Judson ISD's Technology Services & Instructional Technology News and Information

 

Features

Bye bye Windows XP - and some Windows XP computers

As of April 8th, 2014, Microsoft XP operating system will no longer be supported by Microsoft, which has served users well since 2001.   There will be no new security updates, non-security hot fixes, or support options available.  As this date fast approaches, Judson ISD has been in the process of moving away from Microsoft XP.  We have adopted Windows 7 as the operating system of choice.  We are also evaluating Windows 8.1 as a future operating system.  You may have noticed over the last two years, Desktop Services has been migrating almost all desktop and some laptop systems over to Windows 7.  While some systems are compatible with Windows 7, some will be to slow to be usable with Windows 7.Windows XP

What does that mean for your department or campus?  Campus desktop computers have largely already been upgraded to Windows 7, save for some middle school Xtendas which will pulled from service over the summer of 2014.  Departments and campuses will need to start evaluating and budgeting for the migration away from Windows XP.  Judson ISD will be getting rid of all Windows XP machines in the summer of 2014.  Some software and hardware used by departments and campuses may still require Windows XP; the hardware or software will need to be either upgraded to support Windows 7 or replaced with new hardware or software.  It will be the responsibility of the departments and campuses to provide the funds for these upgrades or replacements. Please start to evaluate your current software titles and ensure that there is an upgrade path to support Windows 7 and Windows 8.  If an upgrade path is not available from the vendor, then a search for a suitable substitute should be started as soon as possible. 

Desktop Services technicians will be upgrading laptop systems that can be upgraded to Windows 7 through the year.  In May of 2014, Desktop Services technicians will begin collecting laptops that are not Windows 7 compliant for environmentally safe disposal or to be re-tasked as browser only systems.  A list of laptops and notebooks that are not Windows 7 compliant is available on the Tech Help Wiki on the Intranet.  If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Desktop Services via email or phone.

by M. Davis

Teachers, why should your student and parents use Parent Center?

Parents are able to monitor their child’s progress 24/7.   The Dashboard shows an overview of their child’s grades, upcoming assignments, attendance along with important dates, news and phone numbers.

 

Parent Center main screen

 

Grade Summary section displays grade averages by course/subject with the ability to view detailed assignment grades and set alerts/triggers.  Click on a specific grade and it will show the breakdown of the course categories and their weights.

Grade Summary

 

One of the best features in Parent Center is “Alerts/Triggers.”  Parents can simply check a box and they will be emailed if their child falls above or below the specified grade.  Other alerts they can receive are for absences/tardies, meal balances, and library books.

 

Other areas are available for parents to monitor: Discipline, Meal Balances, Health and Transportation are among other areas covered in Parent Center.

Parents have the ability to monitor their children’s progress at any time of the day and contact the teacher directly from Parent Center, making them more informed about the educational progress of their children.  And do remember both parents and students WANT to see up to date assignment and test data – when we surveyed about Parent Center features – the most frequent comment was “I want teachers to put grades into Parent Center in a timely manner.”


by D. Stephens

Falling into technology

Instructional Technology is supporting two new pilot initiatives this Fall. The first is being implemented with the Pre-Kindergarten teachers and students and is called Mouse Mischief.  Mouse Mischief is a PowerPoint plug-in that allows multiple students to synchronously input into a presentation.  Each Pre-Kinder teacher will receive 10 wireless mice and a hub capable of supporting them. They will use these devices to teach various standards-based concepts such as sequencing, sorting, color recognition and shape recognition. This implementation is also perfect to use as a checking for understanding strategy for formative evaluation.  Teachers will be creating activities for use and we expect to see a high level of student engagement. It is never too early to use technology to enhance instruction! 

 

The second pilot is a collaboration with Advanced Academics and involves the use ofSamsung Chromebook 60 Chromebooks at the Elementary level with TAG students and 60 Chromebooks at the Secondary level with IB students.  All 3rd, 4th and 5th grade TAG students are using their Chromebooks to do journaling and research for project-based lessons.  They are producing some extraordinary products using Google Docs for Education.  The IB implementation is a one-to-one which means each student checks out a Chromebook and gets to keep it as long as they stay in the IB program.  The students were very enthusiastic about receiving their devices and are using them for all facets of their learning from journaling, to note taking, to research, to project creation.   JISD is having a really great Fall for technology use.

 

by B. Ahr

Microsoft Office 2013 Home Use Program - Office for $9.99

One of the benefits that Microsoft extends to academic institutions who participate in their educational solutions is a Home Use Program (HUP) for employees.  As a Judson ISD employee, you can now purchase a home use copy of Microsoft Office Professional Plus 2013 (PC) or Office 2011 (MAC).  The cost is $9.99 for a downloadable file of MS Office that can be installed on your home computer.  The office professional pro suite Microsoft Office Home Useincludes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Access, and Publisher.  You must use your Judson ISD email account to verify program eligibility. Only one copy of Microsoft Office can be purchased per employee.  For more information about the Home Use Program and the process for purchasing your copy, log on to the My JISD Portal and look in TECH HELP under Software and Applications. Select the option Microsoft Office 2010 – Home Use Program (HUP).   You can also click here for a direct link: 

Tips:

  • Verify your computer meets the hardware requirements for the software prior to installation.
  • It is recommended to access the website and download the MS Office file on the computer you intend to install the program on. 

by S. Young

Being Secure with Email

Social Engineering

Social engineering is the term used to describe any trick used to take advantage of inattentive or trusting people.  Common social engineering scams that used to stem from phone calls and mail, are now being done online and through emails. Nigerian money offers promising large sums if cash are financial scams targeting trusting people.

 

Spam and Phishing

Emails that are received these days can be deceitful and virus infected. To help protect both the user and the computer we recommend the following:

               Judson Spam filter – The Judson Spam summary is sent every morning with a list of good and bad emails. You the user have the option to either send one time to verify if it’s real or fake as well as mark it “not spam”. 

               Phishing – While the spam filter does a good job of preventing many emails that are fake, the content and sender can fool the average user.  The companies or senders disguise the email by mimicking real and professionally formatted emails from well-known companies.  If you suspect an email isn’t real ensure you open a Help Desk ticket immediately at 61473 or open using the Eduphoria Help Desk website.

by C. Dean

Using the Judson ISD Guest Network with Personal Devices - Log In for More Access

Here are a few tips to help you get going with the Judson ISD guest wireless network.

  • A Guest Wireless Network is available for staff & student-owned wireless devices.
    • Staff members using the JISD Guest wireless network may occasionally see an "access is denied" message, as the guest network is filtering for students by default. If you wish to bypass this block, look for the "Currently logged in as unknown user. (Not you?)" message. Simply click the “Not you?” link and log in with your district credentials.  Once you login and are identified as a Judson ISD employee, you will be surfing under the employee filter, rather than the student filter.
    • All users of the wireless network should review the Acceptable Usage Policy before attempting to use the wireless network. When staff and students sign the handbook annually, they are agreeing to the Acceptable Usage Policy.

Board Policy CQ (Local) now says the following: Students, employees, and guests may connect personal technology resources to the District’s guest wireless network as set forth in administrative procedures. Connecting personal technology resources to the District’s wired network shall only be allowed with written permission as set forth in administrative procedures

by C. Dean