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Thursday, December 1, 2016

#EMSISDITS Tech Talk | December 1

This week’s #EMSISDITS Tech Talk Newsletter is hot off the presses! (Digital presses, of course!)

 In this edition ...
  • Upcoming Events: Skype an Author and Skype with Teachers in Belize 
  • Special Shout-Outs to some TECHtastic things happening around EMS ISD (Remington Point, Eagle Mountain, and Saginaw High School are in the spotlight this week!)
  • The Flipped Classroom: Flipping Tip #4: Bring the Parents on Board    
  • Techy Tips & Tricks: Office 365 Accounts for Students, Erase the Past with CTRL + Z, Educreations (Don't miss this one - there's a great video of EME 4th grade teacher explaining how they use this app in their classroom!)

If you don't see the newsletter, please click here to access it.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

#EMSISDITS Tech Talk | November 10

This week’s #EMSISDITS Tech Talk Newsletter is hot off the presses! (Digital presses, of course!)

 In this edition ...
  • The Flipped Classroom: Flipping Tip #3 
  • Texas Youth Creators Award 
  • Techy Tips & Tricks: Smooth Tools from Tech Chef, Daily Starters, and an Upcoming Author Skype   
  • Special Shout-Outs to some TECHtastic things happening around EMS ISD (Chisholm Ridge and Northbrook are in the spotlight this week!)

If you don't see the newsletter, please click here to access it.

Friday, October 28, 2016

#EMSISDITS News | October 28

This week’s #EMSISDITS Tech Talk Newsletter is hot off the presses! (Digital presses, of course!)

In this edition ..
  • Connect with Author Corey Rosen Schwartz during our Author Skype on Monday, 10/31 
  • The Flipped Classroom: Flipping Tip #2 
  • Techy Tips & Tricks: Accessing FasttMath on iPads, Adding Apps to iPads, and Pinning things to your taskbar 
  • Special Shout-Outs to some TECHtastic things happening around EMS ISD (Bryson, Chisholm Ridge, and Ed Willkie are in the spotlight this week!)

Don't see the embedded newsletter? Click here!

Thursday, October 13, 2016


This week’s #EMSISDITS Tech Talk Newsletter is hot off the presses! (Digital presses, of course!)

In this edition …
  • Discover the power of Blogging – Teacher AND Student blogging! 
  • Tips on how to Flip Your Classroom 
  • Techy Tips & Tricks: Snipping Tool, Safe YouTube, and O365 End User Quarantine
  • Special Shout-Outs to some TECHtastic things happening around EMS ISD

Don't see the embedded newsletter? Click here!

Wednesday, September 14, 2016


Click here to view the #EMSISDITS Tech Talk Newsletter

Accessing your Quarantined Emails

Are you waiting for an email that is likely caught in your Office 365 Quarantine? You can wait for your daily Quarantine email or you can go directly to the Office 365 End User Quarantine tool (link on the district Employees page) to access these emails in real time.

This video demonstrates how to access this information.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Too Many Canvas Courses!

Some EMS ISD teachers are noticing that they have quite a few more Canvas courses than actual courses they teach. Prior to the start of school, all previous courses disappeared from view. In order to bring them back for teachers to be able to copy content from past courses into current courses, we re-activated all previously deleted courses. This has resulted in quite a collection of active courses.

In order to make things much easier to navigate, we suggest that teachers go through the existing courses and set their current courses as a favorite and consider concluding previous courses they no longer need.

This video demonstrates how to accomplish both tasks. Keep scrolling for written instructions.

"Star" or "Favorite" a Course to Add it to the Course Menu

  1. From your Canvas dashboard, select Courses from the left column
  2. Click the All Courses link (you may have to scroll down if you have lots of courses)
  3. Click the star icon in front of the course name to make it a favorite. This course will now show up on your Canvas dashboard.
* It is recommended that you click into a course, click the People icon to verify if this is your current list of students. 

Concluding a Canvas Course

If you would rather not see the "old" courses in your All Courses list, you can Conclude the course to move the course into your Past Enrollments. You will still be able to access the course for content, but it's no longer editable.

*Please check the People before Concluding a Course, to be sure these are not your current students.
  1. From within the course, scroll down and click Settings
  2. Click the Conclude this Course button from the right side of the window
  3. Confirm that you would like to Conclude the Course

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Watch YouTube Videos Safely in Class

We've all been there. You've found the perfect YouTube video to show your students, but then at the very end, you see some questionable or perhaps suggestive video suggestions. Or perhaps, you just don't like the "Up Next" videos that appear along side the main video.

There are several ways you can watch a video without worrying about these other detractors. One of my favorites is Safe YouTube, a site that lets you watch and share videos safely.

  1. Copy the URL of the desired YouTube video.
  2. Go to
  3. Paste the URL into the empty field and click Generate Link
  4. Copy the safe link, share it to social media, download the video, or go directly to the Safe View.

There are plenty of safe YouTube viewers. Do you have a favorite? Leave a comment below and we will check it out!

Monday, August 29, 2016

How to Add Free Apps to the EMS App Store

Meet Your New EMS ISD Elementary Instructional Technologists

Creating Email Lists in Outlook

The functionality of Outlook is expanding!  We now have three different options for creating lists of contacts.  In the info-graph below we have tried our best to describe the three ways you can create contact lists and which one has the best functionality for you.  A tutorial video can be seen by clicking each image.

Distribution Lists
Distribution lists are email lists created for the global email search within Outlook.  All of EMS ISD can search for these lists.  These lists are set up by campus administration.

Groups was a new feature last year, offering you the opportunity to easily share files, calendars, and emails with the group.  *All of EMS ISD can see items shared in the group, unless the group is set to private.  Also, if you choose to create a group, be sure to give your group a detailed name so that it is not easily confused for another group. A good group name should include -  a detailed group identification name.  A good group name should not include-  a vague name with a year.  For example, EME 4th Grade is a good group name versus 4th Grade 2016.

Contact Groups
Contact groups are great for personal lists of email contacts. (only you can see these lists when created) This would include parent groups or certain staff groups you email.  This is the only option for creating email lists with outside of district email addresses.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Closing out the Year with Canvas

The 2015-16 school year is quickly coming to a close. If you've been using Canvas this year, we've got GOOD NEWS.

There is very little a teacher must do to close out the year in Canvas, but it is advised that teachers review the End of Year Best Practices below.

Courses that were created by our Student Information System (Skyward) will conclude at the end of the grading term. Once a course is concluded, teachers will no longer be able to participate in the course. This includes modifying grades or accessing the assignment submissions, discussion threads, or other student interactions. A Read-Only version of the course will be available under Past Enrollments.

If you're looking ahead to 2016-17 already, rest assured that you will be able to copy or import content from concluded courses into your new courses for next year. We still advise backing up course content to a file or into Commons.

End of Year Best Practices (Optional, but recommended)

Click the links below to access the video tutorial for a desired process.

This document provides step-by-step instructions and the video tutorials for each of the processes below.

What are your Canvas-End-of-Year Questions?

We want to be able to answer all of your questions about how to wrap up our first year with Canvas. Please add questions in the comments below (if you're reading this on the blog), to our Social Media pages (Facebook or Twitter), or email your Instructional Technologist.

Be on the lookout for a FAQ post soon!

 Download the Canvas End of Year Best Practices document now!

Thursday, May 5, 2016

What is this Quarantine Email? How Do I Add Someone to the Safe Senders List?

We've received several questions about email lately. We'll try to tackle these questions here on the blog.

Today's topic is about the Quarantined Emails
  • What is it?
  • What happens when I click the links on the email?
  • How can I keep an email from being caught in the quarantine?

The video answers each of these questions and provides a few options for adding email addresses or domains to your Safe Senders list in Outlook and in your Office 365 online inbox.

Do you have other questions you'd like us to address? Add them in the comments here or email your district Instructional Technologist.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Turn an Email into an Appointment in Outlook 2016

EMS ISD Employees ... All district computers will be updated to Office 2016 this summer. In the meantime, you can download Office 2016 on up to 10 personal computers and devices with your Office 365 account. This Quick Tip works in Outlook 2016, but it also works in previous versions too!

There are a couple of easy-peasy ways to convert an email message into an appointment on your calendar. Check these out and see which one works best for you:

Click & Drag

  • In Outlook 2016 (and previous versions), click and drag an email message to the calendar icon in the lower left corner of your window
  • Adjust the times/dates
  • Click Save & Close

Move Tool
  • In the email message, click Move
  • Select Calendar
  • Adjust the times/dates
  • Click Save & Close

Want a visual? This short video demonstrates both ways to quickly convert an email to an calendar appointment.

Be watching for more Quick Tips!

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Using OneDrive for Business to Back Up Computer Files

You probably don't even have to look at a calendar these days to know that the end of the school year is quickly approaching. One of the most important things on everyone's To-Do list is to back up their computer files. Flash drives, CDs, or external hard drives are still "acceptable" options for back-ups, but these forms of removable media can be costly and can easily be lost or damaged, which may result in a total loss of your files.

We HIGHLY RECOMMEND using OneDrive for Business (ODFB), the cloud storage solution that is included with your Office 365 account. If you've tried to use ODFB in the past and were frustrated by some of its limitations, you'll be pleasantly surprised by many of the recent updates.

There are two options for saving your Files to ODFB. Users can simply upload all desired files into the OneDrive app in your Office 365 account, or users can sync their OneDrive to the computer and move files around with the familiar File Explorer window. The videos and step-by-step directions below demonstrate both options.

Option 1: Uploading Files
Note: To upload folders, you must use the Google Chrome internet browser. Users have experienced errors when trying to upload many files at once using this method. For this reason, this option is only recommended to users with a few files that need to be saved into OneDrive. 

Uploading Files to OneDrive for Business
  • From your Office 365 ODFB window, click Upload > Files or Upload > Folders
  • Browse and select the desired files and folders you want to upload
  • Click Open

OR, Upload by Dragging Files to OneDrive for Business
  • Open ODFB in a browser window
  • Open Windows File Explorer in a second window
  • Select desired file(s) and drag them from File Explorer into ODFB window

Click here to view Video

IMPORTANT: If you receive an error message when using the Upload tool to upload folders, please be sure you check the folders and files carefully to be sure that all files were, in fact, uploaded. The following video demonstrates exactly why this method is not recommended for all, and how you should check to be sure all of your contents was actually uploaded to ODFB.

Click here to view Video

Option 2: Syncing OneDrive for Business to Your Computer  *This the recommended method for most EMS ISD employees.
The second option is to Sync your OneDrive for Business folder to your computer. This will make a local copy of everything currently in your ODFB on your computer hard drive. It also places a link to those files in the Favorites of your File Explorer window.

Sync OneDrive for Business
  • Open ODFB in a browser window
  • Click Sync, follow the steps to begin the sync

Accessing ODFB Files from Computer without signing in to O365 Account
  • Open File Explorer
  • In the Favorites section, click the OneDrive link

Saving Files to ODFB to Back Up Your Computer
  • Open the ODFB folder on your computer in one window
  • Drag the desired files from your computer into this window, including files saved in:
    • Documents
    • Music
    • Pictures
    • Videos
    • Desktop
  • Allow the files to completely sync to OneDrive, which will be indicated by the green checkmark

Click here to view Video

If you have any questions about how you can use OneDrive for Business to back up your computer files, please contact your Campus Repair Technician or your Instructional Technologist. We're happy to help!

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Sneak Peek at New Canvas Interface

There's a new look coming to our EMS ISD Canvas Instance this summer. It's going to look different, but act very much the same. This new design was created to allow more a more content-focused experience for students and educators. This new, responsive layout will adjust based on the screen size and the type of device being used.

There are some new features available in the new interface that teachers and students will really like. Canvas users (teachers and students) can ...
  • create nicknames for their courses (ex: 1st period)
  • set a color for specific courses on the Dashboard view
  • quickly access specific content from within a course

This video provides a sneak peek at the new design and highlights a few of the changes.

We have a "test site" that's a great option if you'd like to get in and play or check out the new interface for your self. You can sign in with your Canvas username and password at

Monday, April 4, 2016

Managing Your {Office 365} Clutter

Clutter is a feature in Office 365 that is designed to help filter low-priority email out of your inbox. Clutter learns your preferences over a period of time based on your choices and interactions with email messages. As new email comes in, it takes messages you're most likely to ignore and puts them into the "Clutter" feature for you. You can "help" Clutter identify less important email by manually moving messages from your Inbox into the Clutter folder and vice versa. 

Want to learn more? This video explains how Clutter works!

Although Clutter was designed to help you save time, many district employees have recently reported that important messages are also being moved to Clutter. Some have even reported that District and Campus Administrators' messages are landing in the Clutter folder. If you see important messages in your Clutter folder, you can click and drag them into your Inbox to "teach" Clutter that you want to see messages like this in your inbox. Sometimes it takes a while for Clutter to learn your preferences. If you'd rather not have to worry about it, you can turn off the Clutter feature altogether.

How to Disable Clutter in Office 365
Don't see the video below? Click here to view online.

Want to learn more about Clutter? Check out this post from Microsoft: Use Clutter to sort low priority messages in Outlook

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Blended Learning Allowing You to be More Present in the Classroom with Office Mix

Have you heard of the Flipped Classroom or Blended Learning? Do you want to be more present in your classroom giving back valuable time to your students?

 Let's take a look at how one Creekview Middle School teacher demonstrates this using Office Mix and devices in her classroom. Lisa Craft a science teacher demonstrates how she can be more present with her students while she uses blended learning and Office Mix with her labs. Her students were studying genetics and she prepared an Office Mix for them including video explaining each section of the lab, multiple choice questions as students progressed, demonstration videos and apps that they would use during the lab. This allowed her students to move at their own pace through the lab without the need for group instruction. It permitted Lisa to move about the classroom and be involved with any questions the students had as well as any reteach opportunities. This gave great freedom to Lisa and she could do more formative assessment and discussions with her class.

Blended learning uses a mixture of online learning and traditional classroom learning creating a hybrid approach. It allows students to have some power over time, pace, and place of learning. It provides students the ability to do instructional work or lecture as homework for more class time to be devoted to more collaborative activities and questions.

Lisa used Office Mix, "Superpowers for PowerPoint", which is an add-in for Office. It gave her the ability to record video or audio, annotate on her slides, place in multiple choice questions, add in apps and put in videos from Youtube or the net. It creates a short interactive video in which the students receive a URL link and they can watch each section. Check out Office Mix for Teachers for great ideas and tutorials.
Lab partners work together as they open the link for the Office Mix

Students tasting the strip of paper to test if they have recessive or dominant traits
Students watch teacher created videos in Mix explaining the lab assignment.

The class works with apps to learn about Genetics and Punnett Square

Students are instructed to examine their thumbs for recessive or dominant traits.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Twitter Slow Chat Opportunity

Have you experienced a Twitter Chat yet? They are a great way to connect with other educators on Twitter to talk about a pre-determined topic through a series of questions and answers on Twitter. They typically last about an hour or so, and although they happen pretty much anytime throughout the day or night, most educators participate in a chat in the afternoons or evenings on your own time.

The Instructional Technology team at Arlington ISD is going to shake things up a bit and host a Twitter Slow Chat. There will be only one question a day for a week. Anyone that would like to participate can follow the hashtag #arlingtech and answer the question anytime throughout the week.
Topic: The 4 C's (Collaboration, Creativity, Critical Thinking, Conclusion)
When:  January 26-29 (one question a day)
Where: Twitter
How: Search for #arlingtech to see the question and answers. Feel free to add your own answer, but be sure to include the hashtag. Go ahead and add #emsproud too! Follow @AISDITD for all of the information, and while you're there, be sure to follow us too ... @EMSISDIT
We (as in non-AISD educators) have been invited to join in. This will be a fun, stress-free way to participate in a Twitter Chat. If you want more information, watch this short video from Marcus Miller, the Coordinator for Instructional Technology in Arlington ISD. 

Contact your district Instructional Technology if you have questions or need help participating!