Tech Snacks

Byte-Sized Treats to Transform Learning - 9-11-18

#EdTechVIP challenge

It’s a Throwback Edition of the #EdTechVIP challenge. We had several teachers share their amazing uses of Google Sites in our last challenge and we want to give everyone the chance to go back and earn any of our badges up to this point. You can find all of the badge descriptions on our blog at Just click on EdTechVIP tab and check out our first four challenges. No one has earned them all yet, but it’s not too late to get started. And a special shoutout to these staff members for earning their EdTecVIP Google Sites badge.

  • Jeremy McGuire (Crawford)

  • Shelly Pugel (Veterans Park)

  • Kay Snyder (Garden Springs)

  • Andrea Least (ACE)

  • Ashley Baker (Jessie Clark)

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Google Classroom Updates

Have you checked out Google Classroom lately? It’s gotten a lot of Google love over the last few weeks with some significant updates. Here are some highlights, but for a deeper look, check out some of the resources listed.

  • Updated Stream Page - This page is now just for announcements.

  • New Classwork Page - Assignments, Questions, Materials and Topics are now created here. (The classwork page can also be added to existing courses.)

  • New People Page - View students here and invite co-teachers and guardians.

  • New Grading Tool - You can now easily switch between student work in one screen without opening each assignment separately. You can also use common feedback from a comment bank.

Want more info? Check out Google’s What’s New in Classroom resource or Eric Curts’ blog entry - 9 Updates for Google Classroom (and 3 more to come).

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Meet Bloomz

Building a relationship with a student and his/her family is fundamental to classroom success. Luckily, technology has made communication with parents easier and more efficient. There are so many tools out there it is hard to decide which works best.

Meet Bloomz! This is your Remind 101, Class Dojo, class Facebook page, and parent sign up sheet all in one. This platform allows you as the teacher to set up a class, give parents a join code to select their student, and start communicating in nearly every way possible. The best’s FREE and easy to use.

Want to track behavior? Easy! You can assign student behaviors with positive or negative points. Goal set, reward, and track Tier 1 behavior digitally.

How about send a message quickly without parents seeing your phone number? No problem. Once they have downloaded the app and joined, you can send a message straight to the app on their phone.

What about parent conferences or volunteer sign ups? Simple. You can create conference nights with time slots parents can select or you can ask for help during an event and list materials you need for an activity.

Need to share important dates, events, or just post pictures of learning in the classroom? Piece of cake! Bloomz allows you to update and set calendar events, send immediate notifications to all parents, or post assignments, videos, or photos for all parents to view. (Be sure to check media permissions before posting pictures of students) See for yourself!

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Who are You? The Importance of an Email Signature

An email signature helps the recipient to better understand the point of view of the sender (kindergarten teacher, high school science teacher, or my child’s teacher), avoids extra emails to determine where you are located or ways to reach you other than replying to the email, and can be an easy way to advertise other communication tools you may be using (website, twitter handle, etc.). There is a misconception that a signature is only needed on outgoing email and not on a reply - but speaking as someone who sends email to large groups, it’s very helpful if your reply signature lists your school and what you teach.

Creating your signature can usually be done in Settings/Mail settings of the device, app, or software you are using. You may want to include:

  • Full Name (in an easy to read font)

  • Position, subject area, or grade you teach

  • School phone number with extension, if needed

  • School Address (with city, state, and zip code if contacting those who may need mailing address)

  • Your teacher website or professional twitter handle

A small image could also be included (your head shot or school mascot) but you are encouraged not to add anything unprofessional or set your background to use email stationary.

Reminder: Don’t forget to set up your signature on each device used to check and reply to email.

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Canvas Help to the Rescue!

Have you ever stayed up late at night frantically trying to update your Canvas course only to encounter a rubric that won't work or a Google Doc that won't load? It's definitely an anxiety-inducing situation. However, please don't forget that Help is just a click away. Just look at the blue sidebar located to the left of the Canvas screen and select the Help icon. You'll then have access to several helpful resources that can make all the difference, no matter if it's day or night -- or weekend.

  • Search the Canvas Guides -- offers well-detailed written information which includes screenshots and videos.

  • Canvas Support Hotline -- the FCPS Technology Department pays for 24/7 access to online support specialists who will spend as long as needed with you on the phone.

  • Chat with Canvas Support-- as with the Hotline, you have the round-the-clock ability to talk with a specialist who will follow up your conversation with an email which includes a log of everything discussed.

  • FCPS Help for Canvas -- a site dedicated to issues specific to Fayette County and Canvas usage.

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Technology Professional Development

Are you ready for engaging technology professional development? The Office of Instructional Technology would like to point you in the right direction. We have just listed over 30 new sessions for the Fall and Spring semesters! Find sessions for Canvas (starting this upcoming Monday), Google Suite for Education, Minecraft, and more. Just hop on over to, click on ACTIVITY CATALOGS and DISTRICT CATALOG in the left hand menu. Type the word TECHNOLOGY in the search bar to locate and register for your choices.

NEW: Would you like to work toward your Google Educator Level 1 or Level 2 Certification? This year the Office of Instructional Technology will be offering a series of trainings for both Level 1 and Level 2 certifications to help prepare staff. Individuals can choose which sessions to attend, based on their individual needs. We will offer common testing opportunities at the end of each semester for those that want to test with the group. Visit this site for details.

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