Friday, August 18, 2017

Welcome Back - News from the BISD Technology Department

We hope everyone had a restful summer break and that you are ready for an awesome school year!  The Technology Department wants to make you aware of some exciting changes that will be happening!

Each teacher will need to set-up the technology in their classroom. We have provided Classroom Tech Set-up Resources to guide you in this process.  Please click for the Welcome Back Technology Checklist.

Skyward logins are now the same username and password as your computer. Click this link
to access a Quick Start Guide to Skyward.
K-5:  Each school year, student computer passwords (Kinder-5th) will be reset to Bisd1234.  
At the first login to a computer, students will be prompted to create a new password for the year.
This password will need to be created before accessing district resources. The new password
must have at least 8 characters, with one capital letter, one lowercase letter, and one number.  
6 - 12:  6th-12th grade students will continue use their password from the previous school year.
If 6th-12th grade students need to reset their password, they will fill out the 6-12th Grade Student Computer Password Change Form. (
New students:
Passwords for new K-5 students will be Bisd1234
Passwords for new 6-12 students will be b(birthday)$  For example, a student born on Jan 1, 2008
would have a password of b01012008$
Please click here for more information about student usernames and passwords.

The old “BISD-Secure” wireless network is being decommissioned. We will now be utilizing the newer “BISD 5G” and “BISD” networks. Windows computers should automatically be updated to point to the newer networks. On mobile devices such as cellular phones and iPads, you will need to manually add either the “BISD 5G” or “BISD” network, choose BISD 5G first, if it is available (it’s the fastest!). If you need help connecting to the new networks or just need more information about the change, take a look at our Knowledge Base article WiFi BISD5G.


The new single sign-on portal is COMING SOON! Our new single sign-on portal will be
accessible at This portal will allow you to sign in once and access many online resources without having to login to those individual applications - less passwords to remember! We will have several programs in the portal available for use in the next few weeks,
with even more being added throughout the year.

BISD Technology Department strives to support all staff in the efficient and effective use of technology.  Please visit the BISD Technology Knowledge Base to access helpful information  
and how-to instructions for support, setup, and the use of technology.  If you are unable to find a solution in the knowledge base, please submit a helpdesk ticket.
Helpful hint: Bookmark this link on your Chrome Browser Bookmarks Bar!

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Birdville Teachers Use Mentimeter to Share Their Word of the Year! is a great website where you can ask all kinds of question types to your audience.   In this example, we asked new teachers to Birdville to choose a word that would represent them this year.  Check out the results!  You can add your word of the year too.  Just follow the directions at the top of the embedded menti below or click here to submit your word.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Search Google Drive in the Same Manner in Which You Speak

Google Drive search is now using Natural Language Processing (NLP). This means you can search in the same manner in which you speak. For example, you could say “find my budget spreadsheet from last December” or “show me presentations from Tiffany.” Google Drive will understand what you mean and give you the option to click for those specific search results. Google Drive NLP will learn more as you use it and will get better with each query. #skynet

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Haltom High School Set to Pilot Student ePortfolios

Haltom High School students will be using their Birdville ISD Google accounts to create ePortfolios. The ePortfolios will be used as a place to create and store student exemplars. Inside their main folder, there will be folders for each of the students' classes. Students can then share their ePortfolios with teachers and other staff members via a link. The program is scheduled to begin this Fall. 

Texas Gateway: TEA Digital Resources for All Content Areas

Texas Gateway is a Texas Education Agency web portal that provides“just-in-time” resources that educators can leverage during a particular lesson, sequenced binders of instruction that you can assign to students, and provides additional PD training courses to earn CPE credit hours. Content can be searched by content area, grade level, and by TEKS. Educators can also subscribe to a newsletter to learn about featured resources.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

4 Free Keyboarding Resources

There are many free options available to educators to teach keyboarding and prepare students for online environments. Resources that increase speed and accuracy ranging from drills to games are available for keyboarders at any level. Here is a list of 4 resources you can explore with your students.

ABCYa-Keyboard Challenge is an interactive activity putting missing keys in the correct places on a keyboard. Great for remembering the keys on the keyboard and lessons can be sorted by grade levels Pre-K-5. is a free resource in which students of all ages can participate in engaging exercises, interactive games, and uses positive reinforcement. This resource includes a free Teacher portal in which teachers can monitor their class and access powerful reporting features.
Good Typing is a free online typing skill development program appopriate for secondary students. Good Typing provides 27 graduated lessons designed to help students learn to use their entire keyboards correctly. Unlike some free online typing programs, Good Typing offers support twenty different keyboard styles including US style, Japanese style, and several European languages.

Typing Adventure is a fun game that elementary students can use to practice their typing skills. To play the game students just have to visit the game site, read the directions, and press start. The game scenario presented to students is a character leaping from stepping stone to stepping stone. To move along the path students have to type the letters of the stones they want to jump to. Students earn points based on speed and accuracy.

3 Digital Differentiation Tools for ELAR Teachers: Newslea, TweenTribune, & Rewordify,

Newsela is site that provides current event articles that are provided with different lexile reading levels. Spanish is also an option for some articles. Newsela has a free sign-up for educators.Teachers can assign articles to students with a class code or print off articles at different lexiles. In addition, historical speeches and primary sources available. Newsela's YouTube channel has many resources for learning about the functions of the site.

Rewordify is a site that simplifies difficult text. Students can copy and paste difficult texts into a box that will simplify it. This can help ELL students access complex content tasks at their comprehension level. If students have access to online textbooks, this can be helpful for higher-leveled texts. It also works with archaic language (think Shakespeare or the Gettysburg Address) and incorporates vocabulary into the "translation".

TweenTribune is a Smithsonian site that provides current event articles that come in different lexile levels. It provides grade ranges along the top, as well as lexile ranges within the articles.The visuals are great supports for ELLs and media literacy TEKS. Resources can be viewed in both English and Spanish. Technology-related articles are also a category.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Podcast: Digital Literacy and Diversity

The Value of Search via Digital Learning Lounge

BISD's Digital Learning Lounge, ( is a collaborative resource populated by Birdville's digital learning community. The Digital Learning Lounge provides a platform in which users can SEARCH keywords to locate latest announcements, best exemplars of digital learning (In The Spotlight) resources, technology tips (TechTips), podcast (Listen & Learn), and access social media platforms to include Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

Users can subscribe to the Digital Learning Lounge by filling out the Subscribe By Email box. In addition, educators can submit content to the Digital Learning Lounge. 

Contribute to the Digital Learning Lounge via Spotlight

We are always looking for new ideas and encourage you to join in contributing to our community. This can easily be done from a smart phone right in a classroom, so remember to take the time to share digital learning successes with your BISD colleagues through the Digital Learning Lounge. How can you spotlight yourself or someone on your campus?

  1. Start a new email message.
  2. Type in the "To" line.
  3. Type the Title of your blog post in the "Subject" line of your email.
  4. Type what you want to spotlight/share - which will become your actual blog post text - in the body of the email. Note: everything in your email will become part of your post so you may want to edit/delete extra information from your email signature.
  5. Attach the images you want to include in your post to your email message.

Digital Learning Lounge in Action:  Jenna Henderson, an elementary teacher located at Watauga Elementary, contributed to the Digital Learning Lounge on how she is using Google Forms Quiz Feature to provide immediate feedback. Jenna worked with her campus's digital learning specialist to learn how to implement the feature. Student motivation and accountability improved as a result of implementing this program. 

Digital Learning Platform: The Digital Learning Lounge provides a best structure to share best practices, exemplars, and resources as a community. 

Monday, July 31, 2017

Increasing Student Engagement via SMART Learning Suite

The SMART Learning Suite is a collaborative set of applications that can be used with an interactive whiteboard and/or a mobile device. The SMART Learning Suite now combines the new SMART Notebook 16 with a game-based learning application, SMART Labs. Additional features include a strong formative assessment application, SMART Response 2,  and improved mathematics applications SMART Blocks and GeoGebra.

Smart Learning in Action: Pam Starnes, teacher at North Oaks Middle School,  used Kagan Structures via her SMART interactive  whiteboard to facilitate her students' interactions and discussions of word roots.

Digital Learning Platform: The Smart Learning Suite provides an interactive learning experience that can be leveraged to increase engagement using SMART Notebook 16 and SMART Lab as well as provide improved student feedback through the SMART Response 2 system. 

To learn more about how to best leverage SMART Learning Lab, please contact your campus's digital learning specialist. Use this link to learn more about SMART Notebook and SMART resources.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Collaborative & Visual Notetaking with Edji! is a new collaborative and visual note taking tool for teachers and students. Highlighting tools that are identified by popular emojis make annotating an engaging and social discussion of a text. Teachers can quickly create and manage groups to assign different readings to, which helps with differentiation. Visuals and interaction with PDFs also support language learners. Students can add questions or observations to images and charts, as well.

Curious about how this could work in your class? 
Check out their demo page by clicking HERE.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Podcast: Thinking Globally

Summer Learning Continues!

July is coming to an end, but the summer learning isn't over yet!  

The Digital Learning Team has 25 more face to face sessions before school starts.  Some sessions have been added or expanded to allow for more participants.

See you soon!

Online Digital Learning Summer Professional Learning Courses

Birdville ISD's digital learning team is offering three self-paced online professional learning courses in Canvas. Courses have been added to our summer digital learning course offerings. Birdville educators can now enroll in Google Basics, Screencasting for Flipped Instruction, and Formative Assessment in Canvas. After completing course activities, participants will be awarded 1.5 hours of credit. Course descriptions and enrollment links can be located below. 

Title & Link
Course Type
Would you like for your campus, department, or team to work more productively and efficiently? You can use Google GSuite applications to help make work easier and bring teachers and students together. In this session you will learn to navigate, create, and share files including Docs, Slides, Forms, and Sheets, all located in your Birdville Google account. This session is best suited for beginner and intermediate Google Drive users.
Self-Paced Online Professional Learning. Select title link to enroll in Canvas.
Learn how best utilize screencasting to flip instruction from any device. Explore tips, tricks, and tools that make curation and creation of digital, cloud-based content easier. Discover how screencasting and flipped learning help you be more effective and maximize face to-face time with your students. This session will introduce screencasting applications such as Explain Everything, ShowMe, Educreations, Screencast’o’matic, Screencastify, and MySimpleShow.
Self-Paced Online Professional Learning. Select title link to enroll in Canvas.
Fast and frequent formative assessments give teachers the information and data to personalize learning. Learn how to use several digital learning tools to gather student learning data to help you make instructional decisions for your students.
Self-Paced Online Professional Learning. Select title link to enroll in Canvas.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Signing Students Out of the Google Drive App on an iPad

When using shared iPads in the classroom, having multiple students log in with their Google accounts can be an issue.  Teach your students the simple steps below to solve this problem for good!

Step 1. Tap on the 3 line menu symbol located near the top left of the screen.

Step 2. Tap the triangle next to your account name.
Step 3. Press Manage Accounts.

Step 4. Select Manage.

Step 5. Press Remove.

Step 6. Finally, tap Remove from the pop/up box.

g drive final step.PNG

Print Multiple Google Docs with a Single PDF

PDF Mergy is an online tool that will let you merge multiple documents into a single printable PDF.  This can be very helpful if you have students turn in assignments in Google Classroom, and you want to print them all at once!

To use this online tool:

  1. Go to 
  2. Click "Select Files from Google Drive"
  3. Open the folder containing all of the documents you need to print. Note: Google classroom automatically creates a folder in Google Drive for each assignment.
  4. Select all of the files in the folder. Click to select the first file, then use Ctrl+A to select all.
  5. Click the "Select" button.
  6. Click "Merge".
  7. Wait for the web tool to merge.
  8. Click "Save PDF to your Computer".
  9. Open the saved PDF.
  10. Print!
Check out these great resources:

Friday, June 2, 2017

Create VR Experiences via CoSpaces

CoSpaces is an easy VR tool that allows users to create virtual reality experiences on a computer or tablet. Users begin by creating an environment or setting and adding customized objects to build their own world in the browser app. Users can add photos, text boxes, audio files, and speech bubbles. Objects can be made interactive through coding using both scripts or visual blocks, which is a good introduction to coding.

After creating in VR experince in a browser, users can utilize the CoSpaces app on their mobile device to experience their VR creation. Users login to the app to access content. Content can also be shared with others. CoSpaces is available in the BISD apps catalog.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

HyperDocs in a Blended Classroom

In order to help meet the needs of today's learners, Birdville is making a cultural shift towards the blended learning model. Three components of the model are flipping instruction, flexible grouping, competency-based learning and a HyperDoc can be a great plan for either one. A HyperDoc is a term used to describe a Google Doc that is used as a springboard that allows learners to hyperjump to a multitude of online resources, such as short videos, journal articles, online textbooks, and any other supplemental resources that can be accessed by a URL link. With a HyperDoc, it is all about hyperlinking.  When it comes to delivering a HyperDoc, you have several options. With Google Classroom you can make an assignment set for the students to make a copy of their own automatically. There are a couple of options with Canvas. You can share with a link set as view-only and attach the link on a content page or on an assignment page. If you are not using Canvas or Google Classroom, you can copy the share as a view-only link and use sites like, or to shorten the link and then project it on a screen or simply write it on the board. For more information on creating HyperDocs please contact the Digital Learning Team.

Birdville Blended Hits a Homerun!

Yesterday I met Payge Scoggins, freshman at Richland High School.  Payge and the freshman class at the three Birdville ISD High Schools are the first group of students to experience blended learning in their English Language Arts classrooms.  Blended is being implemented in Birdville ISD as a result of being awarded the Raising Blended Learners grant in April 2016.

This spring rather than completing a traditional research paper project, teachers Kate Chambers, Heather Palmer, and April May, instead engaged their students in a research-based Passion Project.  A focus of blended learning is to personalize learning for students and engage them in relevant learning experiences.  Kudos to all Birdville teachers striving to do exactly that each day!

Payge says, "I decided to put together this softball game event at first for a school project but soon it became even more special and meaningful to me.  My dream for my future career is to work with kids and adults who are disabled or have special needs.  My passion is to play softball so I thought I could put the two together and create this charity softball game.  All the donations we receive will go to the Special Olympics foundation."

Each member of the girls' softball team partnered with a special needs student and all enjoyed a fun game of softball - batting, running the bases, and playing the field.  One of the special needs students sang the National Anthem just before Laura Holt, Director of Special Education, threw out the first pitch.  NBC-5 covered the event and you can see the story here:

Payge saw an opportunity and hit a homerun by planning and coordinating the first Richland Charity Softball Game, raising $448 for Special Olympics.

See the Richland High Facebook story here:

Posted by: Cheryl McKnight
Coordinator of Digital Learning, Blended Learning Project Manager

Thursday, May 25, 2017

That's a Wrap! Video Production at Haltom Middle School

Haltom Middle School Theater students in Deanna Davis’ classes are wrapping up their final production of the year. Mrs. Davis longed for a new way to cover several of her content TEKS that would be engaging and allow students to show mastery of semester-long concepts. Deanna teamed up with her digital learning specialist to try to think of some ideas. To begin, they unpacked the TEKS that would be driving the lesson activities. In the next step, they discussed the different ways students could demonstrate their learning in a manner that would be engaging, personalized and would demonstrate mastery of the standards. The decision was made that the final production would be either a commercial or theater promo advertising the theater program to incoming 6th grade students. Student tasks were created using backward design; breaking down the tasks into each of the key stages of film production.
After careful consideration of the campus' available technology, it was decided that iPads would be the best tool for the job. Students worked collaboratively within their small groups, with the goal of creating a group production.
When it came to filming, Mrs. Davis added the element of green screen recording, which was very popular with the students. Smiles and giggles were abundant. When asked about green screening the students replied with comments such as: “it is really cool.”, “I really like it.”, and “how can I do this at home?”
Since the students already had iPad's, video production rolled brilliantly into iMovie. It was the perfect tool for the students to engage in authentic, creative work while covering the essential content. Students were also given the freedom to use their own devices and apps if they preferred. Based on the passion students had when discussing their projects you could feel their sense of ownership. Upon completion, the students turned their productions in via Google Classroom. Here are two of the promo videos that were used to help grow the Theater program.
Video 1 Video 2