Category Archives: InteractiveWhiteboard

Yorktown Staff Laptops: FAQ #5

Printer Installation

To install printers, we are no longer using KACE, but a new APS Printer Installer application designed by Eric Knott and Chris Brown at the Ed Center. (Thanks, gents!) Please read my previous blog post on the subject here.

Windows+P Problems

If, when docked and connected to a properly-working SmartBoard, your laptop does nothing when you hold down the Windows Key and press P, you may have a bugged machine. We need to reimage the computer to correct this problem.

Imaging CDs

If your computer’s CD drive has a CD in it that’s unlabeled, or marked “Win7 8/2012,” please return it to Raj or I. It’s an imaging disk. We’ll gladly show anybody that wants to know how to image a computer, but if you don’t need it, we certainly would like to keep them on hand.

Imaging your Laptop

If something goes wrong with your computer, often reimaging the machine is the way to go. Keep in mind that this will wipe out all of the settings, all of the log-ins, and all of the files saved locally. No, it does not impact the H:, S:, or Z: drives. As a consequence, as I said in our first meeting of the year on Tuesday of inservice week, it’s a good idea to maintain a regular backup of important files. Reimaging isn’t a lengthy process anymore – under an hour, often 30 minutes – so we can generally do it in the same period if you can catch us. There are spares in the event of an emergency. (Raj manages those, as our resident computer engineering expert.)

After your computer is imaged, be sure to hard-dock, turn off wifi, and log in as yourself, then out, then log in under your administrator credentials, just like you did the first time you received your machine.

Changing the Fineness of SmartBoard Orientations

Some people like to use “fine” orientation, which uses 20 dots, instead of the standard 9 or widescreen 12. Click here for instructions. Keep in mind that you must be connected to a SmartBoard to do this.


Losing Sound on the SMARTboard

The sound bars on our SMARTboards are connected to our Windows 7 computers by USB cable. Sometimes our computers seem to get a little confused about USB. In order to resolve this issue, firstly be sure nobody else is logged in to the computer.

Per my email of February 28…

“When you are done using a computer at the end of class or when leaving a planning area, please select Log Off, or if it’s the end of the day, Shut Down. Please do not use Switch User. This is to avoid “bad behavior” with USB devices when switching users. This applies in particular to SMART-brand technology, such as SMARTboards and SMARTresponse.”

Once you’re sure you’re the only one logged in, be sure the sound bars have power, are turned on, and that all of the USB connections at the back of your computer are snug. Once that’s done, you need to set your SMARTboard USB speakers to be the default playback audio device.

Here’s how:

April 17, 2012 Update

Here’s some additional information:

Before You Begin

Be sure everything is plugged in.

Your SMARTboard speakers should have power. Turn the knob clockwise, and the green LED should illuminate. If it doesn’t, check that the power cord is plugged in to the bottom of the speaker, and that all nearby power cords are plugged into outlets / power strips. Be sure power strips are turned on.

Check that all other cable connections at the bottom of the SMARTboard speakers are plugged in snugly.

Confirming the Default Sound Device

  1. Look in the lower right-hand corner of your screen, to the left of the clock. This is the System Tray. Locate the small white triangular up arrow in the System tray and click it.
  2. Find the white speaker icon.
    1. If the white speaker icon has a red circle-and-slash over it, your sound is muted. To fix this:
      1. Right click on the white speaker icon.
      2. Select “Open Voume Mixer.”
      3. Locate the blue speaker icon with the red circle-and-slah over it, and click it to remove the red circle-and-slash. Be sure the volume slider is set at about 75%.
  3. Right click the white speaker icon. Select Playback Devices.
  4. You should see “Speakers” as well as an option that says “USB.”
    1. If you only see “Speakers,” it is likely that your USB connection is unplugged. With the computer turned on and logged in, carefully remove each USB plug from the computer, one at a time. Wait about 30 seconds, then plug each one in, one at a time, waiting about 15 seconds between each insertion. Go back to Step 3. If you still only see “Speakers,” contact your Technical Systems Specialist (“Technician”) or call the Help Desk at extension 2847.
  5. Right-click the device that says “USB.”
    1. If you see “set as primary playback device,” click it.
    2. If you see “set as primary communications device,” click it.
    3. Confirm that only one device – the USB device – has any green icons on it.
  6. Confirm that your SMARTboard Speakers are turned on and the volume is up a bit.

Your SMARTboard speakers should now playback from the computer correctly. If not, contact your Technical Systems Specialist (“Technician”) or call the Help Desk at extension 2847.

SmartBoards and Windows 7

I’ve forwarded the following fix to Technology Committee members, but for anyone experiencing troubles with Windows 7 and the newest version of Notebook and/or their SmartBoard hardware, give these three things a try:

I worked with Smart at the ETLC conference on our issues. I’ve posted their fix-it video at the bottom of Our initial tests are promising. My thanks to Erin Minich and the team at AVI-SPL for assisting us on this front.

You need to be logged in as an administrator to do the following. (Ask your Technology Committee representative for details.)

  1. Click the round Start button in the lower left hand corner
  2. Select Control Panel
  3. Select Pen and Touch
  4. Find and select the Panning tab
  5. Uncheck Turn on Single Finger Panning
  6. Click Apply then OK
  1. Back in Control Panel, click Tablet PC Settings
  2. Find and select the Other tab
  3. Click Go to Input Panel Settings
  4. You will be on the Opening tab
  5. Uncheck Use the Input Panel tab
  6. Click Apply then OK, then OK again
  1. Back in Control Panel, click Device Manager
  2. Find and expand Human Interface Devices
  3. Find and right-click Smart Virtual Tablet PC
  4. Click Properties
  5. Find and select the Driver tab
  6. Click Disable
  7. Confirm and select Yes for all questions, including the request to restart the machine


Yorktown Update: October 31, 2011

To my beloved Pagan friends, I wish you a wonderful and peaceful Good Samhain. To those setting out to trick-or-treat for Halloween, remember to stay safe, wear reflective materials near roads, and to travel in groups and preferably with or near an adult that you trust. Together, regardless of your plans, let’s have a safe and happy run up to the Thanksgiving holiday season.

On to the updates!

Learn360, Discovery Education Accounts

Teacher accounts for Learn360 and Discovery Education Streaming have been recreated. The user name and password convention mirrors that of the initial log-in for Google Apps for Education: firstname.lastname and staff.

BlackBoard Session Today

Want to get started using BlackBoard to help your kids learn? Join instructional technology expert Jeannine Richardson in Lab A372 at 3:15 PM today, Monday, October 31. All are welcome.

SmartBoard Issues

If you are continuing to have difficulties with your SmartBoard, please report them to your department’s Technology Committee representative ASAP.

Digital Maps

According to Diana Hasuly’s office, the eMap Shop application will be available on teacher computers by Tuesday, November 1. This massive digital map repository effectively replaces more traditional paper resources, allowing us to use our digital projection technology to mark on them, edit them, zoom in and out, and a plethora of other functions that make them more versatile than non-interactive resources.

For more information, go to BlackBoard under Social Studies and click “Documents.”

Parent Portal Updates

Whether we’re calling it the Student Information Center, the Home Access Center, or a “Parent Portal” has yet to be ironed out. What we do know is the following:

  • The resource will be available at, under “Parents”
  • Each family will receive a unique log-in for each child in the family via US Postal Service mail
  • The resource includes the following areas:
    • daily summary
    • schedule including course requests
    • attendance
    • discipline
    • interims
    • report cards
    • course information (name, section, teacher, location, meeting times)
    • transcripts (course, credits, grades in realtime; GPA and rank non-realtime)
    • registration information
  • mySchoolBucks
  • first day forms
  • BlackBoard access

The system does not initially provide access to realtime grades; that comes later, as discussed at the last faculty meeting.

Computer Lab Double Booking

I’m investigating a couple of reports of computer lab double-booking. I haven’t been able to replicate this, but I have every confidence that it’s happened. As soon as I have an answer, I’ll report it to everyone.

Technology Standards for Instructional Personnel

Everyone’s Virginia teaching license should include a line that reads Educational technology standards have been met. (If you want to see an example, click here.) If your teaching license does not include that line, you need to demonstrate to my office (the designated oversight office for our school) that you have satisfied this requirement. Generally this only applies to newly-hired teachers. Your mentor should provide guidance as well, but if you have questions, please be sure to contact me at your soonest convenience. This needs to be accomplished no later than February 2012 for teachers joining the staff this year.

That’s All Folks!

Thanks everybody!

Yorktown Update: September 14, 2011

If you don’t like random trivia or historical facts, scroll down to the horizontal line to skip my KDR nonsense.

Happy Unbirthday, America!

Who wrote The National Anthem of the United States of America? If you said “Francis Scott Key,” you’re the victim of inaccurate childhood civics lessons! The National Anthem is a piece of music? (US Code Title 36, Subtitle I, Part A, Chapter 3, Section 301, Subsection a makes it official!)

Francis Scott Key was a poet, not a musician. On September 14, 1814, while watching the bombardment of Fort McHenry, he penned a multi-stanza poem about the flag that still flew over the fort, symbolizing the Port of Baltimore’s successful defense against the British onslaught.

"The Bombardment of Fort McHenry, September 13-14, 1814." (ca. 1829).Oil on canvas. Alfred Jacob Miller (1810-1874).

The piece of music known as the National Anthem in the United States is a drinking song called The Anacreontic Hymn (which begins “To Anacreon in Heaven”) was composed by a member of the late 18th-century Anacreontic Society named John Stafford Smith.

While today is the anniversary of the composition of the poem The Star-Spangled Banner by Francis Scott Key, today is not the birthday of the music for National Anthem, which was written by John Stafford Smith. (And is considered one of the most difficult to perform and inaccessible national anthems in the world, so don’t feel compelled to sing it near your colleagues…) For the record, the National Anthem was originally written in G-Major, but is most frequently performed today in A-flat Major, much to the chagrin of Garrison Keillor.

And now, on to the latest updates!

Posting Grades = Thing Of The Past

APS is launching a new Parent Portal as part of the new platform, which will permanently eliminate the need for teachers to post grade reports online. You should remove any website references to grade reports. Any parents or students that ask can be informed that information about the Parent Portal is coming directly from central office this week!

I have to tell you, I’m really pleased about this change, not only because it provides better transparency and communication conduits between the living room and the classroom… but because it was a really cumbersome system. 21st century express, all aboard!

Nothing Could Be Finer (‘Cause There Ain’t No Finer Settin’)

To use the very finest precision orientation on your SmartBoard, switch from the traditional 9 or 12 point orientation to the highest setting, a 20 point calibration. How, you ask? Read on, fair colleague!

  1. Click the round Start button in the lower left hand corner
  2. Click Control Panel
  3. In the upper right corner search box, type Smart
  4. Click Smart Board, which appears in the list of options below the search box
  5. Click Smart Hardware Settings
  6. In the drop-down menu near the middle of your screen, select Orientation/Alignment Settings
  7. Select Fine (20 Points)
  8. Click OK

Orient your SmartBoard. Nice work. 20 points for you. (I’m keeping score, you know…)

New Wireless Access Points Added

Several “dead zones” at Yorktown have been corrected with the installation of additional N-draft wireless access points. The new networks (APS and APS.Guest) should now be visible and strong throughout the building. If you are not able to see the APS network when trying to connect wirelessly, please contact my office.

Orange Squeezed Out

The Orange instructional wireless network is going dark by the end of the week. Please refer to my September 9 blog post for details on how to access the APS and APS.Guest networks, which are now standard. This is a good thing, because by turning off Orange, our wireless efficiency will improve… and I just learned that Orange network connections don’t receive KACE updates. Forcing all machines over to the new wireless network will clear up a lot!

Color Printer Available

I am a firm believer in trust as default, with caveat where apropos. Raj and I have moved the large color printer to workroom 227, and you should be able to see it as an available network printer. Do not set it as your default printer. That said, yes, you are more than welcome to use it. I ask that you use best practices and use it judiciously.

Never, ever, ever print a PowerPoint presentation. Ever. EVER. PowerPoint is a screen-based technology, and is not intended for print. If you have excellent resources in PowerPoint format that you need to create in hardcopy, please take the time to collaborate with me so we can design a print-appropriate formatted resource. Remember: I’m not an IT guy. I’m a teacher. I am ready, willing, and able to collaborate with you to help format robust instructional resources, including those in color.

Setting Your Default Printer

  1. Click on the round Start button in the lower left hand corner
  2. Click Devices and Printers
  3. Find the printer you want to print to by default, and right click it
  4. Click Set as default printer

Wanna be progressive, digital, and resource-conscious? Select CutePDF Writer as your default printer, and create digital documents by default instead of hard copies! Digital data is easier to archive, faster to send, and far less costly than paper. One school in Northern Virginia recently saved over a hundred thousand dollars in a year by instructionally and consciously reducing their reliance on paper!

Malfunctioning SmartBoards

If your SmartBoard is not behaving properly, try the procedure below. If that doesn’t work, please send me an email including the location, the duration of the problem, and any troubleshooting you’ve already done.

  1. With your computer turned on and logged in, find the USB connection that plugs into the back of the computer, coming from the SmartBoard. The USB plug looks like the picture above.
  2. Unplug that connection. If your speakers are on, you will probably hear two tones (a descending Major Fifth, E to A on most PC speakers) signifying that a piece of hardware has been disconnected. (Your Smartboard will stop working when you do this. This is expected.)
  3. Shut your computer down entirely. Wait a moment, then restart it. Log back in. Why? We are ensuring a “clean slate” as far as connected devices are concerned. (I feel compelled to explain when I do tell people to reboot…)
  4. Insert the USB plug back into your computer. You will hear two tones (an ascending Major Fifth, A to E on most PC speakers) signifying that a piece of hardware has been reconnected. You may also see information in the lower right hand area of your screen.
  5. Important: Make sure all four pens and your eraser are in place in the tray.

Why did we do this? To reestablish a proper USB connection between your computer and the SmartBoard. The SmartBoard is nothing but a glorified mouse, and if that mouse misbehaves, we reconnect it. All pens and the eraser must be in place for this particular kind of mouse to work correctly. When the tray detects that, for example, the red pen has been removed, it tells the computer “all touches on this big mousepad should draw in red.” If the tray is confused, or can’t decide if you’re holding a pen or not, you may notice odd behavior, like seemingly-random switches between being a pointer (and dragging your clicked pointer would draw a selection box) and being a pen (like when you’re trying to write).

Computer Supply

Long story short: We’re short on computers. It’s a complicated list of reasons why, but I’ve gotten several requests from teachers who ask for “my teacher laptop,” or “a laptop I can carry from room to room,” or “a couple additional student laptops.”

We don’t have any.

That said, I’m working on it, but it’s not a this month or in many cases a this year solution. We are not a 1:1 school, unlike Washington-Lee. This is because Yorktown hasn’t been refreshed on the same cycle, and Washington-Lee opted to do this on the previous cycle. We’ll get there, but it’s the normal part of computer hardware supply cycles that some schools aren’t aligned with other schools. Thanks for your patience and understand.

Printer Updates

The printers in room A162 and 327 had been malfunctioning and may not have appeared as available to users on the network. This should be corrected at this time.

Computer Lab Confirmation Emails

The emails that you get in your email account, sent from Google Apps after making a reservation, can be deleted. You do not have to accept the appointment in Outlook to retain your Google Apps confirmation. It’s just for your convenience if you want to use it.

H: and S: Drive Interruptions

This morning, there appears to have been an interruption to connections to the H: and S: drives. It also appears to be resolved at this time. If you are unable to access your H: or S: drives, please contact the help desk at 2847, as this is a user-specific issue, and control over user accounts is now centralized.

The Mystery of the Student Computer and the Missing Password

When a student computer prompts you for a password, the only solution is to restart the computer. It’s a bug caused by some of the new scripts not getting picked up by that particular computer. There is no password, which is why the only solution is to reboot. Sorry! Scripts are being pushed out in the background that will terminate this behavior.

That’s All Folks!

Thanks for your continued support!