Tech Talk - The Help Desk Journal

  • Learning Opportunities

    Posted by Patti Wenglikowski on 2/3/2020

    We have developed learning paths for Teams and Website to help you increase your efficiency and expertise with these communication tools. Take a look at our Learning Opportunities calendar for upcoming sessions.


    Segment 1 - Basics

    This is the starting point for anyone using Teams. Become familiar with the features, settings, layout and terminology.

    • Introduction to Teams
    • Skills checklist
    • Me space / We space
    • Practice space
    • Conversations
    • Private Chats
    • Files
    • Meetings

    Segment 2 - Class Team (part 1)

    Build upon the basics to use Teams in your classroom. Focus on the 4Cs – communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity. Pre-requisite: Teams Segment 1.

    • Skills checklist
    • Channels and students
    • Files and reminders
    • Managing students in Teams
    • Create a whole class assignment
    • Create a small group assignment
    • Feedback cycle
    • Forms as assignments

    Segment 3 - Class Team (part 2) 

    Make the most of your Class Notebook with assignments and student collaboration. Pre-requisite: Teams Segments 1 & 2.

    • Skills checklist
    • Working in Class Notebook
    • Creating a Class Notebook assignment
    • Student collaboration in Class Notebook
    • Click-through guides


    Segment 1 (Section Editors)

    The starting point for anyone creating pages on their District website. Become familiar with the features, settings, layout and terminology.

    • Website as communication tool
    • Introduction to Blackboard
    • Skills checklist
    • Apps & Layouts
    • Page Options
    • Files & Folders
    • Forms & Surveys

    Segment 2 (Site Directors)

    Build upon the basics to learn how to manage Sites and Channels. Excellent training opportunity for District administrative assistants and technology leaders. Pre-requisite: Website Segment 1.

    • Skills checklist
    • Users & Groups
    • Channel Library
    • Section Assets
    • Apps
    • Site & Channels
    • Homepage Editors
    • Friendly Web Address Mappings
    • Broadcast E-Alerts
    • Site Reports
    • Recycle Bin
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  • Malware - what is it and how to avoid it

    Posted by Patti Wenglikowski on 2/1/2020

    You have heard technicians refer to malware, phishing, or other cybersecurity topics, and you probably wonder what exactly it has got to do with you. Cybersecurity sounds so high-tech and like something that someone higher up the technology food chain is managing. And malware? Is that an off-shoot of hardware, or software, one of dozens of other "ware" words?

    Malware by definition is malicious software. It is specifically and intentionally designed to disrupt, damage, or gain unauthorized access to a computer system. The term malware refers to many other worrisome words you may have heard: viruses, worms, Trojan viruses, spyware, adware, and ransomware. 

    Exploiting security vulnerabilities is at the heart of malware design, and often, malicious agents are counting on YOU to be the vulnerability. As depicted in this infographic, you can see that you are not directly connected with the malicious agent. Instead there is a familiar, comfortable, neutral space between you and the malicious agent.""

    It starts as an email seemingly from your boss, your neighbor, your family, or even an very old friend with a vague, but innocent-sounding request or notification, and a link for you to click. That link can take you anywhere, but the destination isn't necessarily the problem. The problem may lie in what happens when you click. Is there adware being installed in the background? Is there a virus being installed? You won't see it, that is for certain. No big red warning will popup to say INSTALLING VIRUS. Instead, quietly in the background, something malicious is going on. You may not notice anything for weeks or months. You'll find out when someone tells you that you have been spamming them, but you aren't actually sending out the spam ... it's just "happening".

    How do you avoid malware?

    1. Become email savvy - thoroughly read messages
      • Does the tone and style sound like the person who presumably sent it?
      • Are there typos?
      • Why is there a link?
      • Does the link URL match the text associated with it?
      • Did you ask to receive the attachment?

    2. Keep internet activity on your work computer relevant to your job
      • Avoid sites for coupons, discounts, resale, freeware.
      • Avoid clicking on ads if the site you visit contains ads.
      • Use website that have been vetted by your administrators or curriculum teams.

    3. Establish strong password(s) that are for work only, never used for personal business
      • 8-16 characters.
      • At least 1 upper case letter.
      • At least 1 lower case letter.
      • At least 1 numeral or special character.

    Be vigilant. There was a time that email and web surfing was a novelty, and it was fun. Today, we are door-guards of the data and systems that nameless, faceless agents are trying to hack. 

    And change your password. Please.

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  • Originality Reports in Classroom

    Posted by Patti Wenglikowski on 1/22/2020

    Google for Education wants to help students keep their ideas authentic. They have developed a feature called Originality reports and have released it in BETA form.

    What is BETA, you ask? This means the feature is in the testing phase, and users are expected to provide feedback to Google regarding their experiences, particularly when something isn't working the way it is expected to work. Once the feedback period is over and Google has the kinks worked out, there will be a Pre-Release, followed up with a General-Release.

    When teachers use Google Classroom to make an assignment, they have the option of selecting Originality reports.


    With Originality reports selected, students are able to perform scans on their work for missing citations by cross referencing their work with works published online by clicking on the link labeled Check originality.


    If the document analysis finds a match with a published online source, the student will have the opportunity to review the findings,


    and also find the source where the passage match was found so that the appropriate citation can be added.



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