Aug 28, 2016

Back to School: Fall 2016

Welcome back, and we hope you are having a wonderful beginning to your 2016-2017 school year!  We know there were a lot of technology changes over the summer, and this first week back is hectic even without having to learn new technological ways to do you job.  So here is a post that attempts to bring together all of the new things that you should know about in one convenient location.

New Technology Training Site
You will see reference to this often in the rest of the post.  Over the summer, the instructional technology coaches created a new technology training site for Unit 5 that attempts to bring together the collective knowledge found in our videos, helpsheets, and brains into one location.  Additionally, the site allows for a record to be kept of your progress through the courses.  This allows you to demonstrate your growth in educational technology to and administrator during evaluation cycles.  More details on the course as a whole can be found in this document, and a direct link to the site can be found here (

Outlook to Google

The major transition from Outlook to Google impacts your email and calendar.  Check out the Google Basics course for details on Gmail, Calendar, and how to manage the migration from Outlook to Google.  Questions that I receive a lot that are answered in this course include...
  • How do I turn desktop notifications back on for Gmail?
  • How to I alter notifications for events in my calendar?
  • Where did all of my Outlook folders go?
  • Can I make new "folders" or delete old ones?
  • How can I set up email groups?
  • And many more...
Also included in this course are videos pertaining to login information, our Unit 5 Google+ community, Google Hangouts, Apps/Add-ons/Extensions, and access to the official Google Training Center.

Windows 10

There are a few things that have come up with Windows 10 to pass along.  But before we do that, here is a link to our Windows 10 overview video if you have not seen it yet.  There is also a section in the Devices course on our Training Site dedicated to Windows 10.
  • Search box too big?  You can right click on that long search box in the lower left, go up to "Search", and then choose an option to make the box smaller.  This allows you to see more of your open windows on the taskbar at one time.
  • Certain sites not loading?  You may want to check to see if you are logged into Global Protect; the little globe icon in the lower right corner of the screen.  If there is a red "x" on the globe, double click on the icon and input your credentials.  This is good for students to know as well.
  • How do I sign out?  If you just want to sign out of your machine, then you need to click on your username at the top of the Start menu.  This will give you the option to sign out, and is also good for students to know...especially for a lab setting.
  • Loading Programs.  In Windows 10, you can now use Software Center for all of your program loading needs.  No need to go to the Application Catalog any longer.  The trick here, however, is that your Software Center needs to appear a certain way.  You can see what it should look like in our Software Center video in the Device Basics course.  If your Software Center looks completely different with no tiles, or if it has a blue banner along the top, please put in a helpdesk ticket to have that issue investigated.
There are certainly other things that are new, and that may not be working as they did in previous years, so please feel free to put in a helpdesk ticket (hardware) or speak with an instructional coach (curricular) if you have more questions.

Accounts and WiFi

This has been one of the biggest headaches at the start of this school year.  Here are a few things you should know about student and staff accounts and WiFi.

  • New students should now be in the system (with some minor exceptions).  Their computer login is their SIS, which can be found in Skyward if they do not have it, and their password is Abcd1234.  They will be forced to change that password as soon as they put it in the first time.
  • BYOD students first need to change their passwords on a district machine in the same manner as rental students.  Once this is complete, they can follow the instructions found on the BYOD section of the Unit 5 website to login to the U5Open WiFI.  Though there are a few things that can trip this process up (like connecting to U5Wireless instead of Open, or having certain personal network settings altered on their device), most of the issues are from students not following the directions and trying to do it on their own.
  • Personal staff devices (i.e. phones) should follow those same instructions.  Most of these devices were connected to the U5 Wireless network last year, and that WiFi connection needs to be removed and the U5Open network used.
  • Google Accounts are experiencing an issue where passwords are not always synced between the district computer and Google.  If you have a student who has put in a wonderfully strong password and has given the system a day to sync the password to Google and  yet they still cannot login to their Google account, please email their name to and I will reset their password to "Abcde12345".  They will then use this password to get into Google, and will be forced to reset it.  They should reset it to the same password that they set their district machine to.  This spreadsheet is an up-to-date view of all students who have been reset this way.
  • Old passwords.  If a student used an old password to get into Google and wants to change their Google password to match their district password, they can do that by clicking on their Account Picture and going into My Account.


  • Connection.  Some teachers have needed to unplug their USB connection between the SMARTBoard and their computer, then plug it back in, before they are able to fully utilize the board.
  • "Direct X 10".  Some machines may give you this error message as you open SMART Notebook.  You can ignore this message.
  • Personal machines.  SMART 16 cannot be installed on personal machines any longer.  You will need to use your district laptop at home to work on SMART Notebook files.
  • SMART and Office.  We have seen issues with SMART Ink not being recognized correctly when using Office programs (Word/PowerPoint).  We are looking into how to fix this and will relay that information when there is a procedure in place.
  • New Activation Key.  When you are prompted to update the activation key in SMART Notebook, please run the SMART Activation program found in the Software Center.

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