Car Rider Line

Episode 411: Technology 101

Episode Summary

District leaders talk through parent and student technology resources and ways to utilize them at home.

Episode Notes

District leaders talk through parent and student technology resources and ways to utilize them at home. 

Click here for CCISD Technology Learning Tools

Click here for the Technology Support website

Click here for the TOPdesk Support website


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Episode Transcription

Hello and thank you for tuning into this episode of our podcast Car Rider Line, I'm Sidney Hunt, senior communications specialist for Clear Creek ISD, and today I'm joined by Ms. Kelly Lane, director of Learning Technology and Paula Brewton, Learning Technology Lead.

You all have both been some regulars on our podcast, so welcome back. Thank you both for being here. And today we're going to talk through an overview of parent and student technology resources and answer some of those frequently asked questions that we see with learning technology and some of our resources that both parents and students can utilize in the classroom and at home. So first off, could you both talk through learning technology and your roles within CCISD? For those who may not be familiar?

Yes, absolutely. So I'm the director of learning technology and as a director, I work with a team of Learning technology coaches that support at the campus. They work with teachers to design lessons that integrate technology that is aligned to the curriculum that we have in Clear Creek ISD. And then they also support teachers in expanding and growing their skill set when it comes to the use of technology, used efficiently and appropriately. It provides the best instructional support that students can have using the technology.

I'm Paula Brewton, I'm one of the learning technology leads. My strength as a lead is the secondary level. We also have a learning technology lead for elementary. My role is to definitely support the director of learning technology and also support the secondary on campus with the support. It also entails talking with them, implementing working through different scenarios. So my support is to the director of learner technology, but also the learning technology coaches on campus.

Awesome. And if you have questions throughout this livestream, if you're watching on Facebook, we will try to get to them at the end if you want to put them in the comment section, so you're able to do that.

Let's start with parents. What are some of the main digital resources for parents and how do they stay connected and receive updates on their students?

Absolutely. So the main parent resources that we have, we really try to work with teachers to ensure that they add  any type of resources that parents can use, even though it's within It's learning or supports within It's learning that the students have access to. We're trying to empower the students to be able to support their own technology needs. But as parents, when you're sitting side by side with your student and you're wanting to support them, we have a space on our website under technology support where there are different resources that are available.

We try to have digital handouts, videos, any type of resource that we believe will be able to support you through the process. So it's kind of goes in two different directions because most of the resources that are available to students are driven by the students.

That means they log in. They have access to the resources and the digital tools. And as parents, it becomes a little bit more difficult for you to actually be able to replicate what they're doing or to be able to go into the digital resources that they're using.

For various reasons like licenses or to ensuring that academic integrity of the students work just to make sure that they are able to access what they need.

But at any time, any of the resources in our primary foundational tools of its learning skyward Office 365. Those resources can be found on our technology website. And we do listen. So if you have concerns or you have challenges or you feel that there is a resource that you particularly need, then all we need you to do is to please reach out to your teacher, your students, teacher. They will reach out to our coaches.

And then that in turn then comes up to our department and we ensure that we then move forward and be proactive in those types of supports for you in the future.

And how do those parents get into those resources and get connected and log in?

So depending on which ones that you have. If you, if we're talking about skyward, then skyward account, a parent account is what you will need.

You can reach out to your campus to be able to get that skyward account so that we make sure that the primary guardian or whoever is going to have access to that account is the actual person that needs access to it.

With its learning, we also have its learning parent accounts. But at this time, it's learning doesn't provide a real, comprehensive view of everything that the students see. So we find that most of our parents like to work side by side with their students. To see what they're doing inside of itslearning. Beyond that, most of the resources are student driven.

And we have our single sign on portal. You might you may see it as SSO portal. We tend to shorten it sometimes. What resources are are available for students in that portal?

So within our single sign on portal, it's a comprehensive list and the apps that are available are frequently used. Applications such as Office 365, a skyward are learning management system. It's learning along with dream boxes. But we also have our library resources that are available also.

But then another layer also is available for students is our online textbooks. So within the single sign on portal, it encompasses all of the applications that we have available for the students to be successful in the classroom.

And what are some frequently asked questions you see regarding that portal?

Some frequently asked questions would be, or how do I log into the single sign on portal? So if you if your student has a 60 issue device when they open a browser such as Chrome or Edge, they have a managed bookmarks or a frequently used but frequently use applications option at the top where they can go in. And we provided the links for them to access and they just locate the single sign on Portal link. If a student is on their home device, then they can just open a browser and go to and it will take them to the login page.

And the nice thing about the single sign on portal is it's tied to their actual log in same log in that they would use for their device when they're on campus or our devices. And so they click on that Microsoft log in and it will take them into the program.

Sometimes they will be prompted to actually type in their email and that is their ID, along with their current password that they have. And then it just takes them into the system. The nice thing about the single sign on Portal is that those applications when I click on the icon or the tile will take them seamlessly into those programs. Exactly. So, for example, DreamBox or See-Saw, those are seamless. So once they log in through the single sign on portal, then they click on the tile. It takes them into the program and there's no code needed at that time if they are on their personal device at home or an iPad.

We recommend if they're on an iPad to install Chrome on their iPad and go to class link that sees do that net that way. And once they log into the single sign on portal, it will seamlessly take them into those programs so.

They can still access the portal on any device, whether it's just issued or a personal.


And so if a student is having trouble accessing course where it's learning is being used across and in the classroom at home, if you're on our virtual learning program or even our remote conferencing. So it's a huge platform for us.

What if they're having trouble accessing coursework in its learning or possibly getting an access denied message?

So within its learning, though, it's learning courses are driven by our teachers. They're the ones that are organizing, creating and setting up the flow of the information within the course. So the best person to ask would be the teacher.

So reaching out to the teacher, either when you're in class, having that conversation or even emailing the teacher. And so if you're working late at night and you're not able to access something, reach out to that teacher via email and let them know that you are having some struggles and then the teacher can reach back out.

And let's talk through hardware a little bit. So the district issue devices. But if families are having issues with their with their device, where do they go?

So within the single sign on portal, we have the ability of a top desk, which is our help ticket system. And now students have access to that. So when they're logging into the single sign on portal, they'll click on the top desk icon and enter a ticket.

And it's a few questions and they can elaborate in the description box of what they're having problems with. And so what will happen is that will be routed to a campus technician who then will reach back out to that student.

So if they're back in class the next day and they're having problems at night at home and their devices at school, then the technician and someone will come down and help them.

Help them top desk is easy to use, user friendly you. It's a few questions like you said, and you'll be connected with the correct person. Do parents need to purchase insurance for their students laptop?

So CCISD issued laptops? We highly encourage that every parent purchase the insurance for their students. That just gives them a layer of protection that the district will take care of if something happens to the device. It's easy to purchase that insurance.

Parents will just log into their skyward account, go to fee management and they can add that fee. It's automatically there for them and they'll just go in and pay it online.

And on the district devices. How do you determine which websites, apps or applications the students are able to use?

That's a great question. So in CCISD, we are committed to ensuring that our students access resources that keep them safe, keep their information protected and safe. And so we have a website vetting process, applications and programs as well. And in that process, what we ask teachers to do or anyone who is submitting a request, they fill out a form. That first shows alignment to the curriculum. The resources that they're using should be aligned perfectly to whatever is supporting the academic needs of that classroom or the instructional supports.

After that then we reach out to the appropriate departments. We also reach out to curriculum coordinators, have them take a look at it and make sure that it is a tool that will support what ever the student outcomes are. And then after that, we work with teachers and we also work with our own teams and all instructional coaches to look at the privacy policy for each of those websites.

And if you scroll down to the bottom of a website, you can see there's a place for terms in service and privacy policy. And we read through those both of those very carefully to ensure that whichever age student is needing to access that program that we have.

The exact age limit. So if it's under 13, then we do not allow for that website to be used by the students. We also encourage our teachers to inform parents whenever they are using new websites are having their students access something. The most important thing we worry about is account access because we do have our new single sign on portal.

We work to have everything that students will need to have access to located inside that portal that will ensure that our students, like you said, One-Stop Shop are able to go to a central location, identify their resource, their tool and click on the child to open it.

And so part of the entire website vetting process to ensure our students are in their information is safe is to see how accounts are set up. We go through our information, our student management system, so that it's automatically created for them and students are not having to create accounts on their own. Perfect.

We do have a question just about the insurance. If our student does not bring the laptop home, are we still supposed to get the insurance for the student issue device? If so, if they leave him out?

So  for our elementary students. If your student is leaving the device at school, no.

You are not required to do it.  You are not required to purchase the insurance or not even really encouraged to.

For any student who is taking the device home or is taking it from one location to another. We do have some of our students who are taking their device from their school location to their Alpha location where they go once a week. Then we would encourage our students to have insurance. It's just like Paula said earlier, an extra layer of protection and ensuring that a replacement device is readily available for the student. Great question.

Let's end on this, what would be some of the best guidance you can give a parent about this topic of learning technology and parent resources? And where would they find additional support for students if they're seeking it?

That's a perfect question.

So as a department, we work really hard to identify the needs of our parents because we know that you were there to support the students when they're at home. And they're in the student's home trying to get on their device, access assignment, submit work. And we know it's very frustrating when the student may not remember how to do that and you just want to be able to help. So we want to be able to provide those supports for you. We are going to be continuing our lunch and learns in the near future, and those lunch and learns are just other ways for us to be able to provide more how to learn. Like today, we're just talking through this, but to be able to give you guidance and how you can support your students. But most importantly, we really do, and we know it becomes more difficult when the students are in high school, but just sitting side by side or looking over their shoulder just to see how they're accessing their resources and making sure that your student is able to do so without extra anxiety or causing stress and concern for the student. If they are having trouble, please have your student or yourself reach out to the teacher and explain what they're having trouble with. It is our ultimate goal that technology never be the reason a student is unable to do their assignment or to complete their academic work. So any feedback you can ever give to us, please feel free to reach out to our department as. We will be happy to get a resource available for you, even if it's just for you individually or to provide supports. We've we've talked to individuals on the phone. We love to work with our parents in our community because we know when you feel empowered, so do our students. But working side by side with them seems to be the best way to really get a good idea.

Great advice. And you mentioned the parent trainings and those are those go under deep, go into deeper detail of those relevant topics of conversation for both students and parents. And so we will let our community, our parents know when those are scheduled and we'll absolutely push those out.

Is there anything else you think we didn't cover today. That you'd like to add? Now we can go on and on about technology because we love it. But the most important thing is just to know that technology for us is is just the tool or the vehicle that allows students to be able to do their work access, identify innovative ideas that maybe they've never thought of before.

We appreciate authentic work, so we believe in hands on the students writing on paper or drawing. So we just want you to know technology is just a part of their learning. Not something that's extra. Not anything that we push over authentic learning experiences as well.

So that we just wanted to make sure that we also shared that that educating the whole child to help them find interest using technology to be able to do so is our ultimate goal.

Absolutely. That's great. Well, thank you both for being here. Thank you. A wealth of knowledge, and we'll obviously have you back on the podcast as regular guest. But that's it for this episode of Car Rider Line. It will be available for playback on her Facebook account and also published as a new episode through the podcasting sites.

Be sure you subscribe today, so you're notified whenever we publish a new episode. Those episodes also include transcripts for the episode so you can read through if you prefer that as well. We'll be back in two weeks with another episode to be on the lookout for that, and so until then, we'll see you next time.