Tuesday, December 16, 2014

MSMS Exit Signs/Emergency Lighting

Certain exit signs and emergency lights can be connected to the fire alarm system. While the school does not have this at this time, it is a possibility. When the school replaces all the exit signs (they must all have this feature), they can order the “Fire alarm interface” option. When a signal is sent to the exit signs from the panel, the letters will flash on and off to attract attention to the sign. The flashes are slow with about a one-second time with the sign not being lit. This is uncommon, but can be found. The signs will remain consistently lit during normal times. The current setup here include red edge- lit signs, which feature a panel of glass with “EXIT” printed on it with LED-sensitive ink, with a strip of LEDs aiming down at the glass from the recessed box in the wall/ceiling where the actual electronics are. For higher-traffic areas, Lithonia Signature exit signs with red letters, black housing and brushed aluminum face are installed. No extra features (besides the normal required battery backup) are in use at this time.

Green letters, which are used in some installations and are occasionally seen here in this state, make much more sense than red, although many installations in eastern Massachusetts are red, despite the state allowing either color. Green light is easier for the eye to see, especially in conditions with reduced visibility, like smoke. Signs in almost all countries use a green sign with a symbol to make sure everyone understands the sign. Green LED signs use half the energy as red LED signs. On traffic lights, red means “stop” and green means “go.” Green light will stand out in flame-filled conditions, unlike red which blends in. With limited oxygen, people should not have to specifically look for the sign. It should stand out. When all the signs are replaced (the colors must be consistent), green exit signs should be used. State codes allow for either color, although red is, for some reason, currently recommended.

Another good idea is to install low level exit signs, and anti-slip glow-in-the-dark tape on stairs. Smoke can often obscure overhead exit signs, rendering them possibly useless. People will crawl on the ground if they have to, and will likely not notice exit signs even if they are not obscured. These signs are not very expensive, and require no electricians. They are mounted like a regular sheet of metal. They can easily save lives. This photoluminescent sign should also be installed in place of the old, broken electrical sign behind the curtain left over from before the renovation. The one behind the stage can be replaced with a new LED exit/emergency light hybrid with black housing. The other one above the stairs next to the stage could be more involved, so that can wait. Even though there is a sign inside the staircase, it is only visible from a few angles. In addition to low-level signs, staircases and other places where someone could be easily lost should be marked with glow-in-the-dark tape. The emergency lighting in the building relies on battery backup ballasts in some of the regular lights. The bulbs can burn out, batteries can fail and the light is not very evenly distributed throughout the halls. The auditorium does not even seem to have any emergency lighting other than exit signs. There are lots of places to trip and fall, or bump into something. The people using the spotlights are constantly falling down the stairs because they need to be quick when doing something, and it is usually dark during assemblies. These absorb light from the windows and lights that are always on during the day. Therefore, they will not add any operating costs to the electric bill. These are not required by law but is highly recommended in Massachusetts. These technologies can and will prevent many injuries and even save lives in case of an emergency. These and green exit signs  should be required by law (or at least recommended) in all new installations.

Green signs will be much more obvious in fire………………………………….Compared to this.


Green North American signs resemble the international sign much more closely than the red version. This is important as more and more people come to Massachusetts that are not familiar with the English language. The language issue is avoided, and the legibility is not worsened.

Great job Josh!!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

OSMO- Check out this cool new game to use with your iPad

Osmo is a unique gaming accessory for the iPad that comes with games that will change the way your child plays

Osmo is crafted with reflective artificial intelligence, a groundbreaking technology that bridges the real and digital realms for unlimited possibilities of play.

Do you have one? 
Send us a message to let us know your thoughts!

All about the MSMS Fire Alarm System

The fire alarm system in the Marshall Simonds Middle School is based on a Notifier Onyx fire alarm panel. It is a voice evacuation system. This means that instead of a sound produced through horns throughout a building, the panel sends information to fire alarm speakers.

image (9).jpeg                                                                  
System Sensor SPSR

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Notifier ONYX Fire Alarm Panel                                                                      
The speakers (combined with strobes) in this building are the System Sensor SPSR. This is good because it tells the occupants specific directions and information, instead of a generic-sounding horn or bell which could mean pretty much anything.

Responders can also use the microphone in the panel to announce live information mid-emergency to occupants throughout the building such as “The staircase at the end of B Corridor by the Art Rooms is flooded with smoke and toxic gases and should be avoided.” This would be very difficult to announce with a traditional alarm system, as the speakers normally used for announcements would likely be destroyed or have no power, and the system would be incapable of anything but make noise. People in the school would go to these places, thinking they were safe (there is an exit sign), and be put in more danger.

Thank you Josh for this information!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Hour of Code in Help Desk This Week!

iChart Maker- Our App Review

Review of iChart Maker:

iChart Maker says that it is for ages four and up. We found that it is not so kid friendly, it would be difficult for a four year old to make a chart or diagram. Both of us had a really hard time trying to figure out how to put our data in. It was confusing where to put what numbers. The rating was only one and a half stars out of five (we agree). The only positive side was that it was free.
Kara D. and Crissie C.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Meg's App Reviews- BRAINPOP

Meg's App Reviews

This Week... BRAINPOP!

Brainpop provides a startling amount of content for a free app. Students and
teachers get a new animated video every single day, followed by a quiz to see how much they understood. The range of topics alone: science, history, technology, art, etc, is simply amazing! Kids can watch a movie about the nature of dogs one day and then learn what a blog is the next. The movies are hosted by the hilarious animated duo of Tim and his robot, Moby.

What kids can learn-


Language & Reading Math
Social Studies

Thinking & Reasoning Self-Direction
Health & Fitness

MSMS 8th Graders Are all Talking about Google

Click on this link to find out why:


Monday, November 17, 2014

Our Cool Google Chat with a School in CA!

Last week, our students had the opportunity to "meet" with another group of 8th grade students from California who do what they do! The Mayan Genius Bar at Montgomery Middle School "chatted" with us during Activity Block so we could learn about each of our programs, and how they are alike and different. This is what we learned:

1. They have a "studio" for their group while we work in the Media Center (which they compared to the size of a stadium).

2. They meet before school, during lunch and during "Advisory Block" while we meet during Activity Block.

3. They love Educreations, iMovie and Explain Everything and we do too!

4. They don't use Google Classroom, so we told them how cool it is.

5. They promote their services by making announcements in school, through word of mouth and they have created a few commercials. That gave us the idea to create some of our own commercials about our Help Desk!

6. Their favorite "tech toy" is the Hologram Keyboard

7. Their favorite browser is Chrome

8. Their least favorite thing in technology right now is the iOS8 Update (they promised new emoji's and didn't deliver!)

We can't wait to "chat with them again soon!

You can see more about what they do here:

Thursday, November 6, 2014

We have a WINNER!

Thank you to all of the students who submitted their awesome LOGO's for our Helpdesk Blog!

The winning logo was created by Joicee, 7th grade. Congratulations!!

This logo will be featured on the top of our blog for the rest of the 2014-2015 school year.

Here are some of the other great entries we received:

Created by Meaghan, 8th grade

Created by Noel, 8th grade

Created by Jamie, 8th grade
Also, thank you to Aria (current 9th grader) for creating the logo we used for the 2013-2014 school year:

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Duolingo Review

Duolingo Review

Duolingo is an app that helps you to learn languages. It offers lessons on: Spanish, French, German, Portuguese, Italian, Dutch, Irish, Danish, and MANY more!

It’s easy to use, teaches pronunciation, uses fun pictures and is interactive (advances you to levels when you become proficient).
You can easily understand the words because you can slow them down to hear them better.
You can start at the beginner level or take a placement test so it begins at the level that’s perfect for you.

The main negative is that the pictures don’t help you learn the language because they sometimes give the answer.

This is a great app if you are looking to learn a language or enhance and language class that you are taking!

App Review by Jillian C.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Tech Tips from Josh

  1. To save battery life, disable Bluetooth, and turn the brightness as low as you can without straining your eyes


  2. If you are playing a game with ads, turn on airplane mode to disable those distracting ads. Obviously, this will only work if the game does not require internet connection


  3. If you use an accented letter such as รถ, your passcode can be very hard to guess.

  1. You can cut an iPhone-shaped hole in a Pringles can to amplify sound. 


  2. If you are worried about your music playing in your pocket, do not keep your headphones plugged in, because the remote will cause it to play. Instead, disable Control Center on the lock screen. 


  3. If you really can’t stand that Apple decided to put U2 songs on everyone’s devices, or you just hate songs you downloaded a while ago,  go to Settings>Music and disable “Show All Music.” 


  1. If you’re worried about missing important notifications from certain people, but don’t want your friends waking you up with useless, pointless texts like “I like food”, you can go into settings and add contacts to a list that bypasses Do Not Disturb


  1. The new Weather app is greatly improved, as many new features were added. It also switched away from Yahoo Weather to the more-accurate Weather Channel. 


  2. If you have iOS 8, It’s probably a good idea to fill out the Medical ID information in the Health app. This is so if something ever happened to you, EMS can see this information immediately.


10. When hearing an unfamiliar song, but want to know its title, you can ask Siri. 


Review of matchthememory.com

Match the Memory is a good website because you can use it for both studying and your social life. At first it’s tricky, but it’s easy to learn, and super fun. 


Instead of using pictures you can also use words. 
You can change the background.
Also you can change the font, font color, as well as font size. There are many options for the cards; for example you can use text and text, picture and text, picture and picture. You can choose to make it public, or not.

Reviewed by Becca and Jamillah

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Student Spotlights: Helpdesks Own Dynamic Duo and our New YouTube Channel

You can check out our Brand New YouTube Channel 
(Thank you Mrs. Floyd for creating it) here:

Here is a creative video Student Spotlight created by Helpdesker Twins Meaghan and Jamie:

We hope you will check out our videos!

*Leave a comment below to let us know what you think*

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Student Spotlight- Jillian

HI! My name is Jillian and I’m an eighth grader. If I had a superpower, I would want to be able to read people’s minds. I love circus peanuts and moose tracks ice cream. Snapchat, Instagram and pandora are a part of my everyday life. This summer I read The Fault in our Stars and I rate it 2 out of 5 stars. Filet Mignon with broccolini is my favorite dinner. I’m sensitive to bad smells and I do not like mean people. My family embraces Halloween and we go way over the top. During helpdesk I want to learn about certain apps and gain a deeper understanding of them.

Introducing Our 2014-2015 HelpDesk Crew and Logo Contest!

We are happy to present our new group!

Jillian, Noel, Jamillah, Becca, Meaghan, Jamie
Josh and Phillip

With Advisors, Mrs. Barkley, Mrs. Floyd and Mr. Carroll

If you like to CREATE LOGO's, consider entering our CONTEST:

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Student Spotlight- Josh

Hi, my name is Josh C. I have been in this activity block since October 2013. I love Microsoft and to a lesser extent Google, but I really hate Apple. I’ve always lived in Massachusetts and I play soccer.

Coming soon: Tech Tips from Josh!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

MSMS Help Desk 2014-2015

We are up and running again for the school year!

Our goal by the end of next week is to introduce ourselves on the blog using different forms of multimedia.

One new app we use is called FaceQ. Try it out!

Check back next week for our FaceQ's!

In the meantime, feel free to contact us at msmshelpdesk@bpsk12.org with any questions or suggestions for our blog this year.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Sneak Peak at IOS 8

MSMS HelpDesker, Shawn Tsotsi has put together a nice little presentation on what we can expect out of IOS 8. Shawn has a Mac Developer account, allowing him to install and test Apple products before they are released to the public. He thinks that we should be as equally interested on these excited changes.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Final Thoughts on MSMS Help Desk 2013-2014

Good Luck at the High School to all of our 
Hard Working 8th Graders! :)

A special THANK YOU to Mr. Dexter for his Dedication to his Students. You will be missed!!! :(

A few WORDS OF ADVICE to next year's Helpdeskers:

-Be nice to Mrs. Barkley
-Be prepared to have fun working on technology
-Choose a good group of students to work with
-Learn how to use an iron
-Respect 8th grade mentors (Josh and Matt- 7th grade pioneers)
-Think outside the iPad

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The Dreaded Shelf of Shame!!

7th Grader and Helpdesker Josh has made a decision:

"It’s been getting really annoying that everyone is just putting their iPads on top of the carts or just shoving them in our faces. We aren’t here to put the iPads away; we’re just here to plug them in and lock the cart. Now, in A11, anyone who doesn't put their iPad away has theirs left to die on the Shelf of Shame."

"The shelf above the numbers is the Shelf. If someone leaves their iPad on the Shame has auto-lock turned off and their iPad set to a white screen, guaranteeing a dead device the next morning. It seems to be effective."

Thank you Josh for standing up for other iPad Helpers!

The logo was created by Arya