  Don’t forget to save this link to your favorites.  Happy scanning!

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Microsoft Office at Home

Lamar CISD Technology Department is excited to offer the latest Microsoft Office Products (both for PC and Mac) to our employees at a HUGE discount. This program is part of the Microsoft Home Use Program (HUP) and we would LOVE for you all to take advantage of this offer.

For $9.95 you can purchase the latest version of MS Office Professional for Windows or Mac featuring:  Microsoft Office
  • Word
  • Excel
  • PowerPoint
  • Publisher
  • Outlook
  • Access
  • OneNote
  • SharePoint Workspace
  • InfoPath

Click the button below for  more information on taking advantage of this great program.

Download MS Office

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