Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Signing into your Chrome Browser

As I work with may teachers and administrators across the district, I've noticed that many people aren't signed in to their Chrome Browser. This is important to do in order to access your bookmarks, apps and extensions that are associated with your Google account.

Many people assume they are logged into the Chrome browser because they are properly logged into the Google web page. These are actually two different things, using the same account information to access their designated products. Logging into the Google web page allows a user to access their Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Drive, etc. This is different than what the Chrome browser offers.

On a desktop, if you open the Chrome browser, and see this icon on the top of your screen, you need to sign into Chrome. If you see your name listed instead of the head icon, you are already signed into Chrome.

Click on the icon and click "sign into Chrome", and fill in your WCS Google account credentials. When prompted, click "link data" to access all of your Chrome bookmarks, Google Apps and Google Extensions.

Once you've done this, you shouldn't have to do it again on that particular computer again, unless you log out of the Chrome browser.

Please note, when using a Chromebook, this isn't necessary. Logging into a Chromebook automatically logs you into Google AND the Chrome browser, since that is the only browser available on a Chromebook.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Making Education:

Designing Activities for Transformative Learning

The Maker Movement is beginning to transform learning in our schools. Makerspaces are areas designed to support the Maker Movement.  These creative spaces are where students can gather to create, invent, and learn.  This fresh approach emphasizes creation, creativity, teamwork and communication in order to prepare our students with skills for the 21st Century.   Museums, libraries, community centers and after school programs have designed physical and virtual "Makerspaces" to host communities of supportive peers and mentors invested in creating everything from cutout designs and webpages, to jewelry and robots . . . and now, even school curriculum.
One example of this movement is an after-school program beginning this year at Pointview Elementary. Pointview students are encouraged to join the tech club to experience wonderful hands on projects where this digital tool becomes part of the learning process. Several teachers including Ben Ashwill and Bill Goldner are leading this discovery adventure for students. Here’s a link to the Club’s introduction:
Another example of this style of learning is occurring at North High School.  North HS Warrior Learning Center now houses a special room called the “Imaginarium”.  In the Imaginarium, students have been creating and making new objects.  Buttons,  bracelets, origami, cutout designs and also learning about virtual reality. Every Monday, this space is open to students from 10:00 to 12:30PM for students to choose a learning activity.

The “Collaboratorium” and “Wonder Room” at Hanby Elementary opened this year with two exciting design challenges for students. The Collaboratorium is a available for students to make use of their science and math skills to solve problems.

The Wonder Room is used by students to create and discover art and technology.
In a recent Collaboratorium lesson, students were presented with a  Math and Science challenge called, The Penny Boat Challenge.  Students used the Engineering Design Process to design a boat for the Hanby Boat Company using aluminum foil that would hold the most cargo possible.

In the Wonder Room students were challenged to use the items in their brown bag to build the tallest structure possible.  Each Hanby class discovered the fun and excitement of building a tall structure with spaghetti and tape with a marshmallow on the top.    

Mrs. Brown, Hanby’s School Principal, is encouraging teachers, parents and community members to use these two new rooms to expand the Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math (STEAM) experience for every HANBY student. Students enjoy the learning experience and are looking forward to their next design challenges.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Schoology Test/Quiz App

Schoology Testing App

While teachers have increasingly been giving digital assessments throughout our district, one of the concerns is that students have full access to the internet during a test / quiz session by simply opening another tab. This has caused some concerns about the authenticity of online assessments results. Westerville City Schools has created an app to help with this problem.

By using the "Schoology Test/Quizzes" app located on the district Chromebooks, students can have full access to one Schoology page, but without the ability to open other tabs while completing assignments, answering questions or taking quizzes or tests inside of Schoology. This creates a more secure environment for giving online assessments.


We hope this helps create a more secure testing environment for our students while submitting assessment feedback.

If you have any questions about this tool, please don't hesitate to contact your building's Ed Tech Coach!

Click here for step by step directions on how to use this app.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Thanksgiving Challenge

Need something to do with the kids over break? Why don't you have them figure out where your family members can sit without causing the traditional holiday blow up!

ABCYA.com has some practice for them called Thanksgiving Challenge!

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

How will you implement the Hour of Code?

The Hour of Code is Coming During Computer Science Education Week: December 5-11!

In a world where technology is changing everything, the Hour of Code movement has introduced over 100 million students to computer science. Help Code.org reach every student with critical 21st century skills. 

The Hour of Code activities webpage has just been refreshed with new content, an updated look, and a filter tool that will allow teachers to find the best activity for their classroom.

Please visit Code.org to learn more!

Friday, November 11, 2016

Teacher Chromebooks have been distributed!

Teacher Chromebooks are here! By now WCS teachers have started to receive their Chromebooks.  If you have not received yours yet, it will be coming soon.  Please begin using the Chromebooks by logging in with your long Westerville username and password.  Below are a set of links to learn how to operate, care for and use your Chromebooks.

Chromebook Operation and Care

Chromebook Keyboard Shortcuts

Chromebook Touchpad Operation

Monday, October 24, 2016

Maker Meet Up

Maker Spaces are all the rage lately!

Are you involved in a maker space at your school? 

Do you give your kids design challenges to help them hone their problems solving skills? 

Does your building have bins of "stuff" for kids to tinker with to make something unique? 

Want to discuss how this phenomenon can help you and your kids with other people who are using these at their schools? 

Come to Hawthorne Elementary School on Tuesday, October 25th at 3:30 to see what they have set up in their building, play with some of the tools they have acquired for their kids to play with, bring some of the stuff you have access to at your building and discuss the possibilities of Maker Space use with like minded teachers from our district and neighboring districts! The theme of this Maker Meet Up is "Tools & Instruments." We hope you can make it!

Read this: Renovated Learning

Friday, October 14, 2016

Google Cast

Now that our classrooms have access to Chromebooks, we want learning to be as collaborative as possible. Google Cast is a way for a teacher to organize students ability to share what they are looking at on their Chromebook with the teacher or the rest of the class. Google Cast can be used by students enrolled in a Google Classroom, or individual students with a G Suite account. (G Suite is the new name for Google Apps For Education, or GAFE. All WCS students and staff have G Suite accounts)

This new tool is a great way to showcase the individual work that students are doing.

Google Cast intro video:

Take some time to set up and play with the ability for students to share their learning with you and your students. If you have questions, make sure to contact your Ed Tech Coach, or let us know how you are using this tool with your class!

How to set up Google Cast in your classroom.

Add the Google Cast extension here.

Please note: Google Cast for Education is different than Chromecast.

Monday, October 3, 2016

What’s that little star on the bottom right of my Google Doc, Sheet and/or Slide presentation?

It’s the new EXPLORE feature in Google!

September 29th, 2016 Google introduced this new feature called Google Explore in Docs, Sheets and Slides to bring you insights, design tools and research recommendations so you can create better work, faster.

Explore uses Google smarts to help you create awesome presentations, spreadsheets and documents in a fraction of the time they used to take.  Create your documents efficiently and effectively with Explore.  Learn more here... Google's new updated blog.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

G Suite Training (formerly called Synergyse)

Still trying to figure out how to use all of the Google products that you have available to you? G Suite Training (formerly known as Synergyse) is a Google extension that allows you to click on a button to instantly get training on the products that you are currently using.

Google describes this training as a “virtual coach inside of the Google Apps interface, built on Google Cloud Platform.” It provides voice and text interactive modules, searchable by topic and available directly in Google’s apps. Because the trainings are hosted in the cloud, they are always up-to-date even as new features roll out.

Check it out! And if you have more questions after figuring out how the Google products work, make sure to contact your building's Ed Tech Coach!

To add the extension, click here.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Google Docs now supports Columns!

If you have not noticed yet...Google Docs now supports Columns!  Yes, you heard that right. We have waited and asked for this feature for years and Google has finally added it.  Check it out by opening a Google Doc and choosing Format.  You will have a choice of 1, 2, or 3 Columns.

Google Help Pages - Columns

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

How can WCS students log into District programs from home?

Westerville City Schools is working with Clever allowing students to log into their District provided programs at home.  Clever is a service that uses a student's Google account information as a portal to log into different technological tools that the district has provided to it's students. Clever provides student access at home to the following programs.
Please go to our Clever Update page for further explanations, directions and a printable handout with directions to send home to your parents.


Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Attention Westerville Educators!  Would you like to present your expertise in Ed Tech at the state conference?

Ohio Educational Technology Conference:  Call for Workshops, Sessions, & Displays

 OETC is seeking innovative and fresh workshop, session, poster and display proposals for the 2017 conference. Presenting at OETC17 offers a unique opportunity for Ohio educators, technology experts and industry experts to gather and collaborate on ways to improve the quality and delivery of education to all Ohioans. 
The deadline to submit an Education Session proposal is September 30Workshop submissions end this Friday, September 9th!
Click here to visit our Presenters’ Page for information on how to submit a session proposal.
If you are interested in submitting a proposal to present at the state conference- email Jen Fry.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Schoology Professional Development

Online PD opportunity!
Schoology is offering a series of Back to School Webinars for both the new user as well as the experienced user.  These webinars take place August 2nd- August 18th.  You can sign up to attend a session and will be sent the playback link if you miss it.

Read more about this here.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Announcing Technology Solutions!

Westerville City Schools Technology Solutions

As part of the Learning and Teaching Roadmap, we have purchased both devices and digital content to support the district’s vision for educating students in a 21st Century Learning Environment. As the use of technology tools in our district has grown tremendously, so have the number of requests for repairs and assistance to the IT and the Ed Tech departments.  In order to provide staff with a user friendly and timely experience in having their technology needs addressed,

The IT and Ed Tech departments are pleased to announce
the “Technology Solutions” help desk!

The cornerstone of this initiative is a new ticketing system that will allow us to quickly receive, respond and resolve your technology requests, such as:

  • Hardware (Computer, Laptop, Chromebook)
  • Software
  • Google Apps (GAFE)
  • Projectors
  • Network or Internet issues
  • Copiers/Printers
  • Phones/Voicemail
  • PowerSchool (including PowerTeacher and the Parent Portal)
  • Digital Content (Schoology, Lexia, Dreambox, Clever, TenMarks, A/R Star, etc).
  • Technology Integration Professional Development (Technology Integration Coaches)

So that we may efficiently and effectively address your technology issues,
it is extremely critical that ALL requests are submitted via our new ticketing system:

Click HERE for the link to the help desk

Your login for the ticketing system web portal will be your Windows/network username and password (ex: BaileySh).

Once logged into the system, you will be able to:
  • Submit your own ticket to Technology Solutions using the website here.
  • Receive updates through e-mail or SMS text
  • View a history of tickets you have submitted
  • Access FAQ’s addressing common issues

The new ticketing system will be available for you to use beginning June 1st.

Thank you for your cooperation as we bring to you the Technology Solutions help desk!

The following video provides more information on how to submit a work order:

Monday, May 23, 2016

Giphy for Gmail

Have you ever wanted to send an email to someone that included a moving image of a kangaroo scratching their belly? Well now you can!

Animated pictures are in what's known in the tech world as Graphics Interchange Format (or, GIF) which allow short videos to replay on a loop for the viewer. There are many sites out that host GIFs for people to use (like Giphy.com) but in order to a GIF in an email, a user has to first download the GIF to the hard drive of a computer, and then upload it as an image. This will insert the moving image in the body of the email.

To save a step in this process, simply add the Giphy for Gmail extension to your Chrome settings, and an icon will appear at the bottom of your email as you compose it. This will allow you to search for GIFs hosted on Giphy's website and instantaneously add them to the body of your email without having to download and then upload the file.

haydiroket  art glitch logo haydiroket

Sit back, and enjoy sending email again!

computer office jim carrey working keyboard computer tom hanks typing email emails
dog work computer type ridiculous teacher anyone ferris bueller hellooo ben stein

*Please be aware that not all GIFs hosted on Giphy.com are school appropriate. Make sure to preview anything before adding it to an email.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Vacation Responder in Gmail

Summer is fast approaching, and its important to remind people who send you emails during the summer months that you may not be checking your email for a while, and therefore they may not get an immediate response. Google actually makes this pretty easy to set up. The "Vacation Responder" is set up inside the Gmail settings and gives you options pertaining to turning on and off the "out of office" response.

To set up your Vacation Responder:
  1. Open Gmail.
  2. In the top-right, click the gear Settings.
  3. Select Settings.
  4. Scroll down to the Vacation responder section (stay in the "General" tab).
  5. Select Vacation responder on.
  6. Fill in the date range, subject, and message.
  7. You can limit who can see your vacation response:
    • Check the box next to Only send a response to people in my Contacts if you don't want everyone who emails you to know that you're away from your mail.
    • If you use Google Apps, you'll also see an option to only send a response to people in your domain. If you check both of these boxes, only people who are in your contacts and your domain will receive the automatic response.
  8. Click Save Changes at the bottom of the page.
Read more about Out of Office, or Vacation Responder on Google's help site.

Or watch our video setting this up below.

And once you're done setting your automatic response, turn up the volume on your computer, sit back, relax, and let Alice Cooper serenade you!


Thursday, May 19, 2016

End of Year Wrap Up for Schoology Users- Important Information!

save imageHello Schoology Users!  As we wrap up the school year, here are some important directions for how to finish out the year with Schoology.

Please know that your old courses never truly go away, but they do become archived at the end of the grading period.  Reading about archived courses below, as well as how to save your course materials so that you can easily access them again next school year.

Use this handy Schoology Rollover Course Checklist: Instructors to help you end the year and start again in August!

As always, if you have questions, reach out to your Technology Integration Coacht:  David Hayward, Lane Halterman or Kim Niles.  Enjoy your summer!

Remove Google Extensions

Hopefully you've been enjoying our videos explaining different Chrome extensions that increase productivity in Gmail. One of the best ways to fully experience any Chrome extensions is to add it to your account. But once you've done that, you may decide that it isn't what you are looking for, or you may find one that does more of the things you are looking for. That's why Google has made it pretty easy to turn off or remove these extensions after you've installed them.

To remove an extension from Google Chrome:
  1. On your browser, click menu .
  2. Select More tools > Extensions.
  3. On the extension you want to remove, click Remove from Chrome .
  4. A notice to remove the extension will appear. Click Remove.
If an extension has an icon in your Chrome toolbar, you can right-click on the icon and select Remove from Chrome to uninstall the extension.

Read more on about removing extensions on Google's help site.


Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Checker Plus for Gmail

Checker Plus for Gmail is a Chrome Extension that adds a Gmail button in your list of extensions that will open your inbox and allow you to read your unread email without actually opening the Gmail app. This extension also allows you to see how many unread emails you have in your inbox without opening the Gmail app.
Read more at the Checker Plus website.

Watch the video below to see how to add the Chrome Extension to your account.

If you like Checker Plus for Gmail, you might want to also check out 


Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Summer Professional Learning Opportunity! Blended Learning in Grades 4-12 Book Study

The EdTech team would like to invite staff to join an online book study on the book, Blended Learning in Grades 4-12, but Katlin R. Tucker.  In this book study, educators will learn the process for integrating online learning with face-to-face instruction in a way that is aligned to the Common Core Standards.  This class will address the issue of “how to blend?” using the online environment to increase engagement and drive higher-order thinking. It is appropriate for those who work with students in grades 4-12.

The book study will run for six weeks from June 1, to July 18, 2016 and will take place in Schoology.  The book study may be taken for one Muskingum college credit or for 1.5 CEUs (15 contact hours). Muskingum credit will cost $130.00.

View the Syllabus

Sign up by June 1 to participate!  The first 20 people to sign up will receive a free copy of the book!