Digital Tools for Teaching and Learning

We live in a global and digital world -- a world changed by technology and new ideas about how we communicate with one another and exchange information. As a result, students must develop the research, information fluency, and technology skills that will allow them to be successful, safe, and ethical in this digital world. For this reason, students are provided computer access privileges at school, as well as access to the Internet, email, digital communication and collaboration tools, online learning spaces, and electronic educational resources. These resources, tools, and equipment are essential to teaching and learning. 

The guidelines for responsible use of these tools are outlined in School Board Procedure 2022P

Under the Federal Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) , the District is required to filter Internet access and to teach online safety.  The District takes your student’s safety and privacy very seriously and makes every effort to supervise and monitor student technology use.  We use Internet filtering software to block access to content that is obscene, pornographic, or harmful to minors. We provide instruction to all students in the area of Digital Citizenship through use of District-approved curriculum from Common Sense Media.

Given all of these factors, Parents or guardians still do have the right to terminate their student’s access to electronic tools and resources by signing the District Technology Opt-Out form .  (El formulario también está disponible en español.)

Please read more on a specific topic below:

Standard Tools for All

Standard applications and accounts that are configured for student use include (but are not limited to):

  • Active Directory: Each student is given an account in Active Directory that they will use to log on to any district-owned computer within the district network and provide them with access to a cloud-based folder where their important documents and projects can be stored.  These credentials are also used to access our Library Catalog, GoogleApps for Education Environment, and Online Grades portal.
  • Northshore’s Google Apps for Education Environment: This education-focused Google Apps environment is hosted by Google, and managed by the District.  This collection of online applications provides students with a Google email account, calendar, and access to GoogleDrive, where students can create, share, and publish documents, spreadsheets, presentations, and other artifacts of their learning. The District creates and manages user accounts; manages access to applications and email based on grade level organizations; and manages permissions. For example, email accounts the District creates for elementary students can only communicate with other email accounts created by the District. (Note that Google Apps for Education (GAFE) accounts are covered by more restrictive data privacy practices than “regular” Google accounts, including a restriction on advertising and the use of student data for advertising purposes. GAFE also was an early signatory to the Student Privacy Pledge.)
  • Online Curriculum Systems: Most of the curriculum adopted in the District is accompanied by or depends on access to an online system where content and assessments are stored.  Many of these systems require students to have a unique account created for them which allows them to access supplemental video content, take quizzes, and strengthen their understanding about the ideas in a content area.  For District-wide curriculum, the District creates and manages these accounts.  In these cases, the terms of use and privacy policies are reviewed thoroughly before providing any student account data to the vendor.

Google Tools

What is GSuite?

Google Apps for Education (also called GSuite), which consists of Google Docs, GMail, and Google Calendar, allows teachers and students to communicate and collaborate inside and outside the classroom.  The GSuite for education was chosen as NSD's primarly online collaboration platform in 2010 after several years of individual schools and teachers using Google tools on their own.  Note that Google Apps for Education (GAFE) accounts are covered by more restrictive data privacy practices than “regular” Google accounts, including a restriction on advertising and the use of student data for advertising purposes. GAFE also was an early signatory to the Student Privacy Pledge. The tools include:

  • Google Docs: Students and teachers can create documents, spreadsheets, and presentations with the ability to collaborate with each other in real-time inside a web browser window.
  • GMail: Each student is assigned an email account with 2 gigabytes of storage per account.  Students in K-5 can email within the apps.nsd.org domain, and students grades 6-12 can email in and outside of the domain.
  • Google Calendar: Students can utilize Google Calendars to keep track of schedules and assignments.

Providing “anytime, anywhere” access lets users upload, access, share, and work on files from any computer. Google Apps create a collaborative online workspace that stores and organizes information and keeps versions current for all users - without flash drives or external media!

Why use it?
Student can use Google Apps to:

  • Collaborate with multiple people at the same time
  • Make multiple revisions and peer edit
  • Create a presentation
  • Keep organized using Google Calendar
  • ...and much, much more!

Teachers can use Google Apps to:

  • Collaborate with students and other teachers
  • Create and administer assignments to students
  • Provide opportunities for peer collaboration that extend beyond the school day
  • Collect assignments digitally
  • ...and even more!

Teachers and Administrators have access to Hapara, a tool that allows staff to monitor student work within Google and share documents and files more seamlessly.

 

FAQs

Digital Resources FAQs

Why did Northshore choose Google Apps for Education?

The district considered multiple options for a cloud-based collaborative tool that could be utilized by students and staff.  Google Apps for Education was the best fit for Northshore’s goals of easy collaboration, implementation, and integration with Chromebooks deployed to all schools through approved Technology Levy projects.
 

Will my child’s personal information and data be secure?

Student information and data security is a high priority in Northshore. Northshore’s agreement with Google states that Google must comply just as the district does with privacy and data security laws.  Check out Google’s dedicated FAQ page for Security and Privacy questions regarding Google Apps for Education.  Students will also be advised to change their district password from the default (at password.nsd.org) to further secure their accounts.

How can my child access their Google Apps account?

In a web browser (Chrome or Firefox work best), navigate to gapps.nsd.org. Students will login with their NSD Google Apps email address [studentID]@apps.nsd.org and their district password.  

Can I see what my child is doing on Google Apps?

Parents are encouraged to explore Google Apps with their children by logging in together. You will be able to have your student log in to his or her NSD Google Apps account at home and show you what they are currently working on in class, as well as items that have been “turned in” and commented on by the teacher.

How and when will my child receiving training on their NSD Google Apps account?

The training plan for your child will be a school-based decision.  Please contact your child’s teacher for more information about when your child will receive training.  Some training is done by the school's Teacher Librarian, some training happens in classrooms and is delivered either by the School Technology Specialist or the classroom teacher.

Will there be advertisements with Google Apps?

Ads are turned off in Google Apps for Education services and K-12 Google Apps for Education users will not see ads when they use Google Search signed in to their Apps for Education accounts.

For Parents: Opting Out

Opting Out of Technology Services

If you do not want your student to use District technology resources, please be aware that your decision to eliminate access to these tools may significantly affect your student’s ability to work collaboratively with his or her peers on class assignments and project, and may impact the development of skills necessary to live and work in this increasingly digital world.

Only complete the form if you choose for your student NOT to use District Technology.  Return the signed form to your school and schedule an appointment to discuss this with your Principal or Designated School Administrator.  After meeting with your Administrator, the Opt-Out request will remain in effect for one school year, and expires at the end of this school year.  To keep this Opt-Out in effect, you must complete a new form every school year. 

If no documentation is on file, it will be assumed that permission has been granted for access to the Internet, GoogleApps for Education (including email), Online Curriculum services, and other online applications and services that have been selected for use by the District, your child’s school, or your child’s teacher. 

Questions about the Opt-Out request can be directed to your school’s Principal.  

For Students

For Staff: Choosing Resources

NSD Instructional Technology promotes the use of digital tools for learning.  When choosing tools to use with students, staff should be careful to choose tools that not only support instructional objectives, but should also be careful to adhere to policies that serve to protect student data and privacy.  The NSD Instructional Technology Team has developed a set of guidelines for use when choosing digital resources.  These guidelines promote judicious use of digital content and tools to supplement NSD Core Curriculum.  None of the resources here should be used to supplant approved curriculum or effective instructional practices.

When reviewing digital resources, users should follow the approved guidelines for evaluation of digital services.  This helpful checklist will ensure that Teachers and Principals verify the quality and safety of any resources to be used with students.  

NSD Digital Resources Review Guidelines

Purchasing and Using a Digital Resource

If you have chosen a high quality resource to use with students, the use of that resource needs to be approved for use by the Technology Department.  This approval ensures that the vendor adheres to federal and state law concerning student data privacy.  Reviews need to be conducted when any of the following criteria apply:

  • The resource is an online (web based) system or service that collects user data.
  • The resource is free for use, with any conditions.
  • The resource is a paid resource.
  • You wish to pay for use of the resource for a first year or are renewing a subscription.

When requesting use of any digital resource, please complete this form.  Once your submission is entered, it will be reviewed for completion and then a work order will be generated.  Please note:

  • You may not use the resource until it is approved.  Approval will be noted in the work order comments.
  • All purchases of subscriptions, seats, or licenses shall be made by the Technology Department.  Office Managers and other staff should not initiate a purchase order or use a p-card for the purchase.
  • The review process can take up to 4 weeks due to the complexities of working with vendors and legal agreements.  Please plan accordingly!

This procedure does not apply to the installation of iPad apps.  Those wishing to request the installation of apps on school iPads should create a work order in WebHelpDesk.  Note that if the app appears to be instructional in nature, it may warrant review by CMAC.

Preview the review questions here.

Request the review of a resource now by completing this form.