Three Minute Update: September 28, 2008

The “Three Minute Update” is designed to provide you with a snapshot of key items related to the department of instructional technology that may be of interest to you.  Items are listed in random order. This week’s update was also sent via email to all staff, as they will be impacted by the mandatory password change and personal email restriction.  Please share as appropriate.

Mandatory Password Change – The minimum complexity for network/email account passwords has changed, and on Thursday morning, October 2, 2008, employees will be prompted to change their network password, and the new minimums will be enforced by our various servers. On Friday (September 26) I sent a detailed email to all staff and provided examples to assist in this process.  Students will not need to change their passwords again, but new student accounts will need to follow the new minimum password complexity.  If you know a colleague who may have difficulty with this process, please help him/her out.

Personal Email will be blocked effective October 1st (please be certain to notify the students in your school as well) – Effective October 1, 2008, personal email will be blocked on our school networks.  This is not a new issue and should not be a surprise to anyone, but it’s possible some users are not aware of this upcoming change.  Please remind your staff of this upcoming change, AND ensure that the students in your school are also aware of this change. 

School Web Lockers Update – School web lockers was adopted to ensure students could access documents of their choice “anytime/anywhere” they have internet access, eliminating the need for access to personal email on our school networks.  The school web lockers system is now fully functional and there have been several training sessions for teachers.  The English teachers at each school are serving as the “point persons” for the roll-out.  Please note that the file size that can be uploaded to a school web locker is limited to 25MB.  This is due to the limitations of web browsers, not the product, and we have limited the size to 25MB to minimize “unknown errors” to users.  In short, a web browser will “time out” when it doesn’t finish its task within a set period of time.  Loading large files through a web browser often takes longer than the browser allows, leading to “time outs” and user frustration.  Note that on slower internet connections, the file size that can be uploaded may be smaller than 25MB.  For classes with the need to transfer large files to share at home, portable jump drives are an appropriate solution.  

Additionally, teachers can also use the schoolweblockers system to easily share files with the students in their various classes. In fact, FFMS English Department Chair Liz Quinson commented, “WOW!  I’ve been playing with the whole weblockers for teachers and it is pretty wonderful.  I can grade things right on the computer and even give a comment, which gets directly sent to the student. AND it saves my grades for me.  This is really fabulous.”   Some file types are not allowed on schoolweblockers, but this will impact very few users.  The file types that are not allowed are:

.qt,.ra,.ram,.rar,.rm,.rom,.sav,.sea,.sit,.sitx,.,.vb,. ws,.zip,.app,.flac, .vbs

Clarkstown Goes Green; Electronic Delivery of Flyers from Local Organizations – Starting October 1, 2008, CCSD is offering to electronically deliver all approved flyers from local non-profit organizations.  Following current practice, these flyers are approved by Dr. Leh.  They will be sent electronically to the department of instructional technology for the scheduled weekly delivery to our school community and posted to the district website.  Organizations still have the option of printing the multitude of copies and distributing them in the schools, but it is our hope that this new and efficient system will significantly reduce the amount of paper used for such communications. 

Senteo Pilot Program – Three teachers (two from North, one from Felix Festa) will participate in a pilot program that will explore the purposeful use of Senteo “interactive clickers” in the mathematics classroom.  Technology learning facilitator John Calvert will provide professional development for these teachers, with the goal of embedding the Senteos as part of daily instruction, increasing student engagement and ultimately using the data from these informal/formal formative assessments to improve student learning.

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