EdTech @ ISB

Transforming Teaching & Learning

Author: Mr Hamada (page 2 of 3)

Uploading Videos to Microsoft Stream

Microsoft Stream (https://web.microsoftstream.com/) is a new feature of Office 365 that allows us to upload videos and share them with anybody in our organization. This means that in order to view a video shared on Stream, you must have an ISB email and password. This is not a suitable option for videos that are to be viewed by parents or by students in Grade 3 or below.

Some interesting features of Stream include automatic searchable transcript of the audio and the ability to link a form to the video for feedback and interactivity.

First, log in to Stream from any Office 365 tool (like Outlook Online, Word Online, etc.)

Upload your video under the “Create” menu. You can also create a Channel for your course (Grade 6 Humanities; Grade 10 Math; etc.) to group all the videos related to your course.

Once your video is uploaded, you can go to the viewing page. Grab the URL to share in a DX thought, or use the Share button to embed the video into your blog or into a DX Lesson.

Here’s an example of a video embedded from Stream. If you aren’t logged in to 365, it will not show properly. Click on the video and login to see it!




Using Handbrake to Compress Video

To make working with video easier, it often helps to compress the final video before you try to upload it anywhere. This is especially important if your video is large and/or if you are working on a slower internet connection. All ISB computers came with Handbrake installed. It is designed specifically to compress video. If you don’t have it on your computer, you can download it at https://handbrake.fr/ 

Once you’ve checked that you have the newest version of Handbrake (version 1.3.1), select your video as the source file and choose preset VeryFast720p30. This will ensure a high quality output without taking too much timeI encoded a 5 minute video (700MB to start with) in about 2 minutes (26MB when it was done). 

Please note, if you are downloading a video from YouTube or another service, these videos are usually already optimized and will not always benefit from being run through Handbrake. 


Getting Started with Rescue Time

Image result for rescuetime logo



RescueTime is an app that can help users understand how they are using their time on their laptop. It can be used in a lot of different ways, but here at ISB we want to focus on empowering students and teachers to take control of their usage and to strive for intentional, balanced and productive use of technology.

Getting Started

To get started, you need to do three things:

  1. Download and install the app from Self Service (or from the RescueTime website).
  2. Create an account for the free/solo/lite. If you are a student, I suggest you use your school email address.
  3. Once you’ve installed the app, be sure to sign in from the menu bar at the top of your screen.


Now what?

Once RescueTime is installed and running, it will start collecting data on how you use your computer. This includes websites you visit, documents that you are working on,  and other programs that you use (like PowerPoint or Photoshop).

Setting Up Categories

Part of the way that RescueTime works is by categorizing the sites and apps that you use. It has some default categories (like Communication, Social Media, Design, Entertainment) and default values (from Very Productive to Very Distracting) built-in. RescueTime may not recognize some of the sites and platforms that we use at ISB and might consider them as “Uncategorized” and/or might consider them to be “Distracting”.  As a user, you can create and manage different categories as well as change its productivity value.

For example, I have created a sub-category in “Miscellaneous” for the different ISB Platforms like DX and OneDrive and have rated that time as “Very Productive”:

Once your categories are set up (and I would not recommend spending too much time doing this! You can always refine your categories as you go…), you are ready to take a look at some of your reports:

The Dashboard

The Dashboard is where you get started with RescueTime. This will give you a quick overview of your time for the day. You can also quickly jump to some activity reports for more details.


The Productivity Report

The Productivity Report shows your “pulse” based on the different values that have been assigned to different sites and apps:

You can click on each level to see how much time you spent on different sites and apps:


The Applications & Websites Report

You can also view your usage data sorted by app and site. Because we use the free version, there are some limitations to the amount of data that we have access to. A very interesting view in this report is the “All Activities by Hour” view. This helps you see when and how you were using your laptop throughout the day (and night!):


There are a couple of things to keep in mind when using RescueTime.

The first is that users can disable RescueTime tracking at any time! It can be turned off (quit) or paused; it can also be set to NOT start automatically. Because our focus is on awareness, understanding, and empowerment, it does you no good to turn it off! But, if your RescueTime reports aren’t showing as much data as you were expecting, check to make sure that it isn’t being turned off on accident (or on purpose!).

The second issue that you may find is that RescueTime is not collecting individual web page data. First, your Mac must be on Mojave in order to collect this information. All students should be running this OS; most teachers will be. Second, you need to make sure you grant access to allow RescueTime to collect this information. In order to do this, you can follow the instruction here.

Enabling Parent View of Assignment Feedback in DX

DX gives teachers lots of tools and features to help manage assignments: from calendar deadlines, to seeing who  has and hasn’t turned in the work on time (and sending messages to those who haven’t). There are also some great feedback tools that you can use with students: rubrics, annotations to submitted work, as well as written and audio comments.

You can now let parents see this feedback on an assignment by assignment basis!

On a specific assignment, a teacher can enable the ability for parents to see comments and scores, and even to view the submission itself. This can also be done retroactively.

A parent can then navigate to a particular course for their child and click “View Gradebook”:


If the teacher has allowed parents to only view score and comments, the parents will see the rubric and the general comments:


If the teacher has also allowed parents to view the submission, they can get even more information: Comments, annotations, self-assessment and teacher assessment:

There still isn’t a way for teachers to know if a parent has viewed the submission, so you may want to send them an email (easy to pull from PowerSchool) or ask parents to sign some sort of slip to acknowledge that they have seen the feedback.

MS and HS Report Card Grade Entry Options

Because there are some limitations to how PowerTeacher Pro (PTP) allows us to view our assessment data, we have worked to create some different workflows to help you enter levels of achievement for each reporting strand come report card time.

** All of the following is assuming that you have entered your assessment data in PowerTeacher Pro **

Just Use PowerTeacher Pro

If you plan on just using PTP, there are some helpful hints that might make it easier:

  • When looking at the “Standards Grade” view, what is displayed in each column depends on if you are in Middle School or High School In Middle School, the default is to not show anything and teachers can make a summary judgment of how each student has done at each standard. In High School, the default is to show the most recent level of achievement and this can be overridden by the teacher at any time.
  • You can use the Inspector to see what data contributes to each standard level of achievement if you think it should be overridden.
  • If you have levels of achievement for different standards, you can use the filter in order to see all of the standards make up a given strand so that you can make a strand determination for the report card.
  • You can also use the filters to show only the strands (or the SALs) so that you can see what is going on the report for each student.

SBGR Report Entry: Student – by – Student View

We have developed a new Student-by-Student view that pulls together all of the assessment by strand an orders it chronologically to help you determine what level of achievement should appear on the report. You can also write your comment for the student here as you look over all of the student assessment data. Some pointers for this view:

  • You can access this view by selecting it from menu on the left.
  • Assessments are ordered chronologically from left (oldest) to right (newest).
  • Formative assessments show as blue italics.
  • If you hover over the level of achievement, it will indicate which standard was assessed.
  • You can go student-by-student using the sideways arrows, or use the dropdown to choose a specific student.
  • You can use the tabs at the top to see what feedback was given to the student in previous reporting terms.
  • To return to your list of classes, select the view from the menu on the left again.

Class View – Standards Data Report

In order to see all of your class’ assessment data in one view, ordered chronologically and separated by strand, you can generate a static report that we refer to as the heatmap. You can then use this report to make determinations for each student and then go back to PTP or the student-by-student view to input the data and to write your comments. You can access the heatmap reports through the Apps tab in PTP:

Once you configure the report for downloading, you will see your class roster with the assessment data for each strand listed chronologically. You can use this view to help you make determinations for each strand and then use PowerTeacher Pro to enter the data for report cards.

What’s Best for You?

As mentioned previously, all of these tools rely on teachers collecting and recording assessment data in PTP. Unfortunately, none of these individual tools will be perfect for everybody on their own so you may come up with a way to combine the functionality of each one to suit your needs. For example:

  • Continue to use PowerTeacher Pro to enter your grades and comments. Nothing changes from how you’ve done things in the past.
  • Use the Standard Data Report to help you determine your Strand levels of achievement. Enter your grades and comments using PowerTeacher Pro.
  • Use the SBGR Report Entry tool to view your assessment data and enter your Strand levels of achievement and to write your comment.
  • Use the SBGR Report Entry tool to view your assessment data and enter your Strand levels of achievement. Return back to PowerTeacher Pro to write your comments (so you can use the comment bank).


Embedding Slideshows from Office 365 into DX

Teachers use a lot of Powerpoints. And most of those Powerpoints, for us here at ISB, are stored in Office 365/Sharepoint Online. So how can you give access to those Powerpoints to your students in DX without making them download the file? How do you help the students find the resources that they need easily? The answer: Embed them into your unit pages!

  1. Make sure your powerpoint is stored in a folder that has “granted access” to view for everyone except external users. (Note: you could just make this file available to your specific students, but then you need to make sure you do this for every file that you want to embed. By changing this permission at the folder level, anything you add to that folder will be able to embedded easily.)
  2. Open up the PPT and copy the embed code (use ⌘+ C).

  3. In DX, on the materials page add a “link/embed” block and paste (⌘+V) it in. Resize and reposition it as you need.
  4. When the student views the page, it may say that they need to sign in to Office 365. They just need to click the “Sign In” button since we use Office 365 to log in to DX anyway… it will then show.
BTW, this works with other Office Online docs like Word and Excel too…

Becoming Media Mentors & Media Mentor Month

Thank you to all of the parents who participated in this morning’s session “Becoming Media Mentors for Our Children”. I really do appreciate your time and the thoughts that you shared with the other parents in the room. For those who weren’t able to attend, I’m embedding the slides that we used as well as a few resources that we discussed. At the bottom of this post, I explain Media Mentor Month and link to the calendar of activities (in English, Mandarin, and Korean).

What are Media Mentors?

We spent a good amount of time discussing the work of Alexandra Samuel and her research into 10,000 families in North America. In her work, she categorized the families that she spoke with into three distinct camps: technology limiters, technology enablers, and technology mentors. While we all exhibit behaviors from all three camps at different times during our lives (or even during the day!), it is important to note that it is one’s general mindset that is key.  In her research, Samuel discovered that Mentor-inspired parents are more likely to have conversations about the responsible use of technology, and children of Limiter-inspired parents are more likely to engage in  online misbehavior.

You can watch her briefly explain her work here:

What is Media Mentor Month?

Parents may sometimes feel like they don’t know where to start when talking about media, technology and screen time with their children. Media Mentor Month is a series of activities and conversation starters that parents can use to initiate these important discussions with their children. As we discussed in the session, being a mentor is not the same as being the expert nor does it require you to have all of the answers. Becoming a Media Mentor for your child is more about parents understanding what their children are doing online and with technology, understanding why it is important to them, and helping them to learn to make decisions that align with your values as a family.

It would be great if parents can have all 30 of these discussions with their children, but in reality we know that will be hard for most families. So instead of trying to do everything, pick and choose the ones that are right for you!

Media Mentor Month – English Version
Click for printable PDF version

Media Mentor Month – Mandarin Version
Click for printable PDF version

Media Mentor Month – Korean Version
Click for printable PDF version

True screen wisdom is about relationships. It’s the kinds of connections we can have with one another. It’s about trust. And balance.

Devorah Heitner 



Parent Access to DX

Currently, parents can access Dragons’ Exchange (DX) to see the deadlines that have been set for their children and to see how

In order to access Dragons’ Exchange, use the quick link at the top of the ISB web page/Dragons’ Gate or go to http://dx.isb.bj.edu.cn.

Click the login button:

When logging in, use the same email address that you use for Dragons’ Gate: first.last@isb.bj.edu.cn:

and use the same password:

Once logged in, you will see your children in MS or HS listed:


From here, you can either click their name to see a list of their active classrooms, or click the “to-do” link to see their full calendar.

Current Active Classes for this Student


Monthly Calendar of Deadlines

As a parent, you can also select the calendar function in  to see overdue and upcoming assignments and tasks for each student in DX:

Please note that parents do not have access to classrooms beyond the “About” page or to specific classroom resources.

Getting Grammarly Set Up

All high school students and teachers are automatically signed up for Grammarly. In order to activate your Premium account, you will have to do one of the following:

Verify Your Account Using the Email Sent to Your Address

Most users should receive an email to verify their account. Simply click the “Activate My Account” Link and you are ready to go!


Signing Up on the Website

If, for some reason, you do not have the activation email, you can sign up using your ISB student email address at http://www.grammarly.com/edu.

Once there, click “Join Your Organization”:

Fill in the correct information, including your ISB email address:

You will receive a confirmation email:


Once you click “Verify email” you should be all set. Sometimes, however, it will ask you to put in your school code. If it does, you can copy/paste this code:


You may also want to add the Grammarly browser extension so that it can be used in easily across all of your web applications:




Be a Media Mentor for Your Child

I don’t think anybody would disagree with the importance of being a positive role model for your children. When it comes to technology, however,  Dr. Alexandra Samuel has identified three distinct parenting styles in her research:

  • The Digital Limiter: prefers to keep their children away from the internet, and often strictly limit screentime. These children are often Digital Exiles, kept out of the digital world for as long as possible;
  • The Digital Enabler: respect their children’s’ abilities to make their own choices online and take cues from other families on how to use technology. These children are often Digital Orphans, left to explore on their own;
  • The Digital Mentor: enjoys spending time with their children online, cultivating their children’s skills and fostering online learning. These children are often Digital Heirs, inheriting their parents’ values and skills.

Read more about Dr. Samuel’s findings here in her article in The Atlantic.

When looking at the percentage of children who have misbehaved online, Dr. Samuel discovered that it is the children of Digital Mentors who are often making the best choices.

So how can we help our children make these good choices? How can we become Media Mentors them?

Keri-Lee Beasley and Daniel Johnson from GEMS World Academy in Switzerland created and shared a calendar of suggested activities for parents to use as ways to engage with their children and discuss. This calendar also includes links to resources to help support you in having some of the more difficult discussions or in some of the more technical skills.

As a family, you may not be able to take part in all of the activities with your children, but that’s okay!  We encourage you to find the ones that you can take part in and make the time to start having these important discussions and mentoring conversations within your entire family!


Click to view the full-size file for download

Click to view the full-size file for download

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