Don't Miss A Post!

Don't Miss A Post!

Friday, December 18, 2015

FREE Microsoft Office Software

Is Santa bringing you a new computer or device this year? Or, are you going to take advantage of some really deals and buy something new and shiny for yourself?

If so, you do NOT need to purchase Microsoft Office. Because of our partnership with Microsoft, EMS ISD, educators and students can install the latest, FULL VERSIONS of Microsoft Office on up to 5 PCs or Macs and other mobile devices, including Windows, Android, and Apple devices.

To install Office on a Computer/Laptop ...

  • Sign in to your Office 365 school account at or by using the links on the district/campus homepage. 
  • Click Office 365 link (upper left on the toolbar) to access the Home Page, if necessary.
  • Uncheck options to change your search engine and browser homepage, if desired.
  • Click Install Now

To install Office applications on a smartphone or tablet, download the FREE Microsoft apps to your device from your App Store/Play Store/Windows Store then sign in to the apps with your Office 365 username (email address) and password.

For more information about how to use these tools, please visit

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Creating a Desktop Shortcut for for All Users is a custom Google search engine that uses SafeSearch technology to make it safe for kids! There won’t be quite as many results (still tens of thousands!) but they will be more kid-friendly!   

In the video below, I demonstrate how to add a Desktop Shortcut for for All Users in Windows 7. You can use this to add a shortcut to anything!

Adding Desktop Shortcut for All Users (Windows 7)

  • Create the Shortcut on your desktop
  • Navigate to C:\Users\Public\Desktop in File Explorer
  • Paste or Drag the shortcut into this folder
*Some users may not be able to access the Public Desktop folder on their computers. If this is the case for you, there's one more quick step that will allow you to see this folder. (Okay, FIVE steps, but they're quick!)
  • From File Explorer (the file folder icon on your desktop), click Organize > Folder and Search Options
  • On the View tab, select Show hidden files, folders, and drives, Apply, OK

Monday, December 14, 2015

Request to Keep 15 GB Free Cloud Storage in Microsoft OneDrive (Personal Account)

There are two different types of OneDrive accounts. Many, but not all, EMS ISD employees have a personal Microsoft OneDrive account. Although your district email address is likely your username, it is no longer associated with the district at all, but it is now a personal account. The OneDrive for Business cloud storage option that is part of our Office 365 accounts is your official district cloud storage.

If you have a personal Microsoft OneDrive* account, you need to know that Microsoft recently announced that the amount of free online storage would be decreased from 15 GB to 5 GB for all users. This, understandably, created a bit of a backlash from OneDrive users. 

On December 11, Microsoft announced a limited-time offer that allows current OneDrive users to keep their existing 15 GB of free storage. Users must request to be grandfathered in by clicking this KEEP YOUR FREE STORAGE link before the end of January 2016. 

*This does NOT affect our EMS ISD Office 365 OneDrive for Business accounts. At this point, we all have 1 TB of free storage, but there are rumors that it could be unlimited space at some point in the future.

If you have questions about the two different accounts, please contact your district Instructional Technologist.

Monday, November 30, 2015

I upgraded to Windows 10! Now what do I do?

Windows 10 has some wonderful new features that you might want to learn about. It includes many of the familiar features of Windows 7 and 8 along with the new features of a modern interface. Check out this quick course for Windows 10 in Education. Access these courses at the Microsoft Educator Network Choose to login with your Office 365 login and register for this great site full of resources.
Once registered go the Educators area and choose Get Trained. Locate the Windows 10 training and choose Courses.

Find the Introduction to Windows 10 course and start watching these quick video training.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Don't Believe Everything You Read in Your Inbox!

All EMS ISD employees need to actively watch for spam/phishing messages in your email inbox. Spam comes from senders you do not know, but are designed to look like they come from trustworthy companies. The most recent scams to make the rounds through our district are very realistic-looking, and appear to be emails from UPS, IKEA, and health insurance organizations. Clicking links or downloading attachments from these messages can and will install malware on your computer. Our network administrators are working hard to protect our own network, but it is also important that we all stay aware of threats to our district accounts, personal accounts accessed on district equipment, and personal devices.

How to Recognize Spam or Phishing Messages

  • Who is the Sender? Are you expecting a package from UPS? If not, this email is probably not legitimate. Even if the sender name shows a company name, look at the actual email address. If the email address is misspelled or looks odd, it could be spam.
  • Spelling and Oddly-Worded Messages. Spam often contains misspellings and oddly-worded sentences. This can include bizarre capitalization and weird punctuation. Many have gibberish at the end of the message.
  • Read the message. If the email claims that you are the winner of a contest you didn’t enter, or that you have a package coming that you didn’t order, this is most likely spam. 
  • Attachments from unknown senders. If you receive an email with an attachment from someone you do not know, or without any text in the email body, it is likely spam. 

Important Tips When Dealing with Spam

  • Never click on links in a spam message. In some cases, clicking will result in you confirming to the spammer that the email address is valid, making you a prime suspect for more spam.
  • Do not use the unsubscribe links in spam emails. This will likely NOT unsubscribe you, but actually confirm that this is a valid and monitored email address.
  • Do not open attachments in spam. Most of these attachments install malware or viruses on your device and can potentially use your computer to forward spam out to all of your email contacts.
If you have questions about potential spam messages, please contact the Computer Repair Technician or Instructional Technologist for your campus.

Thursday, October 15, 2015


Do you want a great way to share information quickly with your students? Or, how about those long instructions for students who are sick or miss school that you have to type or write? Have you ever wanted your students to quickly explain a process to the class or tell a story from a drawing? An easy tool to use is Snip. Snipping to create screenshots into emails, documents or presentations is a normal task for many users. Now you can snip and use your voice to narrate or use the whiteboard to explain an idea with digital ink. Download Snip from Then start making your life easier and allowing your students to express themselves. The Snipping toolbar stays neatly tucked away at the top of your screen or where ever you prefer it to be. Take the quick guided tour after you download it and you will be ready to start snipping and recording. See how quick a teacher reviews the days assignments for a student who is missing school because of sickness. Teacher Video

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Important Employee Links

Our district website,, is hosted by ESC 11. This Saturday, October 3, ESC 11 technicians will be doing some routine server maintenance, which will results in a website outage for all hosted district sites, including ours. The EMS ISD website may be unavailable for as long as two hours.

This outage WILL NOT AFFECT Skyward, Eduphoria, Office 365, Canvas, or other web-based district systems, but if you use the links on the district page to access these resources, you will need to access them directly during the outage.  

Important Employee Links 

The following links can be saved as shortcuts on your computer desktop or to a list of bookmarks/favorites. These links will allow you access these district systems directly, rather than using the links on the district site.

Skyward | Educator Access (Gradebook)

Skyward | Employee Access (Financial Information)


Office 365 (Email, Calendar, OneDrive, etc.)


Aesop | Teacher Login

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Getting Started in Canvas: Creating a Home Page

Are you just getting started in Canvas? This video will walk you through the steps to create a simple Home Page in a course.

If you have other questions about things you can do in Canvas, leave a comment below. 

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

OneDrive Changes in PERSONAL Microsoft Accounts

EMS ISD district employees have an Office 365 account that includes email, calendar, OneDrive, and more. The OneDrive in this account is technically called OneDrive for Business and is a very powerful tool that allows us to create, share, and store documents and files online. 

Many district employees also have a personal Microsoft account that includes many of the same tools as our Office 365 account, including a cloud storage solution that is also called OneDrive. Although district employees that have been here for several years may still access this personal account using a district email address, this account is a personal account and is no longer managed by the district.

If you got an email from Microsoft this week about Groups in OneDrive, this means that you are part of one or more groups in your personal Microsoft account. This email announced that GROUPS in the personal Microsoft account will no longer be available after October 16, 2015. This means that you will no longer be able to access any of the files shared in one of these groups.

If you would like to save any of these files, you can follow these steps from Microsoft to move them from Groups into your own files in your personal Microsoft account. Or, you can download them from your personal Microsoft account and upload them into your district Office 365 OneDrive account.

The following video gives a quick overview of the differences of the two OneDrives, and what you must do prior to October 16, if you want to save files in your personal OneDrive account.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

What is the CHAT feature in Canvas? And do I really have to use it?

The Chat tool in Canvas allows students and teachers to interact in real time. It's available to all teachers and students in a course, and cannot be limited to specific students.

Teachers can use the chat tool to conduct group discussions or study sessions.

If you do not want the Chat tool (or any other tools!) to be available to the students in a course, it's easy to disable them.

This video walks you through the process, or keep scrolling down for the steps.

To disable the Chat tool (or other others) ...

  1. Click Settings for your course (lower left corner of screen.)
  2. On the Navigation tab, click the cog (gear) for the desired tool.
  3. Select Disable.
If you change your mind, you can come right back here and enable it again.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

REPLY ALL is the new default ... REALLY???

I'll admit it ... I've been guilty of hitting Reply All when I meant to hit Reply. Most of us have. That's what makes this recent Superbowl commercial so funny!

(Watch it, but then scroll down for the real reason you're here!)

If you access your email via Outlook on the web in Office 365 (as opposed to using Outlook 2013), you may have noticed a recent change. Apparently, REPLY ALL is now the default option instead of REPLY.

You can manually change this setting every time by clicking the small triangle next to the words Reply All and selecting Reply, Forward, or whatever you need to do for this particular email.

Or, you can go in and update your preferred settings so that REPLY is back to the default option. (Highly Recommend!!! Highly Recommend!!!) Follow these directions to change your settings:
  • Click the Cog (settings gear) icon in the upper right corner of your O365 window
  • Select Options

  • Select Reply Settings from the Mail menu
  • Select Reply from the Reply Settings options
  • Click Save

Now, when you send an email, your default options should say REPLY again. 

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Contact Lists in Outlook 2013

Creating and Sharing a Contact List in Outlook 2013 is easy to do. This video walks you through the entire process.

When someone shares a Contact List with you, you can add it to your own Contacts by following the steps demonstrated in this video:

Updating Eduphoria Forethought Planner to See Current TEKS in PDAS Self Report

In order to see the current TEKS in your Eduphoria PDAS Teacher Self Report, you will need to update your planner in Eduphoria Forethought.

Even if you actually plan with a team planner, please follow the steps in the video below to update your personal planner.

If you have questions, please contact your Campus Technology Integrator (CTI) or District Instructional Technologist (IT).

Friday, August 7, 2015

Starting a New Year in Eduphoria

Welcome back, Teachers! As we prepare to start the 2015-16 school year, one of the things on everyone's list is to set up their Forethought Lesson Planner. The information below will help you begin the new year on the right foot (and the right campus, etc.!)

Eduphoria Profile
If you are new to the district, you will be prompted to complete your profile at your initial login to Eduphoria.

If you are a returning teacher, but changed campuses, click Change My Profile and follow the steps to update your profile with your new campus(es). 

Working with Schedules in Eduphoria: Forethought
If you have changed grade levels or teaching assignments, you will need to update your schedule in Forethought. We recommend that you remove your old schedule and create a new schedule. You WILL NOT lose any content from previous years. 

If you are teaching the same grade level and subjects, you may just need to edit the schedule to make minor tweaks.

Setting Default Text in Forethought
The default text that appears each day in the planner (Warm-Up, Materials, Procedures, and Evaluation) can be customized to better fit your needs and requirements.

Highlight and delete the default text from your planner and replace it with whatever you or your principal prefers. You can change colors, fonts, styles, etc. You can even copy something from another application (Microsoft Word) and paste it into this field to replace the generic default text. When you are happy with your new template, you must click the wrench tool and select "Set Default Text for Entry". You will need to repeat this for every subject.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Email on Mobile Devices

Setting up email on a mobile phone or tablet can be tricky at times. Microsoft has provided a Mobile Phone Setup Wizard to help provide personalized instructions for setting up your mobile phone or tablet to access your account.

If asked, be sure to select the "Exchange Account" option while setting up your Office 365 email on mobile devices.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Don't Want to Wait for the "Quarantined Emails" Email?

QUESTION FROM TEACHER: I am expecting an email from ?????, and I think it got caught in the Quarantine/Spam Filter. Do I have to wait around until I get that daily email to access it?

ANSWER: No, you don't have to wait!

To find and releases messages caught in the Spam Filter before you receive the daily Quarantine email, go to and sign in with your Office 365 username (full email address) and password.

The management tools at the top of the list will allow you to release an email to your inbox, search for a specific email, or refresh the list.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Managing Quarantined Emails

Are some of your legitimate emails ending up in the Office 365 Quarantine???

By clicking Release to Inbox link, this quarantined email will move into your Inbox immediately. This will only move this specific email, and will not affect future emails coming from this address.

How to Stop Emails from Going to Quarantine

To stop emails from getting caught in your quarantine, you will need to add the sender's email address to your Safe Senders List. The Safe Senders list can be managed from Outlook 2013 or Outlook Online from your Office 365 account.
  • In Outlook 2013 (the application installed on your device), click Junk > Junk E-mail Options, then select Safe Senders tab.

  • To add an address to your Safe Senders list in Outlook Online, sign in to your Office 365 account, click the Cog > Options, Under Mail and Account, select Block or Allow. Enter the desired email address and click the + symbol in the Safe Senders section.

Report as Not Junk

This sounds like a great option, but in truth, when you click the Report as Not Junk link on your Quarantine email, it forwards that message to the Microsoft Spam Analysis Team. It DOES NOT go to the local EM-S ISD Technology Department. Since it is unlikely that Microsoft will alter their filtering policy, we recommend not using this option.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Scanning for Viruses and Spyware

The Technology Department requests that all district employees run a Virus and Spyware scan this afternoon (or as soon as possible) on any computer that was used to check email today. Folow the steps below to make sure your computer is free of any virus or spyware!

Open System Center Endpoint Protection

Click the small arrow in your system tray (lower right corner of your taskbar), then click the shield icon.

Update Virus & Spyware Definitions

If the virus and spyware definitions are not up to date, then click on the Update tab, and click Update.

If your virus and spyware definitions are “Up to Date”, move to the next step to scan your computer.

Scan your Computer for Viruses or Spyware

Under Scan options, select FULL, and click Scan now.
The scanning process may take a long time, so be prepared to let it run in its entirety.

If malware is found after the scan, you will be required to restart your computer. 

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Where are my Office 365 Links???

Our Office 365 accounts are constantly being updated and improved. During a recent update, the links for Outlook, Calendar, OneDrive, and other tools seem to have "disappeared!" But don't worry, they're just in a new place.

To access these tools, click the O365 icon in the upper LEFT corner.