At Bits & Pieces we are excited to start another year supporting all of your educational technology needs. To help you navigate both The BNP and the bigger waters of educational technology, we’ve put together this handy guide to all things Bits and Pieces
Using Bits & Pieces
Canvas continues to be the setting for our digital classrooms. Over the summer there have been updates and improvements.
If you are looking for information on how to use new features or need to brush up on older features, please check out Canvas 101. You can always access this great resource by clicking on the question mark in your Canvas global nav bar, then choose Canvas 101 for Teachers in the slideout window.
ISD Canvas Course Checklist Updated
In order to help bring a more uniform experience for all of our Canvas users, Ed Tech created the ISD Canvas Course Checklist, which provides guidance on the look and organization of your Canvas course home page, navigation and course content. We have updated it for 2023-2024.
You can download a copy here.
Public Course Index and Syllabus
This year we are launching the Public Course Index tool, which will allow users to more easily find out information about courses. This includes being able to view the course syllabus.
Consequently, it is essential that all teachers use the Canvas Syllabus tool to include at a minimum the course description, grading information, and include the syllabus in the course navigation. You may still link to a longer or alternative syllabus document (in addition to including the information above on the Canvas syllabus page.)
New Term Checklist
As you head back to your IRL classrooms and begin prepping your Canvas courses, be sure to check out our updated New Term Checklist. There you will find links to information about how to move/copy your homepage, move/copy modules from sandboxes/old courses, a list of settings to check/adjust and other information that will help make sure your courses are all set up and ready to go for the new semester or trimester.
Canvas Grading Scheme
One setting to pay close attention to is the grading scheme for your course. By default, the course templates for your new courses will have the default Canvas Grading Scheme enabled. You can adjust this by going into settings > Course Details tab > and then choosing from a dropdown of grading schemes under the Enable course grading scheme button. This will show you a list of grading schemes provided by the district and also grading schemes you’ve used previously. You can also create new grading schemes by clicking on the Manage All Grading Schemes link and then choose +Add grading scheme.
One important thing to remember if you plan on copying or importing settings from another course is to make sure that “Enable course grading scheme” is selected after you import. Importing or copy will bring in whatever setting you have in that sandbox or old course and so could turn it off.
Stephanie has created a very helpful video walkthrough about changes to grading scheme and how to use it.
Over the summer, Canvas has updated the look of Gradebook and added more options for filtering and changing your view. While this will be an adjustment, it will provide more granular control for teachers in how they interact with the gradebook.
Check out our recent write-up on those changes and to learn more about how they might help you.
Change to Canvas Username
Since there is a reset of the Office password over each summer, students will need to log into Classlink while at school (on the ISD network) to get into Classlink. If your students are using Classlink, please take a moment during class to prompt them to login.
Student Logins Across the District
There are two diffrent login protocols for students depending on the tool they are trying to access.
Students should use their ISD email address for Canvas, Canva and Office 365.
Students should use theid ISD Username (front part of email address before the @) for Classlink and accessing the network/logging onto a computer.
AI for ELA Course
We are continuing to explore and learn about the developments and impacts of tools that use artificial intelligence. This work will continue throughout the school year.
This fall we are offering a self-paced Canvas course that is designed for ELA teachers but open to all.
Please look for an announcement here at The BNP and in your email (from your TOSA) coming later this week.
We are also looking for volunteers to be part of our AI Thinkgroup. This group is for teachers and administrators interested in exploring and learning about the impacts of artificial intelligence, especially as it applies in education.
If you are interested in participating, please let us know by signing up here.
Our AI work group will start later this fall and will be a chance to engage the tools and implications of AI while bringing educator voices together to think about and discuss them.
Other Tid Bits
Like last year, high school Canvas courses will have two grading periods each semester. The first grading period is Quarter 1 and the second grading period is Semester 1. The third grading period is Quarter 3 and the fourth is Semester 2. Canvas calculates a running total throughout the semester, so that at the end of each semester the the grade will be a cumalitve grade for the whole semester. We have set up these grading periods so that teachers and students can reference a grade at the end of quarter 1 and quarter 3 while still allowing assignments and grading to continue into Q2 or Q4.
One slightly confusing part of this set-up is that Canvas issues a warning when teachers set a due date after the end of Quarter 1 or Quarter 3. This warning can be ignored, as the assignments still count toward the semester grade.
Actively Learn Transition
As you have likely heard, ISD is transitioning from the Prime version of Actively Learn to the Free version. The free version will allow you to do many of things you are currently able to do with Prime. However, depending on how you have used Actively Learn, you will want to make sure you successfully pulled content you want to keep using into your workspace. This process is fairly straightforward but can be a bit confusing.
Stephanie Olson has written an excellent walk-through on the steps you need to take to ensure continued access to the materials. She also made a helpful video that shows you exactly what you need too. If you have any questions or want help with the process, please don’t hesitate to email me or schedule a time for me to come out and help.
End of Kyte Subscription
The district subscription to Kyte Learning expires at the end of August and will not be renewed. The Kyte application served us well as an option to deliver training to teachers and staff, however, their suite of provided content is not always in line with the resources available in our district. With the availability of other content delivery tools paired with budget reductions, this was a subscription we felt could be eliminated.
We are moving much of our custom ISD developed content from Kyte to Canvas and will continue to offer asynchronous learning opportunities for teachers to grow their technology skill. In August/September, we will share with teachers how to access this content through Canvas.
The online learning options currently available to teachers along with information about tech compensation can be found on the Ed Tech Bits & Pieces website. Kyte will remain on this list as an option through August 31, 2023.
New Online Learning Option
Many of the Kyte videos and new ones are now accessible through our brand new ISD Tech Tools Training course in Canvas.
Here you will find modules to work through for many of the tools we use in ISD. Look for details about how to access this course
As a reminder, this year certificated staff are paid for attending tech trainings. Your first 6 hours of tech training are paid at per-diem rate and then any additional hours will be paid at the in-service rate.) either in person or online (see approved online list) through August 31, 2024.