Friday, September 23, 2016

Personal Data Security

Whether you use a Yahoo account or not, the news that Yahoo was breached by hackers nearly two years ago and that 500 million accounts are at risk is a reminder that we all need to pay closer attention to our personal security.

My concern here is all of our personal accounts, not school accounts.  We all have an increasing amount of personal data tied into multiple accounts that we use and become more reliant upon each day.

Because of where we live, we don't have to worry that much about physical security.  But if you lived in a rough neighborhood where break-ins and assaults were common, we would all raise our level of concern.  We'd make sure we had really good locks on our doors, we'd never leave our cars unlocked, and we might even hook one of those cool chains to our wallets.

The point is, the internet is a rough neighborhood and we really don't have a choice about living there.  Is it is worth the "cost" (of time and convenience, not money) to put better locks on your house?

At a minimum, we should all do these things...



  • Do not use the same password or even slight variations for multiple services.  That is a hacker's dream!  If I get one of your sites, I have them all!  Especially do not use the same passwords at work that you use for personal stuff.

Of course, the problem is that it's very inconvenient to use different passwords for all the accounts we have.  The only realistic solution is to use a password manager.  You don't need to be a tech-geek to use one, but you do need to invest a little bit of time in setting up a password manager and seeing how it works for you.  The two main advantages of a password manager are that your passwords will be much more secure and that you will not have to remember them.

  • Change your passwords fairly regularly (every few months or once a year), especially if you have the slightest suspicion that something "funny" is going on with one or more of your accounts.  This is where your time investment in a password manager pays off, it makes this process much easier and more practical.

  • Enable multi-factor authentication for any account that has access to sensitive information.  This simple strategy will foil anyone who gets your password!  It's pretty easy to use, and it's like adding a second, blast-proof door to your home.  



Let Patty or me know if you'd like more information or to visit with us about personal data security.  We'd be happy to provide demonstrations, recommendations, or workshops to help everyone increase their personal safety and data security.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Start of year with CHS student devices

One of the changes for all of us heading into the 16-17 school year is the student device program for CHS.  Most students will still have iPads, but about 25% chose the BYOD option.  Some of those students will likely bring iPads, but some will also bring laptops or possibly even chromebooks.

We'd like to avoid technology disruptions in your classroom as much as possible.  Teachers, please do not feel that you need to solve technical issues for your students.  In general, Patty and I will be available to provide student help as quickly as possible, especially in the first few weeks, but keep in mind that we may not be able to get everyone right away.  Please keep this in mind as you plan your lessons for the first few days.

Some students have not picked up their new devices and may be using an old device, or they may not have a device right away.  For the first week or so, we will NOT get students their new device before school or during class time!  We will be available after school to work with the students in completing their paperwork and picking up the device they leased from us.

Basic information you can provide to students:

WiFi:  CCS Mobile, the password is always Cozad789.  To avoid confusion, I've disabled the guest network.  Any networks "seen" other than CCS Mobile are NOT school networks.  Connecting to other networks (usually residential networks from neighbors, but could also be hotspots from student phones) may give students internet access, but they should NOT be connecting to any WiFi network other than CCS Mobile.

Keep in mind that some student-owned devices may have cellular network access just as phones do, and that most phones today can be used as mobile hotspots.  Be aware that ONLY the school network is filtered.  We recommend that your classroom rules explicitly prohibit the use of networks other than CCS Mobile.

Where to get help.  In general, Patty will work with iPad issues, and I'll handle everything else, but this is not a hard and fast rule.  For the first few days, we will both be available before school in Patty's office area.  Feel free to let students know where both of our offices are.


  • You are welcome to send students to us for help during your class time if that is what you prefer, but this is not required.  Students can see us before and after school if you do not want them to leave your classroom or miss time with you.
  • You are welcome to help students with devices, but this is not something you are required to do!  Again, our goal is to minimize disruptions for you.  If students have problems, send them our way or inform them that they should see us before or after school.  If a student's device is not functioning, you may have to pair them with another student or provide an alternate means of participation.  
  • Students may provide the most effective help to each other.  Don't be afraid to ask other students to help out.
  • If it fits within your classroom rules and with your permission, students may use their phone.
  • These issues should diminish as we get into the year, but it is likely there will be problems at first.
  • If you prefer, feel free to submit a helpdesk on behalf of the student, or you can email us.  We get notified right away when a ticket is submitted.  The link for submitting a helpdesk is located on our school webpage under Staff-Requests.  Students are welcome to submit tickets as well.
Thank you for help and patience as we make the adjustments in the device program this year!

Dave and Patty


Thursday, August 11, 2016

CHS Library Computers for 2016-17

Computers for student and class use will be available through the CHS library.  These will include 14 laptops with all of the latest adobe software and Office2016 installed.  These are the larger format laptops from DakTech.

There will also be at least 10 Lenovo Laptops.  These are not the small x120e model, but the larger T410 computers which many staff still use.  These computers will have Acrobat and Office2016 installed, but do not include the full Adobe suite.  

Teachers should confer with each other and plan with Ms. Osborn for use of these computers.  They may be removed from the lab during class, with permission.  Please make sure than when they are returned, they are reconnected to the charger.  There will be spare chargers available for the Lenovo computers, as some of those batteries do not last long.  There are no spare chargers for the DakTech computers.

For login purposes, students may use their own account, or they may choose to log in with one of the generic student accounts (grade9, grade10, grade11, or grade12).  The generic account password is Cozad123.

One advantage to students in using their own account is that they have server space to save their files (Z: drive).  This is true with the generic accounts as well, but the Z: drive is accessible to anyone else who uses that account.  If your students need to save files locally, they should log in with their own accounts and use the Z: drive.

Students may log into Chrome, but be sure to remind them to log out when they are done, particularly if they are using a generic account!  

Also keep in mind that while google drive sync is installed on teacher computers, students do not have this, so if they want to save files to their google drive, they will need to manually upload them.

Please contact Ms. Osborn for more information on the use of these computers.


Sunday, May 15, 2016

CHS student iPad Check-in

CHS student iPad check-in for students who will not be keeping their iPads for the summer will be in the hallway by Mr. Vincent's room, during homeroom on Wednesday afternoon!


Juniors will be called first, followed by sophomores, and then freshmen.  Students who chose a lease option and who have completed their paperwork and turned in their protection fee money will NOT go through iPad check in.

Before you can officially check out of school, you need to turn in your iPad and equipment, and take care of any technology fees that are due.  To make sure your check-out process goes smoothly, please review the following information:

Ms. Wolfe and Mr. Evertson will be checking in iPads Wednesday during home room in the hallway by Mr. Vincent's room.  We will NOT sign for check-in unless ALL of the following conditions are met:

  1. Be sure you have a current backup BEFORE Wednesday.
  2. Turn off "Find my iPad" (Settings-iCloud)
  3. Reset the iPad by choosing to erase all content and settings (Settings-General-Reset-Erase all Content and Settings).
  4. You must turn in a charger (or pay $15) and cable (or pay $10).
  5. You must turn in your school-issued case, if you have one.  
  6. Your iPad must be in good repair.  You must pay $85 if your iPad is need of repair, unless you have NOT had a repair yet this school year.  If you have not used your free repair for 2015-16, we will take your damaged iPad and there will be no fee.

When we have your iPad, charger & cable, and you have paid any fees due, we will sign your check-out slip.

If we run out of time during home room on Wednesday, the check-in process will continue after the state track send-off on Thursday morning.  Students will be called by name to the hallway to complete their technology check-in.


Please let us know if you have any questions.

Thanks, and have a great summer!

Monday, May 9, 2016

Tech End of Year Procedures

As you close out the year and clean out your rooms, please refer to the following regarding technology items.


  • All Staff with assigned computers and/or iPads.
    • Computers, iPads and peripherals
      • If you will not be returning to the district next year, please return your computer, chargers, adapters, any peripherals, and your iPad to Patty at the HS office. There are several things you need to do with your iPad, and Patty needs to make sure these things are done or we may have problems with your iPad in the future.
        • Do a backup of your ipad (settings--icloud--backup--backup now)
        • Remove any passcode lock on the device (settings--passcode--turn off)
        • SHUT OFF FIND MY IPAD (IMPORTANT!!!!)--(Settings--icloud--Find my ipad--turn off)
        • Erase device (Settings--General--Reset--Erase All Content and data)
        • Turn in iPad, Charger, Case & Keyboard (if applicable)
        • Your computer does not need to be "cleaned up" because it will be wiped out and configured from scratch.
      • For returning staff, please store your computer, accessories, and iPad securely or take them home with you. For computers, keep in mind that there are always new updates being released, and if it is not on and connected over the summer, it will be very slow until updates are completed when your return in the fall.
      • Except for libraries, labs and your teacher computer, please turn any extra computers into the library or office of your building. If you have need for extra computers next year, please let me know by sending an email request and I will do my best to accommodate you, but ALL computers need updates so please turn them all in.
      • Be sure to secure adapters and remotes for overheads and other AV equipment, etc.


    • Student iPads (Elementary)
      • Place chargers and cables from your home room in the appropriate boxes in your room.
      • EL student iPads - Please make sure you have your students do the following:
        • Power down the ipad (make sure it is off, not just asleep)
        • Make sure the iPad is labeled with the student's name.
        • Place class iPads in box or grade-level cart. These iPads will be returned to the student next school year.

  • Classified staff with no computer or iPad
    • If you will NOT be returning...
      • Your email (Google) account will be suspended after your last day. Please make sure that you have forwarded any important messages to a private account.
    • If you are returning, please make note of your account and password so you can use it next year.  There will be occasional important announcements set out via email, so it is best if you can check periodically over the summer.

  • All staff: Accounts and e storage
    • eBackpack files you wish to save need to be moved to My Files, ePortfolio, or downloaded and placed in google drive.
    • Schoology accounts will NOT be deleted, nor will resources be removed. We have not yet determined the status of Schoology for next year, but we will update teachers as more information is available.
    • Google drive - Any files (such as those stored on the desktop) not in google drive should be moved or copied to your google drive folder. This is the only place which provides backup protection for your files.

    • Departing staff
      • Your Google Apps account will be suspended after your final day. If you need more time, please contact Dave in his office or at dave.evertson@cozadschools.net to make those arrangements.  
      • If you have files you need to take with you, use Google Takeout to archive old data.  Google search for “How to archive my google apps data” for instructions, or follow this video.  You might also find this blog post helpful.
      • Create a folder in your google drive for replacement staff if you would like to leave files for them.  Ownership of ALL remaining files in your account will be transferred to them when your account is disabled.  You will want to delete all files (after archiving with Google Takeout) that you do not wish to transfer.  DO NOT DELETE THESE FILES FROM YOUR COMPUTER!!! You should only delete Google drive files through the browser. If you have questions about this, please contact Dave or Patty before you begin deleting.
      • Make sure you change your email on your Apple ID if it is set to your current school account.



If you have any questions, please contact Patty or Dave.  

Have a great summer!

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Data Procedures for Departing Staff

If you are leaving our district, you may have files that you want to take with you, you may have files that you want to leave for your replacement, and you may have files that you don't need but you don't want anyone to ever see them.  Most staff store their files in Google drive, but if you don't do this, or you never store any files, you don't have to worry about the rest of this post.

Rule #1 - NEVER DELETE FILES IN THE DRIVE SYNC FOLDERS ON YOUR COMPUTER!!!




There is a glitch in Google drive sync that will allow users to delete folders, even if they are created or shared with others.  So, never clean out your drive files and folders from the computer file dialog, always use the browser.


If your school computer is going to someone else and you are concerned about them seeing your files, rest assured that the hard disk will be wiped clean and everything reinstalled, so there will be no trace of your files left.  There is no need to actually clean up the computer itself.

Get your files ready

Most people who are leaving have three types of files:  
  1. The ones you want to take with you
  2. The ones you want to give to your replacement
  3. The ones you want deleted forever
Start by creating top-level (directly under My Drive in the browser window) folders for each of these types.  You might call these folders "keep", "school", and "delete".  Then move your files and/or sub-folders into the appropriate folders.

Once your files are sorted, you can go ahead and move your "delete" folder to the trash at any time.  In the browser view of Drive, just drag the folder to the "trash" folder, or you can right-click and choose "Remove".  Just remember, they will stay in the trash unless you empty it.  So, if you are SURE you will never need these files again, click on the Trash folder, and then at the top left, click to empty:



For files you want to take with you, you will need to use a tool called Google Take Out.  Because file ownership cannot be transferred outside of our domain, you have to use this tool to collect your files, download the collection, and then you can reinstall them to another account.  Here is a video that shows how this works.  Note that you can select data from other apps besides Google Drive, and that you can select individual folders in Drive (like the "keep" folder you made) if you like.

Finally, the files that you want to pass on can be left where they are at, in your "school" folder.  When your replacement gets an account in our domain, we will transfer those files to them and they will show up in their Google Drive.

So what happens when you leave?

When you officially leave the district, your account will be suspended, and you will lose access to it.  We will be able to unlock the account in the future if necessary, but since you will no longer be an employee, we don't normally grant access unless it is really necessary.  

You may want to also clean up your email and empty your trash from there as well.  All of your current google data associated with your school account is owned by the school, and if you don't remove it, it will be there for... well it could be a long time.  After you leave, we will transfer ownership of your drive files to your replacement.  No one will have access to your email, but the school will still be able to reactivate that account in the future, so cleaning up your email is a good idea.  If you have emails that you want to save, you will need to foward them to a private account BEFORE you leave.

These procedures only affect data which is owned by your school account.  If you also use a private google account, that data will stay with that account, and unless you've specifically shared those files with school employees, no one else will have access to it.

All of your other school accounts will also be suspended when you leave... computer login, powerschool, etc.  Files on your network drive will be deleted, but most people no longer use this.  Your school computer and iPad will be wiped clean, so you don't really need to worry about those devices.

Remember that if you used your school account to set up any personal services (apple ID, dropbox, social media accounts, shopping, etc) you will lose all access to that school account.  You may still be able to log in to those services, but you can't use your account to manage or recover them.  For this reason, you should make sure that you use a private account to manage your private services, and if you haven't, you need to update those service accounts to a new private account.

Let Patty or me know if you have any questions and we'll be happy to help you out.  Thank you for your service, and good luck in the future!

Friday, April 29, 2016

Senior Seminar--Preparing Your Online Presence

As our seniors prepare to leave high school and continue their journeys, we had the opportunity to share some "last minute" tips and reminders to help them on their way. I had the opportunity to visit with all seniors about the importance of their online presence as they leave high school to pursue their passions. We discussed the importance of promoting themselves online and creating a positive online network with others that share their career paths, goals, and passions. We also discussed that now is the perfect time to do some "digital dusting" and clean up their social media. Many students have old accounts to services they haven't used and they should remove those. In today's society, their digital footprint is as important as their resume. In addition to cleaning up their online presence, they should begin thinking about creating digital portfolios and/or an about.me page.  We wish our seniors good luck as they pursue their dreams and hope you find success in the paths you are taking!

I am including my google slides to share with all of you