Wednesday, March 21, 2018


Teachers are often our best resources for new technology tips! This week's suggestion is Rocketbook, a great low-tech/high-tech combination that might be very useful for you and your students. Shoutout to Angie Kloppmann, 5th grade teacher at Dooley Elementary, for calling this cool tool to our attention.

Rocketbook Everlast is a notebook with special pages. Take notes as you would in any regular notebook, using a Pilot Frixion pen, then scan the page with the Rocketbook app. Your handwritten notes will automatically upload to the pre-selected destination of choice. This TechCrunch article has more information about the notebook's development.

Per the Rocketbook website, the Rocketbook app crops and enhances each page so your digital notes are more crisp and vibrant than the real thing. Symbols at the bottom of each page allow you to send your notes to specific locations in the cloud services you already use. You can see the seven icons faintly in the image below:

In the app, select the destination that each icon will represent. You have lots of choices! Each icon can be assigned to a particular destination, as shown here:

After taking the picture above with my phone's camera, I used the app to scan the page. In under five seconds, the PDF (minus the QR code and the icons at the bottom of the page) showed up in my inbox.

I'm guessing your wheels are already spinning with ways that you could use this in your classroom, but here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Use the Rocketbook under your document camera to take notes for students. Send to a shared Google folder that your students can access to remind them about what happened in class or catch them up if they were absent.
  • Take notes "the old-fashioned way" at a meeting and email them to yourself or your co-workers. 
  • Print the free Rocketbook PDFs and use the app on your device to send student work directly to the destination of your choice. Note that there are blank, music staff, graph, and lined pages in this folder.

When you've saved your notes, just take a damp cloth and wipe the page clean so you can use it again! (It really works.)

Normally we don't recommend tools that you'll have to pay for, but this one might be worth it. If you decide to try it out, purchase a Rocketbook here. Then install the free Rocketbook app on your smartphone or tablet and start scanning! Let us know how you're using Rocketbook in your classroom!

Friday, March 9, 2018

Chromebook Tip: How to Pin a Website to your Shelf

The Shelf is the bar along the bottom of your Chromebook screen. Pinning sites and apps to your shelf allows for easy access no matter what window/browser/app you have open at the time. 

1. Open the website you'd like to pin. For example, 

2. Click on the three vertical dots on the top right of your browser. 

3. Go down to "More Tools" and then "Add to Shelf". 

settings, more tools, add to shelf

4. Give the site a name and then click Add. 

enter name of site to add to shelf

It will now appear on your shelf for easy access in the future! 
pisd hotspot website pinned to shelf

How is it different from a Bookmark?

When you add a website to your Favorites (or "bookmark" it), it's accessible from the browser. When you pin a site to the Shelf it's accessible no matter where you are. 

For more Chromebook tips, visit our Chromebook Academy website!

Need Help?

Contact your PISD Digital Learning Team for help!

Friday, March 2, 2018

An Update on our Chromebook Rollout

We are getting those Chromebooks rolled out - more campuses have classroom sets every week. Our role as Digital Learning specialists is not limited to simply showing teachers how to use these great new tools, and we can offer teachers more than simply great tips and tricks for basic Chromebook usage. As we make our way around to every PISD campus, we educate our users on several key elements of successful technology use.
  1. ISTE Standards: these standards are now written in to Texas law and provide aspirational guidelines for students and educators alike 
  2. The SAMR model of technology integration: helping educators to use the tools at more than just the substitution level
  3. The TPACK framework: encouraging all educators to keep the focus on content and pedagogy (the most important parts of the framework)
  4. How to select the best technology tool for a particular task or lesson
If we haven't made it to your campus yet, don't worry! It's likely that we will be paying you a visit soon. We also plan to loop around to all the campuses again and again so we can follow up introductory visits with those that are more pedagogically based.

We often mention "creation over consumption" when we talk Chromebooks. Consumption activities are those like drill and practice websites, watching YouTube videos, or simply looking up facts online. Some research indicates that students in underserved communities are more likely to be directed to drill and practice activities and may have fewer opportunities to create content, so we try to make sure that all teachers are aware of this possibility. Creation activities require higher level thinking skills and might involve collaborating on a Google doc or using a new tool to create a presentation. I liked this list of 50 Chromebook tools to inspire students that I found recently. These creation-oriented tool suggestions can work across curricular areas - just be sure to check the privacy policies if you work with students under the age of 13.

An additional emphasis that we try to mention in every training is digital citizenship. Now that our students have access to more devices, it is more important than ever to teach our students to use them wisely. We live in an unfiltered world, and we need to be helping our students learn to deal with digital distraction and digital focus, how to interact appropriately online, and how to use the democratizing power of the Internet for passion projects.

Your digital learning team is here to help you make the most of those Chromebooks! Please contact any of us if you would like to arrange training for your team or if you have any questions.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Spotlight on a Student-Centered Digital Tool - Padlet

If you have used Padlet in the past and weren't too impressed with its functionality, look again. This very simple to use tool has been updated and the changes are highly impressive. Let's discuss.

Padlet is a collaborative digital board in which students are able to quickly add their comments, thoughts, vlogs, blogs, etc. The teacher is the facilitator and the students do the work.  Here are some examples of what your students can do with Padlet (click on the hyperlinks below):

Fact or Fiction  Field Trip Photo Contest  Math PD Reflection  

There are currently nine ways in which students are able to add their work directly onto a Padlet:

  • Text
  • Hyperlinks
  • File Upload
  • Video recorded with webcam/ mobile phone camera (5 min limit)
  • Audio recorded directly on Padlet (15 min limit)
  • Scribble/ free hand drawing on Padlet
  • Pictures taken with webcam/ mobile phone camera
  • Google Search to add images, video, GIF, or link
  • Google Map
In addition, the teacher has the ability to enable up/down voting, star ratings, peer commenting, and grading. 

Now it's time for you to add your ideas to our Padlet wall. Feel free to share what you are doing in your classroom with Padlet.

Monday, February 19, 2018

ETSI 2018

Plano ISD's Educational Technology Success Initiative (ETSI) is returning for its 5th year! Due to a shortened summer, ETSI will be only one day, have a smaller number of attendees, and will be held in the PISD Administration Building Board Room.

ETSI 2018 will focus specifically on growing great digital citizens. As our district continues to grow in a 1:1 Chromebook environment, our focus is to support safe, effective, and positive digital learning. This one day event will provide strategies for educators who want to improve their practice in modeling digital learning. 

Interested in attending ETSI 2018? Each campus principal will be selecting one professional educator from the campus to attend ETSI. Any unclaimed seats will be available in MyLearningPlan. Enrollment information including specific procedures and dates can be found on the ETSI Registration site: .

Please follow ETSI on Twitter for reminders, updates, resources, and sneak peeks! We look forward to this fun, engaging learning opportunity! 

Monday, February 5, 2018

Edpuzzle now has PD Certificates!

What is Edpuzzle?

Edpuzzle is a video platform for teachers and students. You can create a video, or use an existing video, and make it interactive with questions throughout. AND you can view/download the results. It's totally awesome. Check out more here: What is Edpuzzle? and watch this short video:

PD Certificates

Edpuzzle now offers a professional development certificate program. Educators can earn PD Certificates by completing Edpuzzle training modules. The certificates they offer include:

Edpuzzle Level 1
Edpuzzle Level 2
Edpuzzle Coach
Edpuzzle Flipped
Planning Certification
Execution Certification
Big Goals Certification
Diversity & Inclusion Certification
Student Hero Certification
21st Century Learning
Personalized Learning
Tech Integration

Visit their website to learn more about what each certificate has to offer:

Do your T-TESS goals include technology? 

Start with the Edpuzzle Level 1 certificate to not only become familiar with Edpuzzle but to learn how this awesome tool can help you in your classroom tech integration efforts.

Please Tweet your learning and include the hashtags #pisdtech and #pisdlearns!

As always, your Instructional Technology Specialists will gladly help you with your tech integration goals.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Get Ready for Digital Learning Day!

Digital Learning Day 2018 will be on February 22! Digital Learning Day is an annual event that began in 2012, and the purpose is to "highlight great teaching practice and showcase innovative teachers, leaders, and instructional technology programs that are improving student outcomes" using technology. But as all great teachers who use technology know, our work is never about any particular tech tool; it's about LEARNING!

The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) has created Standards for Students that are designed to help students thrive in a constantly-changing world. These standards provide a wonderful starting point for understanding how technology can impact learning. As you consider how you and your students might become involved in Digital Learning Day, start with these standards, think about how they apply to your curricular goals, and focus on how technology impacts your learners. In other words, don't use technology just for technology's sake.

Are your students Empowered Learners who "leverage technology to take an active role in choosing, achieving and demonstrating competency in their learning goals"? Are you helping your students to be outstanding Digital Citizens who "recognize the rights, responsibilities and opportunities of living, learning and working in an interconnected digital world"? When you think of a Knowledge Constructor as a student who "critically curates a variety of resources using digital tools to construct knowledge, produce creative artifacts and make meaningful learning experiences for themselves and others" - what students come to mind? Celebrate these students - as well as those Innovative Designers, Computational Thinkers, Creative Communicators, and Global Collaborators - not just on Digital Learning Day, but every day!

If your classroom or school would like to participate in Digital Learning Day, just head on over to their website to see the list of resources. You can see examples of what other schools are doing and add your school's name to the #DLDay Map. Be sure to follow Digital Learning Day on Twitter and Facebook.

Regardless of whether you choose to officially participate in the 2018 Digital Learning Day, be sure that you are integrating technology seamlessly, always starting with your learners and learning goals and then selecting the best tool to help you meet those goals. Sometimes that tool will be a pencil or a calculator; other times it will be a creating a greenscreen presentation or participating in a videoconference with a scientist. If you're not sure how best to accomplish a digital learning goal, your Instructional Technology team would love to help you! Please reach out to Clara, Fern, Leah, or Nancy - we love to assist you in implementing just the right tool.

And let us know if you decide to put your name on that Digital Learning Day map!