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Change Your Password

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Password Standard

The IT department is responsible for the security of sensitive information about students, families, and employees. We maintain network systems that protect computers, encrypt login, and block hacking attempts. If your password is compromised, then hackers gain access to confidential information.

  • Your password must be at least 10 characters in length.
  • You cannot have used this password at Catlin Gabel within the last year.

We suggest inventing a simple phrase that is a few words in length. Adding a number or special character can make your password even more secure. The Upper School attendance system actually requires a number or special character. Please update your password as soon as possible so that you do not lose access to network systems.

How to Change Your Password

Go to Webmail and login to your account. Click on the Gear icon located at the top right-hand corner of the screen:



At the change password screen enter your old password once and your new password twice. Be sure that your new password is 10 characters long. It cannot be the same as your old password.

Be sure the SAVE your password change by clicking on the SAVE button located above the picture of the keys.

Mac Users

Your computer and network passwords are stored separately. If you want them to match, then change your Mac password in System Preferences.


Windows Users

Faculty, staff, and Upper School students may change their network password directly through Windows.

Press Ctrl-Alt-Delete on your keyboard to display the Change Password option. Be sure to do this while ON CAMPUS.

Upper School Attendance

The Upper School attendance system stores your password separately. Please visit the attendance system and update your password there as well.

Are You Interested in More Detail?

Security experts vigorously debate the best way to ensure password security. We are siding with length over complexity for the following reasons.

Keeping all other factors equal, longer passwords are harder to crack.


People don't tend to use true complexity.

94 characters are available on the typical keyboard, but people use only 34 of them on average. Complex passwords are rarely actually random.

Password policy is an exercise in keeping ahead of the hackers.

Entropy calculations are based on character length. Counting words instead of characters makes passphrases less attractive. As hackers make the transition to brute force word attacks, the Catlin Gabel password standard may need to change as well.

Further reading

Passphrase security explained in cartoon form




Subscribe to a Blog

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You can receive email notifications each time someone creates a new blog post.

Navigate all the way to an individual blog post

Find a list of blogs (for example, all blogs, global trips, senior projects)

You may have to click on an article title to get to an individual blog post, not a list of many blog posts (example).

Open the Subscribe link

Review the subscribe options

Select the appropriate option

Example: a senior's blog posts

Example: a global trip blog

Save your subscription selection

You should now receive email notifications of new blog posts.

If you wish to unsubscribe, follow the instructions in one of the notification email messages.


Website Editing Quick Reference

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Content Types

Most users may create a Page or a News Article. A page describes the school program in a way that remains relevant throughout the year. A news article is current and grows less timely as weeks pass. Page links appear in the left-hand menu. News article links appear in the right-hand column. To create a page, go to the black editing toolbar at the top of the screen and select Create Content and then the type of item you wish to create.

The Editing Tab

Once logged into the website, you will see an Edit tab for any page that you have permission to edit. Click on that tab to enter edit mode.

The Edit Form

This form has fields for the title, body, attachments, and other page elements. Only the title is required, and you will require only the title and body fields most of the time. Enter information into each field and then click Save at the bottom of the page to save your work. The editor does not automatically save your work, so please remember to click Save periodically to avoid losing work.

The Editing Toolbar

The body field has an editing toolbar that allows you to format text, add links, add images, and more. Here are the most commonly-used tools.

Some employees have a toolbar with more options. For a complete reference, see the CKEditor user's guide.

Insert Image

Click on the insert image button. 

Select the Upload tab.

Browse your computer for an image and then send it to the server.

Wait until the image preview loads, or click the circular reload dimensions button.

If you want to wrap text around the image, then select either Left or Right from Align.

Post video or other embeddable content

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A number of websites provide embed code, so that one may display your content on your own website. Examples include video sites such as YouTube,, and Vimeo, as well as other sites such as Google Calendar, Google Maps, Issuu, Prezi, and Voki. You may use the embed technique with any site that offers embed code.

Copy the embed code for your content

Embed code is a block of HTML that tells any site how to display your video. It usually starts with <embed> or <iframe>.

Switch the body field to Source view

Paste the embed code into the body field

Switch the Input Format to Full HTML

Otherwise, your video will not display. Full HTML allows a broader range of HTML tags than Filtered HTML.

Save the page

You may need to click View a second time for the embedded content to display.

Post Audio Online

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Preparation, posting, and playback of audio files on insideCatlin



Many audio formats exist -- MP3, WMA, AIFF, AAC, MOV, OGG. Computers are still not perfect at playing all of these different formats. Additionally, copyright and proprietary control complicate the audio format landscape. To reach the broadest range of users, you should take care to properly prepare your audio files. This guide shows you how. Although dozens of different audio applications exist, we focus on a few that work well for current users at Catlin Gabel.

MP3 is currently the most universal format for publishing audio. However, most devices record in a different format, due to MP3 licensing requirements and encoding speed. So you must convert the file. For example, an Olympus digital recorder records in WMA format (Windows Media Audio). Windows computers can play WMA files by default, but Macintosh computers require either Flip4Mac (preferred) or Windows Media Player for Mac, both free products. If you use the built-in recording capabilities in Garageband, you may end up with an AAC file (Apple Audio Codec), which Apple computers can play by default, but Windows players require iTunes (free).


If you want to edit your audio file before publishing it, try Audacity (Windows/Mac) or Garageband (Mac only). Save your project in the application's regular format as you work. When you finish, export the file. If you use Audacity, select Export as MP3. If Export as MP3 is not available, download and install the LAME MP3 encoder. In Garageband, Send Podcast to iTunes. Read further on to see how to convert iTunes files to MP3 format.

Audacity Garageband


You may choose to publish your audio files without editing. In this case, convert directly to MP3. For Windows, first set your iTunes import format to MP3. Go to Edit menu -> Preferences ->
Advanced -> Importing and select the MP3 format (you only have to do
this once). Select File menu -> Add to Library to display your MP3 files. Select the files that you want to convert to MP3, then select Advanced menu -> Convert to MP3. Now, you will see two copies of each audio file, one WMA and one MP3 for each file. To tell them apart, right click on the column headers in the view and display the Kind column.

The Mac version of iTunes cannot read WMA files, so you should use a different conversion utility. Switch is an excellent choice, built to quickly process large numbers of files. Download the free version.


Both Moodle and Drupal allow you to post audio files directly, but you will achieve greater compatibility with more users if you embed the files using the systems' audio tools.


You may embed audio into any Moodle web text region, for example on your site's home page, on a new web page, or in a forum post.

Select some text, then select the link tool.

Browse and select the audio file from your filesystem.

Select the file that you just uploaded.

The resulting audio player.


Select Create Content -> Audi.

Tag your audio to one or more divisions.

Browse for the audio file.

The resulting audio player.

Depending on your audio file, you may have to specify the Artist and Title on the next page.

Drupal Podcast Feeds

If you publish audio in Drupal, you gain some nice podcast URLs. To direct people to the web page for audio playback, use the format /ls (or ms, bs, us). To subscribe directly in iTunes, use itpc:// (or ms/feed, bs/feed, us/feed). Give it a try.


Confused About Fair Use?

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Are you confused about fair use copyright law? According to a new report, you are not alone!

In an age when digital images and recordings to supplement and enhance education are abounding, unnecessary restrictions and a lack of understanding about copyright law are compromising the goal of using such technology in the classroom, says a new report. After interviewing educators, educational media producers and media-literacy organizations, the report's researchers conclude that educators have no shared understanding of what constitutes fair-use practices, and that teachers face conflicting information about their rights, and their students' rights, to use copyrighted works.

source: eSchoolNews Online - link

In my experience, most uses of copyrighted material I see at Catlin Gabel qualify as fair use. You are in the clear if you meet the following four conditions.

  1. You are using the material for educational use. We nearly always meet this criterion.
  2. The work is already published, nonfiction, and serves an educational purpose in your class. Copying fiction is less likely to be considered fair use.
  3. You are using a relatively small portion of the complete work. In other words, don't copy an entire book or magazine!
  4. Your use does not preclude you or your audience from purchasing the work. This is why we have a password-protected community web site. Also, student performance of a copyrighted work will not generally preclude a person from purchasing a professional copy of that work.

Here are three more useful links:

Stanford Copyright & Fair Use: The Four Factors


Documentary Filmmakers' Statement of Best Practices in Fair Use

Copyright & You: Fair Use Checklists

MSDS Shortcut

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How to access the Material Safety Data Sheets site and create a desktop shortcut.


Open your web browser (e.g., Firefox, Internet Explorer).

Type msds into the Location field and type Enter.

You should now see the MSDS web site.

To create a desktop shortcut, click and drag the location icon to your desktop. You should now have a desktop shortcut.

Wikis In Plain English

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This video is about wikis, but it really applies to most Web 2.0 tools, blogs, forums, podcasts, wikis, and social networks. Users collaborate to create content.

Our two main insideCatlin tools, Moodle and Drupal, both provide wiki-like functionality. To create a course wiki in Moodle, Turn Editing On -> Add Activity -> Wiki. In Drupal, most items can be edited by anybody, especially the page and book content types.

Moodle: show multiple weeks/topics

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When I go to the Moodle site, only one week or topic is displayed. I want to show multiple weeks.


On each block, Moodle includes a button to switch between single block and multiple blocks view. In single block view, only the current week or topic is displayed. In multiple blocks view, all of the weeks or topics are displayed. Each user -- not the teacher -- controls this setting.


Podcasts In Schools

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Podcasts have caught the popular imagination, because they have so many different uses and take advantage of portable audio players that every kid seems to have. How do teachers and students use podcasts in schools?

1. Listen to free podcasts. Subjects run the gamut, including lectures, commentary, music, readings, and language learning. Browse or search OpenCulture or the iTunes store to get started. Improve your own content knowledge or assign listening assignments for homework.

2. Record student presentations. If you currently ask students to present work orally or through musical performance, publishing this work online is a great way to expand its audience. Borrow or purchase a small audio recorder and capture presentations you already include in your courses. Depending on where you choose to publish the work, you can make it available to other students, parents, or the whole world. Both Moodle and the Catlin Gabel website support publishing audio files in forum and blog posts. Example: Sixth Grade Poetry Box

3. Record school events such as guest speakers, assembly announcements, or parent evenings. This can make these special events available to dozens of parents and other community members who were not able to attend the actual event in person. We are capable of recording amplified audio in Cabell or using a portable audio recorder elsewhere.

Let us know if you have any other questions about creating podcasts!

Podcast Primer

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This week, we take a look at our second Web 2.0 tool, the podcast. Here is a superb summary of podcasts and podcasting from OpenCulture.

March 19, 2007

Podcast Primer
source: OpenCulture

We talk about podcasts a good deal around here. But given that only 12% of internet users have ever downloaded a podcast, and only 1% does so daily (see this Pew Research Center study), we wanted to provide an overview of podcasts and how to use them. In a few minutes, we want to get you up and running and exploring our rich collections of educational and cultural materials.

Have a friend who is still unfamiliar with podcasts? Email them this page.

What is a podcast?

Here's the basic answer. Podcasts are essentially radio shows available for download over the Internet, and you can listen to them on your iPod, other portable mp3 players, and computer. Instead of being broadcast over the airwaves and eventually lost, as happens with traditional radio shows, podcasts can be stored and played at the user's convenience. Think of it as a TIVO in audio.

How do I download and listen to podcasts? The iTunes Way

Given the prevalence of Apple's iPod, discussing the Apple way of downloading podcasts is unavoidable.

To access podcasts through iTunes (download for free here), you have several options:

Option 1:

  • Open iTunes,
  • Click on "iTunes store" on the left side of the screen,
  • Next click on "Podcasts" within the area called "iTunes Store,"
  • Search and find the podcast you want,
  • Then either click "Get Episode" to get an individual podcast that interests you, or click "Subscribe" to automatically receive each new installment within the podcast series.

Option 2:

  • Find a podcast that you'd like to explore. (You may encounter them while surfing the web),
  • Locate the podcast's rss feed, which sites usually advertise on their homepage, and are often accompanied by this symbol, 
  • Click on the "Advanced" drop-down menu along the top of the screen,
  • Next select "Subscribe to podcast,"
  • And then paste the feed link (for example, into the box and click "Ok."

NOTE: This option works well when you find a podcast that's not already listed on iTunes.

Option 3:

  • Sometimes when you're surfing the web, you'll find a podcast that you like, and you'll have the option to subscribe directly to the podcast on iTunes from the web page. (On Open Culture, we give you this option whenever we see a link that says "iTunes.")
  • Click on the link and it will help you launch iTunes, and from there you'll be given the option either to subscribe to the ongoing podcast, or to download individual episodes.

Listening to the Podcasts

Finally, when you sync your iPod, your podcasts will be automatically downloaded onto your iPod. And you can listen to them by:

  • Turning on your iPod,
  • Clicking on "Music" at the main menu.
  • Scrolling the wheel down to "Podcasts,"
  • And then selecting the individual podcasts that you want to play.

Are there alternatives to iTunes?

Yes. One popular alternative is Juice, which you can download here. While we encourage the use of other podcast aggregators, we can't say that it is the easiest way to go. Getting podcasts onto your iPod from Juice is not particularly straightforward. 


How do I find podcasts?

There are a lot of different places. Open Culture specializes in collecting educational and cultural podcasts. (See our collections here.) But there are obviously many other places to find big generalized collections of podcasts. Apple's iTunes is by far the dominant site. You can also check out Yahoo, PodcastAlley,, etc.

Can I Make My Own Podcasts?

Sure, check out our

previous feature

that directs you to good resources.

Introduction to Blogging

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Blog. To Blog. Blogging. These terms have captured popular interest, but what do they mean? Not surprisingly, people use this term to describe a wide variety of online activities, including writing an online journal, posting a newsletter, and chatting with friends.

Strictly speaking, a blog is a very specific writing exercise facilitated by a particular kind of web site technology. This distinction is important, because it underscores that which is new and different about blogging as compare to preexisting forms of web site publishing. These new features provide the most excitement and payoff in schools. Let's first take a look at the nature of the writing exercise.

What is "blogging?"

Blogging is personal. Most blogs have one author, whose writing is featured front and center in the blog. Since others can only leave comments, the attention is squarely focused on the author. Content is organized around the author's thoughts and expertise. This contrasts with discussion forums (topical), social networks (groups-based), and wikis (the work of the whole).

Blogging is reflective. The author uses the blog to write thoughtfully about experiences and ideas. Blogging can be an important component of professional development for adults in the Catlin community and portfolio work for students.

Blogging is transparent. Another word for this is "open." People often use blogs to describe aspects of their work in more detail than would ordinarily be the case in more polished publishing venues. Transparency brings a level of honesty to the discussion that can provide enormous value to the author and his/her readers.

Blogging is conversational. Bloggers have an audience of readers that (usually) grows over time as more people link to the blog. Public authorship demands a writing style that is acutely aware of one's audiences. Any reader may leave a comment on any post, to which the author or another reader may reply. This may evolve into a dialogue among individuals. The most popular blogs receive hundreds of comments per post.

Blogging emphasizes process. Bloggers typically describe works in progress in order to gain insight through reflection and seek feedback from others. Theories are often partially formed and experiences only somewhat understood. In this manner, bloggers engage with others for feedback earlier in the thought process of new ideas.

Blogging is connective. No blog exists in a vacuum. Posted in a public or community space, each author influences and is influenced by the authorship of others. Bloggers formalize these influences by linking to each other. All of these acts of individual authorship create a community entity of active expression and thoughtful reflection.

Blogging is archival. Old posts normally remain on a site forever, accessible through search technologies both within the blog and on the World Wide Web (think Google). The author may use the blog archive in order to mine his/her own old knowledge, and one may search the web to find blog posts of varying ages.

A look under the hood

Blogs are sequential. The newest post appears at the top, and older posts appear successively underneath. The archive feature organizes older posts by month. A search feature allows one to find posts by topic.

Blogs are portable. Blogs are syndicated via RSS (really simple syndication), a format that allows one web site or desktop application to easily pull a set of articles from a blog. This allows one blog article to appear in multiple places automatically, and allows readers to "aggregate" blogs from dozens of web sites into one place for easy viewing.

Blogs are dynamic. When you create a new blog article, you don't need to know anything about HTML programming or create a new file on the server. The blog software stores all content in a database and generates the pages on the fly as they are requested. The graphic design for all of the pages is stored in a single template. The author can focus on generating content, not web design or site production.

Blogs use multiple media. Though text dominates, bloggers with a good grasp of visual literacy enhance the reading experience with carefully selected images. Podcasting may be considered a special form of "audio blogging." You may insert other web-friendly media into a blog, such as video and animation.

Most blog software is free and open-source. The Catlin Gabel website includes a blog for each student and employee. You can open a free account at Blogger or another free blog service, or if you host your own website, you can download and install Wordpress or another free blog platform.

When is a blog not a blog?

A slew of organizations have adopted the blog format to republish other types of content. For example, many news sites now offer "blogs." Some of these are reflective, open, and interactive, whereas others are simply repackaged versions of news articles already published in print and electronic form. The same goes for corporate and presidential campaign web sites that use "blogs" to issue press releases and the like. Some describe use of MySpace and Facebook as "blogging," but the photo galleries and chat features are the most popular, interactive for sure but usually not reflective nor process-oriented. When you see a "blog," take a close look to determine whether it meets the conditions described above so you know what you're getting!

The power of blogs at school

What potential do blogs have in an educational institution? The potential is enormous.

Professional development: blogs capture the reflective component of good professional practice. Writing in a blog encourages one to constantly frame one's work within a broader context and connect past experiences to the present and the future. Blogging as a social activity forges a critical connection between a private school professional and the outside world. You may join a community of peers in your field of work who span states, countries, and continents.

Student portfolios: reflective practice is also a critical component of student work. Portfolio design is organized around a thoughtful presentation of past work that is meant to build insight into lessons learned and persistence of experience into the future. Blogging is always public to either the school community or the entire world, which ties right into the exhibition component of portfolio work.

Interaction and dialogue: typically, students and teachers are alone once they leave the school grounds. Conversational practices such as blogging can make work completed outside of school hours more interactive, extending that critical classroom or office dynamic beyond the school walls. Social software can help make a community feel smaller, more tightly-knit, and more closely connected to the rest of the world.

"Wow factor": many teachers want to get students writing as much as possible. Blogs provide novelty, risk of public performance, and interactive audience that can often gets kids really excited to write. This is true at all grade levels where students write on computers. Blogs also support some steps in the writing process, for example allowing multiple revisions of a document and sharing with peers and the teacher.

Publicity and communication: blogs provide a personal face to a school. Imagine the reader's experience if each division head and department director maintained a public-facing blog!

How do you find the time? Blogging "regulars" feel that you can't not find the time! We allocate our time based on the value of different activities. Bloggers tend to find the act of blogging so valuable that they make the effort to keep writing even when time gets cramped.

Getting started

Here are some links to help you get started as either a consumer or producer of blogs.

Catlin Gabel: all blog posts, create a new blog post

Blog websites (public): Blogger, Wordpress

Blog examples: The Daily Kos, Kassblog, Practical Theory, Throughlines, LeaderTalk

More about blogging: start at Wikipedia.

Will you start a blog (personal or professional)? Let me know!


Introduction to Moodle

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Moodle provides teachers with tools to organize course resources and continue student discussion outside of class time. If you haven't yet been to an introductory Moodle training, know that we are always happy to provide an individual or small-group training session! In many cases, this may be more useful to you than a large-group training.

You can get started with Moodle with just a few core skills. Some users happily use Moodle for years this way. Moodle is extremely powerful, yet there is little that you must use. Here are the basics.

1. Choose a course format that best suits your course web site needs (in Administration -> Settings -> Format).

Weekly format: web site organized around weeks
Topic format: web site organized around topics
Social format: web site organized around online discussion

To create a simpler page layout, delete unneeded blocks from the left and right-hand columns.


2. Moodle provides the tools where you need them.


To enter editing mode,  Turn editing on

Each learning object comes with a set of buttons. editing buttons

indent Indent
move Move
edit Edit
delete Delete
hide Hide/show (whether students can see this activity)
groups Groups (student groups complete this activity separately)

To add a resource or activity, use the drop-down menus.
add resource or activity

The  help buttons provide help where and when you need it.


3. The most popular resources and activities are:


link Link to a web site
pdf word Link to a file
web page Web page (you can write new content or paste web text in here)
forum Forum (great for extending class discussions outside of class time)
assignment Assignment (automatically appears in the student's calendar)
wiki Wiki (for collaborative writing, notetaking, and review sheets)
gallery Photo gallery (for teacher and/or student image files)


That's what we cover in our introductory Moodle training session! The bulk of the time is spent developing course web sites and trying out these tools. Let us know how we can support your course web site development. Ask Richard to create a new Moodle site for your course or classroom!