EdTech @ ISB

Transforming Teaching & Learning

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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.

Transmission, KeRanger and Ransomeware

Here is what went out in the Middle School and High School announcements today.

On March 4th the common BitTorrent client Transmission was infected with a ransomeware application known as KeRanger. Ransomeware locks down a computer until the computer’s owner pays a ransom to have it unlocked. The ICT Office has proactively removed Transmission from any school computers that had it installed.

The lesson to be learned here is to only install software that has been certified by Apple. The best way to do this is to only install software from the MacApp store or Self Service.

Remember, with great power comes great responsibility.

10 tips for better slide decks | TED Blog

We all make a lot of presentations at ISB. Effectively using programs like Keynote, Prezi or PowerPoint can help you get your ideas across well. Here are 10 tips for better slide decks from the TED blog to really make your presentations pop!



How to Google like a boss – Become a master of Google search with these little-known tips

If you’re like me you’ll find it easy to get lots of hits on Google when you search but no one can read through 1,000,000 pages. The trick is getting the right hits.

Here are a few tips from Lifehack.


How to Google like a boss – Become a master of Google search with these little-known tips.

A big shoutout to to Jaime J for finding this link!!

Take Your Blog With You: Exporting Your Blog

If you’re leaving ISB you can take your blog with you! You export it from our WordPress site and import it to another WordPress site. Here’s how.

From your blog’s Dashboard go to the Tools menu and choose “Export.” Save the export file somewhere that you will have at your new home like a portable hard drive.

When you get a new WordPress blog, go to the Tools menus and choose import and upload your ISB blog.

The screenshot below shows what settings to use to export your blog. (Click on the picture to enlarge it.)

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