Friday, April 30, 2021

Gale Database access that use to work without any login now is asking for one. What gives?

My school is very lucky that we access some of Gale's databases via our membership in our State Library system.  We have been able to access them without any logins, then when we went remote/hybrid, some instances occurred on devices that prompted the user to login with their member name and password. Now, if you had a library card from the local library that worked and gave you access but if you did not have one you were out of luck.  When I started to look into this problem, it did not just occur on certain types of devices.  It happen on ipads, macbooks...mostly Apple stuff with the user using the Safari browser and it wasn't happening to a lot of students, just a handful.  I don't know why I though of this but I went into (i.e. on iPad) Settings, Safari  and scrolled down until I saw Location.  Then the lightbulb when off! On the devices that were asking for a login the setting for Location Access on All Websites was set to Deny.  When I changed it to Ask or Allow and tried the database again, they got in and was not requires to provide any name or password.  So that is my theory and I'm sticking with it!.

Friday, January 29, 2021

Savvas Realize and issue with iPads (video plays but no sound).

This post deals with an issue my school had with Savvas Realize.  Our students would log in on an iPad using Google Chrome or Safari. They could navigate through the module (Elevate Science Module).  Choose a chapter (Systems, Reproduction, and Growth: Reproduction and Growth), choose a lesson (Lesson 1: Patterns of Reproduction), click on a video (Patterns of Reproduction). On a Macbook, PC, Chromebook the video worked fine, but on a iOS device (iPad or iPhone) the video played but had no sound with it. 

The teacher contacted Savvas support and provided all the info they asked for; what device was she using, current iOS, size of storage, memory, bla, bla, bla.  They sent her link to show her how to: clear the cache of the iPad, double check to see if the iPad was compatible (it was), bla, bla, bla.  After a couple of back and forths, they informed the teacher that they had "elevated her case status and were looking into it.  After all this she came to me with the issue.

Can't lie, I was stumped at first.  I was able to replicate everything mentioned above but still no solution, then it hit me like a bolt out of the blue.  A number of years ago our Science Department was having problems accessing websites with flash videos on the iPads, Apple has never support this on the iPad.  I did some research and found another browser (Puffin Browser), that allowed Flash to work on the iPad. 

Well I downloaded the Puffin Browser on the iPAD and LO AND BEHOLD the video worked, sound and all.  

I wish I could give you the exact details of why but at this stage of the game, I'm just glad it works.

I find it hard to believe that a multi-million dollar company like Savvas (formerly Pearson Learning) could not figure out why it was not working especially in today's world of remote leaning.  I was informed by the teacher that when Savvas came out to train our Science Department, she asked if there were any know issues with iPads-since we are 1:1.  The response was "No.  You are still using iPAds? Everyone else is using Chromebooks".  YIKES!!! Let's just say I'm not impressed. That being said, today will be my last day working at Georgetown Middle/High School.  I will be working at Savvas next week as a consultant---KIDDING!! :-) 

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

IpadOS and iOS 14, to update or not to update, that is the question!

It's that most wonderful time of the year again!! iOS Update Season!  OH JOY!! I can hardly contain myself!  Let me state my background for updates, I am a Luddite. My PC is running Windows 3.1!!  KIDDING.  Honestly, I do become gun-shy about updates.  I know that they improve the security, the experience, etc, yet I have seen so many times that my staff has done it on older machines and all heck breaks loose:  Important apps no longer work, the device chugs along at the speed of sail.  So I have complied some info on this subject.

Why I should not update to iOS/iPadOS 14 yet, as of Sept 16, 2020, from David Price, Editor of Macworld UK. “There are few downsides to upgrading, and I happily allow them to install automatically when available. Occasionally, however, it's worth advising caution, and turning off auto updates for a short while. And it looks like iOS 14 comes under that category.

Apple didn't manage to spring many surprises at its 15 September Time Flies event, but its announcement that iOS 14 would roll out the very next day gave a few app developers a shock. Normally there's far more notice (usually around a week) between the announcement and the rollout; by Apple's standards this was sudden. And the general feeling among those app developers is not entirely positive. A lot of them have since expressed their concerns on social media, warning that the software isn't ready - by which they don't necessarily mean iOS 14 itself is faulty, but that a worrying number of apps don't yet work well with it. They simply haven't had enough time to sort out all the issues.” (

Here's a full list of compatible iPadOS 14 devices:

  • iPad Air 2 (2014)
  • iPad Air (2019)
  • iPad mini 4 (2015)
  • iPad mini (2019)
  • iPad (2017, 2018, 2019)
  • iPad Pro 9.7in (2016)
  • iPad Pro 10.5in (2017)
  • iPad Pro 11in (2018, 2020)
  • iPad Pro 12.9in (2015, 2017, 2018, 2020)

Will my Apple TV run tvOS 14?

As with tvOS 13, tvOS 14 will be available on all versions of Apple TV that support an App Store. Currently, that's the Apple TV HD (sometimes referred to the 4th gen model) and the Apple TV 4K models, as well as any new Apple TV that gets released. 

Here's a list of iOS 14-compatible iPhones:

  • iPhone 6s & 6s Plus
  • iPhone SE (2016)
  • iPhone 7 & 7 Plus
  • iPhone 8 & 8 Plus
  • iPhone X
  • iPhone XR
  • iPhone XS & XS Max
  • iPhone 11
  • iPhone 11 Pro & 11 Pro Max
  • iPhone SE (2020)
  • obviously the iPhone 12, 12 Max, 12 Pro and 12 Pro Max will all come with iOS 14 preinstalled.

Friday, May 8, 2020

We made $800 in our Disney movie fundraiser, but Disney billed us $250 because we showed it with a license.

Image result for copyright symbolIn the February 3, 2020 edition of the Sacramento Bee that an elementary school is California had a fundraiser by showing the Disney Movie "The Lion King" and then promptly received a bill because they forgot to purchase a license (for $250) to show it. A parent of a student at the school and a member of the Berkeley City Council, blasted Disney in a Twitter thread over the demand, stating that she could not believe that Disney went after a elementary school that struggles to pay it teachers.  Disney backed off the threat and realized eating a $250 bill was waaaay smarter than the public relation nightmare it would of have by pursing it.

I work at a Middle/High School (grades 7-12) in Massachusetts and like Laoco├Ân warning the Trojans about the Trojan Horse, I have warned people about showing movies for a non-educational purpose but it has always fell on deaf ears because really who has actually ever gotten "bagged" for this deed?  Well this school did, for good or bad it is copyright infringement. 

I have had the head of the sports boosters tell me that it was totally legal to charge people admission (as a fundraiser) to watch the movie "Air Bud".  She kept coming back saying it fell under "Fair Use", and no it doesn't.  Just because you are using it in an education setting, notice I said educational setting not EDUCATIONAL PURPOSE, that makes everything OK. It doesn't.

MUSIC and Copyright
Another cause of my angst was the use of copyrighted music without permission for a non-
Educational Purpose.  I've heard everything: "I'm a teacher so it's OK", "As long as it is instrumental music it's OK"...somebody hand me a Tums. In 2000, I started an internet radio station for our school and I wanted to play music, and since I worked at a real radio station as well I knew that involved buying a license.  I was familiar with BMI and ASCAP, the two major licensing entities. This time, with everybody and their grandmother posting videos of support, tributes, etc., I wanted to find out how to keep my staff from going to jail...kidding.

ASACP was very helpful.  They said that they major licensing entities worked a deal with Facebook, You Tube…those companies actually paid for the license fees.  So ASCAP said as song the belong in the ACE Repertory you can post.  Check out the Repertory.

But it gets EVEN BETTER!!!  

Facebook Videos Now Allowed To Feature Copyrighted Music
As of June 2018, Facebook users will no longer have to worry about their videos being taken down because they contain licensed music. Previously, Facebook blocked videos that included copyrighted music. With the new rules, when users upload Facebook videos containing music, they will be informed if the included song is allowed through the licensing deals acquired by the social network. If not, the video will be muted, unless the uploader submits a dispute. The label that holds the copyright may then approve the usage of the song in the video through the Rights Manager tool of Facebook.

Facebook will reportedly provide compensation to labels and artists whose music is used in videos uploaded to the platform. However, the company did not disclose the rates, and whether the compensation would be computed based on the number of uploads or on video hits.


When questions arise about Copyright, I use the following questions as a Framework for Copyright Analysis.
  1. Is the work protected by Copyright?
  2. (if #1 is yes) Is their a specific exception in Copyright Law that covers my use?
  3.  (if #1 is yes) Is there a license that covers my use?
  4. Is my use covered by Fair Use?
Some exceptions
  1. The Teach Act (online classrooms)
  2. In Class performances (classroom exception): Section 110(1): Classroom use.
  3. Library exception: Section 108 Library & Archives
  4. First Sale
  5. Fair Use (see below)
Fair Use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified, for the purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright.

Unfortunately, the only way to get a definitive answer on whether a particular use is a fair use is to have it resolved in federal court. Judges use four factors to resolve fair use disputes, as discussed in detail below. It’s important to understand that these factors are only guidelines that courts are free to adapt to particular situations on a case‑by‑case basis. In other words, a judge has a great deal of freedom when making a fair use determination, so the outcome in any given case can be hard to predict.

The Four Factors of Fair Use
  1. the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
  2. the nature of the copyrighted work;
  3. the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and
  4. the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.
The fact that a work is unpublished shall not exclude it from the use being judged by these factors.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Free ebooks, audiobooks

With all the social distancing, libraries, bookstores schools closed; here are some links to free materials.

Boston Public Library eCard - available only to Massachusetts residents or property owners.

* Merrimack (Mass) Valley Library Consortium's Digital Library

Publishers Adapt Policies To Help Educators from The School Library Journal (March 19, 2020)

Free audiobooks here that are in the public domain. ( )

New York Public Library giving free access to 300,000 ebooks, Only works if you are a resident of New York (from TimeOut NY)

*  Bookshare membership makes it easy to get students the books they need in formats they can read. You have FREE access to over 800,000 ebooks, including textbooks, educational materials, bestsellers, young adult, and children’s titles. Students can read books in audio, audio + highlighted text, braille, and large font.  Bookshare’s qualifications are determined by copyright law, not educational law. To join Bookshare, an individual must have a qualifying reading barrier as certified by a competent authority. Bookshare members may have an IEP, a 504 plan, or no plan at all.

Thank you to Kim Ammons from Mount Holyoke College for passing these along!

VitalSource [web page], which has a borrowing limit of 7

Redshelf [web page], which has a borrowing limit of 7

Cambridge University Press (catalog [web page] and COVID-19 announcement [web page]) is also offering a number of titles free as ebooks on their website, some of which are exclusive to their website. NOTE: As of March 19th, they have removed access with the following note, “Due to performance issues caused by unprecedented demand and reported misuse, we have had to temporarily remove the free access to textbooks. We apologize for the inconvenience caused and are working to address these concerns to reinstate free access as soon as possible.” Hopefully that will be fixed soon, though!

Cengage Unlimited [web page] (though so far, these all appear to also be on RedShelf as well, and they’re marked on RedShelf as Cengage Unlimited titles--but it’s good to have things in multiple places)

Saturday, March 14, 2020

My Apple TV shows nothing but a black screen while using AirPlay.

This happen the other day to one of my teachers.  She said she was using AIrPlay to mirror her iPad to her classroom AppleTV.  It was working fine one day, then the next not so much.  The Apple TV was working. It showed us the standard Apple TV start menu, but as soon as we turn on AirPlay mirroring on the iPad...the TV went to a black screen.  

The frustrating part of this was that I was able to mirror; my iPad, iPod and my MacBook desktop using AirParrot.  So my thinking was that it must be some settings on her iPad.  I looked up this problem on the Apple tech support webpages and was told to do numerous things to troubleshoot and/or fix the issue. 

1- Here's  one real easy one to try first, shut down and restart your MacBook. NOT KIDDING!!  I found that a lot of my teachers never turn off their laptops, after a while (my theory) it's resources run down to such a low level it can't "power" the video signal to the Apple TV.  That's my theory and I'm sticking with it!

2- Apple suggested to; turn of the Bluetooth on the iPad, reboot my router/wireless access point, restart the iPad, then finally restart the Apple TV.  We unplugged the Apple TV from the back of the box, waited 10 seconds and plugged it back voila!  I worked again.  WHO KNEW????  Our techie knew about this fix because this same exact issue had happen with our principal's Apple TV.  So before you go through all that rigor moral, just try unplugging and re-plugging.

3- Another fix I found to work was to update the software on the Apple TV.  One of my teachers got the black screen when he updated his Mac to OS High Sierra, as soon as I updated the Apple TV everything came back.

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

In U.S., Library Visits Outpaced Trips to Movies in 2019

Yep! According to Gallup, visiting the library remains the most common cultural activity Americans engage in, by far.   The heck with the Oscar's I'm attending the American Library Association Awards Gala this year!! :-)

Monday, January 27, 2020

The Big 6, Stanford University's Civic Online Reasoning Curriculum and research.

Everyone remembers going to your school's library (do they still have a libraries) and learning about the Big 6 Information Literacy model right? :-)

The Big 6

  • Step 1 - Task Definition
  • Step 2 - Information Seeking Strategies
  • Step 3 - Location and Access
  • Step 4 - Use of Information
  • Step 5 - Synthesis
  • Step 6 - Evaluation
I stumbled across Stanford University's Civic Online Reasoning (COR) site and my mind drifted back to the Big 6 lessons and where the COR curriculum would fit in.  According to the site, "The COR curriculum provides free lessons and assessments that help you teach students to evaluate online information that affects them, their communities, and the world."

Maybe I'm way off but it struck me that COR's idea of information evaluation was different than the Big 6, maybe it should become the Big 7?   

So I figured the Stanford site was a good resource to pass along along with the original Big 6 stuff.

The Big 6

Step 1 - Task Definition

1.1 Define the information problem

What does your teacher want you to do? Make sure you understand the requirements of the assignment. Ask your teacher to explain if the assignment seems vague or confusing. Restate the assignment in your own words and ask if you are correct.

1.2 Identify the information you need in order to complete the task (to solve the information problem)

What information do you need in order to do the assignment? Your teacher will often tell you what information you need. If he or she does not, it will help you to write a list of questions that you need to “look up.” Example: Let’s say the assignment is to write a paper and make a product about a notable African American. You choose Scott Joplin from the list that was provided by your teacher. She may or may not have told you why this person is notable. You need to figure out what information you need to find out about Scott Joplin. Here are some questions you may ask about him if you don’t know why he is notable:

Why was Scott Joplin notable?
When was he born and when did he die?
Where was he born?
Was his birthplace or childhood home any influence on his career?
How did his childhood influence his adult life and his career choice?
Who in his life were his influences or his role models?
Why do we remember him now?
What did he do that is an influence on my life or that of Americans today?
If your teacher told you that Scott Joplin is most noted for developing ragtime music, then you may add the questions:

What is ragtime music?
How did he develop ragtime music?
What instruments did he play?
Did he sing?
Of course, as you find information on Scott Joplin, you will use some that is not included in your original questions. Use these questions as a place to get started. You won’t waste as much time if you have a place to start.

Step 2 - Information Seeking Strategies

2.1 Determine the range of possible sources (brainstorm) 

This means that you need to make a list of all the possible sources of information that will help you answer the questions you wrote in Task Definition above. Consider library books, encyclopedias, and web sites to which your library subscribes (ask your librarian!), people who are experts in your subject, observation of your subject, free web sites and survey.  

2.2 Evaluate the different possible sources to determine priorities (select the best sources)

Now, look carefully at your list. Which ones are actually available to you and are understandable when you begin researching? Using information that you don't understand generally leads to cutting and pasting and should be avoided unless you are willing to ask for help to sort it out.

Step 3 - Location and Access

3.1 Locate sources

Figure out where you will get these sources. Beside each source, write its location. If it is a web site, list its web address. Try to use those that your teacher or librarian have linked or bookmarked. This will save you time. If your source is a person, figure out how you will contact him or her and make a note of this. Now, you will actually get the sources. You may have to get and use them one at a time. If so, come back to this step to locate each source.

3.2 Find information within sources

Now that you have the source in hand, how will you physically get the information you need? (Remember the questions you wrote in Task Definition?) This all depends on the source.

A. First make a list of words that will help you find information in all of your sources. These are called keywords. They are like synonyms and related words to your topic.You can find many of these in the questions you wrote in Big6 Task Definition. Watch the video below to see how you would go about creating keywords. 

B. Now make a list of the sources of information you will use. Beside each, note how you will access the information you need.

Book: Look at the index or table of contents for your topic and keywords
Encyclopedia: Use the index volume (usually the last volume in the set) for the topic and keywords.
Databases that are subscribed to by your library (such as Gale, Worldbook Online, etc.): type topic and keywords in the search box. Try them separately and some together. Ask your librarian for help if needed.
Free web sites: use topic and keywords in subject directories

Step 4 - Use of Information

4.1 Engage with the source (read, listen, view, touch)

Most likely you will need to read, listen or view your source. You are looking for the information you need. You may not need to read, listen to, or view all of your source information. You may be able to skip around, finding subheadings and topic sentences (read the first sentences in each paragraph) that will take you to your information.

4.2 Take out the relevant information from a source

It’s time to take some notes.

Step 5 - Synthesis

5.1 Organize information from multiple sources

Decide how you will put together the notes you took and ideas that you will add. You may:

Write a rough draft
Create an outline
Create a storyboard
Make a sketch
_______________ (any ideas?)

5.2 Present the information 

If your teacher assigns the product:

Make sure that you follow your teacher’s guidelines.
Add value to the product by including your ideas along with the information you found in books, web sites, and other sources. Make sure that your final product or paper is more than just a summary of what you found in the other sources.

Make a product or write a paper that you would be proud for anyone to read.
Include a bibliography. This is an alphabetized list of your sources. See the citation page for help. 
If you get to choose your final product:

Decide which product will best suit your subject. You may give an oral presentation using PowerPoint or write a paper. You may make a video or audio tape. Use technology if it is the best way to show the results of your information.

Step 6 - Evaluation

6.1 Judge your product (how effective were you)

Before turning in your assignment, compare it to the requirements that your teacher gave you.

Did you do everything and include all that was required for the assignment?
Did you give credit to all of your sources, written in the way your teacher requested?
Is your work neat?
Is your work complete and does it include heading information (name, date, etc.)
Would you be proud for anyone to view this work?

6.2 Judge your information problem-solving process (how efficient were you)

Think about the actions that you perform as you are working on this assignment. Did you learn some things that you can use again?

What did you learn that you can use again?
How will you use the skill(s) again?
What did you do well this time?
What would you do differently next time?
What information sources did you find useful? You may be able to use them again.
What information sources did you need but did not have? Be sure to talk to your librarian about getting them.

The “Big6™” is copyright © (1987) Michael B. Eisenberg and Robert E. Berkowitz. For more information, visit: