Society

Our new portal

Rockdale ISD has recently undergone a change in one of our communication tools. We have moved from First Class to Google Mail (G Mail) in an effort to increase our digital opportunities to connect with students and parents and also to save money.

This move has been an easy transition for most of our educators and we trust that many of you have not noticed much of a change from home. Our staff has been trained to use the e-mail system and they are doing very well with the change over. E-mail addresses have remained the same so our public and our staff do not need to learn a new address.

A big plus in moving to Google is the use of the Google for Education tools that are available to our staff and students; tools that our students will be expected to use in their immediate future and tools that the rest of the world has been using for several years.

When you go to our website (www.rockdaleisd.net) you will find a sidebar link named the Google Portal. Opening this link will allow you to view the tools that we are using or plan to use in the near future. Starting next year our students will have e-mail addresses that will allow them to communicate with their teacher. There are controls that our staff will use and the ability for the district to monitor this tool.

Other exciting tools include a presentation tool called Slide Rocket that is a favorite of some of our students (it is similar to power point). Another tool is Google Docs that has been used for several years in business as well as education. This is a writing document tool that allows students to share their assignments with their teacher and it allows students to share with other students when they are collaborating on group assignments.

Another student tool is Easy Bib that will assist students with the documentation that is required in research papers and projects. It not only provides them with documented resources, but it also helps them cite their sources in the correct format. Also included in the portal is a tool called Aviary that provides students with a suite of free web-designed tools which allow classrooms to create, edit, and share digital work.

There are other tools in the portal such as Google Sites that allows students to design their own webpage and Google Calendar that provides students with a planning guide. In the future we may be using Open Class as a Learning Management System that will provide students and parents with greater access for real time educational assessment and activity.

This article may seem like an advertisement, but it is not. The purpose is to communicate to you some of the interesting web tools our students and staff are and will be using over the next few years in Rockdale ISD. We have chosen to utilize a safe digital environment and one that is currently free to our district. Please contact your child’s teacher or principal to let us know how the tools in the Google Portal work for you and our students. hwright@rockdaleisd.net


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