2018-2019 Technology Guide for Teachers

ST THERESA SCHOOL TECHNOLOGY HANDBOOK FOR STAFF AND TEACHERS

The following information is required reading for all staff of St. Theresa School Hellertown, PA. This information is critical to your understanding of the use of technology in the school for both you and your students.

School Technology Purpose:

  1. As per all previously approved Diocesan Technology Plans and the Diocesan Technology Curriculum standards all technology in the school is to be integrated into the regular daily instruction of students in all classrooms and other areas where technology is provided for student use.
  2. All technology provided for administrative staff is to be used to facilitate the administration of the school and to support the overall staff and teachers at the school.
  3. Technology is acquired and upgraded for the purpose of ensuring that the school and its staff and students will be able to meet and exceed the required 21st Century Learning Standards.
  4. All teachers and students are to participate in any training offered in the use of the school’s technology resources before using any new equipment in the school.
  5. Other stakeholders and/or parents utilizing the school’s facilities must be properly trained in the use of the school’s technology resources before being permitted to use them and comply with their use under the school’s Acceptable Use Policy. Any damages or misuse by these non-staff individuals will be accountable to these individuals if they do not participate in proper training.
  6. Staff, teachers, and students have the option of bringing and utilizing their own technology resources, provided they have been properly trained in the use of this equipment within the school environment and comply with the standards in the school’s Acceptable Use Policy. Personal equipment use should be focused on the enhancement of teacher instructional efficiency in the classroom, backup in the event of the failure of school provided equipment, used for specialized lesson activities for which the school does not possess the needed equipment, or used for personal emergencies that would affect the health and safety of staff, teachers, or students.
  7. No school technology can be removed from the school property without specific authorization of the school principal.
  8. No school technology can be removed from the classroom or other use area without specific authorization of the school principal.
  9. All data created and/or collected using school technology is the property of the school and the Diocese of Allentown unless specifically copyright protected by the creator. As property of the school and the Diocese it may not be distributed outside the school without proper authorization from the school principal. Data created on the teacher’s personal devices is the property of the teacher or administrator using their own device and is not subject to school or Diocesan Authorization. No student data may be collected on a teacher’s personal device. All student data is to be managed by the student Learing Management System (LMS) system used in the school. That system is currently the cloud-based service OptionC.
  10. Students or staff that have equipment that is not functioning properly are to report this to the technology coordinator no less than 24 hours following the failure of that equipment. All equipment servicing will take place within 72 hours of the reported problem providing new parts are not needed to be ordered to complete the replacement. If new parts are needed a replacement product will be provided to the teacher or student during the time that the Technology coordinator is waiting for replacement parts or a replacement item.
  11. Accidental breakage of equipment will not be charged to either the student or staff member last using that piece of equipment. Deliberate breakage will be charged to the last student or staff member using the piece of equipment. General equipment failure is possible with all equipment because none of the equipment is guaranteed or warranted for the lifetime of the product. Product life cycles are typically no more than three years in length, thus general equipment failure is possible after the three-year limit is reached. Given the school’s financial status there is no guarantee that aging equipment will be replaced at the end of a three-year product life cycle. The technology coordinator will make every effort to extend the life of school owned equipment beyond a product life cycle when possible.

 

Specific Technology Use:

Wired Desktop Computers:

  • In the classrooms, the wired computer systems are to be used for the following
    • Backup for the loss of signal for any mobile computing device
    • Specialized learning stations for students who either need remedial as sistance or who are able to do more advanced tasks
    • Print Stations even if wireless printing is available in the classroom
    • Software testing for specific curriculum areas related to the subject matter or curriculum content.
  • Each classroom will have a minimum of one wired computer system and this will remain in the classroom for the prescribed purposed above, until such time as other wired computing equipment replaces it.

Mobile Computing Devices:

  • In the classrooms, these are to be used as primary instructional tools for the students and teachers.
  • Outside of the classrooms, they are to be used as tools for extension activities such as field trip documentation, special research projects in which the whole class is participating, participation in local or regional academic competitions, art project development, etc.
  • In the STREAM Lab, mobile devices are to be used when the Desktop Computers are being used by other students and these are to be used only for STREAM and Maker Space activities in that Lab area.
  • In the Library mobile devices are to be used for research-based activities, writing assignments, and as eBook readers.

Printers:

  • Printers located in the classroom are to be used for printing required teacher and student work. Printers with copier functions are only to be used in that capacity when the number of document pages per assignment is 10 or less. All other multiple copying functions are to be done on the school copier. Students may print required assignments on the classroom printers provided they do not exceed 10 pages in length. Black and White Laser printers are to be used in most classrooms for this purpose.
  • If the printer is a multi-function device and has scanning capabilities the scanning function can be used to make copies of original material and copyright materials solely for educational purposes and distribution in the classroom. Scanning should be done to a PDF file and should be accessed by the latest version of Adobe AC (Active Cloud) on any computing device. Scanning of copyright materials can only be done when we have copyright licensing permission to do so. Non-copyright or open license materials do not require special permission. Teachers should explore the use of open source materials available on the Internet as much as possible, and/or should explore membership participation in teacher content created sites where their membership allows them to download and print the materials.
  • The school owns several high capacity laser printers including two color laser printers. These printers can be used for large print jobs should the school copy machine be down. The color printers should be used for specialized color printing projects as the color laser ink is very expensive.
  • Printer cartridges will be ordered through the Technology Coordinator. Given the austerity issues for the 2018-2019 school year, printer cartridges will only be ordered at the start of the school year, and will be ordered as one bulk order for the year. Once those cartridges have been used no further ordering will be done for the remainder of the school year. If your classroom printer no longer has cartridges you will be required to use one of the large print station printers in the server room for the remainder of the school year.
  • Each classroom will have at least one printer. Whenever possible these will be either wired network or wireless printers. Whenever possible existing printers in the classroom will not be removed unless they are in need of servicing or repair, or unless that printer is no longer supported by the manufacturer.
  • An effort will be made to replace all current printers with “Cloud enabled” printers in the future, so that these printers can be accessed by all mobile devices in the school.

Document Cameras:

  • Document cameras are available for classroom use. Models vary within the school. Some double as WEB cameras for collaborative WEBinar activities. We have tested and will continue to test a variety of equipment along these lines since this technology is constantly changing.
  • Document camera use is for projection of print text or other physical objects onto the projection screen or Interactive Whiteboards.
  • All document cameras require special driver software to enable them to work with the teacher mobile computers. This software will be installed and updated as needed by the Technology Coordinator.
  • The school does maintain specialized WEBcams and these are used and set up by the Technology Coordinator. Teachers should feel free to schedule their on WEB collaborations in addition to those scheduled by the Technology Coordinator.

Interactive Whiteboards:

  • The interactive whiteboard technology available in the school is gradually being replaced by newer technologies and will continue to be updated over the next few years. Interactive whiteboard technology is being replaced by multi-touch digital High Definition Monitors and Smart TV technology. These newer devices blend computer and display capabilities and allow for up to 12 simultaneous users creating greater student participation opportunities.
  • All currently available Interactive Display technologies owned by the school will be presented as options to the classroom teachers and they will be trained on the options available for their classrooms.
  • Another possible solution for our school will be 3D interactive projection systems. Like the newer multi-touch display panels these are expensive and will be introduced into our school environment as funding becomes available.

HD and Smart Flat Screen TVs:

  • Grades 1, 2, 4, and 5 currently have this technology available in the classroom. These have replaced older CRT models that for health and safety reasons should no longer be used in the classroom. If your classroom does not have an HD or Smart Flat Screen TV and you would like to use one for instructional purposes, please see the Technology Coordinator to discuss how you plan to use this technology in your classroom.
  • These TVs are to be used primarily to broadcast content that is provided through Public Media Services including the PBS Learning Media Services that the Diocese purchased for the 2016-2017 School Year. Other media services may be used as well depending on whether the school subscribes to these services. One of these we are considering is the new Discovery Education Go series.
  • In late 2018 Penteledata began an upgrade of our school’s cable TV services to the new digital content standards. This was done using special converter boxes. Since not all classooms have the newer Digital TVs this was only done in those classrooms with those devices. Unfortunately the school’s overall cable infrastructure is not designed for the newer Digital TV format. The cost of upgrading the cable network in the school is prohibitive at this time so a future upgrade will have to be planned when funding become available. If we add new smart TVs we will continue to use the converter box solution with those devices for the time being.

Camera Equipment:

  • The school maintains the following camera equipment:
    • Two digital still image cameras
    • Two digital still and video combo cameras
    • Three digital video cameras
  • This is equipment is available for classroom use to document special projects and/or to be used to create special classroom content either by the teachers or the students. This content can be lesson content or curriculum content.
  • The school has several means of transferring the digital data to computer systems for editing, storage, and distribution media creation.
  • Teachers and students will need to be trained on the use of this equipment prior to using it in the classrooms.
  • The school has a variety of tripod equipment to use with the cameras.

Audio and Recording Equipment:

  • The school has numerous headsets available for student use. While we require students to have headsets we have numerous headsets available both with and without microphones. All headsets with microphones are two jack units which indicate the device using them must have both a speaker/headset port as well as a microphone port. Devices requiring single jacks for both speaker/headset and microphone need to be special ordered for student use.
  • We also have stand-alone microphones for audio recording.
  • We also have a range of DVD and CD writers, and players available for use.
  • The school also has a portable PA system designed for use outside of the school building, but it could be used inside as well. It does require an extensive set of rechargeable lithium batteries. The batteries can only be charged in groups of four at a time and a minimum of eight batteries are required for the system’s use. Charging generally takes at least a full day to complete.
  • All computer systems are equipped with Audio Recording and Editing software, however, this does not extend to teacher provided or other BYOD devices. Students or teachers wishing to use their own devices will be allowed to select software that best suits their needs for this type of application. The school will not pay for software used on a teacher’s personal computing device or mobile phone.

Specialized External Storage Devices:

  • The school maintains several external hard drives for storing large data files off the server or off a teacher’s laptop.
  • The school also has a few large capacity USB drives for external storage as well.
  • The school has a range of hard drives and SSD’s that can be converted to external hard drives using a special USB cradle. If a teacher desires to use one of these hard drives or SSD’s they need to speak to the Technology Coordinator about ordering an appropriate cradle to go with the device they want to attach this external hard drive to.
  • Teachers should back up content to an external device during the school year in the event of a computer system failure or malfunction.

Other Miscellaneous Hardware:

  • The school maintains a large collection of other computer related hardware including networking equipment, power supplies, keyboards, mice, specialized interfaces, cabling, power strips, etc. The overall list would be too extensive to list here. If at any time you believe you would have a need for some type of replacement or additional equipment please check with the technology coordinator to see if we have that on hand.

Specialized Technology Equipment in the STREAM / Makerspace Lab Area:

  • Several specialized pieces of technology exist in the STREAM / MakerSpace area that requires explanation here:
    • A specialized Interactive Whiteboard Arrangement exists in that area for instructional purposes and all teacher users will have to learn how to use that Interactive system since it unlike any other we have in the school.
    • The old 3D printer in the STREAM Lab/Makerspace area is being converted into a Laser Cutter and a new 3D printer suitable for younger students to use is being purchased in its place.
    • We have a 3D printer pen available. This is much easier to use and doesn’t require specialized software to use. It is appropriate for use with all grade levels, but since it works much like a hot melt glue gun it requires teacher supervision while in use since the nozzle does get hot and could burn the student if not used properly. A safety procedures information sheet will be posted in the lab for this device.
    • We have added several robotics kits which require teacher supervision for the students. The Lego Robotics Kit is designed for use with students in grades 2 and up, while the newer mobile robotics kit is designed for students in grades 4 and up. We will be considering other kits in the future depending on the student’s interest in utilizing these learning tools. Instructions on how to use these kits exist with both kits.
    • We have added simple Hexbot Robotics kits for the students in PreK4 through Grade 2. These kits are designed to introduce the students to simple robot movement in a fun play like environment. These kits are very easy to learn for all elementary grade teachers and students.
    • We have added two computer building kits. These kits require the students to be able to read diagrams and directions not only for the construction of these computers but also for programming the software that will drive these computers once they are assembled. These kits were designed primarily for students in grades 4 through 8.
    • We have added a specialized student kit of the “Little Bits Electronics Series”. These electronics kits do require students to be able to read diagrams and understand basic electronics principles. There are teacher materials that come with the kit and there are specialized lessons also available online from the Little Bits WEBsite.
    • We have an electronics soldering training kit and several computer interactive interface kits which allow the student to create a variety of switch type inputs to the computer using real-world objects.
    • The Makey Makey Board requires the student to be able to program in the Scratch Programming language and/or be able to download and use Scratch coding from the Internet. A laptop computer is required to work with the Makey Makey Boards.
    • We have added a number of Knex Kits that contain specialized motors and equipment such as our Alternative Energy K’NEX Kit. Comprehensive directions for using this equipment and these kits is available with the kits, along with a teacher’s lesson plan CD explaining how to make use of the kit for classroom instruction.
    • We have a Hydroponics Plant growing system in the lab that requires specialized seed pods, specialized plant food, and uses a specialized computer-controlled built-in monitoring system that monitors water levels and nutrition levels. This kit is very easy to use for all grade levels but supplies need to be purchased through the Technology Coordinator. We also have a student-built grow box made from an old PC that does not require any specialized instruction for use, so if you want to use that one I can make it available for your classroom at your convenience. We have three others of the PC type available also, but two still need to have their electrical connections soldered in place.
    • We have added two of the Makey Makey computer interface kits that allow Windows-based laptops and Linux based systems to create a variety of switch inputs using real-world objects. These boards require the Scratch Programming language. Scratch programs can be downloaded from the Internet or can be created in MAC, Linux, and Windows environments.
    • There are computer controlled microscopes and other electronic microscopes in the lab area that should only be used with teacher supervision. They are excellent tools but definitely require supervision. We have a wide range of prepared slides for the students to use to explore plant and animal life using these tools. They can be used by all grades with teacher supervision.
    • There is an aquarium with pump available for aquatic life or other water-based experiments. There is a sink area in the lower level of the rectory that can be used to fill the aquarium, but you will need to check with the Technology Coordinator to make sure he has let Father Tauber know you will be using the Laundry Room area of the rectory for any water-based activity.
    • There is a wide range of other tools and supplies in the STREAM Lab. Some of the hand and power tools will definitely require teacher supervision. Some of the other supplies will also require teacher supervision since they are chemicals used for various experiments. Please see the Technology coordinator before you or your students use these resources. If you have questions about available resources, please let me know.
    • We will continue to add equipment and materials to the STREAM / Makerspace area as time goes on. I will update you on any changes and/or additions we make. All new hardware will require a 30 day minimum trial period before purchase.

Operating System and Computer Software:

  • The school has selected Operating System software based on the following:
    • Teacher familiarity with the Operating System on their provided laptops
    • Cost of Operating System Licensing
    • Security Factors
    • Compatibility with application software used in the school
    • Variety to expose users to the fact that no single platform exists in the adult work world.
    • Compatibility with other hardware used in the school
  • The Operating Systems used in the school are the following:
    • Windows 10 Professional – Used on all teacher laptops, and Administrative computing systems
    • Windows 10 Home – Used on some classroom wired computers
    • Linux Ubuntu Mate – Used on the majority of wired classroom computer system and the STREAM Lab wired computer systems.
    • Peppermint Linux – Used on School Netbook mobile computers
    • Chrome OS ( A Linux Derivative) Used on all Chromebooks
    • Android OS ( A Linux Derivative) Used on Tablets in Grade 1 and PreK4 and some Library Tablets
    • iOS – Used on all iPad equipment in the school
    • Mac OS – Used on Mac Wired System in Kindergarten and by some teachers who use their own iMac laptop computers instead of the school provided laptops.
    • Old netbook computers are being converted to the Chromixium Operating System which is a Chromebook Clone system to be used as needed if our current Chromebook systems fail.
    • Old laptop computers are also being converted to the Chromixium Operating system for use as Chromebook substitutes for teachers.

Application Software:

  • Application software is specific programs or suites of products that are designed to perform specific functions for the staff, teachers, and students.
  • All application software used by the school is targeted to providing academic support or administrative support for the school.
  • Application software will vary depending on grade level and the curriculum content for each grade level. Some Office Suite Products such as Google Docs, Microsoft Office, Libre Office and Open Office are used to provide primary academic and business functionality. Teachers may apply for use of Microsoft Office 365 and ask the school principal and the school’s school financial secretary about paying the monthly subscription fee. Teachers are encouraged to consider using Google Drive/Docs for office software and student and teacher collaboration. This software is free and can work with Microsoft Office Files. The school also maintains various versions of the Word Perfect Office Suite that were donated to the school and these can be used in place of Microsoft Office as well.
  • All systems will be protected with anti-virus and anti-malware products. These will vary depending on the operating systems used by the schools computing devices.
  • All systems will provide Internet Access via Browser Software
  • All systems will provide browser support options such as Adobe Reader DC
  • Specific Application software and drivers will be installed to facilitate the function of hardware utilized in the classrooms.
  • All academic software will be tested prior to permanent installation in a classroom. Teachers may elect to try specific software products throughout the school year. A minimum test period of 30 days is required before purchase or permanent installation is considered. Data must be presented to the Technology Coordinator based on specific teacher and student use during the trial period.
  • With the increase in “Cloud-Based Computing Services” that provide the application Software fewer device, installable software products are being considered for use at this time. All Cloud-based products also require a minimum trial testing period of 30 days before permanent use in a classroom. Cloud products that are part of a school-based subscription may include academic software and/or administrative software. Since these subscriptions are purchased by the school administration they do not require a 30 day trial period.
  • No specific list of all software used in the school will be provided here because it is too extensive to list in this document. If you desire to know more about the variety of products available, please speak with the Technology Coordinator.

Equipment Maintenance:

  • All equipment and software require regular maintenance attention throughout the school year.
  • Operating system software updating on all Windows Systems takes place automatically at Microsoft’s discretion. The school does not control this in any way.
  • Linux, Mac, iOS, Chrome, and Android Operating System software requires manual updating that must be done at least twice a month or when notifications arrive stating updates are available.
  • Application software is generally updated quarterly unless notifications about security updates are received more frequently. All security updates must be applied immediately since they affect the overall security of all network services within the school. Teachers will be taught how to do this updating. Students who participate in the Tech Wizards training program will assist the Technology Coordinator in accomplishing this task unless that program ceases to exist.
  • All physical hardware requires regular cleaning. Dust is the enemy of all digital devices and can cause those devices to stop working because Dust collects static electricity that can severely damage digital equipment. All physical equipment in the classroom must be dusted once a week. This includes dusting around any of the workstations where wired equipment and/or printers may be kept. This includes all document cameras, all interactive whiteboards, etc. Dusting should be with a clean cloth using the anti-static spray, and/or a damp clean cloth using a mixture of white vinegar and water. Four parts water to one part vinegar. The cloth should not be wet, just damp. Students in grades 4 through 8 should be able to assist with the weekly cleaning of all classroom equipment.
  • Please note all Chromebook computers are reset to factory settings during each summer. This is done to remove logins from graduated students current students data or logins are not affected although they will have to log in again at the beginning of the school year. All there data is saved on the “Cloud” on Google Drive so they don’t lose any of their data files.
  • All equipment problems of any nature should be reported to the Technology Coordinator within 24 hours of there occurrence. If the problem cannot be resolved quickly a specific maintenance repair date will be set and where possible loaner equipment will be provided until the problem can be correct. If repair parts need to be ordered or a new device needs to be ordered this may take anywhere between a few days to a few weeks so plan ahead for such contingencies. You can discuss this plan with the Technology Coordinator.
  • Problems involving email or WEB services are handled by outside companies and cannot be immediately resolved, but will be resolved as soon as possible.
  • External network services are handled by Penteledata and services depend on that company’s maintenance staff availability.
  • Internal network services. are handled via a contract with the device product provider and can generally be resolved within one working day.
  • Teachers who have data plans on their smartphones can use these devices as Internet Connection Hotspots during a network service outage if they desire. This is not a requirement, only an option. To do this you will need a hotspot connection utility on your smartphone. These are usually built in but may require activation in the settings of your phone. You will also need your phone’s charging cable since you will need to connect your phone physically to your laptop to use it as a hotspot. You will need to know how many minutes you have on your data plan so you don’t go over the time you have on your plan. The school may look into the possibility of acquiring this type of network service emergency support from Sprint or T-Mobile in the future if this can be covered by the eRate program.

Training:

  • I will be offering equipment training to all staff as needed throughout the school year. I will also be offering to explain and train all teachers on equipment in their classroom for new teachers.
  • You can also visit my Word Press Blog for other information regarding the school’s technology and other technology resources. My blog is khwal12 on WordPress.com. Check it out. If you don’t like the tech information there, you might find my stories on the blog interesting. The Blog is called the Technology Dance.

Technology Tips:

  • Just a few tips that may help your use of technology in the classroom go smoother:
    • All of our textbook publishers maintain eText versions of our print text unless the text is older than 3 years. New eText versions of all texts are available and in some cases are replacing the print texts we use. You can request access to these eText versions on a trial basis if you are interested in exploring the new resources that these publishers are offering. I would encourage you to look at these since most textbook publishers will be moving to entirely eText resources within the next five years if not sooner.
    • All of our textbook publishers make workbook and supplementary materials available online, most in Adobe PDF format which means they can be easily downloaded and printed for your students. This will also allow you to print the latest versions of the workbooks for the newer texts as well.
    • Some textbook publishers we use still have not converted their Audio or Video support materials from the Adobe Flash Format to the HTML 5 format. What this means is that Adobe Flash format is not supported by any of the newer Internet Browser software and is not supported on any Apple products at all. I will be monitoring the textbook publisher sites to see if any have moved product over the HTML 5 format and will notify you when they have.
    • The new version of Adobe Reader (Adobe DC) contains some features that allow you to edit and fill in Adobe Forms without having to use the Adobe Acrobat Program. The Adobe DC is a Cloud-based service that allows users to take advantage of features that used to only be a part of the Adobe Acrobat programs. This is a free portion of the new Adobe Creative Cloud Suite. Other pieces of this suite can also be used free for a specific period of time before purchase is required, so if you want to try them out feel free to do so. Middle School Teachers might wish to try Adobe’s Free Spark Suite to have students create content for presentations.
    • There are free Rubrics at the Rubistar WEBsite and you can create and modify existing rubrics to have them meet your specifications. This is a tremendous time save when creating Rubrics.
    • There are literally thousands of lesson plans available on the Internet covering every content area you teach. You can modify these lesson plans to suit your specific class activities, but they are usually complete with state and national standards included. There is no need to create your own lesson plans when so many already exist for your use. This includes an extensive range of unit and lesson plans in UBD formats.
    • There is a wide range of free academic support software available. We have and continue to encourage the use of Spelling City Free Version, Starfall free version, Cool Math and Physics games. We also encourage the use of the Internet4classrooms WEBsite which is packed with academic support activities for all grade levels and skill levels.
    • When the Diocese provides free software licenses and/ or product access for classroom use these are not optional and are required to be used on a regular weekly basis throughout the school year.
    • When the Diocese provides funding for collaborative activities and WEBinars this is also not optional and these sessions will be scheduled by the Technology Coordinator to insure the use of these funds. Teachers may not refuse to participate in Diocesan funded programs, but may opt out of Non-Diocesan funded WEBinars or collaborations if the topics do not fit their curriculum areas. They may not do so if the content is part of their required curriculum content.

If you have additional questions regarding any of this information, please see me or the school principal.

%d bloggers like this: