At Bits & Pieces we are excited to start another year supporting all of your educational technology needs. To help you navigate both The BNP and the bigger waters of educational technology, we’ve put together this handy guide to all things Bits and Pieces.
Read on to find out all that it can do.
Using Bits & Pieces
Tool Bits are short, bite-size posts that detail how to use a tech tool. These won’t tell you all the ways you can use the tool, instead we focus on one feature or application of the tool. Our hope is that this will give insights into new ways to use these tools and also feel manageable in terms of implementation.
We also want Tool Bits to be something that keeps you coming back for more. To help with that we are going to be posting on a regular schedule so that you can know when to find our latest bit on your favorite tool.
Two Powerful Tools With New Features
Last year, we added Seesaw and Teams to our district supported tools.
Seesaw is a student-driven digital portfolio that allows students and teachers to easily document learning. Many teachers in our district are already using it with students and families. Issaquah School District pays for Seesaw for Schools, which gives elementary teachers and administrators more tools and coordination than the free version.
Seesaw released a major update in June that makes it an even better tool to support and showcase student learning.
Here is a list of the newest features:
- Full Screen Canvas
- Expressive Pens,
- Shapes, including polygons, speech and thought bubbles, mathematical symbols and music symbols
- Ability to draw and record voice at the same time on all platforms (iOS and web)
- Multiple photos that can be easily resized and movable (up to 25 pictures at a time)
- Backgrounds including graph, lined and music staff backgrounds
The greatest thing about the new updates is that everything can be done on the same canvas instead of having to click to different screens to use different features. So, whether it is math, writing, social studies, art, music or physical education class…Seesaw works for everything in the school day. And now it works great on any device that students have access.
To learn more about Seesaw and to get started using it, click on the patch below.
Teams is a platform that works inside of Office 365 to help you connect and work with staff and students around documents and files. It allows users to create teams, invite people to join and then chat around and share documents easily. Within in each team, members can create channels that come with a text based conversation space, a place to load and share files and the ability to customize through the addition of tabs that can connect to documents and other tools.
Microsoft makes a special version of Teams called Class Teams that is designed and set-up to be used with students. This version includes a few more settings that allow teachers more granular control over permissions while still maintaining the collaborative benefits of Teams.
Here is a list of the newest features:
- Grid View for easier navigation and better focus
- Use the new Announcements feature in conversations to highlight important info
- Improved Assignments creation and management experience
- Share rubrics
- Grade on iOS and Android devices
- Create channels for specific groups of students
This year, we have provisioned a Class Team for each section that a teacher has for all teachers of grades 3 – 12. What this means, is that when you log into Teams, you will see a team for each class you teach and your students will already be added as members. (Don’t worry, you don’t have to use it, and students won’t see it unless you do use it.)
Collaboration between students is super easy as any document shared in a channel is automatically shared with the whole team.
One killer feature that is available to teachers, is the ability to create assignments from Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote files and easily distribute copies to students. Students are then able to complete their work right in the app and turn it in to the teacher. Finally, teachers can attach custom rubrics that will automatically tabulate the score. To learn more about Teams, and get started using it click on the patch below.
We update Bits & Pieces all the time. It can be hard to keep up with. To make keeping up easier, we have enabled a ‘follow’ feature which will send an email to your ISD inbox each time we update (or you can choose to get a digest version.)
The New Tools Podcast
In addition to a variety of supports and resources available on ISD tech (see below on finding ISD tech resources) we also have a fortnightly podcast called The New Tools. It is a conversation about using technology in the classroom that is available through iTunes and Stitcher. We just posted our Back to School episode, check it out while you drive go or go out for a run.
Finding Tech Resources
The start of a new school year is always exciting, action-packed and often, there is little time to stop and avail ourselves of all the resources and tools at our disposal. To help you take notice of, and find some of those resources, Bits and Pieces, has created introductions to essential ISD tech resources and tools that will help you in creating powerful learning experiences for your students.
Click on the patches below to be taken to an introduction page for that tool or resource. In addition to helping you become familiar with the resources, these introductions will also direct you to supports that will help you learn and implement these tools, find out who to ask for help and provide some helpful hints for using the tools effectively.
Getting Paid to Learn Tech
Issaquah School District works hard to provide resources to you and also to make sure you are paid for your time. In order to help you know what you’ve been paid for we created the Tech Pay Tracker. Click on the patch below to find out about being paid for tech training and also to access the Tech Pay Tracker.
As more and more of our curriculum is moving into the digital sphere, managing passwords and remembering links has become harder. To help secondary teachers and students more easily manage all of the resources and passwords, ISD has turned to Classlink, an online tool and desktop application that connects you to the resources you need and evens puts in the passwords for you. Click on the patch below to learn more about how Classlink can help. To help elementary teachers and students more easily manage all of the resources and passwords, ISD has turned to Clever, on online tool that helps manage passwords and provides links to district supported tools. Click on the Clever patch to find out more info on using Clever.
We also know that finding out about training opportunities can sometimes be difficult. To help with that we have created an tech training calendar. You can access it by clicking on the patch below. Additionally, every Friday, we will have a post that highlights tech training opportunities coming up soon. Look for the patch or check the calendar to keep up on the latest opportunities for growth and support.