The following sessions are available for enrollment via the LPS Staff Development Catalog. Please use the search or filter to find the topic you are looking for. Descriptions for all classes are below the list of sessions.
FLEX = Computing Services does not determine FLEX eligibility. Check with your specific curricular area for details on which sessions may qualify toward your district FLEX plan.
If you have been provided a laptop by LPS, please bring it to every workshop you attend.
The following courses are regularly offered in the staff development catalog or can be scheduled in your building (building sessions require >10 committed participants). Please contact Computing Services (email@example.com) to schedule.
This class is recommended for new office staff who will be responsible for keeping track of teacher enhancement funds, activity accounts, and school budgets, current office staff who will be assuming or providing back up help for these applications, and current office staff wanting a refresher.Participants are trained in the use of the Monthly Summary Report, Principals Allocation Report for Schools, Account Balance and Transaction Detail Lookup, By Fund Salary Distribution, and Purchase Order Lookup, Teacher Allocation System, School Fund Accounting System. In addition, there will be a presentation on Understanding Account Numbers and how to read the Monthly Summary Report.
ON DEMAND LEARNING Atomic Learning is a library of video tutorials focused on helping people to learn to use computer software by breaking software training down into tiny pieces, making it possible for you to learn on your terms, in your available time. Whether you have 5 minutes or 5 hours, Atomic Learning has something for you! Our subscription to Atomic Learning is provided jointly by the LPS Computing Services, Media Services, Staff Development and Curriculum Departments
Learning how to use digital tools takes time, and that’s what this session provides. This workshop gives you 105 minutes of time dedicated to Atomic Learning video tutorials on tools that directly support the digital side of your professional practices as described by Charlotte Danielson. Bring a pair of headphones and join us!
Basics of the AS400 (Business)
This session will cover topics such as the AS400 Workstation Menu, multiple sessions, form types, and printers.
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.
Chrome (Browser) & Chromebooks
As part of the Device Assisted Learning and Instruction component of the LPS Tech Plan, the student assigned device is a Dell Chromebook. This session will orient educators to the special elements of the Chromebook and the nearly identical functions that it shares with the Chrome web browser found on all LPS teacher laptops. We will share tips and information about streamlining the use of Google Apps on Chrome as well as other browser-based utilities for working with your students now that they will have Chromebooks in their student toolset. *Please bring your LPS assigned laptop with you.
Email Management Strategies
The volume of email messages sent and received on a daily basis demands that we take time to consider best practices for managing it. Learn about strategies for processing your inbox and composing more effective communications. We’ll look at some of the lesser known features of Zimbra that may be just what you need to succeed in the “battle of the inbox!” Comfortability with the Zimbra Communication Suite is assumed. Please bring your laptops if possible.
Exploring Google Calendar (for Digital Student Planners)
Students are using Chromebooks in many areas of their LPS lives so now is a good time for 6-12th graders to consider digital student planners. Google Calendar is an organizational tool available to teachers and students in the Google Apps for Education environment. Integrations with Hapara and Google Classroom automatically add assignments to the Google Calendar for courses when they are created, making Google Calendar a convenient tool. Students will appreciate that the tool becomes even more powerful when they enable the Tasks tool contained within the calendar. Tasks allow for personal to-do list management separate from the course calendars maintained by teachers. *Please bring your LPS assigned laptop with you.
Exploring Google Docs
Google Docs is a cloud-based word processing tool available as a component of the Google Apps for Education environment. It allows users to create and edit documents online while collaborating in real-time with other users. It may be easy to assume that you already know all there is to know about Google Docs, however, there are a lot of valuable options hidden in the menus that may be of use to you, and the tool is continually being updated. This session is appropriate for beginners as well as those who use the tool daily. *Please bring your LPS assigned laptop with you.
Exploring Google Drawing
Google Drawing is an illustration tool found within the Google Apps environment, providing a graphical creation tool for all LPS staff and students. Google Drawing has basic text, shape, and image manipulation tools offering a creative outlet for displays of knowledge, or a templated workspace. Items created in Google Drawings are available in Docs, Sheets and Slides. Like all tools found in the Google Apps Suite, it allows for easy sharing between staff and students, and saves all work within Google Drive by default, reducing the amount of instructional time used on document management tasks. *Please bring your LPS assigned laptop with you.
Exploring Google Sheets
Google Sheets is a cloud based spreadsheet tool available as a component of the Google Apps for Education environment. We will cover standard spreadsheet functionalities as well as looking at options specific to Google sheets. If you need to keep track of information, Sheets is a tool that would benefit you! *Please bring your LPS assigned laptop with you.
Exploring Google Slides
Google Slides is a slide deck tool available to all LPS staff and students in the Google Apps for Education environment. Beyond offering all standard presentation functionalities, this cloud-based tool can be used for any task that benefits from a structured display of information, creative displays of knowledge, or a templated workspace. It features collaborative options, allows for easy sharing between staff and students, and saves all work within Google Drive by default, reducing the amount of instructional time used on document management tasks. It is a valuable tool for LPS teachers and students. *Please bring your LPS assigned laptop with you.
Google Classroom Basics
Google Classroom is a tool that helps teachers have a more efficient workflow when using Google Drive with their students. Classroom, while not a full-blown Learning Management System (LMS), manages the hand-in/hand-out process of digital documents in Google Drive, automating the assignment process and organizing folders for easy access by the student and teacher. Additionally, teachers can provide direct feedback, see who hasn’t completed work and show scored work right in Classroom. *Please bring your LPS assigned laptop with you.
Google Drive Basics
Google Drive is the premier productivity suite for LPS students and serves as a core component of Chromebooks in the classroom. This unique cloud-based environment includes word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, forms, and drawing tools as well as many other components. Teachers must be able to create documents, send and receive invitations to share documents, organize Google resources as well as recognize appropriate sharing settings that limit the audience to those who should see shared items. This session will give you these important foundational skills. *Please bring your LPS assigned laptop with you.
Google Drive: Exploring Features (Advanced)
Google frequently updates their tools, so even if you use LPS Google Drive a lot it is likely that you haven’t seen many of the features you have available to you. This session goes “beyond the basics” in LPS Google Drive. If you are comfortable with the tool and want to learn more, bring your teacher laptop and get ready to stretch your knowledge!
Google Forms Basics
Google Forms is a structured data collection tool found within the Google Drive environment, providing LPS staff and students the ability to create surveys or forms for collecting data on any topic. Opportunity exists for teachers to gather formative information and create classroom surveys or for students to learn about data collection processes. All data collected in Google Forms is saved within Google Drive by default. Learn how to create a form, and find the data it collects. *Please bring your LPS assigned laptop with you.
Hapara Dashboard & Highlights
Hapara Dashboard is the part of Hapara that offers teachers a snapshot view of what their students are seeing and doing (and who they are sharing work with) in their Google Drive (Docs, Sheets, Slides, etc.), as well as the ability to share documents to students in one or more classes with just a few clicks using the Smart Copy tool. Teachers will appreciate the ability to search and find items in their student’s Drive and quickly view sharing settings and progress being made on individual Drive items. Hapara Highlights is another part of Hapara that offers nearly real-time views of the Chromebook browser screens of individual students in the courses they teach, as well as screens that show overall class activity. Teachers can also focus student work through limiting browsing to web pages the teacher specifies. Hapara is a core tool for LPS Connected Classrooms. *Please bring your LPS assigned laptop with you.
Intro to Excel
If you’re a beginner at Microsoft Excel or want to review the basic concepts, this session is for you. Learn the skills you need to create a spreadsheet, including formatting and basic calculations. Most Excel features are the same on Mac & Windows so users familiar with either platform are welcomed. Topics will be viewed from the perspective of an office professional. Teachers may want to look in the catalog for a different session titled ‘Basic Spreadsheet Skills for Teachers’ instead.
Intro to the iPad (iOS Basics)
The Apple iPad has been one of the most rapidly adopted technologies of all time. iPads can be found in the hands of LPS employees of all areas, from classroom teachers to administrators. This session seeks to offer guidance on basic use and answer questions about appropriate use in our school environment. If you have a new device, please make sure that the device is ready for use prior to class (work with Computing Services Helpdesk). iPADS ARE NOT PROVIDED.
iPad as a Connected Classroom Teaching Tool
The classroom tablet component of the Connected Classroom as outlined in the LPS Tech Plan is the Apple iPad. This session is an introduction to ways in which the iPad can be used as a whiteboard, document camera, recording device, and more! We will also look at the Justand V2 and discuss strategies for moving files back and forth between your LPS teacher laptop and the classroom iPad. iPADS ARE NOT PROVIDED.
Mail Merge & Labels
Learn how to step through the mail merge & label tools in Microsoft Office and Google Docs, marrying a spreadsheet and a word processing document to create lovely letters or labels. We will use data from the AS400 and Synergy as examples, and throw in some printing tips for good measure. Topics will be viewed from the perspective of an office professional.
Mass Notification Training – School Messenger
School Messenger, the LPS Mass Notification system, enables school administrators to record, schedule, send, and track voice and email messages to students, parents, and staff in minutes. School Administrators and designated staff can quickly and reliably reach the entire building community using just a telephone. This session will review the application feature set, the procedures and best practice that will be applied when using School Messenger.
This one hour session will provide training on MyVRSpot, a video management solution for hosting and sharing user-created media (videos, images, audio files, documents, and more). This session will focus on learning the basic features of the tool and will prepare you to begin uploading and sharing media, creating groups, managing content and student users within the tool. MyVRSpot is a core tool for LPS Connected Classrooms. *Please bring your LPS assigned laptop with you.
This class is recommended for new office staff who will be responsible for ordering supplies, current office staff who will be assuming or providing back up help, and current office staff wanting a refresher. Participants are trained in the use of Purchasing Applications on the AS400 and the web. Topics include stock requisitions, bid cycle requisitions, non-stock requisitions, requisition lookup, printing requisitions, purchase order lookup, JuneBox (School Specialty), Office Depot and the Electronic Order Verification System.
Security Camera Training for Authorized Personnel
School administrators and designated personnel working in schools with installed hallway security cameras are encouraged to learn about the software used to manage and monitor their use. You will learn how to access scanned footage, mark recordings for download and review and also discuss best practices of use.
Synergy for Staff Groups
Each indicated group meets periodically to discuss student data management in Synergy.
Synergy for Elementary Attendance Office Staff
Synergy for Elementary Registrars
Synergy for Secondary Attendance Office Staff
Synergy for Middle School APs
Synergy for Middle School Counselors
Synergy for Middle School Registrars
Synergy for High School Counselors
Synergy for High School Registrars
Synergy for High School Office Technicians
Synergy SIS Navigation – Basic
LPS Staff with authorization to Synergy SIS will learn the basic navigation of the platform along with searching for students, adding shortcuts to your navigation bar and running basic reports.
Synergy SIS Navigation – Intermediate
Description: This class is for staff who use Synergy SIS on a regular basis and feel prepared to dive into the system a bit further. Participants will learn about the job queue, how to schedule recurring jobs, how to create and use filters effectively, and much more!
Synergy is the LPS Student Information system which also includes a component called TeacherVUE. TeacherVUE (TVUE) is used by teachers for attendance tracking, assignments, gradebook, seating charts, class communications, data analysis and posting for progress reports and report cards. This session will include an orientation to these core components which are critical for all classroom teachers. *Please bring your LPS assigned laptop with you.
Synergy TeacherVUE Intermediate (Analysis, SIS Navigation, Reports, Grade Book Tips)
TeacherVUE, the Synergy tool for Teachers, has many features that go beyond the basics. This session will look at useful tools in the grade book, analysis tool for test history, basics of SIS navigation, running reports and other tips to make teachers more efficient users of Synergy.
Synergy Communication Tools (LMS Pages)
This session will show the school-to-home communication tools that are part of the Synergy platform: LMS Pages, Email communications, and Streams. LMS Pages allows teachers to quickly and easily create a class website which can include YouTube videos available to students on the LPS network, threaded conversations between you and your students via Streams, and other resources built in an easy to use drag and drop interface. *Please bring your LPS assigned laptop with you.
Using the Zimbra Collaboration Suite
Zimbra is the full-featured and easy-to-use mail and calendar product used in Lincoln Public Schools. This session will provide a demonstration of basic use, features and best practices with the email and calendar tools. Please bring your laptops if applicable. For more information visit lps.org keyword: zimbra
Spend an hour being introduced to WeVideo, a cloud-based video editing tool with a simple interface, and advanced possibilities. With all of the robust editing tools, transitions, motion effects, green screen, voice-over abilities, free soundtrack library and more, it is ideal for LPS students on Chromebooks. Teachers, administrators and staff will find that the screencasting & recording tools address many of their needs as well. This session focuses on learning the basic features of the tool, and should prepare you to begin creating your own video projects. *Please bring your LPS assigned laptop with you.
WeVideo with Students
If you have attended WeVideo Basics and already have an understanding of using WeVideo for creating videos, you may be interested in learning more about using the tool with students. Built into the tool are features for sharing resources and collaborating on projects in groups. WeVideo can also be connected with LPS Google Drive, and offers an iPad app. When the projects are done, teachers have the ability to publish student work to a gallery to showcase student efforts. *Please bring your LPS assigned laptop with you.
This class will provide an overview of basic use and best practice with LPS WordPress for websites. Writing and formatting online content is easy with WordPress. LPS staff members can begin creating pages and posts immediately. Teachers should bring their own laptops, though WordPress works on any computer with internet access. For more information visit lps.org keyword: wordpress
WordPress for School Website Managers
This session is NOT for teacher websites, it is for elementary & middle school building website managers. You’ll learn how to maintain a website based upon LPS school website standards. Learn how to manage sidebar content, menus, and staff list. You’ll also see how to manage your calendar, add newsletters to your site using DocuShare and post announcements using the POST feature of WordPress.
It is recommended that you use Firefox or Safari as your web browser for this tool.
Additional system setup tips and troubleshooting (sound, cameras, etc.) can be found lower on this page.
Uh-Oh! Is something not working right? If you have any problems, please contact the LPS Help Desk (402-436-1735). Workshop leaders will not be able to troubleshoot your issues, especially on the day of the session. If your connection drops during the session, you may not receive staff development credit for attendance.
Joining the Meeting Room
On the day of the session (or possibly the day before) you will either receive an email from the staff development system that provides a link to the meeting room we will be using OR you can click the link sent to you via email directly from the session leader OR if it is a session provided by Computing Services, you can look at the schedule below and use the link there.
Be our Guest! Clicking the link provided to you should take you to a “Guest” tab for login to the meeting. This is correct so Stay on this tab and enter your FIRST and LAST name along with your Building in the field to join the meeting (e.g.: Harper Lee – Lefler).
Do not switch to the “Registered User” tab and attempt to use your LPS credentials.
This link/meeting invitation can be shared with others that you wish to have join/listen during the meeting.
What do I do now? Further down this page are some participation suggestions. Learn how to be seen or heard, chat with other participants, or other web conferencing interactions.
Note: Anyone can use these links and join a session. However, you will only receive credit for attendance if you register through the staff development catalog prior to the session’s start time.
“Can I attend from home?”
The Montage Live system does not care where in the world your computer is located during the meeting. However, video conferencing demands a good deal of internet bandwidth (speed). Think about it this way; If you are able to reliably stream movies from the internet (e.g. Netflix, Hulu, etc.) without the frustration of buffering, you will probably have sufficient bandwidth to use Montage LIVE. We can make no guarantees of your success on a home network, but you are welcomed to attempt to participate from there. Connecting from your school building’s LPS Private network will be a more reliable bet. Remember, if your connection drops during the session, you may not receive staff development credit for attendance.
System Setup Suggestions
Getting your computer connected to the session is a required start, but there are some behaviors that will help you and your colleagues get the most from this session.
It is not required that you use headphones when attending the session. Experience tells us that they are very helpful.
Quit all nonessential applications running on your computer for best results.
Speak in your normal voice, without shouting. Avoid “double talk” by allowing the other site/person to finish speaking before you speak.
You may want to seclude yourself away from potential interruptors (colleagues, children, pets, ringing phones, etc.) If something is interrupting YOU, it may also be interrupting everyone else in the conference.
A headset microphone is suggested for individual users from their desktop. A built in audio test is available through Options>Preferences>Mic & Speakers>Hear Yourself or Play Music.
If you have more than one mic, camera or speaker connected to your computer, you will need to confirm and/or select which one you want to use in your Options>Preferences>Mic & Speakers.
If you’re in a session with multiple attendees, it’s appreciated when everyone mutes their microphones when not speaking. (Microphones cannot distinguish between relevant and irrelevant sound.) Take advantage of the Push to Talk feature in the top right corner of the screen.
Most standard built-in or USB web cameras will function well. A camera/video test is available through Options>Preferences>Camera & Video>Preview.
When you activate your camera, you will see a small pop-up window requesting permission for Adobe Flash to access your camera and microphone. Click on the “Allow” button.
You can freeze your video by clicking on the camera icon to the bottom right of the video panel. This is a group-friendly way to reduce bandwidth use and keeps you from needing to be “on-camera” for the entire session.
There are Montage Live apps available for iOS (iPad, iPhone) and Android. You can find them here:
As an on-line attendee, you will be able to see and hear the meeting leader(s), but will not be seen or heard by others unless you request to be during the meeting. Look for the “Request to Speak” button in the top right corner of the screen once you are logged into the room. Clicking this button will alert the moderator. When the Moderator permits your request to broadcast you will click Allow.
If you leave the room for any reason, you’ll have to request permission again.
You can change your camera and video settings through Options>Preferences>Camera & Video Settings; be mindful that increasing those levels will impact all users as they receive your broadcast.
Once allowed to broadcast in the room, you can choose to control (mute) your microphone or camera at any time.
Use the Push to Talk icon (top right corner) if you only want your mic to register when you click on it.
You can freeze your video by clicking on the camera icon to the bottom right of the video panel.
Most web conferencing sessions will have a chat window open. You can type a question or comment in the Chat box “All” tab for everyone to see. This is a great way to engage the other people in the room without feeling like you are interrupting the flow of the presentation. We encourage you to ask questions, or share your thoughts or experiences.
Use emoticons (in the online dropdown box) to non-verbally express your current status to everyone in the conference
Open documents or links from the Shared Files window as provided by the Moderator, or access your own Media Library by clicking on the My Media Library icon at the top of your screen.
Montage Live session Moderators have the option to open a poll, shared notes, a Q&A area, or a shared whiteboard space for all members to interact with. These are all fairly self-explanatory, but be sure to use them to engage the Moderator and other session members if these options are presented!
It is possible for you to share your screen with the Moderator and other participants in the session.
To do so, you first must be provided rights by the Moderator. You will also have to have previously downloaded & installed the Screen Share driver. Clicking on the icon at the top left with a blue and green monitor offers your screen to the room.
Troubleshooting Common Problems
Other people can see me, but they cannot hear me.
You likely need to change your Microphone settings.
Click on Video Conference (found just above the video of the other participants)
Select Microphone settings
Select a different Microphone from the dropdown menu. For Windows Laptop users we’ve had the best success when using the Integrated Microphone Array option. If that option isn’t available in the dropdown, keep repeating these steps trying a different microphone from the list.
Click Apply at the bottom of the window.
My video is black.
Make sure your video camera is unobstructed. Most people use the built-in camera on their laptop, so make sure the camera is not covered with a sticker, a piece of tape, etc.
If you use an external monitor, make sure your laptop lid is open and pointed toward you.
Others in the conference room can’t see or hear me
By default, only the leaders of a Live session can be seen and/or heard. You can still participate via the Chat, Q&A, and Poll windows when they are made available by the leaders of the session.
If you would like to be seen and heard you must request to speak by clicking the hand button in the upper right corner of the screen. The leader(s) of the session can then approve your request to speak. Be sure to click “Allow” when prompted.
This page is a support resource for the “Video for the Classroom” staff development sessions.
A screencast is a recording of your computer screen, often containing audio narration. More and more teachers are wanting to share these valuable resources with students. As video cameras have become smaller and less expensive, they have become a part of every laptop and mobile device you use through the day. High quality video recording is often a click (or tap) away, wherever you find yourself. Together we look at the tools and strategies needed to screencast or record video on a Macintosh teacher laptop.
Once you have videos on your laptop, you will need to think about how to manage the storage of these large files and control who has access to see them. You may also want to share the video with students or publish to a larger audience. Our second session looks at the tools and strategies needed to manage and publish video using the Macintosh teacher laptop and online tools available to LPS staff members.
The following tools will be discussed during the session:
This 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.
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.
ARTICLE: “Visual Learning Tools—Videos and Photos.” Web 2.0: How-To for Educators. Gwen Solomon and Lynne Schrum. Washington, DC: International Society for Technology in Education, 2010. 101-116. Gale Virtual Reference Library
If you are going to participate in “professional conversation with colleagues,” you may want to have a professional learning network. (PLN)
You might be thinking – “But, I already have a PLN. We meet on Tuesdays once a month to discuss student data and make decisions that impact the way we teach in our classrooms.” In fact, what you are doing on Tuesdays is a PLC (Professional Learning Community.) There is a difference between a PLN and a PLC. While both have reflective and collaborative components a PLC is formal, while a PLN is informal. Additionally, your PLC groups were selected for you. Even if you chose the individuals on your PLC team, you did not choose who was in your building to choose FROM. The people in your PLC might also be in your PLN.
A PLN allows individual teachers the ability to take control of and manage their own unique lifelong learning goals, above and beyond the community goals established in a PLC.
What tools will I need?
Thanks to the LPS Board of Education you have all of the tools you need to have a digital age, global PLN that is self-selected in participants and topic. You’ll need your laptop, the internet, a commitment to the time involved in developing online relationships with peers.
The web offers all of the information that humankind has ever generated, but it also provides you access to the best FILTERS of information ever created – other people.
There are an abundance of digital tools that can be utilized to grow your PLN. Some are synchronous, others are asynchronous or semisynchronous. Many have a place in your professional practice.
Many of the tools listed above hold great potential for impacting professional growth for teachers. The strength of a semisynchronous tool is that it can be NEARLY real time if you need or want it to be, or it can just be there whenever you have time for it.
Before we talk about any specific tool, lets be clear about one thing – the most important thing about a modern digital PLN today is not how to use any particular tool. The tools will continue to improve and change. The most important concept to understand is that the most valuable thing about your PLN is the people in it, and their commitment to sharing what they know.
You may have noticed that many of the tools listed above are web based. The great thing about the web is that it is made of PEOPLE. The tool you use to connect to them can be important because it may make your access to them more or less frustrating – making you more or less likely to engage consistently over time. It is not more important than the mindset you have to have to want to be part of a community of learners. It is not more important than the people you’ll find there.
Twitter is at the most basic a micro-blogging tool. You give and receive thoughts from others in short bursts – 140 characters at a time.
A person (or entity) creates an account, and begins to post “tweets”.
A “tweet” might be a profound thought worth sharing. Or it might be something useful you just learned, a link to something you found online, a picture, a “re-tweet”, a quote, an inspiring experience, whatever!
If someone else enjoys or appreciates the types of things you tweet, they can “Follow” you to see all of your tweets going forward. Likewise, you follow the professionals that you feel will improve you in some way with the items they tweet.
All of the “tweets” of the people you have chosen to follow appear in a single page, offering a waterfall like experience.
If a person wants to direct a message towards another person, they use the ‘@’ sign and their username to call a tweet to their attention.
If a person wants to group their tweet together with others of a similar topic, they can use a hashtag ‘#’ to specify the topic. Users can easily follow all tweets on a particular hashtag/topic.
Informal discussions on specific topics are often held at a predetermined weekly time, using a hashtag. This allows for loosely structured “Twitter Chats” in which anyone can participate.
To learn much more about the use and cultural norms of Twitter, the following resources may be useful:
Social media holds great potential for connecting professionals. Twitter is the tip of the proverbial iceberg when it comes to social media tools. Due to the relative simplicity of the tool and the low barriers to participation, it is a wonderful place to start building relationships and offers a gateway to other online tools as you feel more comfortable.
Howard Rheingold is a proponent of social media tools like Twitter as a way to establish safe places for learning:
“Idle chatter (can be) social glue from which networks of trust and norms of reciprocity (potential social capital) can emerge.”SOURCE
In some ways Twitter is like a buffet. It offers a little of everything and you take what looks interesting. Ultimately, Twitter is what you want it to be. You can’t say it is good or bad, because the Twitter experience is different for everybody.
Twitter is overlooked as a search tool. You do not need to have an account to view the rich content that is constantly being shared by Twitter users. Visit the Twitter search page and see what you can find on some content specific search terms or hashtags.
To follow a person or entity, you will need a Twitter account. If you have signed up for your free account, you will see a “Follow” button beside everyone’s names in Twitter. Simply click that button to begin seeing all of their tweets in your own timeline.
LPS communications maintains a district Twitter account. This would be a good one for any LPS employee to follow:
Don’t get yourself into trouble. Remember that Twitter is a PUBLIC tool, and the audience for your tweets includes your students, parents, community members, supervisors, administrators, and the FUTURE students, parents, administrators… you get the idea. This PDF contains some of the big ideas LPS staff ned to consider when using any type of social media, professionally or personally.
Also note that by participating in a PLN, you own some responsibility. David Warlickhas two quotes that I want to share on this topic. He says:
“At the heart of every PLN is its members. … Learners become amplifiers as they engage in reflective and knowledge building activities, connect and reconnect what they learn, add value to existing knowledge and ideas, and then re-issue them back into the network to be captured by others through their PLNs. Working your PLN involves a great deal of responsibility because you are almost certainly part of someone else’s network.”
“Preparing children for an unpredictable future means helping them learn to teach themselves. That is why lifelong learning is such a crucial part of the education conversation and why modeling a learning lifestyle is one of the best things that teachers can do today.”
– David Warlick, “Grow Your Personal Learning Network”
‘Learning & Leading with Technology’, March/April 2009
Be aware of your Time
A PLN can become an almost addictive resource for teachers as they begin to realize all that there is to experience online. Be conscious of the time involvement and be careful to strike a balance between online and offline time. Jeff Utecht does a great job of outlining the stages of adoption when it comes to a digital PLN:
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
A Lower Case Letter
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.
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 5340 & 6441)
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)
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.
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.
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.
This page is intended as a support resource for the LPS Staff Development Session “P00191 Teaching That Sticks.”
A “sticky” idea is one that people remember. This session looks at the six common traits shared by memorable ideas and offers some practical ways that you can make your teaching “stickier” for your students.
ARTICLE: “Visual Learning Tools—Videos and Photos.” Web 2.0: How-To for Educators. Gwen Solomon and Lynne Schrum. Washington, DC: International Society for Technology in Education, 2010. 101-116. Gale Virtual Reference Library
Prior to attending the staff development session ‘P00192 – Building a PLN (Professional Learning Network)’ please take 15 minutes to view this TEDx presentation by Dean Shareski. It does a nice job of introducing the idea of finding “community” online.
After viewing the video, please leave your thoughts or impressions in the comments below and/or respond to someone else’s comments.
Apple iPads are becoming more commonly found in in the hands of LPS Administrators. ‘IT0166 The iPad as an LPS Administrative Tool’ is an LPS Staff Development session that discusses strategies administrators can employ to make these tools more useful in their day-to-day work. This page is the supporting documentation for that session and is not intended as a stand-alone resource.
A really useful thing you can do with the built-in tools on the iPad is to create a desktop shortcut (aka bookmark) to web resources you use in LPS. Here is a video that shows how to create these desktop bookmarks.
There are lots of ways to get files from your desktop to your iPad, or back. Lets look at a few options:
OPTION: Email attachments
If you are needing – now and again – to transport a file from your computer to iPad or vice-versa, this is a usable solution. Remember that email is not an appropriate file transfer tool, so you should not consider this to be a sustainable strategy.
Remember that when attaching a file on the iPad, you begin with the file and choose to email it. This is the opposite of your computer where you begin an email and attach a file.
If you are on your desktop computer, you will be able to add files to DocuShare that can be easily accessed via your iPad.
OPTION: Google Docs
If you are on your desktop computer, you will be able to put your work into Google Docs. These Documents can then be accessed/viewed via Safari on your iPad.
On your iPad, Google does have a free app called Google Drive that can access your LPS Google Docs. You will only have basic editing and sharing, but often a simple read-only view is very useful when you are on-the-go. When logging in, use your class.lps.org email address (firstname.lastname@example.org) with your LPS password.
OPTION: NON-LPS Tools
For more sophisticated file portability options you can begin layering in “middleware” tools that assist you with the transfer of documents between your devices. These systemsshould not be used as storage for LPS documents. Observe due diligence towards maintaining a recent copy of all work created in these 3rd Party solutions on DocuShare – the official LPS document repository.
NOTE: Be very mindful of FERPA & HIPAA guidelines when using any non-LPS tool.
If you are investigating NON-LPS tools, we have found the following to be intriguing for different reasons.
Dropbox is a system that will sync files of any type between multiple computers or mobile devices.To use Dropbox:
Sign up for a FREE Dropbox account (NEVER use your LPS password on a NON-LPS site)
Install Dropbox on your computer
Install the Dropbox App on your iPad
Do your work in Microsoft Office, Google Docs, or any other tool on your laptop
Save the work to the Dropbox folder on your computer
Use the Dropbox app on your iPad to access it
Evernote is a notebook tool that allows for text, photo, audio, or PDF notes to be synced across multiple computers and mobile devices.To use Evernote
Sign up for a FREE Evernote account (NEVER use your LPS password on a NON-LPS site)
Advanced usage may require a $5/month subscription
Install the free Evernote iPad app
Use Evernote on either your iPad or computer to create “Notes”.
That note will be automatically available anywhere you can access Evernote via the web, mobile device, or computer.
Community Building (Portable Productivity & Communication)
Recording the daily life of your school for communication with your community has never been easier than it is right now. Remembering that a picture is worth 1000 words…
Built into your iPad2 is a camera that can take still photos or videos. These might need very little additional text to communicate good things that are happening within your building.
If you have a “Principal’s Blog” or the school site itself has a news feed, you should know that WordPress for iPad is a wonderful tool.
Presentation Options (Communication)
Your iPad2 is capable of projection. You will need one of the following to make this work:
Reflection is a Macintosh app that allows you to view your iPad screen on a Macintosh that is on the same wireless network. If you are projecting the Macintosh, you are free to walk around the room with the iPad. (Requires Mac OS 10.6+)
Apple TV ($99)
With the release of “Reflection” (above) the Apple TV is no longer the only way to project an iPad wirelessly, but if you are connecting to a permanently mounted TV or need a more permanent way for multiple iPad2s to wirelessly project, it might be a valuable option. It is also the most convenient in a home setting.
Video Conferencing via iPad (Communication)
Video Chat is a person-to-person video connection, usually over the internet.
Video Conferencing can be person-to-person or a shared conversation between many people. These conferences are facilitated by a “telepresence” system of some sort and provide a far better experience (higher quality video, better shared whiteboards and presentations) than Skype or Facetime. Whenever possible, use our LPS conferencing tool (Scopia Desktop) for your video conferencing needs.
In LPS, we use Scopia, which allows you to connect via one of the many video conferencing carts around LPS, with your computer via a web page, or with an iPad App called Scopia Mobile V3.
LPS has a limited number of concurrent device connections, including all distance learning courses in session at High Schools. Therefore, virtual meeting rooms (Video Conferences) need to be set up ahead of time by contacting Linda Dickeson. She will need to know:
Date & Time of the virtual meeting
How many & what type of devices will be connecting.
This is so Linda can set aside an appropriate combination of HD or standard definition connections for your virtual conference room.
Linda will provide you with the information you need to connect to the room at the appropriate time. In a pinch, Doug Dickeson & Tim Klein can also set up virtual meeting rooms.
Different entities around the state are managed by different telepresence (MCU) systems so require different iPad apps to participate:
Contact the State Dept. for their recommendation – perhaps Xvio-HD ($25)
Professional Reading (Reference/News Reader)
iPad really excels at the ability to consume information via web pages, books, periodicals, email, etc. Whatever professional reading you do off-line can probably also be done on the iPad. Some interesting options might be:
Both of these tools allow you to “subscribe” to web based information and have it all brought together into an elegant magazine-like interface. Consider using it to follow professional resources as well as your personal sites.