Quick Links
Skip to main contentSkip to navigation

ROWVA School District #208



Ajax Loading Image




I would like to introduce this page as a new source of information for some of the technology changes/updates that have taken place recently.  This content is intended for use by ROWVA teachers (and sometimes students) while they are on the ROWVA network or using a ROWVA issued device.  I will try to include some of the remediation steps you might need to solve some of the issues that you may face.  As always, please call me if this does not make sense or you have any questions.

 Cyber Security

October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month.  Cyber Security is often neglected or even ignored because we "don't have time" to think about it.  Most people don't get serious about it until they, or someone they know, have had their computer hacked or had their personal information stolen.  My goal is to bring Cyber Security to the forefront and to get you thinking about what you should do to keep you and your data protected.

In the coming months we will be sending out emails informing you of some password changes that we will be implementing.  We have already had several student passwords compromised which has caused a number of issues.  I know that most people have not changed passwords very often and/or do not have very secure passwords.  Having passwords that are easy to guess can put data or personal information at risk.  Here are some ideas to have better password security

1 - Change your password routinely.  I know, you already have too many passwords to remember.  While that may be true, you have to remember that your password is the only thing that typically stands between a hacker and your data. Changing them often is a good first step.  Also, please don't write your password down and put it under your keyboard!

2 - Create better passwords.  Here are a few of the most common bad passwords: 123456, password, qwerty, mustang, letmein, baseball.  If you click here you can see what Symantec has found to be the most common bad passwords.  In the past few years, it has been suggested to replace letters in a word with different characters, like b@seball, riv3r, or footba11.  Recently, there has been a change in what makes a good password.  Most hackers use a dictionary hack and then replace characters with @s and 3s as shown above.  They even think to put the "!" at the end.  So it is best not to use a word in the dictionary.  The best practice is to use a phrase (just not ILoveYou, everyone uses that).  Use a phrase or a couple of short phrases together.  It makes it a lot easier to remember and is usually long enough to keep most brute force attacks at bay.

3 - Don't use the same password on a bunch of sites.  Sort of self explanatory.

4 - Use a password management system  I use LastPass.  I have to remember just one long password to allow me to access my data, but then it keeps track of the various web sites I visit and fills in the password for me.  I have a number of passwords that I don't even know.  I just let LastPass remember it for me!  The first thing that most people say is "Well, if a hacker gets that one password that gets you into the program, then he'll have everything anyway".  Lastpass has a security feature that senses if someone (even you) who tries to log in from an IP address that has not been registered as you, it will send you a notification. Not perfect, but pretty close.

There will be more to come later.  I just wanted to get something out there now to get you thinking.  Also, if you click here you can see a simple PowerPoint presentation that was given by a security expert at a Tech Directors meeting I went to a week or so ago.  Click here to see what resources the Department of Homeland Security has for parents and teachers.

 Web Filtering

We are now using Securly as our web content filtering solution.  Securly is integrated with our Google domain.  This solution is a significant change from our previous solution and will allow us more flexibility.  It will also allow us to filter Chromebooks even when they are not in the district.  Securly does not require proxy settings.  I have removed the proxy settings from everything that I have control over.  Your cell phone may still have proxy settings configured.  Those settings will have to be removed.  Some of the settings and files are pushed automatically to your computer when you log in, but sometimes it takes two logins to get everything.  If you receive a security message when you first start up your browser, please log off and then log back in.

What differences can you expect?
1 - When accessing the web on ROWVATigers or wired network, you will first be presented with a Google login screen.  Here is what it will look like:

Click "Next" to enter your password.Click "Next"

if it is the first time you have tried to access the web, Securly will ask permission to access Google to authenticate who you are.  The Securly permission screen will look like this:

  It is ok to click "Allow" in that box. Securly will be able to tell from your username and password how you should be filtered.  You should have to allow permissions only once.  Students on Chromebooks will not have to enter their credentials because the Securly system will automatically identify them.
2 - The block page will look different.  When you try to access a page that the system thinks it should block, it will present you with a block page.  On the left hand side is a button that says "Details"  Please tell me, or send me a screen shot of what the "Details" button shows you so that I can look into unblocking it for you.  There is the ability to temporarily unblock a site.
3 - All teachers can temporarily whitelist a site for 60 minutes.  When a student gets blocked from a page that you would like them to be able to get to, you will have the option to temporarily whitelist the site.  On the block page. click on the Temporarily Allow.  It will take you to a screen where you can select your (teacher) username or select Use Another Account.  Put in your username and then password and you will allow ALL students to access the site for 60 minutes.
4 - Firefox users will have to manually install a certificate.  Additionally, Firefox users may have to manually remove their proxy settings if they are still configured.  To install the Securly certificate into Firefox, please complete the following steps while on the ROWVA network:
    In the Firefox window, click on the three horizontal bars in the top right corner and select Options from the box that pops up.
    In the Options window that appears, click on the Advanced section.  Now select Certificates, then View Certificates
Certificate Manager window should appear.
    Click the Authorities tab
    Click Import
    Navigate to
\\R208DC3\apps\securly.  Click on securly_SHA-256.crt and select Open.
    Check the box for "Trust this CA to Identify Websites" Then Click OK

4 - Teachers who have their cell phones or tablets on the ROWVATigers network will have to install a new certificate.  Most teachers use the ROWVAGuest network.  But if you are able to connect to the ROWVATigers network, please do so and then browse to this webpage.  Click here to install the certificate.  If you cannot browse to this page, please email me and I can share the certificate via Google Drive.

 Elementary projectors
We are adding a better way to connect to your projectors.  I am installing HDMI connectivity for those people who have HDMI ports.  Connecting via HDMI will do a couple of things:
1 - It will allow sound to be played from the projector.   You can use your remote control for the projector to control the volume.  NOTE: Windows will assume that if the projector is connected via HDMI, that you also want to play all of your audio via HDMI. You do not have to do that.  You can change where your audio plays back by right clicking on your speaker icon in the lower right corner of your screen, selecting "Playback Devices" then select your laptop speakers and click the "Set as default" button.  You can always set it back to the projector when you want to.
2 - Having a direct connection to the projector will allow the pen to display correctly in all applications.  As you all know, LAN Display did not allow the pen to work correctly in all applications.

Here are a few notes on how to modify how your projector displays:

You can clone your display to your projector or you can extend to the projector.  I recommend extending.  That will allow you to have one thing displaying on your SmartBoard and another on your laptop display.

To extend or clone on a Dell laptop, you can hold the FN key down and hit the F8 key which will allow you to toggle between laptop display only, clone displays, extend displays and projector only.  After you cycle through those 4, it just starts over again.  On HP laptops, it should be the Fn and F4 keys to do the same thing.  There are other ways to do it as well, but we'll start here.  Once you select how you want to display, you can then modify how the displays look.
To modify how you display on your projector, right click on your Desktop and select "Graphics Properties", select "Advanced" if it asks which mode to display in.  You should see a screen that looks like this:
  If you have cloned displays, the settings for Built-in Display and Lontium Television will be the same.  Keep in mind that if you make the image fits the SmartBoard, it will leave black strips on the sides on your laptop, or it will stretch the laptop image.  If you make the image fit the laptop display, it will leave black strips on the top and bottom of the image on the SmartBoard.  If you have extended the displays, then you can make the laptop display fit the laptop and the projector fit the SmartBoard.  The images I am showing are for extending your displays.  The first image shown in this section above shows the resolution for the Built-in display.  The next image shows the resolution for the Lontium Television:
  In order to use an extended display, you can drag an application to the extended screen.  Just think of it as having the Smartboard attached to your laptop screen as an extension.  You can "attach" the Smartboard to your laptop display anywhere you want.  Wherever you "attach" the extended display is where you have to drag your mouse to access the display.  Please click on "Multiple Displays" to access the screen that allows you to change your screen location.  Here are two examples:
  In this example, the SmartBoard is to the left of the display, so you would move your mouse to the left  on your laptop screen and then you will see the mouse on teh projector screen.
  In this example, the SmartBoard is "attached" above the laptop display, so you would move your mouse up to access the SmartBoard.

When you turn on your projector now, you can select HDMI instead of LAN Display from your remote.  FYI - LAN Display will still be available if you need it.
Your laptops will not support VGA out (blue video cable) or HDMI (black cable) but not both.  So if you have an external monitor, you will probably not be able to use it now.

 Thirtyseven4 Antivirus

We have changed from Vipre Antivirus to Thirtyseven4 AV.  It should be pretty much invisible.  I have noticed that it will ask for approval when installing an application downloaded fron the web.  Other than that, you shouldn't notice any change.  It takes less overhead to run so you may see a little speed increase.

I will continue to add information to this page throughout the year.  Please let me know if you find it helpful, or what changes you would like to see.