Tech Tips for Remote Learning

Here are some things to keep in mind and some tips to try for problems we have encountered:

Start with a Clean Bootup/Keeping your device up-to-date

  • Many problems arise due to programs being in a device's memory too long - a phenomenon known as "memory leak". Rebooting a device clears out all running programs and starts with just the basic operating system.
  • Keeping your device up-to-date for the operating system and installed software ensures that the drivers (the software programs that runs devices such as cameras) are compatible with web-based software that can change daily. When updating your device, always make sure your items are backed up to the cloud or to an external device (such as a USB drive or external hard drive) before beginning the update process.
  • When video conferencing, try and limit the use of other applications while on a video conference session. Videos use a device's resources to the maximum and closing all other programs can help the video conferencing software run more consistently.

Closing applications

  • To close applications on a Chromebook means closing any tabs in Chrome that are not needed. It also means closing other apps that may be running in the background such as Spotify.
  • To close applications on a Macbook Air, make sure to use Command-Q to close the program or go to File...Quit. Clicking the red circle X in the upper-left of an Apple program does not necessarily close the program - that just closes the window. Using Command-Q ensures the entire program shuts down and is out of the laptops memory.

Infinite Campus Login

Infinite Campus login accounts are created automatically. The student's username is their RSU71 email address. If a student cannot login then they should click the "forgot password" link, enter their username (the email address), click Submit, and they will get an email with a link to create a new password.

Chromebook login

If you get this message on an RSU #71 issued Chromebook: Just enter this number as the employee ID: 123456

Beginning in the summer of 2019, Google added extra authentication to G Suite account logins and was asking students to enter cell phone numbers to authenticate their logins. We were able to change the method to an employee ID and entered 123456 for all students to use.

Video and Audio Issues

We have been finding a large variation in bandwidth all over the district. When trying to do video chatting/conferencing, sometimes the video signal does not keep up or cuts out frequently. If that happens, sometimes it is best to turn off the video and connect with audio only. It means losing the picture but audio requires significantly less bandwidth and will work in most cases more reliably. Please keep in mind, as a nation we are stress-testing the Internet infrastructure, so issues like this will happen.

Also, having multiple people sharing a wifi connection will slow down the Internet experience for all users, especially if one or more devices are streaming video (watching movies, shows, or video-chatting). Limiting the number of people online will help stabilize many video and audio issues.

Audio issues on Chromebooks can also be caused by incorrect settings. Click here to see possible ways of diagnosing audio issues.

WiFi Connection Issues

Sometimes, especially on Chromebooks, the wifi connection at home goes wonky. In that cases, sometimes it's best to just try connecting anew.

  • For a MacBook Air, click on the antenna icon in the upper-right of the screen, and click "Turn Wi-Fi Off" for a few seconds, then click again to turn Wi-Fi back on. Sometimes that will allow a clean reconnect.
  • For Chromebooks, sometimes you need to "forget" the network to clear the connection. Click here for a series of steps to try that can forget the current connect and allow you to reconnect the WiFi - you will need to put the password back in when doing this.

Tuning your Mifi Hotspot Connection

When trying to use a MiFi Hotspot, the most important thing is to place the device in your house or apartment where it can the strongest cell tower signal. Charge the MiFi fully and take a few minutes to walk to various parts of your living space and pause a few seconds to see how many bars light up on the MiFi screen. Having two bars should give decent throughput but more bars are better!

Also, MiFi's do better with towers from their parent company, so US Cellular MiFi's will work better on US Cellular towers, and Verizon MiFi's on Verizon towers. Having the strongest signal possible can help if you are having to roam across towers.

Additionally, having a fully charged MiFi can help with cell tower connection and also with the WiFi network in the house or apartment. The cell and WiFi technologies are just radio signals, and leaving the MiFi plugged in and fully charged helps give the strongest radio signals possible.

Finally, the more devices that connect to a MiFi, the more the radio signals are shared and slow down access for everyone. Video streaming, whether it's a movie or Zoom call, uses up more of the signal than going to a regular website - sometimes it is best to limit what is being done by the different users in the household in order to successfully do a Zoom call.

How to set the Time Zone in a Chromebook

  • Sign in to your Chromebook.
  • At the bottom right, click on the time.
  • In the windows that opens, click on Settings (the gear icon at the top).
  • In the web page that opens, scroll down and select Advanced.
  • In the "Date and time" section, click the triangle to the right, and instead of using an IP address they can Choose the time zone instead.

Taking Screen Shots for turning in certain Homework

For a Chromebook, use these key combinations with the switch window key:

  • Hold down the Ctrl + Switch window keys to capture a full screenshot.
  • Hold down the Ctrl + Shift + Switch window keys to capture a partial screenshot - the cursor turns to a crosshair, and you click and hold the bottom-left track pad and drag the mouse over the area you want to capture.

The screenshot for both of these options is saved to the logged in Google Drive under "My Drive," and with a click on the little windows that pops up on the lower-right can be saved on the clipboard for pasting into a google doc.

For the Macbook Air

  • To take a full screenshot, press and hold these three keys together: Shift, Command, and 3.
    • If you see a thumbnail in the corner of your screen, click it to edit the screenshot. Or wait for the screenshot to save to your desktop.
  • To take a partial screenshot, press and hold these three keys together: Shift, Command, and 4. The cursor turns to a crosshair, and you click and hold the bottom-left track pad and drag the mouse over the area you want to capture. In both of these cases the screenshot is saved as a file on the desktop.

For Windows 10

Follow the tips outlined on the webpage: