3D Printing Support

Most of SD60 schools now have one or more 3D Printers. Instructional support is available from Laurie Petrucci and technical support is available through Technology Services helpdesk. Local Area Network Specialists JP Wood and Kyle Drew have expertise with the 3D Printers and work together with Laurie.

Please do not hesitate to contact them for team instructional technology support!

New Learning Together Calendar

The Learning Together Calendar has been moved to www.prn.bc.ca/LT/ . We’ve tied it to a Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/sd60LT

Here’s an example of an upcoming event – http://www.prn.bc.ca/LT/2017/10/03/an-afternoon-with-wordpress/

An Afternoon with WordPress – Nov 23, 2017

Session Description:

Over a quarter of public websites run on WordPress. The majority of SD60 websites have run on WordPress for over a decade! This session is targeted at School District staff that maintain a WordPress website. The session will have a short presentation and time to work with Jarrod Bell on your sites or your questions about WordPress.

Date: November 23, 2017

Target Audience: WordPress Users in District

Time: 1-3:30pm

Location: Board Room at School Board Office

Registration Deadline: November 22, 2017

Registration Contact: Jarrod Bell, jbell@prn.bc.ca – A google calendar invite will be sent to all registered attendees.


4 year old iPad minis – ideas?

It was announced last week that we would be refreshing the 1:1 grade 6 iPads this summer, see http://www.prn.bc.ca/ts/?p=2502 for more on that.

At our last refresh of devices we replaced macbooks with ipads. The macbooks were then repurposed into carts at middle schools, made available to grade 5s in a 5/6 split, and as for the rest we asked for ideas. That post and comments are available at – http://www.prn.bc.ca/ts/?p=2199 .  Last time we completed the process to reassign these devices late in the fall. Public comments from staff helped to determine that the priority was for primary classrooms for those macbooks. We then later asked for specific requests and filled them.

So in keeping with the philosophy that the “best mind in the room is the room” we’d ask for your public comments on this blog post for ideas for extra ipad minis to be distributed. These ideas as well as district goals will help us determine priorities for distribution.  At a later date a form will be made available for requests. We will have several hundred available.

Fine print… Please note these extra 4 yr old ipads are 16GB minis and have been updated to iOS 9.3.5 and will not be able to take a newer OS. There may immediately be compatibility issues, for example the Swift Playgrounds app needs iOS10+ to be installed and cannot run on these devices. The devices that get granted become school owned and the schools will need to bear any costs related to them (carts, apps, repairs etc). These devices haven’t made their way on to our End of Life specs but the OS limitation will cause issues in the near future. They will not be available for sale.

Pre-Registered Kindergarten numbers for 2017-2018


Below is a chart that we are updating several times a week with a few data points about kindergarten registration numbers. The red line is a projected number provided by a third party. The green line is local projections provided by each school. The orange line includes number of students newly pre-registered in the system plus the number of StrongStart students (already registered) that will become kindergarten students next year. The blue line is the number of newly pre-registered kindergarten students.

Pre-Reg stats as of April 21, 2017

Live at https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1aBaekW1ipEPZNjCHkzNo3HFUr2JX-DRs7T_b9igTCiA/pubchart?oid=1186623367&format=interactive

Ticket Charts

Below are two charts that we keep monthly(ish) stats on our current work orders. The first chart shows Active (all types other than closed), Open, Scheduled/Pending, Waiting for parts. We have a few other ticket types that are traditionally low numbers so they aren’t included on the chart. The Active line is a sum of all ticket types that are not closed.

The second chart shows number of closed ticket vs date.




Student User Passwords

An update to user passwords structures will be sent via email to secretaries and administrators. The change will be implemented this summer.

The structure of passwords will apply to user accounts in K-12. Student accounts will have unique passwords. There will be no more generic school based passwords for K-5 students. There will be no change for student password structures in grades 6-12.

Posters will be made available for labs.

The generic lab account in elementary will also be changed and that info will be sent to secretaries and administrators. Technicians will make certain that info is posted in labs.

School secretaries can retrieve user accounts and passwords for students by homeroom via their UMRA tool.

If a school would like help mail merging these into letters, labels, cards etc please contact Technology Services and we can assist you. An example of a card strategy is available at http://www.prn.bc.ca/ss/k5DL/?p=74

JTAC Statement – Standard Tech in Classrooms


The Joint Technology Advisory Committee is a committee comprised of members of the PRNTA, CUPE, Administration, and the Superintendent. It discusses issues involving technology in education, and school district business. Today’s discussion topic was Standard Technology in Classrooms. The Joint Committee has released the following statement:

    • Classrooms should have a desktop computer or device and access to a digital projector. Ideally, classrooms have their own digital projector.

2015-2016 Gr 4 Digital Citizenship and Safety Presentations Report

Laurie Petrucci from Technology Services spent time this last year presenting to Grade 4 classes regarding Digital Citizenship and Safety. Her pre and post survey results are available in the linked PDF below.

A key take away was before the session that half of our grade 4 students did not know that what they post online could be permanent.

The post survey showed that 91% of responding students believed that their online posts were permanent.

Gr4 Digital Citizenship Online Safety Concluding Summary

MS HUP expired


Our previous Microsoft Home Use Program (very inexpensive MS Office) expired March 31st, 2015. ERAC and MS are working on a new contract for us. Details will be posted when it arrives.

Until then the HUP is not available.

Outside internet not accessible

Wednesday around 3:20 outside internet went down due to an unspecified error. Provincial Learning Network has informed that it is province-wide. No estimated time of repair has been given. Internal web and site to site appears to be working.

Allow List – Trusted Network Access

Allow List (authored originally Feb 4, 2015)

Technology Services is moving schools to an Allow List model of access to our networks. This is due to an overwhelming number of devices that have used up all available IP addresses at sites. An IP address is like a parking spot on the network. If no spots are available you can’t get on. Currently we are using a Deny List in most sites that is like whack a mole knocking off devices weekly and sometime daily with much unintended blocking as we don’t always know which device is whose (towing cars after they’ve parked). The Allow List strategy moves us to proactive from reactive (like the new parking gates at the Northern Grand)

We want to make certain that the networks have sufficient space for our staff and district owned devices. To allow you a parking spot, we need to know details of your device, most importantly is your Wireless MAC address. If you were to get a new privately owned device, it will have a new MAC address that would need to be submitted.

What this means is that if you have not submitted the wireless MAC address for your privately owned device we may inadvertently block you or when we move your school to the Allow model, it will not be able to connect to the SD60 Trusted Network (wired, SD60-Staff, SD60-Student). You should not have to submit anything for district owned devices as we have that MAC address in our inventory system and it has already been added to the Allow list. We will have a technician on site the day of switching to an allow list to make certain things are working. You can help us greatly and limit any connectivity issues for yourself by submitting your MAC address before the change.

Phones/iPods represent a large group of possible spaces taken up. If they have their MAC addresses submitted we will determine if there is adequate space to be allowed depending on local availability.

To submit your device’s MAC address please visit bit.ly/sd60help and click on the Trusted Network Access link on the left hand side navigation bar. Or directly here.

SD60-Public (10.xx.xx.xx addressing, throttled internet only access – port 80&443)

In some schools we have set up a separate network that allows you to connect wirelessly with any device whether we know the MAC address or not. This is to enable student owned devices, staff owned, phones etc to get to the internet only. This is not in place in all schools but we are working to have it in place. This approach will add 64,000 addresses at each site it exists. It involves significant logical networking changes and takes time to build.

Current School IP Address Mitigation Strategy (updated Feb 18, 2015)

NPSS – Deny – tentatively moving to Allow after Spring Break
ELC – Deny – Move to Allow Feb 18
Bert Bowes – Deny
Dr. Kearney – Deny
Alwin Holland – Deny – Move to Allow Feb 25
Baldonnel – not needed as of yet
Bert Ambrose – Deny – move to Allow Feb 23
Buick Creek – not needed as of yet
CM Finch – Deny
Charlie Lake – Deny – Move to Allow Feb 23
Clearview – not needed as of yet
Duncan Cran – Deny – Move to Allow Feb 24
Ecole Central – Deny
Hudson’s Hope – ALLOW
Prespatou- ALLOW
Robert Ogilvie – Deny
Taylor – not needed as of yet
Upper Halfway – not needed as of yet
Upper Pine – Deny – move to Allow Feb 27
Wonowon – ALLOW
School Board Office – not needed as of yet
Grandhaven – not needed
Facilities – not needed
NBCDES – not needed as of yet

I’ve asked  staff for dates in the next two weeks for planning where we will be implementing the Allow Lists at buildings above currently employing deny lists.

When the ALLOW will be implemented will depend on local needs (FSA, exams, report cards). We will have a technician on site for two days after the switch to make certain things are working. Five days notice will be given prior. You can submit your MAC address at any time through the link above.

Schools with Separate Public Network in Place (SD60-Public on wifi with 10.xx.xx.xx addresses)

Dr. Kearney
Hudson’s Hope
Bert Bowes

We plan to add others in the future.

Since When?

The Allow List and the Trusted Network Access strategy was first introduced in October 2013. There is a page in the Help Pages menu above or directly available at http://www.prn.bc.ca/ts/?page_id=2021


Why your School or District should tie their webpage to Social Media

Screen Shot 2014-12-12 at 9.14.55 AM
Facebook Insight Report image capture

For a while now we’ve had our district website and some school websites attached to Facebook and Twitter. Any post to the website automatically goes out to Facebook and Twitter. We also have a separate SMS system that was built years ago that we use to communicate emergent issues in the district when needed but it needs some work.

Our website is well used but it is certainly not the first place people go in their day on their mobile device. Quite often it is Facebook or Twitter or some tool that draws in feeds from those like Flipboard.

Using plugins with our website we make a single post which then gets sent to Facebook and Twitter automatically. Very simple when it is in place. The image above shows that the post had a reach of over 3000 people in a very short period of time (bus cancellations). We’ve found our posts that are related to safety of kids (school speed zone notices) or closures/cancellations are Shared very quickly through Facebook. The website is homebase and the plugins and social media are amplifiers for the messages on the website.

We also have a group of people that Retweet our @sd60 Tweets and include local and regional media. That’s been fairly effective but we need to have a look as it doesn’t always get seen by the person at the mic at the time they or we need it to. We’ll look more at our process on that.

Communication often comes up as an area of complaint. “How come I didn’t know?” is often a question that comes up when there is a serious issue. Good Procedures or Communication Policies definitely will help with that, but tools that link your website to social media can get an important message out to many people very quickly.

Most importantly, you still need to post to your website to get the action going!

Planned Outage – Sept 28

RFC# 115980

Location(s):                Fort St John RNC – All Users

Window:                    2014-09-28 06:01:00 through 2014-09-28 09:00:00

Impact:                       5 minute network outage to all users off Fort
St John and its downstream RNCs

Planned Outage – April 9/10 – very short

RFC# 110517

Location(s):                Fort St John RNC – All Users

Northern Lights College Hudsons Hope

Northern Lights College Fort St John

                                    SD59 – Chetwynd Secondary School

                                    SD60 – Peace River North District Office

Prepatou School

Upper Pine Elementary

Charlie Lake Elementary

McLeod Elementary

Bert Bowes Jr Secondary

C M Finch Elem

Enerplex Learning Centre

Key Learning Centre

Window:                     2014-04-09 23:01:00 through 2014-10-07 06:00:00

Impact:                       2min service interruption


WWP off lease unibody macbooks

Our macbook unibodies are off lease as of June this year. Due to budget restraints we won’t replace them all next year for WWP as previously posted in December – http://www.prn.bc.ca/ts/?p=2037

These off lease laptops will be replaced with iPad minis in grade 6. Pro-d is being developed for May for teachers in grade 6 and more info will follow in April.

Proposed Priority for the off lease unibody macbooks will be in this order

1. Cart model for grade 7s (1 laptop per student in a grade 7 class. Assigned to the cart, not the student. Not for take home. No contracts) ~ 381 devices
2. 1 extra cart per middle school ~ 60 devices
3. Extras to grade 5/6 splits depending on number of 5s. ~ depends on class configuration but will likely be a larger number than remaining laptops.
4. If there are remaining extras their use will be determined by the overall number left.

Older off lease (sd60 spray painted) macbooks will no longer be supported by Technology Services as of June 2014 per the End of Life Specifications.

Accounts for 2014-2015

A proposed account naming convention for next year for all District Wide Login + Learn60 accounts is as follows:

Username: LegalFirstname.LegalLastname## where ## will be a common number that we will announce later.  This username would need to be at or under 20 characters due to system restrictions.

Password: Two leading zeros and the student number.

We’d use the same account and password for District Wide Login and Learn 60. If we are able to link the two they will be synchronized. If not we will create matching accounts so at the very least they will be the same to start with.

We are going to do a character count on all accounts and see if the addition of the ## at the end will cause us more grief than it can be worth for other logistical purposes of keeping them. There is a possibility that we can go over 20 characters in the future that we will look into as well.

We recognize that this could be challenging for younger students however we know there are strategies to support them in using their own account. Further each elementary schools has their own simple shared default lab account that can be used if students do not need to save files or print.

Since the smartest mind in the room is the room we’d ask for your comments on this. Public comments can be made using the commenting system on this post. Private comments are welcome by email.

Unplanned Service Outage due to Power Outage

We had a networking puzzle to solve this morning that related to the power outage. Services were down from 5:22am (due to the power outage) until just before 9am when all were restored. Power was back on at 6:39am and staff were working on the issue just before 7am.

Our backup power system only lasts for approximately 45 minutes.

We’ve identified a strategy to mitigate future issues and look to implement it in the future.

Planned Outages -Feb 4 into 5th, 2014

RFC# 108078

Location(s):                Fort St John RNC – All Users

                                    SD60 – Clearview Elementary & Junior Secondary School

Window:                     2014-02-04 23:00:00MST through 2014-02-05 07:00:00MST

Impact:                       5 minute network outage during vendor requested maintenance

Short Planned Outage – Feb 4 night into morning of Feb 5, 2014

RFC# 108078

Location(s):                Fort St John RNC – All Users

                                   SD60 – Clearview Elementary & Junior Secondary School

Window:                     2014-02-04 23:00:00MST through 2014-02-05 07:00:00MST

Impact:                       5 minute network outage during vendor requested maintenance

Assistive Apps for iOS

Sally Birley and I were having a conversation about assistive software today and I realized it was past time to put down some resources we have used or plan to test to support student learning with iOS devices. I’ve linked the apps below with their Canadian iTunes store link, prices and a description. These are not endorsements, just a list of apps or features we need to look at some more.

Text to Speech (free, built in accessibility feature – Settings > General > Accessibility > Speak Selection > On)

Speech to Text (free, built in on newer ipads, look for the microphone on the keyboard)

Dragon Dictation (free) – speech to text – https://itunes.apple.com/ca/app/dragon-dictation/id341446764?mt=8

Co-Writer ($17.99) – From Don Johnson – https://itunes.apple.com/ca/app/co-writer/id674099732?mt=8 

AppWriter US ($29.99) – Optical Character Recognition, text to speech, word prediction – I have previously tested this and had some difficulty with the OCR component from pictures I took. Sometimes it was marvelous, other times it produced gibberish. I wasn’t able to test yet on a newer ipad and I suspect lighting and camera capabilities to be likely issues. Worth more testing as this could be a good alternative to a Kurzweil scanner setup if it works reliably. – https://itunes.apple.com/ca/app/appwriter-us/id490076103?mt=8

Clicker Sentences ($28.99) – Aimed at younger students but may require a lot of adult support as described by our SETBC support team. Predictive text support. From Cricks, the company that created Clicker 6. https://itunes.apple.com/ca/app/clicker-sentences/id575603433?mt=8 – video at http://vimeo.com/63307411

Clicker Books (30.99) – This one was described as a better bang for you buck from our SETBC team, compared to Clicker Sentences, especially for older students. Predictive text support.  https://itunes.apple.com/ca/app/clicker-books/id645936237?mt=8

Typ-O HD ($14.99) was mentioned to me after writing this. It does word prediction and speech to text and text to speech. https://itunes.apple.com/ca/app/typ-o-hd-writing-is-for-everybody!/id372971659?mt=8

Do you have any apps that make a difference for kids that need assistive tech? Please add them in the comments.