Saturday, August 2, 2014

Free Stuff


Open educational resources (including software) are generally free or low-cost alternatives.  For us, it means having access to resources that otherwise may be cost-prohibitive. is something we have used at DePaul Catholic for several years.  It is a great example of just one way we take advantage of open source software.

Another example is Stellarium.  We have installed this software on every student Tablet PC for the past four years.  Stellarium is planetarium software.  When opened, it shows a real-time 3D sky.  It also tracks satellites.  If you haven't opened it, go ahead, give it a try -- but allow some time because once you open it, you'll be hooked.

OK, perhaps you have no interest in the Magi's view of the North Star, or parabolas, or satellites, or anything cosmic.  Perhaps one of these open source tools is more up your alley:

Xiphos:  Bible Study

Matterhorn:  OpenSource software to produce lecture recordings

Opina:  OpenSource survey tool

Aside from the software, there is a plethora of resources.  Start you foray into OER with  But, I am forewarning you -- you cannot expect to spend five minutes here -- it is a great comprehensive site that has something for everyone.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Email Notifications of Google Doc Changes

Email Notifications

Email Notifications from Sue Parler on Vimeo.

Softball Goes High Tech

Follow the softball team by signing up as a fan with Game Changer:

Don't sign up for any of the premium services - just register for free and follow the team throughout the 2014 season!

Friday, February 21, 2014

Second Semester IT Office Hours

The IT Office is open during Periods 2, 3, and 4 during the second semester.  Staff can come in ANY time from periods 1 to 6.  Please do not, under any circumstance, send a student to the IT Office outside of periods 2, 3, or 4.

Building Technology Issues

It may be helpful to delineate the duties between Phil Dragonetti and Sue Parler.  Phil is our break-fix guy.  If something related to technology is physically broken, he will make an attempt to fix it, order the parts to do so, or temporarily give you substitute technology.  This break-fix extends beyond computers and extends to classroom projectors and sound systems.

If you have an issue with PowerSchool or GradeBook, please direct your inquiry and concern to Sue Parler.  Other than those two programs, issue with software such as OpenOffice, SMARTsynch, etc. can be directed to Phil as a part of break-fix.

Network-related issues should be directed to Sue Parler. As well you know, we have battled network issues over the past few months.  While a "band-aid" temporarily alleviates an issue, it may also mask a bigger issue.  We can reset our equipment every 15 minutes to connect to the network for ten minutes at a time, but in the meantime, we should be contacting Cablevision.  So, please direct connection issues to me, because I speak "Cablevision" - our network architecture is complicated (as they all are).  Can I teach Phil everything about the network?  Indeed I can, however he is already quite busy with what is already on his plate.

If we can keep these simple delineations in mind, we may have smoother sailing through to June.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

eChalk Login Page

Some students are experiencing difficulties while trying to log in to eChalk.  Invariably these students are using Internet Explorer as their browser.  By simply switching to Firefox, the problem is solved.

Please pass this along to all students.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

IT Assistance

First, thanks to those of you who have sent along the kind words about the job Phil and the students are doing to solve some issues involving technology around the building.

To help with the delineation of duties and a better workflow, I offer the following:

1) If you have a mobile technology issue, bring the technology to the IT Office.  It sounds logical and it is, but often students and staff members stop by to ask a question to which we can only offer a guess because they do not bring the technology with them.

2) On occasion, a well-intentioned colleague will stop by and say, so-and-so is having trouble with such-and-such.  Invariably, I will ask ten questions that the well-intentioned colleague cannot answer.  Ultimately, the conclusion is to send the person with the issue to the IT Office.  Once you have done your best to assist your colleague - which is always much appreciated by the IT staffers - please send him or her to IT.

3) Imagine the IT Office like a hospital emergency room.  We go through a process of triage. Unfortunately, we need to determine a logical priority of repair. Sometimes it means a temporarily inconvenient solution.  For example, if we need to make a choice between fixing the network connection to the printer in the West Wing and repairing a student's computer, if we are out of loaners, we will fix the student's computer.  There would be no other recourse for the student, while there would be recourse to print to other copiers - albeit an inconvenient recourse.

4) Phil Dragonetti is a break-fix technician.  If your technology is not working, please feel free to drop in and see Phil.  Staff is not restricted to open IT Office hours.  He is normally in by 8:00 AM and stays until 12:30 PM.  Phil is not the procedural tech.  If you have issues with PowerSchool or GradeBook, you're stuck with me - Sue Parler. 

5) I'm also happy to sit with you and brainstorm about your grading frameworks.  Several of you are now looking at your grades and realizing they aren't necessarily giving the true picture of a student's approximation to mastery.  I'm happy to dialog with you about this.  Finding me free is another story.  I teach seven of the nine periods.  I have lunch 7th and prep 8th.  I'm almost always around after school for an hour (or five hours) and rarely before school.  I may be in the middle of something, but with a day's notice, I'd be happy to leave time to help - feel free to ask.

Hopefully, these little tips will continue to cultivate a rewarding technological experience at DePaul Catholic for all our stakeholders.


I spent last Wednesday and Thursday with the Academic Deans and a few others explaining how to open a class, set up an assignment, and markup that assignment in TurnItIn.  The Academic Deans will be passing on that information to the teaching staff in their next department meetings.