Tech Bytes

Carthage ISD Technology Department August 1, 2014

Integrating Technology in the Classroom

There are so many great tools, apps, and websites available today to help teachers integrate technology in the classroom. I'm sure you have heard of the "Flipped Classroom" concept, but what does it really mean? It takes the traditional teaching method of stand in front of the classroom and lecture and "flips it". The "Flipped Method" requires you to record a lesson or find one for your students. It recommends that videos be short, about 3-7 minutes. For "homework", the student watches the lesson and the next day at school works on activities associated with that lesson. Math is a great subject area to try this method. The teacher is free to move around the room or work in small groups to monitor student progress. This style of teaching takes away the excuses of why students don't complete homework.

Students need to be able to view the lessons on any device. There are several tools available to help with that. One user-friendly tool is Blendspace. Blendspace is a website that allows you to create lessons in five minutes. Create an account and then click to create a new lesson. It will show you a 30-second video on how to search for your topic and click and drag a short video from the library or you can create your own. You can then share the video with your students through a QR Code, Edmodo, or embed a link to your webpage. Very easy to use!

What if you have a student that does not own any technology at home? One idea is to setup a small station in your classroom with an iPad or iPod and allow that student to watch it before he/she begins the activity. Remember, videos are very short. Come up with creative incentives to encourage students to find a way to view it before he/she comes to class. is an online community that offers professional development to allow you to grow with technology-driven tools. They offer certification in the Flipped Classroom concept. Sophia comes highly recommended by those that have gone through the course. Once you go to the site, click on Teach, then Professional Development to learn more about these certifications.

I hope this gives you some ideas on how to integrate technology in your classroom this year. I know your students will FLIP over the idea.

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Bloom's Taxonomy Revised with Technology

I found this revised Bloom's Taxonomy visual on Pinterest and wanted to share it. As teachers, we have heard for years that we should use Bloom's to encourage higher level thinking with our students, but this wheel gives you much more than that. Along with the standard terms, this wheel is divided with action verbs, activities, iPad apps and web 2.0 tools for you to use with your students. This is a great tool for you to incorporate a new tool or two to your regular classroom routine.
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Do you Dojo?

ClassDojo is a FREE tool that helps teachers improve behavior in their classrooms quickly and easily. Each child is assigned a cute monster avatar. Then teachers can award points for good behavior and engage students in minutes. ClassDojo provides reports for parents and administrators. This tool also allows teachers to broadcasts messages to parents. If you are a teacher at Primary or Libby, check out ClassDojo. There is an app for that too.

Technology Staff wraps up summer jobs

The technology staff is almost finished with updating, imaging, and cleaning all computers. We have just a few areas that we need to finish due to installation of new flooring, assembling of new furniture, etc. before we will be 100% finished. But, as you return to school and enter your classrooms, do not hesitate to put in a technology ticket if you have problems. Back-to-school is our busiest time of the school year. We normally run about 50 tickets at a time during the school year. During August and September, we usually have close to 150 tickets open at a time. Please be patient with us as we try to work as quickly and as thoroughly as possible. Remember that a ticket is better than an email. If you have an emergency, please call us. Click here to put in a tech ticket.

Technology Staff

Annette Johnson, Technology Director

Martin Martinez, Technology Specialist

Mark Baisden, Technology Specialist

Richard Sullivan, Network Administrator

Terry Caudle, Systems Administrator

Debby Simpson, Administrative Assistant

Message from the Director

I cannot believe it is August already. Where did the summer go? Well, ready or not, students are gearing up for the return with back-to-school shopping for clothes and school supplies. So, I have packed this newsletter with lots of tools to help you gear up and get excited for the new year too. I hope I have shared something that will help you from the first day of school right into June.

I really have listed a lot in this month's issue, but I want to talk about one more thing to help you, online file storage. Storing files online gives you the opportunity to access your files anywhere you have internet access. There are a lot of free options available but are your files safe? If you have confidential school files that must be kept secure, I would NOT save in online file storage. But, we have a lot that can be stored online such as lesson plans, student activities, etc.

Two products that we are using in the district are: eBackpack and OneDrive. eBackpack is online file storage and a whole lot more. Currently the district provides an eBackpack account for teachers district-wide and for all junior high and high school students. JH and CHS teachers also have all classes uploaded into eBackpack which allows for work to be assigned, completed, and graded all within the website. Click here to access the video tutorials for eBackpack. They are 2-5 minutes long. Classes will be uploaded after the official rollover, mid-August, and before the first day of school. If you need help, feel free to let me know. I would be happy to visit with you during your conference period.

OneDrive is a Microsoft product. OneDrive allows you to save 15GB of files for FREE. That is a lot of storage for teachers. If you don't already have an account, just click here and sign-up. You can store and share documents, photos, and videos.

The technology department has been attending workshops this summer on everything Google. They also have online file storage called GoogleDrive. I will share more about Google later and how we plan to implement it in our district.

As always, we are here to help you with anything technology. I hope I have shared some ideas to help you be more organized and have everything at your fingertips whenever you need it.

See you soon,