Friday, May 25, 2018

Haltom High School Teacher Reflects on Her Digital Learning

 Link to Podcast
Yolany Miller is a Spanish teacher at Haltom High School. Recently, she sat down to create her own podcast for the first time. The podcast was one of the weekly digital tools badge challenges that are suggested by her digital learning specialist. In this Podcast, Yolany discussed how Quizalize impacted her students' learning and discussed her goals for next year. This offering also discusses her plans to offer podcasting as an option on her student choice boards in the upcoming school year. Listen to Yolany's Podcast

Recap: The Power of Video Reflection


Student Created Flipped Videos

Mrs. Moreau’s sixth-grade math students are in the process of creating flipped videos for future Richland Middle School learners. The objective these students are trying to meet is to create the best possible video resources in order to help next year’s sixth-grade students understand new mathematical concepts.

Students are starting by analyzing what type of videos are already available on the internet. They evaluate whether the video covers the key components of each concept and whether the video is easily understood.

After the analyzing process, the students create an outline of what they want to cover in their own video. Then, they create a flipped instruction video with a small group. During the creation process, students are using iPads mounted on Justand to record their group video. After the students have completed the recording, they will edit their recording in iMovie. Before rendering their video complete, they will make sure that their video has all of the components of their teacher provided rubric. Following the video rendering process, students submit their final products to Mrs. Moreau, via their Canvas LMS class.

“I like seeing the similarities and differences between videos that cover the same concept between my different periods. It is a little noisier than lecturing, but the students get so much more out of doing an assignment where they are the creators.” -Jennifer Moreau

Developing Problem Solving with Student Created Digital Breakouts

Developing Problem Solving with Student Created Digital Breakouts

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

DL Spotlight: Google Sites

The students in Mr. Moreau’s Science class are studying land biomes. As part of a PBL, there must be a central problem that needs to be addressed. In this lesson, the central problem is the conservation of biomes. The goal is to raise money to fund actual conservation efforts. An entry video starts the lesson, enough information given to begin the inquiry process, and a final presentation requirement. The final product will then be shared with CBS's Survivor. In order to make the presentations easy to share with social media, Mr. Moreau looked for a digital platform. After considering several options, Mr. Moreau chose Google Sites. When asked what students like about using Google Sites for their presentation, students shared that making a website is a much more enjoyable way to present research. They also like that Mr. Moreau will be sharing the websites through Twitter, stating that they "thought it would be pretty cool that the show might see their website." When we asked Mr. Moreau what he liked most about the website portion of the lesson, he said “I like the hands-off approach that I can take by giving the students control of their learning, and I noticed an increase in engagement once they knew I will be posting their sites to social media. I like that I could visit their website and watch them work on in it in real time, allowing me to help them out and provide feedback. I also enjoyed using a new tool like Google Sites. It is very easy for the students to learn.”

Make it Till You Make it-- Get Out of Your Teaching Rut

"Make it till you Make it.  Fakers don't Make it" 

- Jordan Watson (How To Dad)

Here we are.  The end of the school year.  STAAR tests are closing out. Students are getting restless.  Changes are being introduced. This is where the proverbial "muscle memory" kicks in. We are in survival mode.  A battle of wills to see who will last longer, the teachers or the students.  But hold tight, titans of education, the end is near!

Yet there is something in the back of your mind that says "what if".  I want to try these new ideas, but it's already so close to the end of the year.  

Check out Jordan Watson a.k.a How To Dad on his thought process behind being inspired by an idea, not giving up, and holding on for the ride. 

Sometimes we get caught up in the "can nots" rather than the "let's give it a try!"  We hesitate to implement that groundbreaking idea because of what others might think.  The reality is we are educated, creative beings that have so much more to offer than "good enough".  Be inspired by Jordan and his passion for parenting and videos.  Be inspired to try the idea that's been "itching" at the back of your mind!

Thursday, May 3, 2018

2018 Summer PD

Watch the video for an overview of the Digital Learning summer for professional development.  


  • Online courses
  • Earn digital badges and certifications
  • Design time with your DLS

Access the BISD Summer 2018 PD Catalog here: 

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Flipgrid AppSmashBash

It seems like FlipGrid Fever is continuing to spread around BISD.  If you've read through the Digital Learning blog posts or Twitter feed lately, you have seen some amazing examples of how FlipGrid can support all content areas.  If you have not tried FlipGrid yet, please contact your campus Digital Learning Specialist for more information.  We would love to help plan a project with you and your students!

This past week, FlipGrid held a webinar appropriately called #AppSmashBash.  App smashing is when two or more apps are used to create a final product.  During the webinar several FlipGrid users shared how they are enhancing their students' learning experiences using FlipGrid smashed together with one or more other apps.  The results are incredible! Check out the full webinar below.

Monday, April 16, 2018

EdCamp Birdville - Reflection

What was it like to attend Saturday morning’s EdCamp Birdville?

For starters, balloons and a small tornado of bubbles marked the entrance to the building. Teachers came from school districts all over North Texas to be greeted by Owen who is our very own “bubbly” person. 
As attendees entered the building the atmosphere was fun and upbeat with music and balloons everywhere. Teachers made their way over to the sign-in table where they were assisted by our Digital Learning leader Kelli. Here teachers received a ticket for the door prize drawing as well as their first prize of the day, a MobiMax subscription. 
Cheryl directed teachers to the Omni room for coffee, pastries and Kind bars donated by one of our generous sponsors. Mounds of free swag such as stickers, lanyards, buttons, pens and trial subscriptions covered every table. Everyone was expected to take as much as they like. As attendees took their seats they were asked to write on post-it notes what they wanted to learn that day. Yes, I said that right! The teachers who attended EdCamp Birdville actually determined the session topics for the morning.

As the session schedule was being created, attendees had the opportunity to visit the selfie-station, add their social media handle to the Twitter wall, play the EdCamp GooseChase (for a prize) or build and interactively play at Michael’s makerspace (for another prize). Many took some time to walk up front and explore the over $10,000 worth of door prizes our “swag czar” Shelly helped procure for the event.

Around 8:30 am attendees watched a short presentation by Taylor and Jennifer who have been producing swag preview shows on YouTube leading up to the EdCamp. Taylor’s infectious energy and song selections got the crowd pumped up. Since there was a large number of first-time EdCampers on Saturday, Jennifer shared some tongue and cheek videos on what “not” to do at EdCamp. At 9:00 am teachers checked the live schedule posted on large monitors down the main hallways and made their way to the first sessions. For some the experience was a bit unsettling because there were no presenters or pre-prepared presentations. EdCamp sessions are all about collaboration and the sharing of ideas. In order to benefit you might have to step out of your comfort zone or be more willing to share ideas that you might generally keep to yourself at a traditional conference. There are no experts here at EdCamp everyone has value to contribute no matter how big or small. If you selected a session that wasn’t meeting your needs, you were encouraged to leave and find another session where your learning could grow.

As soon as the breakouts began, Cheryl and Rashel began randomly selecting names and posting them on Twitter for app or swag bag prizes.

Those who didn’t have Twitter or felt they needed a refresher, took some time to visit the twitter cafe with Jeff and Toni (more prizes for visiting). Here they received one-on-one support. Some simply updating their Twitter profile (eliminating the egg) or some sending their first tweet!

At 11:30 am all gathered back in the Omni room where some received prizes from the GooseChase game and FlipGrid reflections. The last item was the grand prize drawing where attendee’s tickets were drawn and winners came forward to select prizes like a chromebook, drone, bag of MakeDos, MakeyMakeys and books from edtech innovators like Dave Burgess. Of the 200 teachers in attendance, every single ticket was drawn. Every person who came for EdCamp Birdville walked away a winner. By noon it was all over and teachers had the rest of the day to spend with friends and family. Beyond the massive amounts of vendor prizes, everyone left with new ideas, new resources and lots of networking opportunities to grow their personal learning networks. EdCamp Birdville was the best professional learning conference I’ve ever been a part of organizing. It was a fast-pace, fun day chalked full of learning opportunities. I went home exhausted but with a smile on my face. Nothing makes me happier than to see a bunch of teachers working together to learn something new and excited about sharing what they’ve learned with students.

Oh, if you are wondering about all of the bitmojis in this post….ask someone who was there Saturday. Like
me 😀

See you next year everyone!

Rashel Larson

Game Based Learning: for the Win

Game Based Learning

Thursday, April 12, 2018

DL Spotlight: Digital Badging in Ram Nation

When it comes to the topic of teacher professional development, many teachers want timely and pertinent professional development. Simply stated, they want to learn about strategies and tools that will have an immediate and positive impact on student learning. Almost universally, teachers want more choice in their professional development. Choice allows teachers to personalize their learning to fit the needs of their students.

Districts across the country are listening to the feedback and are offering their employees choice when it comes to professional development. Some of those districts are offering another incentive, recognition for completing training and the implementation of the learning with students. One of the tools being used to offer these micro-credentials is called digital badging. The Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Advanced Collaboratory, or HASTAC, defines digital badging as “a validated indicator of accomplishment, skill, quality, or interest that can be earned in many learning environments.” In other words, the learner acquires a new skill, or standard, and receives a digital badge.

The Birdville ISD Digital Learning Team will soon offer digital badges for the completion of self-paced online learning. To get ready for the district-wide implementation, Richland Middle School is piloting a version of the program that has been enthusiastically embraced by staff. Since the campus started digital badging in the middle of the fourth six weeks, the staff have currently earned 140 badges. Earning a badge at Richland MS is a three-step process. First, the teacher works with their digital learning specialist to learn a new digital tool or strategy. Next, they use the new tool or strategy with their students. Finally, they send evidence of their students using the new tool or engaged in the new strategy. So far the feedback is very positive. Most of the feedback refers to how they like that they are collecting badges to demonstrate their learning on their T-TESS. Some teachers say they enjoy seeing which department is leading in total badges. Another motivational factor is also emerging, competition. “I am a very competitive person, and even though it is not a competition, I want to have the most.”, said 7th grade Science teacher, Tony Moreau. Whatever the motivation for earning badges, the results are that more students are using digital tools for creating products and the staffs' continued professional improvement in the area of 21st-century learning.

HASTAC. "Digital Badges." HASTAC. n.d. Web. 12 Apr. 2018.

Organizing Your Lessons in Google Classroom

Here is a video tutorial that takes you through an organizational process for your lessons in Google Classroom! 

AR Debuting in GATE Capstone Projects

graphic of students using ipads and chromebooks

It's Capstone Project season in GATE classes right now across the district.  During GATE pull-out classes, students focus on curriculum that explores a universal concept and generalizations.  Capstone Projects require students to reflect on that learning from the school year and to apply that universal concept and generalizations to a topic of interest.  During a Capstone Project, students pursue independent research on a topic of their choice using several “thick” questions that they develop to guide their work and relating the topic back to the universal concept and generalizations.

Lately, some students in Glenna Harris' Gate class have chosen to present their project through the use of augmented reality.  Metaverse is an online augmented reality platform that allows users to create their own augmented reality experience.  Once the experience is created, it can be accessed by using the Metaverse app on any iDevice.

To learn more about augmented reality and how it can be used with your students, contact your campus Digital Learning Specialist.  We are glad to help!