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Showing posts from January, 2015

Istation on Chromebooks #TexasSuccess

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Whew, thanks to all of you who wrote in yesterday about my Istation and Chromebooks post yesterday! This is quite a big thing for Texas school districts relying on TexasSuccess.org, which includes Istation as a reading intervention and diagnostic tool, as well as Think Through Math.


A colleague in Texas shared the following ideas and problem:
We've been testing it out.  The deployment works from the dashboard, but the first time the app runs it asks for the domain and the peering groups.  Support told us there is no way to preconfigure this as part of the deployment, and that the peering groups don't work on the chromebooks yet.   So we are making some materials to help teachers know how to select the correct domain.  The other question I'm waiting on an answer from support is how to change the domain if they accidentally input the wrong one.  Once you enter it, that prompt goes away on future logins.  But I think every user will have to input that domain info the very fir…

Expanding Support for Chromebook #Istation #dell (Updated 1/29/2015)

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In August last year Gartner forecast that Chromebook sales would reach 5.2 million units in 2014, a 79 percent increase from 2013, and that by 2017 sales would grow to 14.4 million units. (Source:ZDnet) Before we get to the two announcements, you may want to review these neat links:

Google Chromebook Comparison Chart - A nifty chart that tops the one I shared earlier in 2014. I have no idea how this is being done with GoogleForms and Sheets, but it's inspirational. :-)Chromebooks 101: A Guide to Chromebook Success by Vicki Davis
Ok, on to the two exciting announcements out that expand support for Chromebook, especially in school settings:



1) Istation app for Chromebook is now out!
After waiting, what seems forever, schools can now rely on Chromebooks for Istation, a key component of the TexasSuccess.org initiative. In addition to testing the app on my Chromebook, I also tested it on my UbuntuLinux machine and it appeared to work well! So, this opens up some possibilities for GNU/Lin…

3 Steps to Encrypting/Decrypting with ParanoiaWorks #iOS #Android #Win #Mac #Linux Tools

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This blog entry explores using two tools I have grown fond of--Paranoia Text Encryption (PTE) and Secret Space Encryptor (SSE)--to encrypt notes/email  and attachments, respectively. 

I use these tools quite a bit and have shown everyone I work with how to use them as well. That's important given how often confidential data falls into hackers' hands due to un-encrypted communications and/or files on USB flash drives, or in the cloud (e.g. Dropbox).

An overview of the tools:


Text Encryption and File Encryption solutions for most platforms.Securely encrypt your private and confidential files or whole folders. Wiping (secure delete) feature is included for computer and Android versions.
In this short walkthrough, you'll see how to accomplish the following:
Get PTE and SSE for Your Computer or mobile deviceEncrypt and Decrypt Evernote Notes with PTEEncrypt and Decrypt File Attachments with SSE you can place in Evernote.
Step 1 - Get PTE and SSE for Your Device

Mac/Windows/Linux comp…

Google Sheets Tip - Separating Out Email Components

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A short time ago, I indulged and allowed myself to facilitate a workshop for paraeducators. What a wonderful experience that was, doing something I hadn't done in a long time--how to training on spreadsheets. I've often reflected at the simple fact that "how-to" training is often unnecessary these days. . .many of us just watch a YouTube video and learn that way. Of course, teachers and those in K-12 education still have a profound need to learn how to do technology related tasks in a face to face environment.

Often, though, we assume that since folks do have access to an abundance of online tutorials--printed tutorials, videos--that anyone who begins to create how-to resources must surely ask himself, "Should I do this if there's already tons of stuff online via YouTube and WikiHow?"

The answer should be, "Yes, of course." I have arrived at that answer through the pleasant experience of re-discovering how much fun preparing for a workshop can …

Data-Driven Districts Experience Growing Pains (Updated)

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"You know," I shared with a colleague in Texas, "we're looking for a 'Systems Interface Specialist,' which is another term for someone with database administrator (DBA) skills but whose salary won't rival the superintendent's!" We'd both lamented earlier at the high cost of database administrators, who enjoy salaries in excess of $90,000.
"I have a story to tell you," responded my friend, a CTO in a larger school district. "I spent much of the year articulating the why this position was necessary to the superintendent. When the position was finally posted, we interviewed and hired a person for the DBA position."
"What does your position pay?" I wondered aloud. Maybe I wasn't recruiting in the right place. He held up his hand, indicating he had more to say.
"You won't believe this. When I offered the candidate the position, he demanded a $10K increase to the $85,000 annual salary. So, I went back to…