Author Archives: TechnoLaurie

TechnoLaurie

About TechnoLaurie

Laurie Gerard, Research and Development - Laurie Gerard is responsible for the research and development center at John Knox Christian School (JKCS). Many years ago, TechnoKids Inc. formed a partnership with the school community to have teachers test our instructional materials. This relationship ensures that the projects are developmentally appropriate, meaningful to students, integrate into the curriculum, and have clear instructions. Laurie works with the staff and students at JKCS to help them operate their technology program. Her duties include curriculum support, computer lab maintenance, and upkeep of the network and server. As a key member of the Information Technology Committee at the school she provides advice regarding the technology program. Her devotion to the school community and their technology program makes her an invaluable member to our team. Laurie's contribution to the blog includes entries about the challenges of integrating technology in a school environment. The technical issues she overcomes related to hardware, software, and networking will be passed on to you in the form of practical strategies. In addition, she writes about the real-world problems faced by a school as they struggle to offer a quality technology program with a limited budget.

Batch Conversion to Change the File Type of Photos

Do you need to resize a batch of photos? Do you want to quickly convert multiple pictures to a new file type? You can!

You can resize a batch of photos using Photo Gallery if you have Windows 7 or Windows 8. However, at this time you can only convert the file type to JPG. Which is annoying! I posted to the Microsoft forum and received a response to use IrfanView.

Great advice! IrfanView is easy to use and can do everything I want. Follow the instructions below to batch convert your picture files. To learn more about this program view IrfanView Frequently Asked Questions.

How to Batch Convert Photos using IrfanView

  1. Download and install IrfanView.
  2. Copy the photos you want to convert into a folder.
  3. From the program window click File and select Batch Conversion/Rename.
  4. Select the files you want to convert:
    1. From the Look in: section, click the arrow and locate the folder with the photos.
    2. Double click the folder to view all the files.
    3. Click Add all to select all the files OR select a photo and click Add.
      select photos to batch convert

      Locate the folder with the photos you want to convert.

  5. In the Batch conversion settings area, choose the Output format from the drop down menu. In this case I wanted to convert my JPG files to BMP.
  6. select file type

    Which file type do you want to convert the photos?
    Set the Output format.

  7. If you also want to reduce the file size:
    1. In the Batch conversion settings area, tick the Use advanced options checkbox and then click Advanced.
    2. In the RESIZE section, set the options.
    3. Click OK.
    4. resize a batch of photos

      Select the options for editing the batch of photos such as crop, size, color, rotation, and more!

  8. In the Output directory for result files section, click Browse to choose a location for the converted photos.
    Click OK.
  9. select a folder

    Browse to select a folder to place your newly converted images. NOTE: It is a good idea to have already created the folder you want to use.


    Note: I made this the same folder as my original photos. Since I was changing the format my originals would stay intact. If I was going to just make changes to the originals (leaving them as JPG) I would likely create a subfolder to put them in. After all I would not want to lose my originals

  10. Click Start Batch
  11. When done, click Exit batch.
    batch conversion of photos

  12. Close the program and go to the folder where you converted the photos. That’s it – your done!

You will have to check with your system administrator if you do not have permission to download and install programs on your own. But for a freebie I thought this software worked quite well. It was simple and easy to use and accomplished the task I needed.

Now, I have an excellent option to use while I wait for Microsoft to add batch conversion (to something other than JPG) to Photo Gallery on its next update.

If you want to know more about converting photos refer to my blog article Resizing Images Without Losing Quality.

Setting Group Policies to Work with SkyDrive

Are your students unable to print or download files from SkyDrive at your school? Ask your system administrator to adjust your group policy settings by adding several URLs as a trusted source.

Please note, these instructions are written for Server 2003 (Yes, I know that’s OLD). If you have a newer server the instructions might be somewhat different, however the URLs will be the same.

NOTE: THIS SHOULD BE DONE BY YOUR SYSTEM ADMINISTRATOR.

You can open your Active Directory Users and Computers’ control panel by navigating to it on your Start menu by going to Program Files > Administrative Tools > Active Directory Users and Computers.

That will open a console that looks something like this:

active-directory

If you want the policy to apply to your entire domain, right click at the top of the console. The domain is specified by an icon of three computers. If you want to apply the policy to another group or organizational unit right click on that instead.

Choose Properties from the context menu and then you will see the screen below:

properties

Click on the Group Policy tab and then click the Open button. This is called the Group Policy Management tool. The organizational unit you previously selected will already be highlighted.

Right click on it and choose Create and Link a GPO Here

group management policy

That will take you to the place where you can name the policy. Name it something that will make it easily identifiable. Then click OK.

trusted sites

You have just created your policy. Now you need to define the settings that you want to trickle down to your clients. Locate your policy in the right pane and right click on it. Choose Edit to get started.

edit

Now you need to drill down to the settings that you want to set. In the left pane, click the + sign to expand each group as follows: Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Internet Explorer > Internet Control Panel > Security Page and then double click Site to Zone Assignment List in the right pane as you can see below.

zone assignment

After you double click on Site to Zone Assignment List you will see a window to enable the settings and configure it. Click enabled. Then click Show. On the Show Contents screen, click Add. By clicking add, you add URLs and specify what zone you want them to be placed in. You can also add wildcards to factor in variations of the URL.

Add the following URLs (one at a time) to allow your students to be able to view their SkyDrive documents as a PDF file, print the PDF, and download the Word file to their computer.

https://*.livefilestore.com/storageservice/passport/auth.aspx/* (this address uses wildcards * to include multiple portions of the url) (NOTE: This URL allows a file to be downloaded)

https://d.docs.live.net (NOTE: This URL allows a file to be downloaded)

https://word-view.officeapps.live.com/wv/WordViewer/request.pdf (NOTE: This URL permits printing)

add item

The number 2 denotes the number of the zone. In this case it is the trusted zone. Microsoft breaks down the settings as follows:

  1. Intranet zone – sites on your local network.
  2. Trusted Sites zone – sites that have been added to your trusted sites.
  3. Internet zone – sites that are on the Internet.
  4. Restricted Sites zone – sites that have been specifically added to your restricted sites.

After clicking OK you can wait for the 15 minute default refresh of Group Policy or you can run gpupdate.exe from the Run command on any workstation to see if it worked. Optionally you can also restart the workstations to force the update.

Your students will receive a series of prompts when they log into Skydrive and open a file. They must click Yes to be able to print and download.

OneDrive in the Classroom

OneDrive – Easily share or upload your files to this free online storage

OneDrive in Education

Share files with your students using OneDrive.

What is OneDrive?

Windows Live OneDrive is part of Microsoft’s Windows Live range of online services. OneDrive is a file storage and sharing service that allows users to upload files to the computing cloud, then access them from a web browser. With a Microsoft account you get 7 GB of storage space for FREE! (Extra storage available for purchase).

With OneDrive you get the following:

Installing an optional desktop app lets you synchronize that storage with the hard drive on your PC where you can manage files using Windows Explorer. Optionally, you can open your OneDrive account with web access and upload the desired file(s). This may be the best option for use with students on a managed network.

Backup, Sync, and Remote Access

The most common use for OneDrive is personal file backup. Keeping your important files in a folder that is continually synchronized with an online storage service gives you a backup security blanket. If your local drive crashes, you can recover those files quickly and easily.

Another benefit is that OneDrive allows you to access files easily from multiple devices. If you have a desktop PC and a notebook, for example, you can start working on a file in your office; any changes you make are synchronized to the online copy. Then head home, grab your notebook and pick up where you left off—as long as you have access to an Internet connection. Since OneDrive allows access from mobile devices, you can even accomplish the same task with a tablet or a mobile phone.

Document Creation and Editing

OneDrive offers the ability to create and edit a variety of document types (Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and OneNote) directly in a web browser using Web Apps. Online viewing and editing means you don’t need to worry about whether you’ll have the right app installed—if you can open your online file storage location in a browser, you can get your work done.

This feature lets you easily share a file with another person (or a group of people). So if you’re passing around a presentation or a spreadsheet, each member of the team can make changes and add comments.

File Sharing

The ability to set up sharing for specific folders and control access to those folders on a per-user basis makes it easy to share files online with co-workers and your students and/or their parents.

Are you planning an event in your classroom? Maybe it is almost graduation time and you need to confer with a few other teachers in your school. Using OneDrive, you can create a Word document, PowerPoint presentation or even an Excel spreadsheet and share it amongst others. Giving them the option to edit the file will allow them to add comments or even add to the document. You don’t need to worry that all people in the group have the same version of PowerPoint or Word, by using the Web Apps, it is all the same. Even if the browser is different the apps are the same.

At the end of the school year our Grade 7 students put together a presentation for the graduating Grade 8 class following the step-by-step instructions in TechnoTribute. Sometimes the number of Grade 7 students is less than the number of Grade 8’s and students need to collaborate to make sure there is a presentation for every grad. By creating a presentation and sharing it in OneDrive, the document can easily be edited by more than one user. Each student can add their slide and save the changes. The presentation can then be opened in the desktop application once back at school where it can be finished by putting on the final touches.

This is a great way for students to work together when they can’t physically be in the same place. With hockey practice and piano lessons all taking place after school and on weekends, sometimes it is difficult to get groups together to work on a project. This would alleviate that and allow students to do their part when it is convenient.

This is also a great way to provide homework sheets to students that may be absent for extended periods. As long as they have an email address and access to the internet they can view the files and keep up to date.

Photo Uploads and Galleries

Sharing photos in OneDrive is as simple as creating a folder and adding the content. Sharing them out is also quick and easy. Just select the folder that contains the pictures and click Share; add the emails of the desired recipients and you’re good to go.

This would be a great way to share the latest photos of the class field trip or recent school event with parents. (Be sure you have permission from parents to share photos of their children within the school community).

TEACHERS! It Is Time to Junk Out Your Files on the Server!

Organize Files


Follow these tips to stay organized!

We do a daily backup of information for staff and students using an offsite backup utility. It was generously donated to us with a 250GB storage limit.
However, I just received a backup error to say that we are over our limit!

I started to look through the directory to locate the source of the problem. Volume for teacher folders is rather large.

They are jam packed full of stuff!

I notice there are the essential files such as templates, lesson plans, worksheets, and assessment tools. Those cannot be deleted. However, there is a large portion of outdated files that can likely be removed from the server. On closer examination, I discover the biggest contributor to the storage capacity issue is PHOTOS! Since most photos are taken in a hi-resolution format they eat up space quite quickly.

Teachers are BUSY people. They barely have enough time to create a file, never mind take the time to delete outdated ones. It is a good idea to clean out your folder at the end of the school year. However, IF you ignored this request last year, it is a good time to do it now!

I know you don’t want to part with anything, because “you might need it”. However, there are definitely some files you can delete.

For example, do you really need the Pizza Day announcement from five years ago? The event is over.

What about the photos from the school trip in 2002? Those children have graduated and left the school.

Here are some suggestions to get and STAY organized:

Sort Files by Date: Open your folder and sort the files by date. Just because the files are OLD does not mean they are unnecessary. Take the time to open up your old files. If they are not necessary then delete them. If you want to keep them, organize them into folders so that you can find them easily in the future.

Transform Documents into Reusable Templates: There are likely parent letters, newsletters, or other publications you created that are reusable. Create a Template folder. Place the “master” files into the template folder and apply a read-only property. Now you can use the file over and over again.

Organize your Files into Folders by School Year: I understand that you want to keep files for the school year in case you need to refer to them at a later time. For example, school calendars or school trip forms might be something you want to store for the year. To stay organized, create a folder that includes the school year as the first label in the name, such as 2012 2013 School Calendar or 2012 2013 School Trip Forms. Store suitable files for the school year in those folders. At the end of the school year, you can quickly sort the folders by name and then delete all of the unwanted folders for that school year or move them to an external storage device.

Zip Old Photos: Today, digital cameras take photos at such a high resolution that the file size for just one image can be quite large. Combine that with all the photos taken over the course of a school year with the photos saved from previous years and your folder can easily reach capacity. If you are storing photos from a few years ago, but you have no immediate use for them, you can compress them. To do this, place the photos into a clearly labeled folder. Right click the mouse and select Send to and then Compressed (zipped) folder. A new zippered folder will appear with all your pictures. You can now delete the original folder.

Use an Image Resizer to Reduce File Size: An Image Resizer is software that will compress your images to make them a smaller file size. The Windows PowerToy and Image Resizer for Windows offer the unique advantage of small file size paired with scalability. Photos can be scaled to fill an entire Microsoft Word page or PowerPoint slide without losing their sharpness. Instructions for how to use these tools to resize batches of photos is explained in the blog, Resizing Images Without Losing Quality.

Archive your Photos to DVD: You are proud of the work you and your students have created. Deleting it can be difficult. A good idea is to archive the files instead. You can transfer the materials such as the school year book from four years ago to a DVD and clearly label the content. Place it in a safe place. Now you can access the files in the future if necessary.

Delete Photos as you Go: Preview the photos while they are still on the camera. Delete immediately any photos that are blurry or have a person’s head cut off. You aren’t going to use them, so get rid of them right away.

Be Selective of the Photos you Keep: Digital cameras let us take many picture of the same subject matter, so that we can be sure we have the “perfect” shot. This means often there are six photos of the same girl smiling. It is a good idea, that once those photos are transferred from the camera onto the computer to identify the perfect photo and immediately delete all the photos you did not like. Then take a few minutes to resize the photos you want to keep. This will keep the storage problem to a minimum and save you time in the future!