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2020-2021 Technology Enhancements

With the start of the 2020-2021 school year "virtually" here, we wanted to inform you of some of the enhancements we've made over the last few weeks and months: 

  • Bandwidth Upgrade
    We have increased our district internet capacity five-fold from 2GB to 10GB, allowing us to better support our remote learning needs.  

  • Live Streaming/Recording
    All High School and Middle School classrooms have been outfitted with a HoverCam, a compact document camera/webcam that can be used for live streaming.  While not all elementary school classrooms may begin the year with a Hovercam, we plan to provide one as soon as possible. At a minimum, all elementary classrooms will have access to either a high quality webcam or other webcam-enabled device.
    HoverCam for Chrome

  • New/Expanded Digital Tools
    We've subscribed to the following tools districtwide — many of which you may already be familiar with:

    • Screencastify
      Screencastify is a Google Chrome extension that is a screen recorder that seamlessly syncs recorded videos into Google Drive. Any account with a hackensackschools.org or hackensackstudents.org email address will automatically be upgraded to the paid version.

    • EdPuzzle
      Make any video your lesson. Choose a video (or upload your own screencast), give it your magic touch and track your students' comprehension.
      Link to upgrade your account: Please check email sent 8/27 with subject line "Technology Updates and Enhancements"

    • GimKit  
      Gimkit is a Kahoot/Quizlet mashup that can be used in any classroom to introduce or review concepts. The live gameplay is fast-paced and engaging like a game show with players earning "money" for every right answer, which they can use to purchase upgrades. Gimkit can also be assigned for independent practice. 
      Invitation link: Please check email sent 8/27 with subject line "Technology Updates and Enhancements"

    • SeeSaw (PreK-4)
      A digital portfolio platform where students can upload photos, journal entries, assignments, and much more. Parents can also have access to the stream of classroom activities. Login will occur through Clever.

    • Newsela (Full Platform)
      In the past we subscribed to Newsela Pro (now called Newsela Essentials). We have upgraded our subscription to the entire platform which includes content for ELA, Social Studies, Science and SEL.

    • BrainPop (K-12) 
      We now have the entire BrainPop suite for all schools. This includes  BrainPop, BrainPop Jr., BrainPop Español, BrainPop Français and BrainPop ELL (5-12). 

    • Linewize Classwize
      Classroom Relay, which was part of our previous content filter, has been replaced by Classwize, which is part of our new content filter, and provides much of the same functionality for viewing and managing student Chromebooks.  Click here to learn how to access and setup Classwize. 

    • IXL (Math/ELA K-5)
      Access to IXL has been expanded district-wide to all elementary schools. We are currently rostering students and students will be able to login using Clever. More information will be forthcoming.

    • WorldBook Online
      A comprehensive suite of e-learning resources designed for all ages and abilities with articles, videos, educator tools, eBooks, research guides and more.

    • Zoom
      We purchased licensing for all staff to use Zoom. The normal 100-person meeting limit has been increased to 300 attendees.

      All of the above mentioned tools will be added under quicklinks shortly, if they are not already there.  Visit our Distance Learning Platform Tutorials page for more information on many of the tools.

  • Google Classroom Sync (via Little SIS)
    Some of you may have received an email from Little SIS with updates to your Google Classroom.  Little SIS is a new tool we are in the process of deploying that syncs our student rosters and guardian emails in Genesis with Google Classroom on a nightly basis. Students will not need to join classes as they will automatically be added.

  • Bringing your own laptop (BYOD)
    We will be providing access to any staff member that would like to use their own device on our network. The network SSIS, or name, is HPS BYOD. Authentication will occur using either Google or your network username/password. More information will be forthcoming. Please note that for security reasons access to internal network resources (i.e., printing and H drive) will be limited while using the BYOD network. We will also not be able to provide support for or load any District-owned software on to a personal device.  

We hope you find these new tools and enhancements helpful. We look forward to seeing and supporting all of you soon!   
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