Thursday, September 7, 2017

Passwords Are Now Passé

Logging in to a computer system generally requires a username and a "memorized secret." Most people refer to this "memorized secret" as a password. If you are using a password, may I suggest ditching the password and instead using a passphrase in its place?

Federal NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) guidelines that cover computer and systems authentication have been recently revised and the use of complex passwords is no longer recommended. Digital Identity Guidelines now recommend the use of passphrases to authenticate to computer and electronic systems instead of passwords. A passphrase is the use of a group of words, preferably chosen at random, used to authenticate to a computer-based system. Here is an example of both a complex password and a passphrase:

A complex password: St48761!

A passphrase: special holding compound

Why the change?

Complex passwords are sometimes difficult for us to remember. Consequently, they may end up written on paper or stored in an insecure way. Different complexity requirements for different computer and electronic systems may require us to remember multiple complex passwords. Again, we end up writing them down or storing them in an insecure way.

Complex passwords are sometimes created by changing common characters and rendering them less secure than we might think. These passwords could be subject to a system “dictionary attack” that accounts for common letter substitutions. One example of a complex password that is not very secure is Passw0rd!

While not every system we work with will currently support the new federal recommendations (i.e., Apple IDs), your Barrington 220 network account will support their use, as will the Google G Suite system.

To revise a Barrington 220 network “memorized secret” (your password), click here.

To revise your Barrington 220 Google account password, follow these directions.

When creating your passphrase, make sure that your passphrase is a minimum of 8 characters in length. Use random words strung together, not a common phrase. While a passphrase let the dog out is still stronger than many traditional complex passwords, the randomness of a passphrase such as interview garage focus is stronger against a potential system "dictionary attack" and is greatly preferred over common phrases found in books or everyday language.

For some interesting additional reading, check out the NIST Digital Identity Guidelines. A remark at the end of the document sums things up: "Length and complexity requirements beyond those recommended here significantly increase the difficulty of memorized secrets and increase user frustration."

Meet the Department of Technology & Innovation

On behalf of the entire Department of Technology & Innovation, I would like to welcome everyone back to school for the 2017–18 school year.

The district-level members of the Department of Technology & Innovation work throughout the summer and most of us consider the summer months our busiest time of year in terms of implementing, preparing, upgrading, and updating. However, when teachers and students return, we shift our focus to supporting and planning for the many systems we manage in learning, teaching, and operations across the district.

I would like to take this opportunity to introduce the entire Department of Technology & Innovation district-level staff. Below you will find the department listed in text, and this post concludes with an infographic-style image that depicts everyone in our group.

Instructional Technology
Joe Robinson, Director of Instructional Technology
Shawndra Shelton, District Technology Assistant

Technology Support
Russ Vander Mey, Systems Administrator
Scott Moore, Network Operations Specialist
Mark Polzin, Technology Support Supervisor
District Technology Support Specialists
     Jason Bryant
     Justin Edge
      Kim Martinez
District Technology Support Technicians
      Josh Beatty
      Derrick Kovell
      Charlie Parkinson
District Technology Support Associates
      Adam Fajnor
      Kaitlyn Pankiewicz

Student Information
June Nilles, Director of Student Information
Saif Ali, Applications Software Administrator
Karen Jasonowicz, Central Registrar
Megan Polzin, Transportation Specialist
Violet Jackson, IC/Business Office Liaison
Andrew Solomon, Data Assistant
Yazmin Aceves, District Translator

Copy Center
Steve Underwood, Coordinator of Document Systems
Charles Wells, Copy Center Assistant

Department Leadership
Matt Fuller, Assistant Superintendent for Technology & Innovation
Hector Ontiveros, Technology & Innovation Department Coordinator


Infographic






Translation/Interpretation Request Form

I hope that the start of a new school year finds you well! As things begin to pick up, I would like to share some great news that could come in handy throughout our different departments when it comes to requesting translating services.

As a part of coordinating technology and innovation within the District, we have made it possible to schedule all of your translating needs through a simple Google Form. The form can be accessed by either clicking here or by visiting our Barrington 220 website under Staff in the tab entitled Request Translation.

The form will allow us to receive and confirm appointment requests as well as manage uploads of documents that you need translated into Spanish. This simple yet effective process allows the translating team here at Barrington 220 to collaborate much more efficiently when it comes to meeting/document requests across our district.

We do ask that you keep the following in mind before submitting your request:

  • Please allow a minimum of 5–10 business days for written translation requests to be returned.
  • Please submit your meeting interpreter request 15 days in advance (minimum) in order to secure an interpreter. Note: It is likely that last-minute meeting requests will not be accommodated.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact me. Our translating team is ready to provide assistance, so please send those timely requests!

Apple Clips, Your Custom Music Soundtrack Composer

Over the summer, I had the opportunity to learn about Apple’s new Clips app for iOS from the app’s product manager. Although Clips is very easy to use, I learned a few great tips and tricks, and I was fascinated to learn about a Clips-only feature, the Soundtracks tool.

Clips (currently) includes 47 different Soundtracks in seven different categories:
  • Pop
  • Playful
  • Chill
  • Sentimental
  • Retro
  • Action
  • Holidays & Events

Like other Apple apps with music soundtrack options, the tracks are high-quality, royalty-free, and may be uploaded to social media without infringing copyright. However, unlike other music soundtrack options, Clips soundtracks automatically adjust timing to create a perfectly synchronized music soundtrack for your Clips video.

In general, depending upon the Soundtrack selected, the track includes an intro, several varied sections (depending upon the length of your video), and an outro with an ending. Thus, the music doesn’t just cut off abruptly or fade at the end, it sounds like the soundtrack was composed with a beginning, middle, and ending—just for your video.

For a recent iMovie project, I found myself in my typical music predicament: I needed a royalty-free music selection in an appropriate style and at the appropriate length to play throughout the video. To make matters more challenging, I knew that I would be sharing a first revision of the video with several groups and that further edits would be imminent. It occurred to me...why not let Clips compose my music soundtrack for me?

After a bit of trial and error, I developed two methods for creating Clips music soundtracks for other video apps and created video tutorials for each. One method uses Clips for iPhone and iMovie on Mac, while the other method is an all-iPad solution (using Clips and iMovie for iPad). Using the ideas here, you may be able to adapt this idea for other video creation apps on other platforms.

Create a Soundtrack using Clips for iPhone and Use It in iMovie for Mac


Create a Soundtrack using Clips for iPad and Use It in iMovie for iPad

Google & Apple Service Outage Information

Like many districts, Barrington 220 uses the online services of several providers. Online systems occasionally experience service disruptions. Two of our primary providers, Google and Apple, provide very detailed web pages that list the status of their services that any user may check at any time.

Google currently provides status for 23 services, such as Gmail, Calendar, Drive, Docs, Sheets, Slides, Sites, Maps, Blogger, Classroom, etc. Check Google status here:

https://www.google.com/appsstatus

Apple currently provides status for 53 services, such as various App Stores, Apple ID, iCloud Calendar, iCloud Drive, iCloud Notes, Documents in the Cloud, iMessage, Photos, etc. Check Apple status here:

https://www.apple.com/support/systemstatus

The Barrington 220 tech staff will report catastrophic outages from our providers if they affect all users and are expected to last an extended time. For minor outages that do not affect the majority of users, you may check these status pages at any time.

Of course, you may always call x. 1500 for Technology Support in Barrington 220 at any time during the school day.

Campus Instruction Control Center Designed for Mobile Devices

Infinite Campus has updated the home page of Campus Instruction and renamed it “Control Center.” This enhancement allows teachers to quickly view current tasks at a glance without leaving the screen. In addition, Control Center is designed with a responsive design to allow teachers the same home screen on a tablet, smartphone, or desktop computer.

Open Campus Instruction 

To open Campus Instruction, click the app switcher and select Campus Instruction in the menu that opens. Use the app switcher to return to the rest of Campus as well by selecting Campus Tools or to access the Campus Community. Be sure to Log Off when finished.


The app switcher in Campus Instruction is located in the top left of the screen. Click Tools to return to the rest of Campus Tools.


In Campus Instruction, choose the Year and School in the toolbar.  Teachers in schools with multiple structures should choose the appropriate structure, i.e., BHS or Pathways; Grade 06, Grade 07, or Grade 08.

You'll only need to select a Section when that context is needed, such as in the Grade Book or Roster. Other tools, such as the Planner, are not section-specific.

The top right corner of the screen is also where you access the Campus Community and where you log off of Campus Instruction. Account Settings are also available from this user icon.

Visit the Control Center for Easy Access to Attendance and Scoring Assignments

The Control Center allows teachers to view current tasks at a glance. Current day attendance and assignments to be score are sorted by period.

This tool has been optimized for use on mobile devices, such as phones and tablets.

Use the Control Center to take attendance and score assignments easily.

Taking Attendance

Sections for which attendance needs to be taken are indicated with a red dot and outline once the period has ended. Prior to the end of the period, attendance that will need to be taken during the day is indicated with an empty grey circle. Completed attendance is indicated with a green check. Click Take to enter student attendance.


Indicate if students are Present, Absent, or Tardy.


Mark the Present, Absent, or Tardy buttons to record student attendance. Enter Comments for absences and tardies if applicable. Click Save when finished.

If attendance has been recorded by the attendance office, the attendance code displays.

Scoring Assignments

The Assignments column allows teachers to score assignments due on or before the current day. To display, an assignment's End Date must be within the current Term. The number in parenthesis indicates the number of unscored assignments. Click Score to record scores.


Unscored assignments are listed by default, with options for All and Missing assignments.

In the panel that opens, unscored assignments are listed by default. Click All to view all assignments in the section or Missing to view assignments flagged as missing.

Click on an assignment to view students. For a specific assignment, view All students (including those with scores), only Unscored, or those flagged as Missing using the buttons at the top.


Score and flag students assignments

Filling Scores

Fill options display at the top of the scoring panel. Mark all assignments as Turned In and score all assignments. Anything entered in the Fill Scores area overwrites data entered on the current panel.

Scoring Individuals

Scores and flags can also be recorded for individual students. Enter numeric scores or select a score from the dropdown for assignments scored using Marks or Rubrics.

Assignments with multiple alignments display with multiple score fields.

Flags

To flag the assignment, click the Turned In button or use the flag dropdown list to select a different flag. Once a flag is selected, click it to remove it. Keyboard shortcuts, such as typing 'M' to flag as missing, cannot be entered in the Control Center.

The Turned In and Missing flags cannot be marked at the same time. If a score is entered for an assignment flagged as missing, options display for resolving the flag.

Student Information

Click on a student's name to open the student information panel. Basic information about the student is listed at the top, with sections for Contact Information and Today's Schedule.





Visit Infinite Campus for Barrington 220 to learn more of what's new in Infinite Campus.

Introducing...the Apple Classroom App

Apple recently released the second version of Classroom. The app affords teachers numerous opportunities to improve instructional practices while using iPad devices. Several middle school teachers piloted the use of Classroom their iPad devices in their classrooms. We are ready to release this great tool for use in all of our PK–8 classrooms. Classroom is available for teachers to download in Self Service on the iPad. Students do not need to download any apps to their iPad device for Classroom to function.

Check out Apple's website to learn more about the Classroom app.

What can teachers do with Classroom?

With the Classroom app, teachers can:
  • create their own classes and easily add nearby students.
  • share documents and links directly to student devices and have them open automatically on their iPad devices.
  • mute audio playing on a student device.
  • view the entire class of student iPad screens or focus on an individual's iPad screen to gather formative assessment data and guide learning.
  • launch apps, websites, or iBooks on all or individual student iPad devices.
  • project student work from their teacher iPad.
  • lock all or individual student iPad devices.
  • create small groups within Classroom app and add/remove students.

How do teachers get started with Classroom?

To get started with Classroom, teachers may download Classroom from Self Service. Follow the steps in this guide from Apple, and/or view the video below from 9to5Mac.

Getting Started with Classroom 2.0 (Apple PDF Directions)


It should be noted that students can choose to leave a class via the Settings app, and students may change settings that are preferred by the teacher on their iPad. For example, students can choose to Always, Ask, or Never allow a teacher device to lock apps and the device, or to use AirPlay or Screen View features. Students can also turn off Bluetooth or restart their iPad and be disconnected from your class. However, after a student has joined your class and attempts leave the class, their avatar turns grey on the teacher iPad device. This makes it easy for the teacher to address this behavior.

Please see any LTA for more information on getting started with Classroom.

Passwords Are Now Passé

Logging in to a computer system generally requires a username and a "memorized secret." Most people refer to this "memorized ...