Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Clean Up Your Desktop - Speed Up Your Laptop

Here is an easy tip to speed up your Mac, and possibly reduce the frequency of the rainbow beach ball:
Reduce the icons on your Desktop!

Why? Mac OS X treats each desktop icon as its own little window. With only a few icons the result is minimal. But teachers with a habit of using their desktop for storage may be paying a price in speed and stability. This is especially true if your desktop is loaded with picture files.

So clean up the mess and speed up your computer. To do so, follow the folder scheme already established on your mac.  Drag documents to the documents folder, pictures to the pictures folder, music to the music folder, etc.  Add additional folders within those folders to organize your work by subject, year, or whatever makes sense to you.  Start dragging those files off your desktop in to the folders!  You'll notice a big difference in speed!

Back Up Your Data!

It is necessary that you periodically back up all your data files (lessons, plans, pictures, etc.- anything you don't want to lose.)  Two easy methods of backing up your data are: 
  1. Copying your data to a flash drive.
  2. Copying your data to the server.  
    1. From the Finder --Go --Connect to Server --select or enter afp://shieldsmac.cape.k12.de.us --Connect.  You may have to enter your First and Last Name as it appears on your pay stub (no spaces or periods) - use your state ID without any preceding zeros for your password. Select your folder (with your name) then OK.   You will see a pretty close resemblance of the folders that you have on your computer. Drag the files that you want to back up from your computer to the appropriate server folders.  
  • Tip: Place a folder on your desktop and call it Backup Folder.  COPY the files you want to back up (from your Desktop, Documents Folder, /Music/iTunes, etc) and PASTE them into the Backup Folder. Then just drag the Backup Folder to your server Desktop or Documents Folder.
  • If you need help doing this, please let me know and I will show you how.
  • Download "Backing Up Your Data" for a quick reference as to where your documents reside (or SHOULD reside!) on your Shields mac laptop.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

How Many Applications Do You Have Open?

As you read this, look at your computer DOCK at the bottom of your screen (or on the side, if you chose to place it there.)  Do you see the little lights under some of the applications?  Those lights indicate that the program is open.  You may have closed the window, but the program is still open.  If you have several applications open, it is draining your resources and, possibly, the school's resources (if the application goes out to the server).

To close the application properly, you will need to click on the icon and either hit Command-Q, or go to the toolbar at the top of your screen, select the programs name and select Quit from the drop-down menu.  When the program is closed properly, you will no longer see the light under the icon in the DOCK.

So, the tip of the week is.....try to limit the number of programs that are open at one time.  You will find that your system will run faster!  An added benefit will be that as more resources are available building-wide, you will notice your students being able to log on to the laptops faster.  That's a great goal!

Friday, March 25, 2011

What is Streaming?

At times you may find you are having difficulty getting your computer online at school. All the data has to run through our pipe. That pipe is only so big. Certain things take up more than their share of the pipe. For example, if one person is "streaming" it can bring the entire building to a snail's pace. If two people are streaming, well, you get the idea!

Audio Streaming is things like "Pandora Radio", "NPR Radio", or any online or iTunes radio for that matter.  Video Streaming is similar, but involves the video portion as well as the audio. An example would be viewing a video clip from a news site, such as CNN or Yahoo News. Have you notice how sometimes it stops and re-starts? Or, how it may be jittery?  It’s having trouble getting all the resources it needs to send it to you smoothly.

On some sites you can save the video onto your hard drive at home, and then play it back at school. That way the video is not coming off the internet and through our pipe and slowing down the server. You are streaming it at home, not at school.

So, several classrooms streaming video or audio at the same time will slow down the network.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

SmartBoard Tips

Below are some notes/resources compiled by teachers, from the Caesar Rodney School District, who attended the Tatnall Smartboard conference on March 5th, 2011. The feedback was great!
Tatnall SMART board notes:
1. Use the plastic finger pointers!  It’s so much easier for the kids to reach up high and move things!
2. In the Gallery: lesson activity toolkit:
  1. Anagrams: use as a center for vocab or spelling words.
  2. Sentence Arrange: use to sequence story events
  3. Fridge magnets: word center
  4. Text splitter! Allows to you type up a list and insert it into a notebook files as separate words.
  5. Fraction Maker.  Use a pen to write the numerator and denominator.  Once the text is recognized, click the arrow to display the editable fraction as an object on your Notebook page.
Web Resources for Notebook Files

Harvey’s Homepage –Smart Board Lessons in All Content Areas- this presentation was a Tatnall hit!
http://harveyshomepage.com/Harveys_Homepage/Welcome.html To save notebook files to your documents, right click “Save Target As,” change the file name to whateveryouwant.notebook,(actually type in .notebook into the file name field).  Also change the “save as file type” to “all.

Rockingham School District Smart Board Database- Lessons for each Virginia Standard and two search engines to find Smart Lessons

Obe’s Smart Conference Presentations- Spice Up your Smart Notebook Files. Great Resources on his presentation! http://www.quia.com/pages/ohostetter/tatnall

Smart Board Ning- ask questions and share resources.  This is like a Facebook for Teachers who use SMART boards.  Post a question and you will receive many responses. http://smartboardrevolution.ning.com/ 

Teq Smart Free Resources  http://community.teqsmart.org/download.php

Other Web Resources
Animation Library- Free Animations for your Smart Notebook Files  http://animationlibrary.com


Screencast- Make a Screen Cast- USB headset required
(Screen casts are short videos that feature what is going on on your computer screen with your voice and directions. Great for tutorials!) http://www.screencast-o-matic.com/

Any Video Converter- add United Streaming Videos into your Smart Board file.
If you insert the video directly into your notebook file it must be in .flv form
If you link in a video it must be in .avi form

Many presentations were about adding video and sound to notebook files.  When MP3’s are inserted, you can click the speaker icon to pause and then click again to play beginning right where it was paused.  In iTunes you can convert .wav files to .mp3’s.  In Audacity, you can record sound and convert to MP3’s. http://audacity.sourceforge.net/ 

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Cleaning Your Laptop Display

Use Water Only
Do not use cleaning products.  They may scratch or mar the display surface.
  1. Turn off the computer or display.
  2. Lightly dampen a clean soft, lint-free cloth with water only (the soft microfiber cloths work well).  Wring the cloth well so no water drips on the keyboard. * Do not spray liquid directly on the screen.
  3. Wipe the screen with the damp cloth.
  4. Dry the screen with a separate DRY, clean, soft, lint-free cloth.
Voila!  Fingerprints are gone!

Monday, January 31, 2011

How to Clean Your SmartBoard

Use standard window cleaner WITHOUT ammonia or alcohol.   Spray a soft cloth and then wipe the board. Never spray the board.  This should keep your board in good working condition.  Another alternative is Windex Wipes.

How to remove permanent marker from your SmartBoard:

You have two Options:

1. Use a Commercial Cleaner such as Sanford EXPO Whiteboard Cleaner. Spray a soft cloth, then cover permanent ink stain. Allow solution to dry, then wipe off with a soft cloth.

2. Use a standard or HIGH odor dry erase marker. These markers contain solvents that remove permanent ink. Do not use LOW odor or non-scented dry erase markers.  They do not contain the appropriate solvents.  Cover the permanent ink stain with the HIGH odor dry erase ink.  While the HIGH odor ink is still wet, wipe the board with a soft cloth.  Do not allow the ink to dry.  If any ink remains, spray Windex glass cleaner (without ammonia or alcohol) or Sanford EXPO Whiteboard Cleaner on a soft cloth and then wipe off remaining ink marks.  Do not use harsh abrasives because they can damage the writing surface.

Keep permanent markers away from your SmartBoard!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

eSchool and eSchoolPlus Passwords and Requirements

The rules for Passwords are:

1. At least eight characters long.
2. At least one capital letter.
3. At least one small letter.
4. At least one numeral.
5. No two letters next to each other in the password that are in your login that begins with “cph.”  (e.g. If you login is cphwcordrey, you cannot use Cobalt123, Dreadlocks245, Reader492, Organ391, etc. as passwords because they contain two letters next to each other that are also in the login).
6. OPTIONALLY, you may use any of the characters on the top row of numeral keys above the numerals and you may also use the underscore symbol on the hyphen key.

The rules for Browser Requirements are:

eSchoolPlus v3.1
Teacher Access Center and Home Access Center
Internet Explorer -  9 or 10
Firefox - latest 5 versions
Savari - 5.1.7
Chrome - latest 5 versions

eSchoolPlus v 4.0
All Browsers
All Devices