Bob Campus's Blog

Scheduled Maintenance: Friday, April 18, 2014, from 10pm–12am PST

 

My Big Campus will undergo scheduled maintenance on Friday, April 18, from 10pm to 12am Pacific Standard Time. Please save all your work and log out of MBC prior to the maintenance window. We apologize for any inconvenience.

More Power to the Teacher!

Mobile Manager Device Management Integrated with My Big Campus

In the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz, the Wizard controls an elaborate presentation – complete with audience discussions, participant homework, and vivid visual effects – from behind a curtain.

Had the Wizard been an educator, he could have managed everything in My Big Campus – with the calm of a Jedi master in front of his students.

I'll explain: Recently, our talented MBC developers released the feature Web Zones, which allow educators in schools using Lightspeed Systems Web Filter to expand or restrict students' access to the Internet.

Today, I'm pleased to announce the perfect complement to Web Zones – and that's Mobile Manager Integration. Together, the tools will help teachers appear more like Obi-Wan Kenobi than a wayward carnival showman.

Mobile Manager Integration allows teachers to enable and disable temporarily certain features for student devices within a particular MBC group. For example, if school administration has disabled student tablet cameras, a teacher can enable student cameras for a time – allowing learners to complete an assignment in which the camera plays a vital part. In other words, an educator is free to direct the workflow of his or her classroom in real time without wasting precious moments petitioning device changes to IT staff.

How does Mobile Manager Integration work?

First, your school must be a Lightspeed Systems Mobile Manager customer, and your school must be running Mobile Manager 3+. Next, network administrators enable Mobile Manager Integration through a school's profile settings in My Big Campus > Administration. 

From there, a teacher heads to an MBC group and selects Admin Options in the upper right.

A dropdown menu reveals Mobile Profiles, where teachers can adjust certain device restrictions. The picture below highlights iOS options.

 

On the Safe Side

Although Mobile Manager Integration gives teachers lots of control in the classroom, network administrators can still lock features through Mobile Manager policies. Profiles created through the MBC Group admin option cannot override locked policy controls. Therefore, the integration can be tweaked to suit school or district needs.

We'll have more updates throughout the coming months. I'll keep you in the loop as new features roll out. Until next time, I'll see you around campus.

Scheduled Maintenance: Saturday, March 22, 2014, from 10pm to 2am PST

 

My Big Campus will undergo scheduled maintenance on Saturday, March 22, from 10pm to 2am Pacific Time. Please save all your work and log out of MBC prior to the maintenance window. We apologize for any inconvenience.

Teachers: Customize web access for students in Web Zones

Hi everyone! I'd like to introduce a new "Old" feature to you today: Web Zones. And, I'll explain how this Old feature of the Lightspeed Systems Web Filter is now a New feature, right inside My Big Campus.

Web Zones evolved as a way for selected staff members to override the school's web filter settings temporarily, to allow or block access to a specific list of websites. This feature gave teachers the flexibility to allow certain websites during class time that would ordinarily be blocked so students could research and study a particular topic in depth under the supervision of an adult. On the other hand, teachers could also use Web Zones to keep students focused by blocking websites that could otherwise be a distraction -- during an in-class test, for example, to keep students from looking up answers on the web.

With the most recent update to the Lightspeed Systems Web Filter software (2.7.2), as well as the My Big Campus website, teachers are able to easily create and manage Web Zones right inside MBC.

How does it work?

First, your school must be integrated with your Lightspeed Systems Web Filter, and your administrator must enable Web Zones for your school. Once it's enabled, you'll see an additional option on the Admin Options menu in groups you own.

Select Web Zones from the Admin Options menu to get to the Web Zones page. From there, you can create, configure, and activate Web Zones for group members. This Tech Note describes the process in detail, and I'll go over a few of the highlights here.

Each Web Zone is a list of web addresses (URLs) that you want to allow or block for a limited time. With Web Zones, you can

  • Allow students to watch a video originating from a site that would ordinarily be blocked, for example, Vimeo.com.
  • Block all access to the web during a test so students can't look up the answers online.
  • Allow students under 13 years old to access websites that require adult consent and supervision under the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA)

Let's say you're teaching a unit on how special effects are produced in movies. You may have five web sites that you would like your fifth graders to use for research, but two of them are blocked by the content filter. Instead of going to your IT staff for help, now you can take matters into your own hands and add the two sites to a Web Zone. Once a teacher activates a Web Zone, the rules will be applied to all the students in the group.

Safety above all

Although Web Zones give teachers lots of control in the classroom, student safety is always our highest priority. Teachers can't (intentionally or not) allow access to websites that are never appropriate for students. And, as always, all web activity is logged by the web filter, and available to administrators for review.

We think Web Zones is a feature that both administrators and teachers will welcome. Web filter admins no longer need to make time for teacher requests to unblock sites, and teachers will appreciate the ability to control which websites their students can use in class.

We have even more updates planned for the next few weeks, so stay tuned to my Blog for information as we get close to releasing new features. Until next time, I'll see you around Campus!

We've Built and Revamped Training Resources to Reach Beyond "How-To"

We've done a bit of housekeeping in the first few months of 2014 – renewing a few familiar resources, creating some all-together new resources, and infusing practical applications and pedagogy everywhere to help every user get more from My Big Campus. More understanding. More engagement. More achievement.

A Revamped MBC Orientation Center

Take the MBC Orientation Center, for instance: We’ve spent January and February sweeping out old content and replacing it with updated materials for classroom leaders and technology staff alike. The result: A streamlined, one-stop shop where you can grab everything from lesson ideas and MBC deployment tips to on-demand webinars, training materials, and more. It's an especially great place to find Tips, Tricks and Inspirations for the classroom--from our staff and beyond.

Pedagogy-Infused How-To Bundles

And while we’re on the topic of training materials: Have a look at our How-To Bundles, which are now peppered with pedagogical tidbits to help you personalize learning in your classroom. Watch for the "Here's a Bright Idea" box like the one below for fresh insights on MBC features. 

All-New Flipped Learning Series

Lastly, don't miss our new  Flipped Learning Series (FLS) – which infuse on-demand webinars with suggestions geared to deliver the “Ah-hah!” moments needed for lesson ideas and improved student learning. Check out the selection. Then, Quick Link them to share with a colleague, or branch them to tweak for your own campus needs.

 

Changes are afoot, and we hope you like what we’ve done so far. I’ll continue to keep you updated. Until next time, I’ll see you around campus.

Read Across America Day is on the Way: Happy Birthday to You, Dr. Seuss

You may not be Sam, and you may not like green eggs and ham. But, chances are, you've heard of, are influenced by, or enjoy reading the works of Dr. Seuss, who invented the character Sam in the book Green Eggs and Ham

Born Theodor Seuss Geisel on March 2, 1904, the beloved children's author assumed the pen name Dr. Seuss to produce The Cat in the HatHorton Hears a WhoHow the Grinch Stole Christmas, and other wildly popular books featuring memorable rhymes, beautiful artwork, and imaginative characters. 

Today, Dr. Seuss's literary legacy lives on in Read Across America Day, held in 2014 on Monday, March 3, to honor Geisel's birthday. Sponsored by the National Education Agency, Read Across America Day spotlights the importance of the written word through various events, including celebrity read-alongs, a special van tour, and appearances by the Cat in the Hat in schools around the United States. 

For ideas on how you can commemorate Read Across America Day in your own classroom, watch the video below. Afterward, head to the MBC Library to snag a narration of Seuss classics and have your students follow along. 

Through your school hall, share the joy of reading with one and all. That's it for now. I'll see you around campus.

The Top 10 Signs You Should Be a My Big Campus Coach

You're passionate about engaging students and inspiring teachers to transform teaching and learning. You are (or have been asked to be) the MBC go-to person on your campus. Colleagues turn to you for tips, tricks, and advice for integrating My Big Campus in their own classrooms. Here are the top 10 signs you should consider becoming an official MBC Coach:

  1. You’re on a first-name basis with Bob.
  2. When students ask to go to the Library, you instinctively tell them to log on.
  3. You wish heart icons were in email.
  4. You whisper to other LMS users, “Bob offers you his protection.”
  5. You’ve forgotten what YouTube really looks like.
  6. Scantron?
  7. Your Drive has more files than all of your devices combined.
  8. In faculty meetings, you typically answer any issue with one statement: “I have a Bundle for that!”
  9. You now demand Reports and Policy Controls on other websites.
  10. You met your BFF and your PLN on EduTalk.

If any of the above sounds familiar, you’re just the sort we seek for our 2014-15 MBC Coach program, where you’ll acquire the skills from our experts to be a credentialed MBC trainer, guru, and/or go-to person.

Step 1: How Do I Get Started?

Complete the MBC Coach Application, which includes questions about your engagement with digital learning environments, your professional role and interests, and requires a commitment to attend the Summer Academy. The deadline to complete the application is March 31, 2014.

Step 2: If Application Is Accepted, Attend MBC Coach Summer Academy on July 21 in Austin, TX

Summer Academy is where veteran MBC users and trainers model procedures, exchange best practices, explore new aspects and uses of My Big Campus, and help shape future development through roadmap discussions. Attendance is required the first year you are selected for the MBC Coach program. You’re also required to attend a pre-Academy online boot camp (so everyone arrives at Summer Academy on somewhat equal footing). There are no fees for Summer Academy. However, you are responsible for your travel and accommodations.

2014 Summer Academy will be held Monday, July 21, 2014, in Austin, TX. 

Step 3: Complete MBC Self-Paced Training Series

We'd like everyone to arrive at Summer Academy excited and ready to jump into our train-the-trainer activities. Therefore, we'll need you up-to-speed on the latest MBC features. In June–July, spend a few hours perusing our MBC Self-Paced Training Series to ensure you're ready to make the most of this phenomenal training day. You'll need to score 80% or better on the training's assessment before arriving at Summer Academy.

Step 4: Return Signed MBC Coach Agreement and Admin Approval Forms

Review and agree to the MBC Coach program terms by completing the MBC Coach Program Agreement. You'll also need to have your administrator complete the MBC Coach Administrator Approval Form. Both forms must be returned to your assigned MBC Senior Coach by August 31, 2014. 

Step 5: Video Tutoral Bundle

Find an aspect of My Big Campus that ignites your passion, and you be the trainer. More details here.

**Current MBC Coaches Seeking Re-certification:

In 2014, all current MBC Coaches will need to complete the following requirements by August 31, 2014 for re-certification:

Golden Nugget: Achievements – Celebrate Success!

Just about everyone likes to be recognized for a job well done. Think of all those childhood awards assemblies where you sat anxiously hoping to hear your name called. Indeed, recognition can be a powerful motivator. To that end, teachers, you'll be pleased to know we've just made it easier for you to give recognition to your students, Groups, and colleagues. Our Digital Learning Day surprise, achievements are an awesome addition for engaging students and celebrating success.

Watch this excerpt from a recent webinar to get a feel for how Achievements can be used in the classroom.

                                   

 

Before you start creating Achievements, we recommend you and your grade-level or subject-area school-site colleagues determine some standards for awarding Achievements. That way Achievement badges carry the same meaning across your school population. Consult our How-To guide for more best practices.

 

Creating Achievements is a breeze.

  1. Head to Drive.
  2. At the top of the screen, select Achievements in the right navigation. (Alternatively, you can click New, and select New Achievement)
  3. Click New Achievement.
  4. Name the Achievement. Give it a description and choose a graphic to complement the award.
  5. Click Save.

You're done! 

Manage Achievements in Drive.

The Achievements you create are accessible for editing and awarding in a couple of ways.

From your Drive's right navigation

  1. Under Drive Home, select Achievements.
  2. A graphical view of all the badges you've created will display with their titles and descriptions.
  3. Click an Achievement's menu icon (V) to Award, Edit, or Delete.

From your Drive's file/folder listing you may also move Achievements into Folders to keep them organized.

  1. In Drive, browse or search for your Achievement by name or sort by Kind to see all Achievements listed together. 
  2. Check the box next to the Achievement to get options including Edit, Award, Move, Rename, Apply Label, and Delete.

There are two ways to award the Achievement--from your Drive and on a user's Profile page.

From Drive: 

  1. Navigate to Drive.
  2. Click Achievements in the right-hand navigation.
  3. Select an Achievement.
  4. Click Award Selected.
  5. On the deployment screen, enter the name of a student, colleague, or Group.
  6. Select a user or Group from Search Results in the lower left panel.
  7. Click Award Achievement.

From a user's Profile page:

  1. On the left, beneath the user's profile picture, click Award Achievement (only staff users will see this).
  2. Select an Achievement that you have previously created--hover over the badge to see the title.
  3. Respond to the prompt, "Are you sure you want to award..." and click Done.

That's it! Recipients will be immediately notified on-screen. 

The actual Achievement badge will be visible in the upper-right corner of a recipient's profile page. Click on it to view the title and description as well as who else recently earned the badge.

That's all for now. I'll see you (and your Achievements!)  around campus.

New NBC Learn Videos Spotlight the Science at Play in the 2014 Winter Games

There are tons of scientific principles at play in sports. For proof, check out the recently released NBC Learn videos, which showcase how physics, chemistry, and other cool science factor into athletic performances at the 2014 Winter Olympics.

Prior to the opening ceremony Feb. 7, learn how a figure skater uses center of mass to spin a pirouette into a gold medal. Grab some airtime with engineers and snowboarders to uncover the tricks of half-pipe design. Or, go downhill with skiers and scientists to understand the forces governing gravity-defying stunts.

Other topics spotlight the chemical properties that make ice slippery (and great for skating), the natural processes behind snow formation, aerodynamics in competition suits and costumes, and lots more.

We’ve made viewing easy: Simply click here to access a Bundle with all the right stuff. As a reminder, you’ll need an NBC Learn membership to watch an entire video. No membership? No worries: Access transcripts at the bottom of each video Cue Card.

As always, I encourage you to go for the gold, and I’ll see you around campus.

Join the Fun on Digital Learning Day (and our special topic for teachers)

While today, January 24, 2014, is National Compliment Day and National Peanut Butter Day here in America--two little-known commemorations I can fully support, there's another day coming that I'm really stoked about, and I hope you are too.  Digital Learning Day coming February 5.

Digital Learning Day celebrates innovative teachers as well as effective digital-learning applications and techniques in America's schools. Digital Learning Day's goal is simple: support educators and improve student learning. As a result, states and school districts nationwide host a variety of activities to commemorate Digital Learning Day – such as spotlighting technology-based student work and offering lesson-plan contests for teachers.

Digital Learning Day is for everyone – parents, teachers, students, librarians, and school leaders. Anyone with a stake in improving teaching and learning is invited to participate.

To show our support for Digital Learning Day, we've created a spot to kick-start tech lessons in your school. Teachers, join our Digital Learning Day 2014 topic, where you can snag simple grade-level ideas for showcasing technology in your classroom. Remember, student assignments can be as uncomplicated as writing a story about me, Bob Campus, and the work I do, (see featured lesson on the topic's home page) or as complex as month-long project dealing with multiple aspects of digital learning. It's all up to you.

As always, we'd love to hear your plans for Digital Learning Day. Feel free to post them in the topic or below. That's it for now! I'll see you around campus.