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Katy Independent School District

Tech Blog

Apr 09
Parent and Guardians as Canvas Observers

​Parents and Guardians can log in to Canvas to view student courses that teachers have published. Parent and Guardians use the same log in credentials (user name and password) that they use for the Home Access Center (HAC).  For assistance with your log in, contact your campus registrar.  To learn more about the Observer role refer to:

Katy ISD Observer information
Canvas Complete Observer Guide

Mar 25
Learning Requires Focus when using Smart Phones, Tablets and Computers

Smart phones, tablets, and computers can all be useful tools for learning and accessing information.  In fact, Encyclopedia Britannica stopped producing its hardbound books roughly nine years ago. The reason is because these beautiful sets of books cost a family about $1,500, whereas the online investment was about $70.  As consumers of information, we must therefore have access to technology in order to get to information.


The difference between looking at a book and looking at a screen  is that the technology can take you to so many different places which is both good and bad.  You can research a topic on an online encyclopedia or database, but you can also access so many other applications that can cause your mind to stray away from the task at hand.  


As parents and educators, we need to teach students (and even ourselves) the importance of focus and staying with the initial reason why we were online in the first place.  There are tools to aid us with focus when using technology. I have listed a few below that you might consider.


  1. If using an iOS device, utilize the free screen time settings.  Click on settings> screen time to find a variety of options to limit screen time and specific apps.  Parents can passcode protect so the student can not adjust the preferences set by the parent.

  2. Kids Mode is an app that can be downloaded and used for an Android device.

  3. There are a  variety of apps which can give parents control to assist their students with focus. For example, parents can limit or not allow certain apps on their children's smart devices.  Most of these have a monthly or yearly cost and offer different options. Below are a couple of websites that will help in comparing the plethora of apps. Katy ISD does not endorse these websites but simply want to make information available for review:

    1. https://tinyurl.com/comparearticle1

    2. https://tinyurl.com/comparearticle2

    3. https://tinyurl.com/comparearticle3


Continue to talk to your students about balance, the importance of a well-rounded life and being focused on the task at hand (being present).  Balance ensures you experience a variety of activities throughout the day such as having verbal conversations, physical exercise, creating items with physical objects, writing and drawing with a variety of tools, reading a physical book, cooking with parents to mention a few.  We love technology! And . . . We love balance!



Mar 01
MyKaty - Online Resources and Apps for Students

All students in Katy ISD have access to online resources to help them with their education. Each of these District resources are located in one place called MyKaty (https://mykaty.katyisd.org). Along with online databases, many of the textbook resources are online and accessed through MyKaty.



Another great feature of MyKaty is once students are signed in with their school ID and password, MyKaty transfers those login credentials to most of the applications. This eliminates the need for students to remember the login details for all of these different applications. To make this work, it’s important to install a small extension for your browser called Webpass. For instructions on doing this, please refer to this webpage.


MyKaty contains paid educational resources, and we encourage students to go here first for quality information that they need for their schoolwork. For example, under the Library tab, students can access applications such as BrainPop, ABC Clio American History and Government, National Geographic Kids, Biography in Context, Britannica and World Book Encyclopedias, and many more.




Feb 07
Need help with Canvas?

Canvas has a built in Help button for students and observers (parents/guardians)  to receive assistance with technical issues. To submit a helpdesk ticket after you have logged in, select the Help icon on the left navigation bar

You will have several choices. You can Search the Canvas Guides or Report a Problem.  The Canvas Guides will answer many questions especially on how to use Canvas.  Canvas Guides Help will provide assistance on reporting a problem. If you Report a Problem enter useful information to assist us in resolving the issue such as:

  • observer name and user ID for observer tickets
  • student name and student ID for student tickets
  • name of the course and the teacher for course related issues
  • detailed description of the issue - screenshots are helpful
  • course URL (web address)

The responses from us will be sent to the default email address in Canvas. For Observers, this is the email address associated with your Home Access Center account.  For students, it is their Katy ISD email address (Student ID@students.katyisd.org ) unless the student has changed the default to a personal email address such as Gmail, Yahoo, etc.

If you cannot log in, there is a Help link on the login page.  

Help tickets are handled by Katy ISD staff and if the issue requires escalation it will be assigned to the Canvas team.



Jan 26
Digital Citizenship Week

​This week is Digital Citizenship Week in Katy ISD. Each campus has different events planned around being safe, responsible, and productive when online. Our focus this year is on Digital Literacy. Teachers will share lessons with students about how to identify quality information online and recognize content that is opinionated, untrue, biased, fake, or misleading. Fake Fact

Because we get so much of our information from online sources, identifying sites that are meant for humor or those that are impersonating real news is an important skill. Below is an article that provide more information from a parent or educator perspective on how to help chidren be discerning curators of online content. How to Spot Fake News (and Teach Kids to Be Media-Savvy).

Jan 10
Katy Virtual School Registration February 1, 2019

KVS.pngKaty Virtual School Summer 2019 online registration begins February 1, 2019 at 7:00AM.  Courses are available for all 2019-2020 incoming 9th -12th graders.  Visit our website at Katy Virtual School for complete course lists and registration information.  

Current 8th grade students may register for PreAP World Geography, PE, Health, Foundations of Fitness or Professional Communications.  For 10th – 12th grade students there are over 28 courses to choose from. 

Dec 20
Online Coding Course

​There is a lot of buzz about coding and this year nearly 200 million kids were exposed to coding during the Hour of Code event.

In today’s world coding is a fundamental skill alongside math and reading. According to Learning Resources1 there are several reasons coding is important for young minds.GettyImages-534205846.jpg

Children learn  . . .

1) another language

2) to communicate using this new language

3) logical thinking and creativity

4) problem solving

5)  math skills.

If you’d like to introduce your child to coding or provide them with more challenging activities, we’ve created self-paced courses for all levels of learners. Have your child choose from the beginner to intermediate courses designed more for our elementary and junior high students and let them explore the world of coding. Click HERE to access the course. 1blog.learningresources.com/learning-resources-hour-code-event/

Dec 18
Student Devices

The holiday season is a time when parents often make technology purchases for their children. If you’re considering a new device for your child, there are a lot of options. At school we purchase laptops, desktops, iPads, and now Chromebooks as well.

A Chromebook is a laptop of a different breed. Instead of Windows or MacOS, Chromebooks run Google's Chrome operating system. These machines are designed to be used primarily while connected to the Internet, with most applications and documents living in the cloud. They eliminate the need for installing software and managing programs and yet provide students access to nearly every application they need.  

The Chromebooks power up FAST, and stay charged the entire day. On top of that, they can be purchased for well under $300. Teachers love the fact that their students can quickly access Canvas, Google Drive, Office 365 and other classroom applications and still have a full keyboard when they need to type. Outside of school they can also play games, watch videos and access other websites as well as install web apps and extensions from the Chrome Web Store.

Chromebooks don't get indefinite updates like PCs. Every Chromebook model has a fixed support life. When Google develops a new hardware platform it will support that platform for at least 6.5 years. The first thing you should do when considering a Chromebook is to look it up on Google's Auto Update Policy page. It lists the end-of-support date for every Chromebook ever released, so you can know exactly how long your computer will receive Chrome OS updates.

Other features to research may include, screen size, battery life, warranty, touchscreen, access to Google Play Store for Android apps, screen resolution, and processor speed.

Dec 18
FREE - Microsoft Office at Home

​Students at Katy ISD have access to Office 365 which also gives them the ability to download and install Microsoft applications such as Outlook, Word, Excel and PowerPoint onto computers at home. For more information, and instructions on how to access the download, click HERE.

Dec 05
e-Books and Audio Books

Your students have access to an amazing amount of e-books and audio books through your student's campus library.  This resource is great to use during the school year as well as during the upcoming break that we will have.  Please use this resource to READ! READ!READ!  

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” – Dr. Seuss

Instructions below on how to access. 

How to access from a desktop:

From MyKaty Cloud, search for Library Catalog.  Click on your campus name.  Click Log In and enter your Katy ISD username and password.

Folletthome.jpg

Search the catalog tab for the item you wish to read and click  the Open button for ebooks or the Play button for audiobooks.

scarlettletter.jpg

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How to access from a mobile device:

The Destiny Discover web app gives you an additional entryway to Destiny Discover.

  1. Go to this web page: https://reader.follettsoftware.com/DD-launcher

  2. Create a bookmark or shortcut to make it accessible from your home screen.

To log in:

  1.  Use the Location drop-down to select your state or province.

  2. In the School field, type the first few letters of your school's name. When your school appears in the suggestions, select it.

    Note: Steps 1 and 2 only need to be completed the first time you log in, or if you need to select a different school. 

  3. To log in with a username and password, tap Log In. Note: You can browse the Catalog by clicking Browse as Guest.

  4.  On the next screen, type your Username and Password, and then tap Submit.

You will then see a screen with the digital resources available from your campus.  Click on the title and you will be able to Open/Play or Checkout the resource.

digitalbooks.jpg


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