Monday, August 31, 2015

Instructional Technology News - InTech 4.0

4 Points to Keep You Up to Date on All Things Digital
A Somewhat Periodic Blog Post from Instructional Technology
1. Google Student Accounts. Your students have GCISD Google accounts that give them access to Google Drive, Google Classroom (with teacher invitation), YouTube, Blogger, and many other online resources. Their username is their GCISD network login + Their password is the same password they use with their network login.

2. ARMS - is the place you go to change your password for lots of GCISD accounts including network, Google, Safari Montage and others. Did you know that ARMS also gives you access to your students' username and the ability to reset their password? You will not see their password so you can't look it up for them, but you can reset it for them. For more information, see this help sheet from the GCISD Technology Services Web Site: .
3. Digital Citizenship - Through their work with Elementary 1:1, @amypintx and @msbearce created a resource for students to safely and easily search for images online. These are also great resources for middle and high school - .

4. #gcisdchat is back! GCISD teachers are extremely active on Twitter! For more information about upcoming Twitter chat topics, how to get connected, and district and campus hashtags, visit

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

New features in Google Classroom

All summer long we've been saying to teachers, "Google Classroom *just* has announcements and assignments. Only 2 options!" So of course the first day of school they release new features! We are excited about the features, though, so we wanted to tell you about them ASAP.

When creating assignments, you can now turn the due dates on or off, as well as the time it's due.

When you log into your Google Classroom, you'll see that the empty box at the top to add assignments or announcements is gone. Instead you'll see a red + sign, exactly like the one in the Google Drive app in the bottom right corner. 
By clicking it, you'll now you have the options to:

  • Create announcement
  • Create assignment
  • Create question
  • Reuse post
Creating a question will allow students to not only respond to the question you post, but also respond to each other's questions in the thread.

By clicking reuse post, you'll get to choose from previous classes and choose old posts to use in your class this year. 

You can also move any post to the top of the stream or "bump" it up to the top. You do this by clicking the three vertical lines next to a post and click "Move to top." It will stay on the top until you create a new post.

Finally, the assignment view has been changed. After clicking on assignment, you'll see your students listed to the left and a screenshot of their assignment to the right. As you can see in the example I can see if they even opened it, as the ones without screenshots of the actual assignment show that they did not. It also makes it easy to both add a grade and view assignments at the same time.

For more from the official Google for Education blog read this article about more upcoming fall 2015 features, including calendar integration and attaching Google Forms for quizzes.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Padlet app for the iPad

Padlet is a creation & collaboration tool that is free to use with your students or faculty. When you create a new padlet, you are making a virtual wall for people to post ideas or respond to questions that your students can see and add to with the padlet link.

You can login to Padlet with your GCISD Google account to set up a new wall where people can post. Students can do the same, or they can continue to your wall without a login, which makes it easier for them to use. They can contribute to the wall you create with pictures or text. You can customize this information to show up as freeform posts or as a stream of information. 

Recently, Padlet released an app for the iPad. When students open the app, they have the option of scanning a QR code or entering the URL of the wall you have created for them. Adding to the wall itself works similarly to the experience they would have using a browser. Double tapping the wall brings up the box to add media. Padlet can be used for a myriad of activities: brainstorming, book reviews, formative assessment on a topic, or even as a library suggestion box! In what ways do you use Padlet?

For more on Padlet, see this previous post from the GCISD Lead With Technology Blog.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Controlling the Projector from a SAFARI Montage Virtual Remote

The classroom projector can now be controlled from your computer through SAFARI Montage if the remote is damaged or misplaced. Because of restrictions in the newer Chrome browser this cannot be used in Chrome. This functionality will work in Firefox, Internet Explorer, and Safari web browsers.

Using the virtual remote in SAFARI Montage:
Virtual Remote layout for a classroom Interactive Projector
  • Projector On/Off buttons
  • Volume buttons
  • Mute On/Off buttons
  • Freeze screen/Un-Freeze screen buttons available
  • Menu
  • Can be used in common areas such as a Lecture Hall, SAC, etc., if there is a need to project from a computer and the remote is missing or not found, this virtual remote can be used.
Note: If used in a common area with a projector that is not interactive, all the virtual remote buttons are available. The layout on the virtual remote may be a little different than the picture in this post.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Student Data Notebooks

Many elementary campuses are exploring ways for students to track their own data and set goals electronically.  I spent some time experimenting with it this summer and have created a sample "Goal Setting Notebook" in Google Slides.  

Here are some example slides:

By creating tables, students can enter numerical data or color code cells to track growth.

Students can even insert pictures of digital or paper work into their "notebook".

To view the entire sample notebook I created, click HERE.  You're welcome to make a copy of it and modify for your students.  Or click this link to automatically make a copy in your drive.  

Now for the big question... how do I get a copy of this to my students?  Here are some options:

1.  Google Classroom - If you're using Google Classroom, there's an option on Assignments to make a copy of a file for each student.  It's super easy and it will name each document with the student's name.

2.  Force "Make a Copy" - In the spring I blogged a trick for forcing a copy of a document.  Some OC Taylor teachers used this for sharing Plan, Do, Study, Act documents.  View that blog post here:

What do you think?  What other forms would you like for your students to use?  I'd love to add things to my sample notebook!

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