Archive for category Digital Footprint/Web Literacy

Email Etiquette Top 10 List

Much of our professional life revolves around social media and interaction with others.  Even with the introduction of all the new platforms, email still plays a major role in day to day activities at work.  We must be careful that how we are perceived through email paints a proper picture of ourselves.  On a professional level, there are certain rules that you should follow.  Proper email etiquette is important in establishing and maintaining a good professional relationship.

After doing a little research and discussing this topic with my fellow Instructional Technology Specialists here at Lamar Consolidated ISD, I have come up with a Top 10 List for Email Etiquette.  We recorded a video for it in our studio to share with all of you.  Without further delay, here is ourTop 10 List:

There are many resources, both videos and cheat sheets, concerning email with Outlook 2013 as well as other Office products,  available in our resource section under the Office icon.  To go directly to the Outlook 2013 resources, click here.

Facebook Page Creation Tips for Educators

You may have used Facebook to connect with friends from the past, and even chat online, but have you considered harnessing the power of Facebook to improve classroom communication?  With more than one billion users on facebook each month, it’s certainly an idea worth considering.  Social Media in education can be a bit of a tricky tight-rope, so before you log in, be sure to consider the tips below!

Tip #1 – Get Focused

kid_with_binoculars2 Before you touch a keyboard, or investigate the ins and outs of your school’s electronic media policy, you’ll need to determine your goals and objectives.  How many times a week will you post?  What kinds of things will you post?  Who is your intended audience?  Having a plan that takes those questions into account will go a long way in helping you to develop a Facebook page that is focused and full of useful information for educational stakeholders.

 Tip #2 – Consider the Powers that Be


Next, you’ll want to know (and follow) your school and/or district policies regarding electronic communication.  In Lamar CISD, teachers are encouraged to “talk” where educational stakeholders are listening and we’ve put together a helpful video that highlights 8 Guidelines for the Acceptable Use of Electronic Communication with Students that is worth checking out.If your school or district does not yet have a policy governing the use of electronic communication or social media, then guess who can to volunteer to help write the policy?  That’s right…you can!Once you’ve determined that you’ve got the green flag from your school or district, be sure to give your administrator a heads-up about what you’ve got cookin.’  Be prepared to share the goals and rational behind your plan, if for no other reason than so your administrator can brag about you at school board meetings!  Seriously though, no administrator likes to be in the dark about innovative new tools that their teachers are using.  So keep them informed!

 Tip #3 – Create a Page

The best way for many educators to use Facebook safely with parents and students, is to create a Class Facebook Page, which is different from using a personal Facebook account to connect to students.  Anyone can “Like” the Page you’ve created, and once they do, the items posted on your Class Facebook Page stream into your follower’s Facebook newsfeed.  To get started creating your page, visit: and choose the type of page you’d like to create.   Personally, I recommend choosing “Company, Organization or Institution” if you’re mostly wanting to post items like you would on a community bulletin board.Once you’ve created a page, you’re officially the “Administrator” of that page.  This means you can post status updates, links and photos, as well as fine-tune your page settings.  A Facebook page can have more than one administrator, which is great if you’d like to collaborate with other colleagues on your grade level or within your department.  Just be sure all administrators are aware of your page’s intended goals and objectives, along with school policy!

Tip #4 – Get a Tune-Up

Facebook - Use Facebook As... After you’ve created your Class Facebook Page, it’s time to give the page settings a quick tune-up.  For the most part, the Facebook Page Creation Wizard will walk you through the important stuff like adding a profile image and page description, but there are a few additional items that are worth considering. First off, it’s important to know that you can choose to post to Facebook as your Class Facebook Page, rather than as yourself.  To do this, simply click the Gear in the top right hand corner, and choose which alias you’d like to use for posting.
Facebook - Edit Page Tab Next, you’ll definitely want to be aware of  who can post to your page, and what they can post.  To set things straight, simply click “Manage Permissions” from the “Edit Page” tab of your Administration Panel.  You’ll want to pay special attention to the following check-boxes:

  • Posting Ability – Are you simply in need of a one-way billboard?  If so, restrict the ability for others to post images, links and text to your page.
  • Post Visibility – Personally,  I think “Recent Posts by Others” doesn’t need to be on a class/school page, but you’ll know pretty quickly what works for you.
  • Default Visibility of Posts –  Again, I set mine to “Hidden” because I want to keep a pretty tight rein on the content posted on my page
  • Tagging Ability – Do you want other Facebook users to have the ability to add tags to the photos you post?  If so add a check to this box.  I keep mine unchecked because I don’t want anyone to add tags with student names to my photos.
  • Messages – You can elect to add the message button to your facebook page.  Since my primary mode of communication with parents/students who have one-on-one messages for me is email (for archival purposes)  I don’t have this button on my page.
  • Moderation Blocklist – If you need to block any specific terms from being posting to your page, you can add them here.
  • Profanity Blocklist – Set this to “Strong”

 Tip #5 – Post Great Content & Connect

Once you’re comfortable with your settings (keep in mind, you can tweak them at any time!) it’s time to begin posting some content to your page.  To be as effective as possible with your posts, it’s important to post somewhat regularly, at times when people will be checking their Facebook Newsfeeds (like before/after school, and at lunch.)  Lucky for you, posts can be scheduled in advance, so if you are uber-organized (unlike me) you could post a bunch of things all at one sitting, but schedule them out so that they actually appear on Facebook throughout the week.  Things you might want to post include:

  • Reminders for upcoming exams, project due dates, or classroom events
  • Links to thought provoking information, resources or videos you’d like students to investigate on their own
  • Photos of students engaged in successful learning activities

When posting photos, you’ll want to be sure to follow your school or district’s policy regarding the use of student images online.  In our district, we are allowed to post photos of any student who has not given their school written documentation that they do not want their image used online.  That being said, as an educator, I would never post a student’s picture captioned with their full name.  Others may disagree, but I would rather error on the side of digital safety.

Posting helpful content and links will help to grow your audience, but another way to build your community is to have your page “Like” various other pages related to your classroom or community.  You also might want to consider the options available under the “build your audience” tab at the top of your admin panel.  Before long, you’ll have an audience that’s hanging on your every word.  Well…ok, maybe not…but at least they’ll have another great way to get reminders and resources!

Tip #6 – Everything is Public

footprint-3099_640 I was going to finish with 5 Tips, but Tip #6 is just so important, I couldn’t leave it off.  Whether I’m working with teachers or students, I always emphasize the fact that no matter how private you THINK you’re being online, you’d be much better off  working with the assumption that your mother and your employer are both reading every single thing you post.  With this in mind, you’re sure to be proud of the digital footprint you leave behind.

Be proud of the digital footprint you leave behind!

Best of the Week – December 14, 2012


Each week our Instructional Technology Team meets and shares the best ideas that crossed our Twitter feeds, RSS Readers, and minds as we were out working with teachers.  Recently it occurred to us that we should be sharing our Best of the Week with you all!  So here’s this week’s installment.  Enjoy!




Digital Footprints

This week there was lots of great discussion about the need for parent and students to become more familiar with the importance of creating a digital footprint to be proud of.

Two Resources that were mentioned as tools that may be used as our district develops a plan for a Digital Parent Education Night are Eanes ISD Digital Parent Night Panel Discussion and LOL…OMG by Matt Ivester

In terms of assisting students to become more web-literate, Alan November has some great resources for teachers as they begin to plan lessons. In Addition, a-Google-A-Day is a fun way to challenge students to validate what they find on the internet.

Algebra I Quiz Bowl – Video Conference

This week our Math Curriculum Specialist, Pam Palmer collaborated with our Technology Development Team in order to begin planning the first annual Algebra Bowl which will invite Algebra I students to participate via video conference in the (hopefully) annual event. Interested in challenging our kiddos?  Let us know!

#TXed Twitter Chat

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Mark Wednesday evening as “booked” on your calendar – and spend some time discovering all the great things educators throughout Texas are up to via the #TXed Twitter chat.  Brilliant minds and brilliant questions.  Don’t miss out!



LEGO Creationary

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It builds, you guess!  Play collaboratively!



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Turn your iOS device into a collaborative whiteboard.


Red Stamp

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Challenge your class to create, write and send cards to one another via email!  Authentic writing, anyone?



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Use a Teacher iPad to control the content viewed on student iPads.  COOL!


Animation Desk

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Intuitive drawing environment that can be used to build animated movies.




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Share your computer display with up to 5 devices with web browsers for FREE!


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Collection of high quality, common-core aligned lessons.  And the best part?  Learnzillion is a FREE APP within Edmodo – so teachers can assign tasks and post resources to students from directly within edmodo.


YouTube EDU

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YouTube is FULL of great content to share with your students.  On the downside, it’s full of a bunch of…well, you know, as well.  Enter the EDU portal of YouTube.  Search by grade level, category, and keyword to find exactly what you need…without having to worry about all the inappropriate junk that might pop up on the side!


Mapping Media to the Curriculum

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Choose from the menu board what you want students to create and you’re instantly given lesson ideas, an over view of the project’s work-flow and links to additional resources. A “MUST FAVORITE” site for any educator.


Free Music Archive

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Great resource for educators who need to collect royalty free music to use for video/audio projects.  Caution:  Some songs include lyrics that are not “student friendly” and for this reason, we would like to caution you to limit the use of this site to “educator use only.”




Debut Video Capture

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Capture video from your PC and output to a variety of formats.

Note:  Be sure to uncheck the “Ask” tool bar ad-ins during installation.



Can Texas Secede?

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Spoiler Alert:  No – But it sure is interesting to discuss why not!








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What kid wouldn’t want to create a dollhouse they wired themselves?

Goldie Blox

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Engineering toy designed to inspire invention and problem solving.


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Wirelessly connect your iPad to any TV or Projector – Great for those of us on networks that aren’t able to use Apple TV!

Saw Stop

Innovative new braking system stops table saw when it touches flesh, minimizing and even eliminating injury.  Check out the hot dog video!