Bastrop Tech News

Winter 2015

Happy Holidays!

Can you believe the semester is over?! And what a semester it's been!

I was reflecting on this recently - how lucky I am to get to support the fantastic students, faculty, and admin of this district. I'm constantly in awe of the dedication, creativity, patience (!!!), and flexibility that you all possess, and I think we need a venue to 1) showcase that, 2) share ideas, and 3) provide updates and resources that you all might find helpful. So, welcome to Bastrop Tech News! :)

Check out some of the photos and videos showcasing the brilliance and innovation that we see on our campuses every single day in this district. Also, I've included some tech tips and ideas, a preview of some opportunities coming up, and info on how to submit your own awesome campus photos and videos for showcase in these mini-newsletters!

I hope you and yours have a terrific break, full of good times, good food, good company, and lots of relaxation!


Students program robots to spread holiday cheer

Ms. Perkins' students built and programmed robots that participated in a holiday parade and some animated holiday windows - check out the videos below!
Holiday Parade
Christmas Windows

Five Tech Tips & Tools:

  1. Google Cardboard & Cardboard Camera
    Have you had a chance to play with Google Cardboard yet? It's a device and free app that transforms any smartphone into a Virtual Reality machine, literally made of cardboard and therefore super affordable. Pair that with their free Cardboard Camera app, and you can take 360 degree photos with sound using your smartphone, thus allowing you to create your own VR experiences! And you can also check out Expeditions, which are super exciting and coming as soon as next semester!

  2. YouTube #360video
    I mentioned this in an email earlier, but if you haven't had a second to do so, search for #360video in your YouTube app on your phone, then twirl around and watch the video from any angle. It's wild. Think of the possibilities - virtual field trips! Creative student products! Immersive lesson enrichment!

  3. Prodigy Game
    Do you teach (or know a kiddo who is in) K-8 math? Prodigy Game is a free (you'll notice that's my favorite price) web game that allows teachers to assign specific math TEKS to individual students, and their character then practices those skills to get ahead and earn points! Every teacher I know who has tried it loves it, because their students love it. Did I mention it's free? :)

  4. Smarter Google Searches
    Google has Search Operators that will change your life if you don't already know about and use them. Trying to find an editable word doc discussing World War II? Search by file type (ex. "World War II filetype:doc"). Looking for which campus that BISD person who emailed you is from? Search for their name within our domain (ex. "Bruce Mercer"). And don't worry - you don't need to remember all the operators - just use their advanced search feature!

  5. Pro tip: Chrome Browser Task Manager
    You know how there's a task manager that will allow you to shut down certain computer applications if they freeze up or stop responding? Well, Chrome has a task manager that works within the browser, which allows you to shut down a specific tab that's giving you trouble without having to close completely out of the browser! Just click "Shift + ESC". Then ask yourself, how am I just now learning about this?

Your turn to share!

See something innovative and exciting happening on your campus? Do you have a great tech tip/tool you want to share? Contact Emily Bain via email, phone, twitter, or through the Google form embedded below!