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MISD Robotics Teams Continue to Shine

This past weekend, Mansfield ISD hosted the TCEA Area 11 Robotics Contest at Legacy High School. 91 teams from across the region, including 42 from Mansfield ISD, converged to compete in what proved to be a very fun and exciting event for all!

Mansfield ISD triumphed at the competition with five teams advancing to the TCEA State Contest in Duncanville on May 2nd. The Mighty Bots from Erma Nash Elementary took 2nd place in Intermediate Arena. In this contest, students had to build and program a robot to perform as many tasks as possible in just two minutes.

Mansfield ISD swept the Inventions category with all four awards going to our teams! In the Inventions contest, teams create and develop a unique robotic invention that will solve a problem. Operation Baby Savers and Light Savers, both from Mary Orr Intermediate, took 1st and 2nd respectively in the Intermediate Inventions contest. Shepard Bots: Food on the Move and Shepard Bots: I Cook 4 U, both from Donna Shepard Intermediate, placed 1st and 2nd respectively in the Advanced Inventions contest.

These outstanding achievements followed another MISD Robotics success. The Eagle Bots from Willie Brown Elementary competed in the FIRST LEGO League Second Chance Qualifier on January 17th and earned a spot in the FLL Regional Championships, which will be held at Parish Episcopal School (Dallas) on February 14th. They will join two other MISD teams at the Championships – Robo Tigers from Worley Middle and Leopard Robotics from Lillard Intermediate.

We are extremely proud of all our robotics teams for their hard work and appreciative of the coaches for their time, effort, and dedication to the students!

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Middle School iPads : FAQs

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MISD will begin iPad deployment to middle schools mid-January 2015.

Middle school parents and students are encouraged to read this information and post any questions about the project here.

If you haven’t read the Student/Parent iPad User Agreement, it answers many of the questions parents ask.

What equipment will the student receive?

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If device has technical issues or the power cable & adapter go out students should contact the campus iTech for assistance.

What advantages are there to having an MISD-issued iPad instead of one that I bring from home?

Program changes for 2013-2014 have reduced costs and risks to families significantly, making the iPad 1:1 program an even better deal for students and their families!

  • MISD technicians work on malfunctioning district-owned iPads.Technicians cannot work on iPads owned by individual students for liability reasons.
  • A case of the caliber provided by the district for use with MISD iPads costs $35 or more if purchased separately.
  • Parents who have purchased theft coverage in the past have paid $50 or more per year with a $50 deductible. MISD iPads are now covered at no additional cost to parents. If an iPad is stolen and the student has complied with the terms of the iPad User Agreement, his/her liability is limited to $50, which is covered by the deposit. Another deposit will be needed to get a new device.
  • Under the 2013-2014 agreement, a student’s deposit is carried over from year to year until s/he separates from the district, at which point it is refundable if s/he complies with all of the terms of the iPad User Agreement.

What are the preparation steps that need to be completed bef ore a student is issued an iPad?

  1. Handbook sign-off sheet signed. This step was part of the online registration process that was completed at the beginning of the year.
  2. iPad User Agreement signed. This form will be available through Skyward Family Access on or before January 12, 2015 and will be due two days prior to campus deployment. It is also available in paper form at http://edtech.mansfieldisd.org .  It’s under the “Parent Resources: Forms” heading. Use of electronic processes is recommended, but the form is posted at that site for you if you must use paper.
  3. Deposit paid. It’s $50. Students who participate in the Free and Reduced Lunch Program qualify for a reduced deposit of $10 and $25, respectively. We encourage parents to use RevTrak (https://mansfieldisd.revtrak.net/ ) to pay the deposit, which will be open on or before January 12, 2015. Deposits are due two day prior to campus deployment. 
  4. Use of electronic processes is recommended. Paper documents and payments (checks) can be sent to the school office. Checks should be made out to the campus. Use of electronic processes is recommended.

Where can I find the presentation from the January 2015 parent meeting?

It is posted on the MISD Educational Technology web site web site under Parent Resources. Click Here to View It.

Is use of an iPad required? 

No. This is an optional program. The District has a Bring Your Own Device policy that can be found in the student handbook.

Apple ID & U-13 Information

Read more about the Apple ID here

What will students use if they don’t check out an iPad?

Students may continue to use traditional tools such as books, papers, and pencils. Some students may opt to use computers at school or technology that they have at home.

Why use iPads and not another type of technology?

  • High school students and grade 7-12 teachers use iPads already.
  • Using iPads for the middle school will allow students to use many of the same skills and materials that they will use in high school.
  • MISD middle school teachers have had iPads for over a year and have participated in an extensive training program and are ready to begin using them with students.
  • The middle school Career Pathways curriculum was written for use with the iPad.

Will all students be able to get class notes and turn in homework using iPads?

Students’ experiences will vary initially. This will need to be implemented over time. Teachers have had extensive training to use a variety of tools that fit best with their content.Teachers and students now have Google Apps for Education which gives the ability to share files such as class notes and to submit work digitally.

How will teachers use the iPad in teaching?

Students’ experiences will vary depending on content and teacher. Teachers will still teach the District adopted curriculum. Current adopted textbooks can be downloaded and/or accessed through the Internet. Parents may see student activities using digital class notes; creation of presentations, videos, and websites demonstrating student learning; students have been able to connect to content experts in another state or country using various apps for connecting and collaborating. Some teachers use the iPad as a way to provide homework help or give students the opportunity to collaborate on projects out of school.

Other teachers may “flip” their classroom, meaning students review videos or a presentation as an introduction to new concepts and information, and then do homework in class the next day where the teacher is available to help them. Students are able to review the information as many times as they need to in order to understand.  If a student is absent, the information covered that day is easily accessed.

App used are recommended by MISD teachers, campuses, iPad Mentors, instructional technology, curriculum coordinators, and special education specialist. Many education professional organizations such as the Texas Computer Education Association, the American Dyslexia Association, and National Association of Special Education Teachers are reliable resources for the best apps.

Apple provides a list of educational apps at this link.

How can I restrict what my student can install on the iPad and more effectively monitor my child’s use of it?

The parent meeting scheduled for February 23, 2015 at 6:00-7:30 at MISD Center for Fine Arts auditorium will provide some specific strategies that parents can use to restrict further what students can access.

If you’d like to learn how to lock down your child’s iPad, please see the iPad, iParent videos in the Parent Resources section of  the MISD Educational Technology website at http://edtech.mansfieldisd.org.

An important point to share with your child is that each iPad belongs to the district, not the student. As the parent, you can expect to be able to see whatever is on it. You also should feel empowered to take it from your child as needed as part of teaching him or her about responsible use.

These are some other notes about parental supervision shared at the January 2015 parent meeting:

  1. Use your student’s iPad. Practice. Play. Explore.

  2. Know your student’s passcode and logins.

  3. Ask your student to show you how they are using the iPad for learning.

  4. Charge the iPad nightly in the parents’ bedroom.

  5. Some restrictions can be set. See the iPad, iParent videos at http://edtech.mansfieldisd.org under Parent Resources.

  6. Hands-on training about parent restrictions on February 23, 2015 at 6:00-7:30 at MISD Center for Fine Arts auditorium. Please bring your student and their iPad to this meeting. This meeting is not mandatory, and is provided to assist parents.

Where will students store them? Will they need to carry other supplies, too? 

Students will carry them from class to class and store them as they do other materials.

What are the disadvantages to using iPads?

The potential for distraction and financial liability for lost or damaged iPads are the most frequently cited concerns. Some strategies are in place to mitigate those concerns.

  • Electronic tools are available to block some potential distractions. For information about how to place greater restrictions on your child’s iPad, please see the iPad, iParent videos at http://edtech.mansfieldisd.org.
  • The staff at your child’s campus has developed procedures for minimizing distractions in the classroom.
  • Under the terms of the 2013-2014 iPad User Agreement, liability for lost and stolen devices has been reduced:
    • MISD iPads are covered by a warranty plan against damage (subject to $50 deductibles and the terms of the iPad User Agreement).
    • MISD iPads are now covered at no additional cost to parents. If an iPad is stolen and the student has complied with the terms of the iPad User Agreement, his/her liability is limited to $50, which is covered by the deposit. Another $50 deposit will be needed to get a new device.
    • Under the 2013-2014 agreement, a student’s deposit is carried over from year to year until s/he separates from the district, at which point it is refundable if s/he complies with all of the terms of the iPad User Agreement.

Can students use existing iTunes accounts?

Yes, but use of a separate account set up for school works best.

  • Parents’ credit cards are typically linked with iTunes accounts set up at home. Accounts set up for school use are not linked to a credit card. Sometimes, when the district buys apps for students who have iTunes accounts with parents’ credit cards, that credit card is used instead of the district’s app redemption code. It’s been a hassle for parents to get those charges refunded.
  • When parents pay for apps, they pay up to 50% more than the district’s educational cost.
  • Some students struggle with both iTunes and personal email passwords. If they forget both, they can’t get into the email account to reset the iTunes account. If the iTunes account is linked to a district email address, a technician can reset that email account.

What happens to iTunes accounts and purchases when student graduates or leaves the District?

When a student leaves the District or graduates they must change their email address on their iTunes account to retain access to their purchases. Find out how to do this here http://support.apple.com/en-us/HT202667

I want to turn in a paper check instead of paying online. Who do I send the check to?

Use of electronic procedures is recommended (please see the checklist at http://edtech.mansfieldisd.org), but they’re not feasible for everyone. Please make the check out to your student’s school and send the check to the office. Signed paper copies of the iPad User Agreement should also be sent to the school office.

What apps are available on the device?

We’re planning to make available at no additional charge several paid apps for student use. Students will be able to install these from the district’s app store at no charge:

  • Pages – word processing
  • Numbers – spreadsheet
  • Keynote – presentation
  • iMovie – video creation & editing
  • Garageband – music creation & editing
  • iPhoto – image editing

Examples of free apps that will be available include:

  • Google Apps – cloud based storage, word processing, spreadsheet, presentation, and database applications
  • Socrative – software teachers use to ask questions and get students’ answers in real-time

In addition, there are literally thousands of free apps that teachers can ask students to install for use in their classes such as QR code readers/generators.

How often are the iPads updated to the new iOS?

As new iOS versions are released, students and teachers upgrade their devices. Because these are very large files, students have been encouraged to complete these upgrades at home or at off-peak times in order to minimize congestion on the network. The last iOS upgrade was in December 2014.

What about accessories such as keyboards?

These are not provided as part of the deployment. If you want to buy one, please be sure to purchase one that is not integrated with a case. The case provided by the district must remain on the device as part of the user agreement. This is because cases with integrated keyboards offer much less protection than the case provided by the district.

If my student does not check out an iPad, how will that decision affect his or her educational experience?

This is likely to vary by student. Students will be able to complete assignments using other resources. Paper copies of materials will continue to be provided. Others may opt to use other devices at school or at home.

Do students need an iTunes account to use “Find My iPad”?

Yes. One of the ways to utilize Find My iPad is to sign in to iCloud using the student’s Apple ID and password (iTunes account login) By default, Find My iPad is turned on in iOS 8, the operating system for the iPad minis purchased for middle school. To learn more about this function go to Find My iPhone, iPad and Mac .

Does the iPad have to be turned on in order to locate it?

Yes. It also needs to be connected to WiFi.

Are notes that are given to students with Dyslexia going to be available on the iPad? Will this change testing for those students?

Notes can be shared easily with students using the iPad. Be sure and contact your student’s campus or teacher for more information about these questions.

What keeps the student from playing games or watching movies on it while in the classroom?

Teachers and campuses have developed usage guidelines for the iPads on the campus, and monitor compliance to these guidelines.  Ask what those guidelines are and work with your student to help them understand and follow them.  Our goal is for students to utilize iPads for learning, provide them with educational resources that they might not have otherwise, and to prepare students to learn and work in our increasingly technological world.

Does the student return the iPad at the end of the year?

Because of safety & security programs in place, students are able to keep the iPads during summer break and bring them back to school the next year.The Internet is filtered at school and at home on the iPads. Processes are in place for parents if the iPad is stolen. Eighth grade students will take the iPad to high school.

MISD Robotics Teams Excel at Qualifiers!

At qualifier events held on Saturday, December 13, Worley Middle, and Lillard Intermediate both advanced to the North Texas Regional Championship on February 14th at Parish Episcopal School in Dallas.

In qualifier events held on Saturday, December 6, Willie Brown Elementary, Mary Jo Sheppard Elementary, Cross Timbers Intermediate, and Mary Orr Intermediate all placed in the top 10 at their qualifier and will be headed to the Second Chance Qualifier at Trinity High School in Euless on January 17th.

We’re very proud of all of our Mansfield ISD teams and their dedicated coaches!

Computer Replacement Project Meeting

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MISD Technology Development staff members met with vendor representatives this morning to put the finishing touches on computer deployment plans for MISD elementary and intermediate schools.

Jan North, Director of Instructional Technology  (center-right), said, “We’re eager to get this started for the kids and teachers.”

Gail Marlin, Director of Tech Support (center-left), added, “This is shaping up to be another successful project.”

MISD Robotics Teams in Action!

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Robotics teams from Imogene Gideon, Anna May Daulton, Janet Brockett, and Willie Brown Elementary Schools participated in First Lego League qualifier competitions this past weekend. All teams performed very well. The Willie Brown team earned the opportunity to participate in a second qualifier tournament on January 17.

We are very proud of all of our teams!

Reports from Brown and Brockett Robotics Teams!

The [Brown] Eaglebots 1 Team are going on for the next qualifier on January 17th! Go Eaglebots!

Finishing strong, The [Brockett] RoboLions, a fellow all-fourth grade team, competed in their first 2014 FLL World Class Qualifying Event with spirit, drive, and dedication! Their gracious professionalism and hard work is a testament to what they achieved this past Saturday. The team finished in the middle of the pack taking 18th position after competing against 27 other seasoned teams. They did not let the other team’s size or experience deter them from securing a solid position in the Robot games. I see a number of talented young men and women who are well on their way to more successful robotic competitions. The future is a rainbow of beautiful tomorrows when you hold a dream in your heart! They’re well on their way to greater things!

FLL Robotics Qualifier Events Today

A number of Mansfield ISD robotics teams are competing today in competition at UME Prep in Dallas. More  qualifier competitions are scheduled for next Saturday.

Good luck to Brown, Gideon, Daulton, and Brockett Elementary Schools!

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