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Presenting to Stick

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Presenting-to-StickThis page is a support resource for the staff development session “Presenting to Stick.” 

DESCRIPTION: A presentation should communicate as clearly and simply as possible. We will discuss how a little bit of brain science, a little bit of graphic design and all the things you already know about how people learn can come together to help people walk out the door remembering the main ideas of your presentation.


Session Overview

A “sticky” idea is one that people recall long after you are done talking to them. The good news is that while there is a bit of art to delivering a presentation, there is a lot more science. There are PRACTICAL strategies you can use to make your ideas stay with an audience.

  • “The Curse of Knowledge” is cognitive bias that leads better-informed parties to find it extremely difficult to think about problems from the perspective of lesser-informed parties.
  • Sticky ideas have very distinctive traits. (Success Model)
  • Our job as a presenter is to help the audience absorb our information.
  • Aim for simplicity in all facets of your presentation.
  • If you create a mystery people will stay with you and pay attention. Open gaps in curiosity by asking questions and not immediately answering them.
  • Pictures are better than words. Your cell phone likely has a camera, snap a picture or a short video.
  • Data is meaningless if you do not provide an appropriate scale.
  • Don’t create your own competition. People cannot READ and LISTEN at the same time. Use as little text as possible.
  • Break it up
  • Use Powerful Imagery
  • Presenting data in a “shape” does not inherently help your message. Charts are for communicating ideas, not delivering data.

Presentation Construction

There are 3 parts to a presentation.

  1. Notes
  2. Handout
  3. Slides

Do your work in that order.


Tools I use:

  • Notes/Script: Google Doc
  • Handouts: Google Doc, WordPress, PDF, etc.
  • Slides: Google Presentation
  • During Presentation: Google Drive app on iPad




Gale Virtual Reference Library

Web Sites & Articles

Charts & Graphs

Locating Photos & Media

You should carefully read the license of these free resources and add attribution to a “Credits” slide if used.

Google Presentation Templates

On-Screen Timers

Thinking Devices

Multitasking Myth

University of Minnesota

Written by cpultz

May 15th, 2014 at 3:13 pm

Posted in .U,Staff Development

Tagged with ,

Better (Easier) Passwords

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We access secure data from our laptops in classrooms, kitchens, cars.. almost anywhere. The places we don’t take our laptops, many of us take our internet enabled phones and access data from these smart devices. In an era of unprecedented access to important data, it is very important for us to maintain strong passwords. Passwords are the keys to your data, and in many cases we are sharing that data. If you have a poor password – we all have a poor password.

Fortunately creating a great password is not as difficult as you may fear. In fact it may be much easier!

The information below is intended to help you create a password which both follows the LPS password requirements and will be easy for you to use.


About your (new) LPS password

LPS passwords are required to be between 8-20 characters in length and contain at least 3 of these 4 attributes:

  • An Upper Case Letter
  • Lower Case Letter
  • Number
  • A Special Character ! @ $ % ^ & * ?  (note: special characters may be difficult to use at MFD)

This set of rules may sound daunting, but using the strategies below you should be able to construct a pretty painless (and possibly fun) one to remember.

How strong is it?

Use this online tool to test the strength of your password ideas.

Changing Passwords… and Habits

Now that you have chosen the PERFECT password, there are a few things to remember:

  • Never share your password with ANYONE. Your job depends upon it! (LPS School Board Policies 53406441)
  • Do not write it down. Seriously, don’t do it. If you can’t remember it without writing it down you’ve chosen a password that is too hard.
  • Do not recycle your passwords from site to site. If your password is compromised in one site, it is now compromised on EVERY site. Would you use the same key for your house, car, school, shed, bank, hospital, etc.?
  • Be conscious of who is watching you type it.
  • Secure your devices (laptop, smart phones, tablets) with lock screens or screensaver passwords.
  • As the old saying goes… Passwords are like underwear:
    • Change them often
    • Don’t share them with friends
    • Keep them mysterious
    • The longer the better
    • Don’t leave them lying around

Now… Choosing a GREAT password!

A great password is EASY for you to remember, but HARD for a computer to figure out.

Here are a number of different creative ways to come up with a password that is robust enough to be secure AND personal enough to be easy to remember. One of these strategies is bound to spark an idea for your next great password.

Before you start, check out the list of things you should NEVER use as your password towards the bottom of this page.


You are going to be typing this password a few times a day, right? Use that as an opportunity. Create a password that reminds you of something in your life that you might want to improve upon. Examples:

  • 64water1day! (64 ounces of water a day)
  • steps&stairs2000 (take the stairs and walk 2000 steps a day)
  • 1Apple0choc (eat an apple a day, less chocolate)
  • bPresent4u (Respect people by being “present” in the moment with them)
  • 4pos^neg1 (It takes 4 positive statements to overcome 1 negative one)
  • 6smile2day! (Reminder to smile during all 6 class periods today.)


Mnemonics are often employed to translate an easy to remember phrase to a hard to hack password. This might be a phrase you think of often, or the lyrics to a song or poem you appreciate. Examples:

  • Iwthyh63 (I want to hold your hand - Beatles 1963)
  • mss&BH71 (Mud Slide Slim and the Blue Horizon - James Taylor 1971)
  • Gjw2hf84 (Girls Just Want to Have Fun - Cyndi Lauper 1984)
  • iwb@PHXAZ (I was born in Phoenix, Arizona)

The OLD You

Things you were fond of in the past, but are not obviously tied to you as an adult can be combined to make a good password. Maybe a place you loved, or a specific car, an attraction from a vacation, or a favorite restaurant? Examples:

  • pbMinn10 (I visited Paul Bunyan in Minnesota when I was 10)
  • 1000GJsc (I could eat 1000 of my Grandma Jones’ sugar cookies)
  • 4Hhog74! (I showed a 4-H Blue Ribbon Hog in 1974)
  • C&Kin1968 (I spent 1968 with my cousins Courtney and Kelly)

Multiple Facts About You

You can creatively combine multiple (not obvious) dates, facts or occasions into a passphrase.  Examples:

  • GertieFast98 (My Dachshund, Gertie was a Nebraska champion racer in 1998)
  • 1188&jsb3 (Married on June 11, 1988 and my kids are Jane, Sally and Brad)
  • 778291gr@d (Graduated high school in 1977, college in 1982, Masters degree in 1991)
  • 10Chief02 (I was named Grand Chief of my Lodge on October 13, 2002)
  • paris93JP (Went to Paris in 1993 with John and Penny)

Still MORE ideas!

There are many other formulas and methods that people use to generate passwords that are meaningful to them. Some are reminiscent of decoder rings and spy-proof secrets, while others are just as friendly as the ones listed above. Here are some links that discuss some additional ideas:

CARTOON: ‘Through 20 years of effort, we’ve successfully trained everyone to use passwords that are hard for humans to remember, but easy for computers to guess.’ -XKCD

Passwords to Avoid

NEVER write your password down and keep it with your computer. Also, popular local sports teams are a bad idea for your password.

Humans are predictable creatures. In an effort to come up with a password that is memorable, we often turn to familiar ideas to generate a password that we think no one could EVER guess. Here are some words and phrases that you should always avoid, because a human or computer might guess it.

  • password
  • 123456
  • Sports teams (huskers1, packers87, bulls23)
  • Names (family, pets, celebrities, etc.)
  • A single word, no matter how long
  • Keyboard patterns (qwerty, asdfg, 12120909, etc.)
  • Dates (birthdays, anniversaries, etc.) unless combined with unrelated data
  • Personal information (SSN, license plate, address, phone numbers, etc.)
  • Any password on this list (CAUTION: this list contains inappropriate language)
  • Any of the above with the number 1 or 2 added to the end of it.
  • Any password you have previously used with an additional digit appended to the end.
  • Secrets of any kind
  • Any password that would be embarrassing if you accidentally typed it on a screen in front of a room full of people.

Helping Hands

Password Card

A PasswordCard is a credit card-sized card you keep in your wallet, which lets you pick very secure passwords for all your websites, without having to remember them! You just keep them with you, and even if your wallet does get stolen, the thief will still not know your actual passwords.

Password Manager Software

Many of us maintain a great number of unique passwords. One for every site we visit. This is a great security practice, but it makes your digital life difficult. No matter how good your memory is, this is bound to get confusing. If you are looking for some computer aided assistance, try a password manager like

We do not recommend using the built-in “remember this password?” services found in most traditional web browsers (Firefox, Safari, Chrome, etc.). These are not secure by default. Anyone with a moment of access to your computer can open your browser preferences and view all of your saved passwords.


Written by cpultz

August 14th, 2012 at 3:50 pm

Spreadsheet Skills for Teachers

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The contents of this page are intended to supplement workshop session Spreadsheet Skills for Teachers found in the LPS Staff Development Catalog. In this session we look at basic spreadsheet features that can be used in MS Excel or Google Spreadsheets.


Synergy: Download Class Lists

Much of the data you work with will be collected on your own students. LPS can provide you with a spreadsheet populated with the students you teach. Directions for downloading this information can be found here.

Download Student Data to a Spreadsheet

For the sake of time in this workshop – please use this spreadsheet of fake student data.


Components of a Spreadsheet

Rows & Columns

No matter who makes the tool (Microsoft, Google, Apple, OpenOffice, etc.), a spreadsheet is defined by rows & columns.

A column is a vertical group of cells on a sheet.

  • Columns are labeled alphabetically (A, B, C) across the top of the sheet.
  • You can select an entire column by clicking on the label (letter) at the very top.

A row is a horizontal group of cells on a sheet.

  • Rows are labeled numerically (1,2,3) along the left side of the sheet.
  • You can select an entire row by clicking on the label (number) at the very left.

A cell is the intersection point between a column and a row.

  • Each cell has an address (for example, cell A1 is the intersection point of column A, and row 1).
  • The active cell has a highlight around it.
  • You can select all of the cells in a sheet at once by clicking the space at the top left corner between the labels for Column A and Row 1.

Time Saving Tips

Keyboard navigation

To commit data to a cell, you can press RETURN, TAB, or any of the arrow keys. The key you press determines which cell becomes the active cell.

  • Press the TAB key to move the selection one cell to the right.
  • Press the ENTER key to move the selection down one cell.
  • Press the ESC key to unselect or undo something before you commit to it by pressing enter.
  • Other common keyboard shortcuts:
    • ⌘+C to copy data
    • ⌘+V to paste data
    • ⌘+Z to undo the last change

If you find yourself entering very much text in spreadsheet form, you may appreciate an external keypad. These are available in many places for as little as $5. Search the internet for “USB keypad”.

Click image for a larger view.



  • Quickly enter some types of data (lists, sequential data, copy formulas).
  • Click on a cell then move the pointer over the lower-right corner of the cell until the pointer becomes a black cross. Then click and drag over cells you want to fill.
  • Example AutoFills: Months, Days of Week, Numbers in a pattern
    • In a Google Spreadsheet if you hold down the OPTION key while performing an AutoFill, the results are from a Google search for the original terms you provide.


Working With Your Data

Click to view a larger version of this image.

Sheets in a Workbook

  • sheet (also called “worksheets” or “tabs”) is a single spreadsheet
  • workbook is a group of sheets. Each workbook can have multiple sheets.
  • Find the sheets/tabs at the bottom of the spreadsheet window.



Keep a copy in DocuShare

If the spreadsheet your are working on can only be found on your computer, you are flirting with disaster! It is a good idea to keep a copy of all of your documents in DocuShare for safe keeping. The following documents should help you with this process.


Upload to Google Docs

If you have an Excel spreadsheet on your computer, a copy of it can be uploaded to Google Docs. Unless your spreadsheet is using some very advanced functions or elaborate formatting, the resulting Google Spreadsheet should behave exactly like the Excel Spreadsheet did on your desktop.

To select a file(s) from your computer to upload to Google Docs:

  1. In your Documents List, click the Upload button and select Files… from the drop-down menu.
  2. Select the file you’d like to upload to Google Docs. (To select multiple files, press Shift or Ctrl and click all the files to upload.)
  3. Your file will appear in your Documents List.

This process creates a completely independent copy of the spreadsheet.

NOTE: Google Docs are NOT LPS managed. Be considerate of  data security (FERPA, HIPAA, Etc.) when posting to this resource and be careful when adjusting sharing settings.


Save As… in Excel

  1. Click File > Save.
  2. In the Save As box, enter a name for the workbook.
  3. On the pop-up menu tell the computer where to save the file.
  4. Click Save.
  5. The file name you entered should now appear above at the top of the Excel window.


Save a Copy… in Google Spreadsheets

  1. Click File > Make a Copy…
  2. In the pop-up window, decide whether the collaborators on the current spreadsheet (if there are any) should also be collaborators on the copy you are making.
  3. You are now editing a spreadsheet called “Copy of + the original spreadsheet name”. You should see it in your Google Docs Home screen.



As we keep more and more student data on laptops and mobile devices, it is important for us to be mindful of the securing the tools we use. For instruction on placing basic password security on your electronics, consider the tips on this page:


Format Data

To make the data you enter easier to read, you can format it. To format data you first have to select the cells containing the data that you want to format.

  • Click in a cell and drag the mouse to select a range of cells.
  • The HOME tab presents a number of familiar formatting options; bold, alignment, cell highlighting, etc.
  • On the HOME tab under NUMBER you can choose to have the data automatically formatted to read as Currency, Percentages,  Dates, Text, etc.

TIP: To automatically resize a row or column, move the pointer over the border between two column headings. When the pointer appears as a double-headed arrow, double-click.

Many great formatting tips for Excel are gathered on this page.


Insert Rows & Columns

After you’ve entered data, you may find that you need another column or row to hold additional information.

To insert a single column:

  1. Click any cell in the column immediately to the right of where you want the new column to go.
  2. On the Home tab, in the Cells group, click the arrow on Insert.
  3. On the drop-down menu, click Insert Sheet Columns. A new blank column is inserted.

To insert a single row:

  1. Click any cell in the row immediately below where you want the new row to go.
  2. In the Cells group, click the arrow on Insert.
  3. On the drop-down menu, click Insert Sheet Rows. A new blank row is inserted.

Excel gives a new column or row the heading its place requires, and changes the headings of later columns and rows.


Sorting Data

When you sort, you are rearranging rows of data into a specified order. You can sort data alphabetically, numerically, by format, or some other criterias.

When you sort on a range of cells, the sort criteria aren’t saved with your workbook, and are not updated automatically. When you reapply a sorting criteria, you may see different results if the data car been added to, or formulas have produced different results.

To do a basic single-column sort:

  1. Click a cell in the column that you want to sort. (Data in adjacent columns will be sorted based on the column you sort.)
  2. On the Data tab, under Sort & Filter, click the arrow next to Sort.

You can also sort by multiple criteria by going to Sort… in the Data menu.

More information about sorting & filtering data in Excel is gathered here.


Filtering Data

When you have a large amount of data, sometimes it is easier or more useful to work with a specific portion of it. When you filter data, you temporarily hide some of it. Only the data that meets your criteria appears. The data that doesn’t meet that criteria is hidden. After you filter data, you can copy, find, edit, format, chart, and print the subset of filtered data.

To create a basic filter on a set of data:

  1. Click a cell in the range or table that you want to filter.
  2. On the Standard toolbar, click Filter  .
  3. Click the arrow  in the column that contains the content that you want to filter.
  4. Under Filter, click Choose One, and then in the pop-up menu, select your criteria.

More information about sorting & filtering data in Excel is gathered here.


Formula Basics 

A mathematical calculation performed on your data is called a formula.

  • Begin by selecting the cell in which you would like the results of the formula to appear.
  • Enter the appropriate math in the Formula Bar found just above the column headers (by default).
  • Formulas always begins with an equal sign (=).
  • Clicking and dragging through a range of cells while constructing a formula tells the spreadsheet to include these cells in the calculation.
More information on creating formulas has been gathered here.


Function Basics

Excel comes with hundreds of pre-made formulas that can help you make calculations. These are called functions. Some of the most popular ones for teachers include:
  • AutoSum makes it easy to total a column of numbers.
  • Average returns the mathematical mean of a set of numbers.
  • Median finds the number in the middle of a set of numbers.
More information on Excel functions has been gathered here.


Mail/Data Merge

Once you have your data (class list, for example) in a spreadsheet, you can use this as a data source for a Mail/Data merge in Microsoft Word. This can be an elegant way to produce name tags, labels, and other personalized classroom materials.

For more information here is our LPS page about mail merge in MS Word.

Google Sheets has recently added a new feature called “Add-Ons”. Avery (the label company) offers an add-on that handles mail merge from a Google Sheet. This 3rd party integration is not supported by LPS, but we have heard of many using it with success.


Transpose Data

Sometimes you have great data that is hard to read because of the way it is oriented. A perfect example of this is a Google Form that returns results in a spreadsheet with the questions in columns and results appearing in rows. If you are trying to see how everyone answered a specific question, it would be much easier if the rows and columns were flipped so that each row was a question, and each column was a response. This is easier to do than you might think! In Google Sheets there is a formula that does this for you.

Don’t worry! It is easier than these steps look – I have been very detailed in my directions.

  1. Open the Spreadsheet with the difficult data.
  2. Create a new sheet in that spreadsheet.
  3. In cell A1 of your new blank sheet enter the following formula:
  4. Place your cursor inside of the parenthesis of that formula you just typed.
  5. Go to the sheet that has the offending data and click on the cell that selects all (above the row headers, to the left of the column headers) and press return.
  6. You should be returned to your new sheet, where nothing will happen for 5-10 seconds, then suddenly your data will be copied from sheet1 and transposed into sheet2.


Printing Tips

I’m not sure a spreadsheet has ever printed the way I wanted it to on the first try. Save yourself a trip to the printer and the cost of paper by previewing the page before printing. (On the Layout tab, under Print, click Preview.)

A number of printing tips are gathered on this page. Learn how to print cell gridlines, add headers or footers to a spreadsheet, repeat column headers at the top of each page, and many other things.


Written by cpultz

February 28th, 2012 at 2:48 pm

Email Management Strategies

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Photo licensed (CC) by Assaulted Peanut, remixed

Email is such a funny thing. People hand you these single little messages that are no heavier than a river pebble. But it doesn’t take long until you have acquired a pile of pebbles that’s taller than you and heavier than you could ever hope to move, even if you wanted to do it over a few dozen trips. But for the person who took the time to hand you their pebble, it seems outrageous that you can’t handle that one tiny thing. “What pile? It’s just a pebble!”

-Merlin Mann from ‘Here Comes Everybody‘ (Shirky, 2008, p.94)

Be an email hero by modeling best practices

No one wants to spend more time with their email. No one. Modeling better communication practices when you communicate with others is a great way to show respect to your colleagues by reducing the amount of time THEY spend with email. Believe me, they will notice. The seeds you sow in a few seconds here and a few seconds there will be reaped when they pick up on your more effective and efficient practices and return the favor. Following are tips that will make your email pebble stand out in the pile of pebbles the recipient is handed every day, and make that pebble easier to carry for them. Everyone wins!


Before you begin writing, think about WHY you are sending this message. There are only two types of email, which type of message are you sending?

  • Providing Information
  • Requesting Information (or Action)

Make it clear to the user what is being communicated or requested. Don’t bury it in a paragraph, have it stand out – right at the top of the email. And then, don’t say much more. Lengthy emails have a few problems, the biggest being:

  1. They scare readers
  2. They take a long time for you to write
  3. The longer they get, the less clear they become.

If you find yourself beyond 5 sentences, pause and consider whether you can be more succinct.

You GET what you GIVE

Be specific about what you need if you desire an appropriate response. You are doing the recipient a favor by removing the guesswork. If they understand clearly what is needed, you are more likely to get it.

  • Will you be attending the teacher dinner during conferences next Tuesday? Please respond with your RSVP by Friday.
  • Teachers, please upload your completed PLC documents to Google Drive by Wednesday at noon.
  • If we can borrow your stapler for a classroom activity tomorrow, please drop it off today after school with your name clearly marked so we can return it tomorrow.
  • The art department is in serious need of yellow yarn. We will be placing yarn collection boxes at all entrances to the school next week.
  • There will be a sign on the office wall until Friday where you can leave best wishes for Principal Smith’s retirement. Please stop by when you have a moment this week.

After stating the most important points, elaborate as necessary.

One Topic

Write about one thing. When you combine multiple subjects into a single email, you create decision paralysis for the recipient. If your message asks for one thing in the first paragraph and another thing in the second, should they respond before they’ve done both, or after?

Consider If/Then statements to predict possible outcomes and suggest a follow-up action that does not require them to contact you in-between.

  • Is it possible to borrow the ellison die? If so, can I reserve it for April 17-21, 2012?
  • Can I get a ride to the staff development session this afternoon? If not, please let me know.
  • Following is the information for the PTO Ice Cream Social. If it cannot be included in the halftime announcements, please let me know.

Subject lines FTW

If the reader knows what you need BEFORE they open/read the email, you’ve done an excellent job utilizing the subject line. The subject should be the essence of the most important point in the message. Consider “Tagging” your subject line.

  • [PTO] Can we recycle electronics?
  • Thanks for the help this AM!!
  • [PLC] Bring laptops to media center
  • OUT: Monday, May 7th
  • REMINDER: Voting Ends TODAY

Be as brief as possible

Brevity? Again? Didn’t we already talk about this above? We did, and it is so important we’re talking about it again!

Which communicates more effectively?

Every email you send should be a 2nd draft. When you finish your message, make a habit of editing what you wrote down into a smaller, more concise message. This is not wasted time!

People are physically and emotionally crushed when they open a long message. The shorter it is, the more likely they will read & respond promptly.

Don’t tell me you can’t say it in less words. Road signs are a perfect example of brevity. The Department of Roads could start a public relations campaign and email everyone information about the dangers that deer on the roadway can pose, including indicators of environments in which you will be more likely to encounter said deer, and seasons in which deer are more likely to be skittish and found in roadways. Or they can put up a sign with two words – one of which is a severe abbreviation: DEER XING. Message sent.

By the way – DEER XING would be a great subject line!

Delete is more than just a key.

The delete key on your keyboard is not just a key. It is a mindset. Consider what would happen if you did not reply to a message. If you are not adding value to a conversation, don’t reply. Most messages do not need our response. It saves you time, and is one less email for the others involved to open (and delete).

Another consideration is the archiving & storage of email. Can you produce a voice mail message from 5 years ago? Can you show me a piece of regular (postal) mail you received 2 years ago? Probably not – and if so they are likely VERY important. Yet, most people keep every email message they have received – EVER. That’s a lot of baggage. Consider deleting more messages, or periodically threshing archive-worthy messages from your storage and deleting the rest. (See more on this topic below)


BCC stands for “Blind Carbon Copy” and is another way to denote who the recipients of your email should be. The difference between BCC and To: or CC: is that recipients on BCC cannot see who the other recipients were. This is ideal in two situations:

  1. When privacy is a concern. Sometimes you need to send a message to multiple people, but it is not appropriate for person A to see who person B is. Imagine if the content of the message was regarding financial matters, or health matters.
  2. When it is not your right to redistribute a person’s email address. If you have gathered email addresses from people outside of LPS (and in some cases INSIDE of LPS), you should take great lengths NOT to make these addresses known to others. When you use a person’s email address in the To: or CC: field, everyone who receives the email can see everyone else’s email address. That is not OK, if these people did not authorize you to redistribute their email address to others, which they probably did not.

Avoid Attachments

Email was never meant for sharing attachments. Instead of attaching a file, in most cases you can do one of these things:

  1. Use the body of the email message to deliver the words in your attachment. In almost every case you can deliver the information within the body of the message itself, without any need for an attachment. Even if you used a tool like MS Word to compose the message you can copy/paste the words into an email message. When you attach a document you are saying to the recipients that your words are formatted in a special enough way that you are asking them to A) download an attachment, B) open an attachment in another piece of software. That’s pretty selfish!
  2. Use DocuShare to host a file, and link to it. Sometimes you actually need to deliver a specific file to others. In these cases, put that file in a common space in DocuShare. Send a link to it, or tell them where they will find it.
  3. Use Google Docs. If multiple people are involved with a particular document, it may be that Google Docs may be the most appropriate collaborative space to gather peopel around the document, not emailing attachments back and forth.

Tips on Managing Mail in Zimbra

Don’t Sort, Search

Consider archiving older messages to DocuShare for access in emergency situations, then deleting them from Zimbra. For a quick tutorial on this process check out this video.

Why spend your time filing all of your email messages in individual folders when Zimbra has amazing search capabilities?


“Spam” is a term used to describe an email message of any content (but often commercial in nature) that was sent indiscriminately to large numbers of recipients on the Internet. To qualify as spam, a message must be unsolicited.

When you receive a message sent to your account that you believe to be spam, you have four options, detailed in our LPS web page “Spam: What to do about it?”

Consider Filters

Think about how much email you get “periodically”. For example:

  • daily updates from email lists
  • DocuShare notifications
  • daily announcements from your office
  • company advertisements
  • etc., etc., etc.

These legitimate messages often fill up your inbox. Wouldn’t it be nice to have Zimbra automatically organize these into folders for you to view at an appropriate time, leaving your inbox with unique messages that probably need your attention?

Filters can do exactly that! They are available in most email clients, and Zimbra is no exception.

Learn more about Inbox Filters.

Block Specific Addresses

Filters are powerful as workflow triggers, but what if you just want to BLOCK someone’s messages? In Zimbra you can identify up to 100 addresses that you always want to block. Add the undesirable addresses to the appropriate box by going to Preferences / Mail / Spam Mail Options. (VIEW AN IMAGE)

Use a Signature

Your immediate co-workers know you, as do many colleagues. Beyond that, even people who recognize your name may not remember what your role is within the district. Others of us have generic names that are very similar to many other peoples’. Help everyone in the organization by having a “signature” automatically appended to the end of your messages.

Beyond your professional contact information, many people choose to include a personal message. If you choose to do the same, remember that you are using a taxpayer funded computer and email account to conduct LPS business and avoid these things:

  • No religious messages or text
  • No political messages or affiliations
  • No non-LPS business messages, for example
    • Advertising that you tutor after school
    • Linking to your son’s band’s CD for sale online
    • Linking to your ETSY shop, Craigslist post, Ebay storefront, etc…
  • Avoid using images in your signature, they add a lot of file size to every email you send

Archive Old LPS Email to DocuShare

Great thinking on managing your email

Most of the ideas on this page were inspired by some folks who focus on productivity or simplicity issues. If you are interested in hearing more of their thoughts, please read on!

Written by cpultz

February 10th, 2012 at 8:42 pm

iPad Basics

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iPad-LPSorg-JAN2015This page is a supplement to the iPad Basics LPS Staff Development session which can be found in the LPS Staff Development catalog.



Electronic Device Repair and Replacement Program (EDRRP)

When staff members are issued district electronic equipment, they accept the full financial responsibility for the cost of repairs for any damage or for replacement in the event of loss of such equipment while in their possession. The EDRRP is an optional program that allows an employee to cover some of the risks for district-owned electronic devices. The Program provides repair or replacement due to accidental damage, liquid damage and drops, theft, fire, vandalism or natural disasters.

More information about EDRRP can be found in the Information Center for Employees (ICE.)


App Management

LPS iPads come preconfigured with the apps identified by Curriculum to best meet the needs of the curricular area in which the iPads are being used.  Depending on the curriculum area, and whether or not the iPad is for student use, teacher use, or administrative use will determine what apps are available.  

If an app you need is not available on the iPad, check in the App Portal.

The App Portal is similar to the Apple App Store, but only contains apps that have been approved via the ITT Approval process.  This allows you the ability to add additional apps that you know are safe and approved for you and your students’ use.

If there are apps that are not available to you via the App Portal, please contact your curriculum specialist.

Personal Apple IDs
When Apple released the iPad the only method to purchase apps for it was by using a personal Apple ID. This created many issues for iPads owned by organizations and it was due to the iPad’s roots as a personal consumer device. This limitation has been overcome and LPS only allows Apple IDs on devices if both of the following criteria are met:

  • The iPad is assigned to an individual not a building/classroom
    Teachers and Administrators use district owned laptops that are assigned to them as an individual so if they transfer schools, the computer stays with them. While district owned iPads might be primarily, or even exclusively, used by one teacher, in all but the rarest of cases the iPad stays with the school when the teacher or staff member leaves the school.
  • The iPad is used exclusively for administrative functions
    Administrative functions include the use of tools to complete work between staff and faculty NOT students. In order to meet this criteria the iPad must never be used by a student.


In no situation may you use an LPS purchasing card to purchase an iTunes gift card or fund a personal iTunes account.

Mobile Apps that Connect to LPS Systems

iosAppsBecause so many of the systems LPS uses in the acts of teaching & learning provide apps that can be installed on an iPad,  we have created a separate page offering an alphabetical listing of the major ones, with links to download them and instructions on how to set them up for use in the LPS.

AirPlay Mirroring (Projecting from iPad)

AirplayiPadShare your iPad screen with everyone in the room. There are three ways to do this:

  • WIRELESS to AppleTV
  • WIRELESS to Reflector application on a laptop connected to projector
    • 1. Connect computer to projector or monitor
    • 2. Launch Reflector app on laptop
    • 3. Mirror iPad to computer (pretty much the same instructions as “Connect from an iPad” on this page.)
    • Reflector can be purchased via the LPSCS Buying Guide ($7 per license)
  •  WIREDScreen Mirroring on an external screen or projector requires adaptor cables
    • Connect your HDTV (or projector) to your iPad with the Apple Digital AV Adapter or VGA Adapter, and the iPad automatically begins mirroring on your HDTVor projector. Find the appropriate video adaptors for your iPad in the Apple Store. ($30-$40)



iOS7EnterPasswordThe main reason a person buys a mobile device is for the portability gained with a small size. Unfortunately this strength is also a significant factor in the ease of misplacing a device or having it stolen.

  • Keep your iPad Safely locked up when not in use. Leaving it on your unattended desk is NOT a good idea.
  • Have a Lock Screen photo with identifying information should it be lost.
    • Settings / Brightness & Wallpaper
  • Password protecting your iPad with a code
    • Settings / General / Passcode Lock
  • Don’t share your iTunes Store password!

Control Center

Swipe up from the very bottom of any screen to open Control Center. Do things like quickly connect to AirPlay-enabled devices like Reflector or AppleTV, switch to Airplane mode, turn Wi-Fi on or off, or adjust the brightness of your display. Lock your screen’s orientation. Play, pause, or skip a song. (More instructions.)

HT5858 #2

Organize Apps

  • To move apps – Touch and hold an icon until the Home screen icons begin to jiggle. Drag the app icon to the desired location. Stop the icons from jiggling by clicking the home button. To move an icon from one screen to another, drag the icon onto the very edge of a screen and hold it there until the screens move underneath. It takes 1-2 seconds for the iPad to realize what you want it to do and move screens.
  • To make Folders – Touch and hold an icon until the Home screen icons begin to jiggle, then drag an icon onto another icon.
  • To delete apps – Touch and hold an app icon on the Home screen until the icons start to jiggle, then tap the red () button in the top corner of the icon. This deletes the app. Press the Home button when you finish deleting apps. You cannot delete the default apps that came on your iPad.

App switching / Force Close

Double-click the home button to open the “Multitasking” screen. Swipe left/right to select a recently opened app. Swipe up on an app to force close it, should it be misbehaving.


The keyboard in iOS has a lot of tricks up its sleeve that can make your life easier.

Bookmarks on the Home Screen

  1. Open the page in Safari
  2. Tap  at the top of the screen
  3. Tap “Add To Home Screen.”

Notification Center

Swipe down from the very top of any screen to know about new mail, to-dos that need doing, and see a convenient summary of your calendar. Manage what useful information appears on this screen by going to Settings / Notification Center.

More information: Understanding notifications on iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch


LPS Zimbra on iPad

Follow the process outlined in this video to setup LPS Zimbra Sync on administrative use iPads only.

LPS Zimbra can sync with native iOS apps, connecting:

  • Your LPS eMail to the Mail app
  • Your LPS Calendar to the Calendar app
    • NOTE: The sync does NOT include all of the calendars you have subscribed to, only your own. Here is a workaround that will give you access to ALL of the calendars from your mobile device: LPS Calendar Tip
  • The LPS Directory to the Contacts app
  • Your LPS Tasks to the Reminders app



Written by cpultz

January 30th, 2012 at 2:20 pm

Technology Survival Guide

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The content of this page is a digital representation of the “LPS Technology Survival Guide” information shared at new teacher orientations and other situations.

We have a keyword ‘shortcut’ system throughout the LPS website. Type the keywords mentioned below in the keyword field at the top right of most pages to quickly access specific pages on the site.


LPS Information

Staff Center
From the main website, click the Staff Center tab at the right end of the top menu. You’ll find all of the front page news here, as well as links to most of the LPS web resources you need.

The LPS website has thousands of pages, but a handful of them are accessible directly with a KEYWORD typed into the keyword/search box in the top right corner of Here are a handful (not mentioned already in this document) that might be useful to teachers…

Information Center for Employees (ICE)
keyword: ice
The LPS Information Center for Employees (ICE) will show you all of your paycheck information, along with W2, Online Benefit Information, Employee ID, and a growing list of employee information. Your 6-digit employee ID is the number required for using the Xerox MFDs (printing, copying, faxing, scanning) in our district.

Time and Attendance
keyword: tas
Time and Attendance (TAS) is used to record the hours worked for “non-exempt” staff as well as to request, view and verify time and absences for ALL staff. You can only access the TAS website from an LPS building.

keyword: subs or absence
This is where most staff members submit absences so that they are properly entered into TAS and teachers request a substitute.

Student Learning & Information Management
keyword: SLIM
The LPS Student Learning & Instructional Management (SLIM) page provides a one-stop-shop for links to information about systems that manage/report student data for the district. LPS users Synergy by EduPoint as our Student Information System. The SLIM page contains instructions by role (office, admin, teacher, etc)

CLASS Plan (Connected Learning for the Achievement of Students and Staff)
keyword: classplan
LPS believes that technology extends learning opportunities, increases productivity, and promotes greater effectiveness. A plan is in place that should allow all LPS staff and students access to the tools necessary to take advantage of greater access to technology. If you want to keep tabs on the official LPS Technology Plan – also known as the “CLASS Plan” – visit the link above to learn more.

Instructional Technology Tools (ITT)
keyword: ITT
High-quality instructional technology is an important tool for improving student achievement and preparing them for adult success. Teacher creativity and passion drive instructional innovations, and the District intends to provide advice for teachers, families and students about the use of instructional technology tools. Our goal is to efficiently identify Instructional Technology Tools that are safe for student use, support district learning goals, and encourage innovative teaching and learning. Want to understand “the why?” See this link for additional rationale.

ITT Matrix
keyword: MATRIX
After identifying an instructional need, teachers and school leaders are encouraged to review the LPS Instructional Technology Tool Matrix when considering a tool. The Matrix catalogs the applications, extensions, websites and other digital tools that have been reviewed by the District ITT Evaluation Committee. This matrix provides school leaders and teachers with additional information connecting research-based instructional strategies, tool functionality and curricular connections.

Web Content Filtering in LPS
Federal regulations require the restriction of access to specific types of web content. LPS employees may enter their LPS credentials to access many web pages not allowed to students. This is known as “Role Based Authentication” and respects an educator’s right to make professional decisions about the content you access. Learn more about this process and the LPS Board of Education Policies and Regulations it relates to on this page.

Technology Support & Skill Development

Suitable for framing.

Technology Helpdesk & Regional Support Technicians
keyword: help
The LPS Helpdesk (click Help) is the place to start with work-related technology issues. LPS also has regional Support Technicians that will be dispatched to your location when necessary. Whenever you require technology support, a Help Desk ticket via the web is the preferred method but you are welcome to contact the Help Desk directly when necessary (7am-5pm) at 402-436-1735.

Training and Support
keyword: help
This is the page that brings you all the training and support materials offered by LPS Computing Services. The Apps link in the top right takes you to a page with more information about all of the software we support as a district and the Talk link takes you to our discussion forums where you can ask questions or dialog with other users. You can also search for any software title in the keyword/search box of the LPS website.

Staff Development Catalog (CourseWhere)
keyword: RSP5
The LPS Staff Development department utilizes an online catalog that lists the latest offerings in all areas of Staff Development, including curriculum and technology workshops. If you have questions on its use, contact Staff Development at 402-436-1851.

Atomic Learning
keyword:  atomic
LPS subscribes to Atomic Learning – a set of self paced tutorials on dozens of pieces of popular software. Atomic Learning is a tremendous asset to our community, available for LPS staff AND students AND family members.  LPS staff members and LPS students login with their own username & password using the link from the Staff Center page. Non-LPS staff share a single username that we can provide upon request in a Helpdesk ticket.

Communication & Productivity

Web Broswer
Most LPS applications are accessed via a web browser. Teachers may use any web browser that fits the task/application. LPS encourages the use of Google Chrome, as that will offer the best environment for modeling to students using Chromebooks. Always identify the web browser that you are using when requesting support.

Zimbra Email, Calendar, Contacts
keyword: zimbra
Zimbra allows LPS employees to access their email, calendar and contacts from any location using any platform.

LPS Google Drive & Docs
keyword: goog
LPS Google Drive and Docs are available to staff and students for instructional use or for professional productivity. To access LPS Google Docs, enter keyword GOOG on the LPS website. To learn more about using LPS Google Docs, look for staff development sessions or enter keyword: GDOCS.

keyword: PGBO
There is a little ‘J‘ icon immediately to the right of the Keyword search box on It is our LPS “JumpCode” tool, a URL shortener made with elementary teachers in mind. A document explaining how to create JumpCodes can be found by entering JumpCode PGBO on the LPS website.

Printing, Copying, Scanning, Faxing
keyword: print or copy
To access documentation and video tutorials on how to print to MFDs or the LPS Print Center, use the MFD to make copies, or scan items to DocuShare, enter keyword COPY or PRINT on the LPS website.

keyword: docushare
DocuShare is the main location for storing and sharing files for professional retention. Login to DocuShare with your LPS user name and password. At the top right of the screen click HELP for how-to documents and video tutorials.

Web Page Tools in LPS
Much more information…
It is expected that all teachers in LPS have a web footprint that parents, students, colleagues and community can access. The degree to which teachers develop this web footprint will vary by role, grade level, content area, and need. All teachers should begin by completing a “Profile.” Most teachers will also create an “LMS Page” within Synergy. Information about both of these tools is found in the link above.

Digital Content Resources / Subscription Services
LPS subscribes to a number of resources that put rich digital content at your fingertips. These are not your average web pages – they are web-based content produced by professional organizations geared towards K-12 classrooms. Look for links to them on the Library Media Services page or speak to your building Media Specialist for resources your building may subscribe to individually.




Written by admin

August 1st, 2011 at 5:54 pm


without comments


USE: BLATS (Blueprint for Assessing Technology Skills) is a web-based instrument to self reflect on your digital literacy and in return be given a custom blueprint for your future instructional technology development.

LICENSE: Web interface available to any LPS staff. (Presently, the emphasis is on teachers)

Promo Video:

Training & Support:

LPS Computing Services supports BLATS. We are happy to consult with your building principal or other staff to administer this technology assessment tool to teachers.  Please contact Kristi Peters ( or Tim Hahn ( to set up a time for discussion.

Written by admin

February 17th, 2009 at 7:19 pm

LPS Budget Template Training

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I have questions about:

  • Understanding my budget:    Jessica Jefferson   x1707
  • Monthly receipt summaries:  Tamara Weins   x1701
  • Unpaid purchase orders:       Kim Lehl   x1704


There are outstanding resources available to all LPS employees who are seeking assistance with Microsoft Excel:

  1. Excel’s built-in Help is outstanding and can be found in the Help menu at the top of your Excel screen.
  2. LPS subscribes to Atomic Learning, which has short video tutorials on performing certain tasks within Excel.
  3. The LPS Helpdesk supports Excel. If you have a specific question, you can create a ticket at, or in an emergency by calling 436-1735.

Finding the Templates

Download the individual files here:

Modifying the Templates

These templates are not “locked”, nor are they intended to be used exactly “as-is”. You are welcome to modify them as you see fit. Cells in this workbook that contain formulas are denoted in yellow as a warning to be very cautious when modifying them.

LPS Training:

Typically in November, the LPS Computing Services and Accounting departments work together to provide this 4-hour training workshop opportunity:

  • IT0093 – Budget Template Workshop
    If you are new to working with the district budget, or just want a refresher, this class is for you.  You will learn how to read your monthly financials and have a hands-on opportunity to incorporate your financial data into your Budget Template.  Please bring your Principal Allocation Report with you.

Written by admin

March 5th, 2007 at 4:26 pm

Posted in .U,Staff Development

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