Gettin' Techy With It

KISD Instructional Technology Newsletter

Happy Fall, Y'all!

I'm Dr. Spencer - your district Instructional Technologist! I am back with our next monthly newsletter full of tips, tricks, resources, and shout outs! It is hard to believe we are nine weeks into the school year. It is also hard to believe it's October ... in Texas. All I know for sure is it's football season which is the best season! I've also been enjoying all things pumpkin. (My fellow pumpkin lovers will understand - it's never too early!)

The Curriculum & Student Services team has been visiting campuses as much as possible. It has been a joy seeing all the wonderful things you all are doing with your students daily. I love when teachers grab me to show me the technology they are using with students. I look forward to more campus visits and seeing more technology integration in the classrooms!

Want to win a prize?

Show us how you are integrating technology into your classroom! Post pictures with the hashtag #KennedaleProud and #KennedaleTech. You can also email us your photos and a short blurb to be shared on our social media page. We will pick a winner at the end of October!

Tech Teacher Shout Out!

Mrs. Troche at R. F. Patterson Elementary uses her Interactive Whiteboard daily with her second grade students. In Mrs. Troche's second grade classroom students work in small group rotations. One of the rotations allows students to practice their math skills independently using the Interactive Whiteboard. Students are given a math problem to solve and interact with the whiteboard to show their answer. Students practice independently while Mrs. Troche is working at her teacher table with a small group. This allows her to closely monitor her students on the Interactive Whiteboard but give students ownership of their learning. We love seeing teachers replace their worksheets with something engaging and interactive.

Know a teacher integrating technology to create engaging lessons? Send us an email to have them featured in next month's newsletter and on social media!

Big picture

Flipgrid Fever

#FlipgridFever has taken school districts by storm!! Flipgrid is a free resource for students to respond with voice and video recordings. Start with an icebreaker, add weekly reflections, share book talks, explore STEM principles, give mini-presentations - the options are truly endless!

How does it work? Teachers create a prompt on Flipgrid for students to respond and discuss. The teacher will share the Flipgrid code for students to access the prompt. No student accounts are needed! When students enter the code, they will put their name, read the instruction and prompt, and then record their responses. Students can add some spice to their prompt by using a whiteboard, video styles, text, emoji, inking and more! After students post their responses, they can give a "high five," like a video, and respond to each other. Flipgrid can be done on any device with a camera.

Flipgrid also has ways to connect with families at home. Student responses can be put into a MixTape and shared with families to view. Teachers can also turn on Guest Mode Topics which allows for families to participate from home.

The newest addition to Flipgrid is Flipgrid AR. Create a QR code for every Flipgrid video and view the magic of student voice in augmented reality. As codes are scanned, the Flipgrid video the student created will appear!

Don't forget to explore the Disco Library which is full of endless prompts teachers can use in the classroom. Do you have EL students in your classroom who need speaking practice for TELPAS? Flipgrid has prompts specifically designed to help those students practice speaking and listening! The Disco Library has well over 10,000+ prompts ready for any topic!

The possibilities are endless! Students can go on a text feature hunt, explain how they solved a difficult math problem, provide a response for a book review - so many ways Flipgrid can be used to engage your students and get them thinking on a higher level.

I challenge everyone to try at least one Flipgrid this month! your students will love it! Share your code with me and I will pop in with a response. Want to try but need support? Let me know!

Monthly Tech Tools

Google Tips & Tricks

High-Impact Classroom Discussions with Google

Need engaging ways to host classroom discussions in your classroom or maybe even in your PLC time with co-workers? Google provides several ways to make discussion meaningful and engaging for all participants.

When using online discussion in class, teachers can view student responses and dig even deeper and engage in more meaningful discussions with the whole class. The teacher takes the thinking of the students and molds it together to drive instruction further for the entire class. This is an opportunity for teachers to take thinking far beyond the material being studied. Online discussion gives all students the opportunity to share their voice and collaborate in a different way. The key thing is to model online discussion and what positive feedback and language should be used in the discussion.

Here are a few Google resources you can use for class discussion:

Google Classroom – The Google Classroom question feature allows teachers to have their own version of an online discussion board. Simply ask a question and students can begin having a discussion online.

Google Slides – Teachers can have a classroom discussion using Google Slides. You can post a question in Google Slides and then have the students insert a slide to respond to the question. Students can insert comments on the slides of other students to respond.

Google Sheets – Google Sheets can also be used to facilitate classroom discussions. Create a list of discussion topics on the first sheet and then run a script to create a tab for each question. Students can then respond to the questions collaboratively.

Pear Deck Google Add-On – Pear Deck is an add-on for Google Slides that will allow teachers to ask students questions. Students will be prompted to answer your questions as you advance your slides.

TCEA EdTech Podcast

TCEA (Texas Computer Education Association) has recently started an EdTech Podcast. "TCEA’s Ed Tech Club podcast is all about the tech tools you love, the resources you need, and the insights you value. Each week, we’ll sit down with educators and experts to discuss everything from big ideas to useful tips for your most-used ed tech resources. Along the way, we’ll introduce you to new tools and ideas, and expand on some of the most exciting trends in ed tech." Check out their podcast by visting

Assistive Technology Resources

The KISD Instructional Technology page has a list of assistive technology resources available for special programs. This page includes technology tools for dyslexia, autism, cerebral palsy, and visual/hearing impairment. You will also find a list of Google Chrome extensions and apps to support your students, including resources for text-to-speech/speech-to-text.

Here are some of the most highly recommended assistive technology tools for students:

  • Bookshare: This resource is funded for free by TEA for qualified Texas K-12 students. People with dyslexia, blindness, cerebral palsy, and other reading barriers can customize their experience to suit their learning style and find virtually any book they need for school, work, or the joy of reading.
  • Learning Ally: This resource is also funded by TEA for qualifying student. The program provides students who struggle to read due to a reading deficit with equitable access to all the books they need to and want to read, including curriculum-aligned text books and literature, popular fiction, and more.
  • Talking Book Program: Talking Book Program provides FREE library services to qualifying Texans with visual, physical, or reading disabilities. This program is supported by Senate Bill (SB) 2075.
  • TextHelp Read&Write: Read&Write is supported by Google Chrome. The Chrome extension is already added to your Google Chrome bar.
  • Epic!: This resource is one of the leading digital libraries for students age 12 and under. This online library has well over 35,000 titles young readers can listen to and enjoy. Texts are available in English and Spanish.

Instructional Technology PD Sessions

Instructional Technology PD Sessions

I will continue to host my monthly Lunch & Learn sessions on each campus. Please stop by for any instructional technology support. I would love to hear the great things going on in your classroom and help you find engaging ways to use technology with your students. If you are unable to stop by and see me during my scheduled campus time, please submit an instructional technology support request form or send me an email. The Curriculum & Student Services team is quite busy this month, but I will find time in my schedule to come meet with you!

Donut Friday

The Student Services team will be visiting your campuses soon (and we're bringing treats)! We'd love to spend time getting to know you all. We have enjoyed out time with the K-6 campuses. We are looking forward to our visit with the secondary campuses! Please pop in for a donut and friendly conversation!

10/4 – KJH 7:30 – 8:00am

10/11– KHS 7:00 – 7:20 am

Dr. Ashly Spencer

Instructional Technology & GT/Advanced Academics Specialist

Degrees and Certifications:
Ed.D. Curriculum & Instruction - Technology K-12
M.Ed. Curriculum Studies with Gifted & Talented certificate
B.S. Elementary Education with ESL (EC-4)