ITRT News & Updates

November 2014 - Elementary Newsletter

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MS Office 2013

Now that HCPS has upgraded to Office do we work with Office files (Word, PPT, Excel, etc.) that were created in previous versions of Office?

If you open a document that was created in an earlier version of Office:

What happens?

  • You'll see the words [Compatibility Mode] next to the file name on the title bar. Compatibility Mode makes sure that no new features in Office 2013 are available in the file, so that people using earlier versions can work with it.
What should I do?

  • You can work in Compatibility Mode or you can convert your file to the new format. To convert the file, click File > Info > Convert. Converting your file lets you use the new features available in 2013, but people using earlier versions of the file might have difficulty editing certain parts.
If someone has an earlier version of Office and opens a 2013 version:

What happens?

  • They may not be able to change some of the items that were created using 2013 features.
What should I do?

  • If you need to share a 2013 file with someone using an earlier version of Office, run the compatibility checker tool to make sure the file will work for them. Click File > Info > Check for Issues > Check Compatibility. This tool tells you which new features in Office 2013 won't work in older versions.


NEW: My Organizations - HCPS Professional Development

When you log into Blackboard, you will see “HCPS Professional Development” under the “My Organizations” section. There you will find links to district-wide professional development sites and information including the new Gale-Cengage eBooks. Check here for information on National Board, Teacher Leadership Institute, On-Demand PD, and more.

Web 2.0 Tool - PADLET

What is Padlet? Padlet is a free, web-based collaborative whiteboard that can be used to create or share information in numerous ways. Users can share text, images, videos, or web-links on a wall.

How can I use it with my students? A simple use of Padlet could be to present a story starter or other topic and ask each student to respond or have one student start a story and the others continue it, one at a time, until a whole class story with contributions from the entire class has been created. You could consider using Padlet as an exit ticket, or as a way for students to show how they solved a math problem. The possibilities are endless!

Why would I want to use Padlet? The power of Padlet is in the collaboration – any number of students can be working on the same wall at the same time. And, based on the privacy settings you choose, your wall can be shared, viewed, added to, and even edited by others outside of your classroom walls!


Organize everything! Evernote is a cloud storage application that allows users to add notes via text, audio, or images and organize them into online files- called ‘notebooks’. Evernote is designed to 'remember everything' and allows users to easily collect and find data on multiple devices. Evernote and a mobile device combined allow teachers to work effectively, move around the school and not be tethered to a desk in the classroom, with everything they need at their fingertips. To effectively become organized with Evernote many teachers are storing student assessment notes and portfolios, lesson plans and administrative tasks within the app. This means that no matter where the educator is, home or school, they can access all of their information efficiently.

Evernote is also supported on Android, MAC, PC and web.

Resources for Evernote

Please Note: When receiving an iPad for school use through school funds, grants, donations, PTA funds, etc., initial set up has to be completed by your ITRT. Please contact your ITRT as soon as you receive the iPad(s).

Pixie 4

Pixie 4 has countless templates that align with the elementary curriculum and are ready to use! Pixie 4 can be found in the "Elementary" folder in your programs list. Follow this path to find pre-made templates - Click "Project" > New > Scroll down to "Activities" and select a subject folder.

Formative Assessment

Do you Kahoot? Many teachers have been using this popular tool with students. Check out this blog post with 10 ideas on how to use Kahoot. It's like using the clickers with your students, but easier and can be used with mobile devices as well as regular computers.

Kahoot is a great tool to use for BYOD (Bring your own device). Here are some great BYOD resources from a well-known technology integrator, Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher.

Hopefully you will get a chance to try out Kahoot in your classroom! Contact me and we can work together on getting this great tool up and running with your students.

Social Media Spotlight:

We are excited to offer a workshop series to parents called Connecting Families-Helping Parents Connect with their Children’s Digital Lives.

The goal of this workshop series is to support families in raising kids who think critically, participate responsibly, and behave ethically in their online lives. The program materials were developed by Common Sense Education and are endorsed by the National PTA.

November Workshop Dates/Descriptions:

November 10, 2014

7:00-8:30 pm at Lee-Davis High School

Digital Drama:

How do kids experience social drama online?

November 24, 2014

7:00-8:30 pm at Chickahominy Middle School

Digital Footprints and Photo Sharing:

What makes up your digital footprint?

Who can access the content you share online?

Follow the ITRT's on Twitter @ITRThcps

Technology Integration

Technology changes constantly! One of the most common things we hear as technology integrators is, "I'm not very tech saavy. Everything is constantly changing and I can't keep up." You're not alone! So as educators, how do we stay abreast of best practices when we're inundated with other job duties and expectations? Here are 5 tips you can follow according to the Edutopia article titled, How to Integrate Tech When it Keeps Changing.

Read more about it here.

  1. Take off your expert hat!
  2. Get to know the standards!
  3. Reach out to thought leaders.
  4. Interact with students via tech.
  5. Read Henry Jenkins.

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EdTech 2015 Conference

Thursday, March 12th 2015 at 8:30am

1000 Floyd Ave

Richmond, VA

Save the date - The EdTech conference is back!

For those unfamiliar with EdTech, it is a regional educational technology conference geared towards teachers, administrators, school librarians, and ITRTs. This year's theme is Personalized Learning: Sparking Innovations for Students and Self.

This one-day conference will be held at Virginia Commonwealth University on Thursday, March 12th.

Interested in presenting at this conference? Click here to submit a proposal. The call for proposals ends on December 19th.

More information on this conference will be coming soon - stay tuned!