Thursday, April 28, 2016

PISD Photo Posting Guidelines

Do you have a great photo of students but are unsure if you can Tweet it? Do you update your school's Facebook page and want to use a great photo of students? The new photo posting guidelines allow us to post photos of students if

1. a parent has granted Plano ISD permission and
2. the principal has the username and password to any social media accounts where the photos will be posted.

Posting photos of students on personal social media accounts is not allowed and, as always, posting photos of children without direct parental/guardian permission is prohibited.

This handy chart can help you determine if you should post a photo of a student or not.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Which browser should I use?!

We have the pleasure of working with elementary teachers at their PLC meetings when they so graciously invite us to join in. At a recent meeting, teachers expressed frustration about the variety of websites that function best on different browsers. "Which browser are we supposed to use?!"

Their Campus Technology Assistant (CTA) had given them a print-out of suggested browsers at the beginning of the year. I took his great idea and ran with it. I wanted it to be a living breathing document online that I could keep updated and make it available for the whole school district. 

Below is the Google Doc of recommended browsers for any given website that teachers or students might use. Drawing any conclusions? Basically, make Chrome your default browser and you're likely to have little resistance from most websites. 

What am I missing? Please comment on this blog post or contact one of us in Instructional Technology and we'll add it!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

The Benefits of Learning Communities

Are you a member of a learning community? Hopefully your school provides you with many opportunities to learn from each other; as such, your campus is likely your primary learning community. But technology has made it possible to learn from a host of people outside the walls of your building. Participating in virtual learning communities allows you to take charge of your own professional learning and delve deeper into issues that would enhance your professional growth. You might start as a consumer (i.e. one who just listens/reads) or you could jump in and join in the online conversations that so often take place among the passionate educators who participate.

Here are some suggestions to help get you started: has subgroups for every possible teacher interest, from Autism and other Special Needs groups to grade level or curricular groups. Teachers can even create their own groups in the unlikely event that they can’t locate an existing group for their particular interest.

Facebook offers pages for just about any interest, and Educational Technology is no exception. In addition to Technology groups like TCEA and ISTE, there are Facebook groups for Reading teachers (such as the International Literacy Association), Math teachers (National Council of Teachers of Mathematics), Science Teachers (National Science Teachers Association) and more.

Google for Education
Google has designed free online training, and very affordable steps to achieve certification at varied levels of proficiency, including Google Certified Educator, Google Certified Trainer, and Google Certified Innovator.

Google+/Google Plus is a social network with innumerable options for educators. The service’s primary purpose is to “deliver information, spark discovery and foster conversation between users.”
 It offers many of the same kinds of groups that are available on or Facebook; Educators Technology has publised a list of 10 Google Plus Communities Every Teacher Should Know About.

The International Society for Technology in Education is “the premier nonprofit organization serving educators and education leaders committed to empowering connected learners in a connected world.” Subgroups such as the Ed Tech Coaches Network, Digital Citizenship Network, and Literacy Network are examples of online communities in which educators can participate to grow professionally.

Region 10
The Region 10 Educational Service Center hosts a technology conference each year in May. The annual event brings together teachers and campus and district leaders “to share practical digital learning tools and strategies to create engaging classrooms and life-long learners.”!conference/c46c

The Texas Computer Educators Association boasts 35 years of experience integrating technology in schools. TCEA exists to improve teaching and learning through the use of computers and technology and offers many special interest groups (SIGs) to appeal to a wide variety of educator interests.

Although the micro-blogging site might be in decline, educators continue to have many choices in chat topics. Twitter provides countless opportunities for educators to “meet” and chat about a wide variety of subjects related to education.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Conferences Coming Soon!

Are you looking for some fun learning opportunities? Below are some conferences and workshops available in the Dallas-Fort Worth area in the next few months. Did we forget one? Please comment below and share any other learning opportunities in our area!

Conference Title: E-merge: Fusing Technology and Pedagogy
Date: April 7
Location: Region 11 ESC
Cost: $25.00
Info and Registration Here

Conference Title: TXGoo (Google)
Date: May 14
Location: Frisco, TX
Cost: $80
Info and Registration Here

Conference Title: Region 10 Tech Conference  
Date: May 18
Location: Region 10 ESC
Cost: FREE
Info and Registration Here

Conference Title: GAFE North Texas Summit
Date: June 8 - 9
Location: Burleson, TX
Cost: after April 8, $329
Info and Registration Here

Conference Title: MISD Converge
Date: June 21 - 23
Location: McKinney, TX
Cost: FREE
Info and Registration Here 

Conference Title: Elementary Con
Date: June 23 - 24
Location: Region 11 ESC
Cost: $100
Info and Registration Here 

Conference Title: TIA
Date: July 19 - 20
Location: Denton, TX
Cost: $35
Info and Registration Here

Conference Title: TCEA Tots and Technology
Date: July 24 - 26
Location: Frisco, TX
Cost: $279
Info and Registration Here

Conference Title: PISD Summer Elementary Academy*
Date: July 26 - 28
Location: Plano, TX
Cost: FREE
*This event is only for PISD staff. Schedule will be complete mid-April.

Conference Title: Edcamp Global
Date: July 29 - 30
Location: Online, 24-hour edcamp
Cost: FREE

Conference Title: ETSI*
Date: August 1 - 4
Location: Plano, TX
Cost: FREE
*This event is only for PISD staff. Applications are being accepted until April 8.