Monday, February 27, 2017
Google announced February 24, 2017 that when Firefox releases it's newest version (Firefox 52) on March 7, 2017 phone and video calls for Google Hangouts will no longer be supported (though chatting will still be possible). This is due to the fact that in Firefox 52 Mozilla is ending support for browser plugins.
Google Hangouts uses browser plugins in Firefox to enable audio and/or video calls. They are currently working on a solution to allow them to work in Firefox without plugins. Until then they recommend you switch to one of the following supported browsers until a solution is found:
Thursday, February 23, 2017
For those of you using Windows devices for personal or business use, there are a few things you can do to keep your machine running well. There are also some things you need to know with regard to age of device and anticipated end of life for computers and operating systems.
Computers purchased more than five years ago were a significant investment – however, they are living beyond their useful life. On average, a personal computer’s expected life span is about five years. Now, some devices will last longer – but the operating system installed may be out of date which may put you at risk of being hacked.
Microsoft stopped supporting Windows XP a few years ago. What does that mean? It means that Microsoft has stopped developing patches to fix security issues within the operating system. Any device running Windows XP is susceptible to computer viruses and being hacked. Hackers work hard to exploit software bugs to enable them to gain access to personal computers. When an operating system is no longer supported by the developers, “holes” or bugs in the software are not fixed. Even the best antivirus programs out there may not be able to help.
Soon, even Windows 7 and Windows 7 Professional will no longer be supported by Microsoft. This is why having a strategy to replace a personal computer every 4-5 years is good practice. When you get a new device it will have the latest operating system installed – as of right now that would be Windows 10. You are guaranteed that the developer will be supporting that OS through the end of the devices expected useful life.
With computers purchased within the last five years running supported operating systems there are a few things you can do to keep it running smooth and prevent being hacked. Businesses and schools typically have layers of protection that help protect devices – however, it’s only when those devices are inside the network. A firewall is a piece of hardware that provides the first line of defense in an enterprise network. You can create a hardware layer of protection at home by purchasing a third party router that connects to your modem. Connecting directly to a modem is not the best idea – as many hackers snoop around for those IP addresses and can access personal computers more easily. Having a router handle internet traffic at your home is one great way to protect your devices. Here are a list of best practices for your personal device:
- Install and update antivirus software (like Avast, Kaspersky, Norton)
- Install and run antimalware software regularly
- Malwarebytes offers a free version that will scan and remove malicious software
- Install and run registry cleaning software like CCleaner from Piroform
- Run the disk cleaner to remove unnecessary files, cookies and downloads.
- Run the registry cleaner to remove unnecessary registry items bogging down your device.
- Keep your operating system up to date by turning on Windows Update.
- Always shut down and restart your computer.
Thursday, February 16, 2017
Do you love using Epic! in your classroom? (Not sure what Epic! is? Click here to find out.) Do you want another reason to love it even more? Then join our BE Epic! Student Book Group. Each month, the elementary tech coaches will put together a collection of books in Epic! that you can assign to your students. Along with each book, we'll also provide a QR code that will link to a Padlet where your students can post their response to a question about the book. Elementary students across the district will have a blast reading in Epic! and using the corresponding Padlets to see how their peers are enjoying the books as well. Don't miss out on this awesome opportunity to hook in even your most reluctant readers. Your students will love the challenge of trying to read our whole collection , and you'll love watching their reading engagement, stats, and achievements grow. Contact your tech coach if you'd like help participating in our BE Epic! Student Book Group. We'd be happy to assist and model the process for you and your students.
Due to the weather, all MSAD 6 Schools are closed and Central Office will open at 11AM today, Thursday, February 16, 2017.
Sunday, February 12, 2017
Due to the weather, all MSAD 6 Schools and Central Office will be closed Monday, February, 13, 2017.
Thursday, February 9, 2017
As a way of helping Bonny Eagle users understand the size and scope of the network that they use every day, I thought I would share some network trivia.
· The MSAD6 network spans fourteen sites… BEHS, BEMS, six elementary schools, Alt Ed, Transportation, Technology/Adult Ed., and Central Office. We also have equipment at two third-party sites that are just used to route network traffic around the district.
· MSAD6 has almost 5,700 devices connected to the network. This includes MacBook Airs, ChromeBooks, iPads, servers, telephones, printers, security cameras, door controls for security, and some miscellaneous desktops (like kitchens, custodians, and libraries).
· On an average day almost 9,400 devices get an address and use the network.
· If we issue 9,400 address and have 5,700 district-owned devices, that means there are about 3,700 personal devices using the network, like your cellphones and iPods.
· Our connection to the Internet, located at BEMS, is 70 times faster than your average household Internet connection. You can think of your household connection is like a soda straw and the district connection is like a large fire hose.
· On an average day, about 60% of the Internet traffics is used by BEHS and 25% by BEMS. All the other buildings use the final 15%.
· While the Internet is VERY large, it is also VERY fast. If you do a Google search from a school, on average it takes 300 one-thousandths of one second for your message to get there.
· That Google search is actually received and forwarded by about 20 devices between MSAD6 and the Google site.
So, the next time you think that the network is slow, remember that there are an awful lot of users and devices using it all at the same time. And once your request leaves the MSAD6 network, it needs to make a lot of hops to get to the destination. And once it leaves our network, we have no way to see or control what happens to your message.
Wednesday, February 8, 2017
Due to inclement weather, all MSAD 6 Schools are closed and Central Office will be opening at 11 AM. Have a safe day.
Tuesday, February 7, 2017
Thursday, February 2, 2017
by Katie Vetro
Technology Integrator K-5
Meet Dash and Dot! Created by Wonder Workshop, they are a robotic duo that help students at Buxton Center Elementary School learn about the fundamentals of computer coding. They arrived at school in the fall, and their presence has been greeted with excitement and engagement since that time.
Dash is the big guy, and has the wheels to prove it. He can be programmed to do a variety of tasks, including driving, dancing, delivering messages, and even playing the xylophone. Dot, his sidekick, sits in a chair. This makes him stationary, but you can pop him out and roll him around. He can be programmed to sing, light up like a disco ball, and he will try to predict the future like an old-school Magic 8 ball.
With lessons from me in the lab or with their teacher in the classroom, students use Dash and Dot to learn coding basics. There is a suite of apps available to us from Wonder Workshop. Students start by experimenting with manual controls in the Wonder app. By using a controller, students can learn about the range of movements and possible activities Dash and Dot can participate in.
From there, students learn basic commands using block coding in the Blockly app. Further lessons include the purpose of and how to code loops, functions, and if/then/else statements. Students put these skills to good use by programming the robots for a dance party or to deliver messages in the building. If students demonstrate a desire to dig even deeper, they can then check out the Swift Playground app from Apple, which takes their basic block coding knowledge and grows it through tutorials and practice with Swift coding.
Connor (left) and Jaden from Ms. Earley’s class
code their Dash for a dance party.
Students have been eager to learn and engage with the robots. As students become familiar with the coding, it can be used for a variety of purposes, such as sharing and demonstrating character traits from a book a student is reading, to assist in a presentation, and more. I have been particularly impressed with the students’ willingness to try, “debug,” and retry as necessary and with lots of excitement.