FAQs

What is an ePortfolio and does my child have one?

An ePortfolio is a comprehensive collection of student work showcased through digital platform. In Northwest ISD, our goal is to have all students create and access an ePortfolio.

NISD has created a robust website at eportfolios.nisdtx.org that contains a plethora of useful information on ePortfolios, including:

  • the purpose and alignment of ePortfolios in NISD
  • samples of ePortfolios from students, graduates, and staff
  • written and visual instructions for creating an ePortfolio
  • numerous ePortfolio resources for students and educators

 

Where do I go with questions about ePortfolios?

This FAQ document has answers to questions about ePortfolios, including what goes in an ePortfolio, privacy and security of ePortfolios, and who to contact regarding them.

NISD has created a robust website at eportfolios.nisdtx.org that contains a plethora of useful information, including:

  • the purpose and alignment of ePortfolios in NISD
  • samples of ePortfolios from students, graduates, and staff
  • written and visual instructions for creating an ePortfolio
  • numerous ePortfolio resources for students and educators

 

I am interested in learning more about Chrome and Chromebooks. What resources are available?

Please visit the NISD Chromebook Academy and the 1:World YouTube Chromebook playlist for information and resources.

Does a phone qualify as a personal computing device?

A phone can serve as a valuable tool in the classroom. However, a phone does not meet the requirements of a personal computing device in the educational setting. Students may chose to use their phone as a supplementary device but should plan to bring either a district-issued device or a BYOD that meets the Northwest ISD Student Device Standards.

If I cannot get my personal device to connect to the network, can I get help from someone at campus?

You can find general instructions for getting network access on your personal device here, but it is the student’s responsibility to troubleshoot personal devices during the school day. Check your owner’s manual for issues concerning connectivity.

Will I have to use my own data plan to access the Internet when on campus?

Wireless access is provided by Northwest ISD. You must use the NISD filtered wireless connection when on campus. NISD is not responsible for personal charges for data or accessing other wireless connections.

Am I still held accountable for the Student Responsible Use Policy even though this is my own personal mobile device?

Yes. The RUP for Northwest ISD remains in effect when using your own device on a campus and/or when utilizing the NISD network.

I brought my device to school to use in the classroom, but my teacher said I couldn’t use it in her classroom. Can I still use it?

The teacher in the classroom has the final say on procedures in the classroom. If he or she asks you not to use your device, then you should follow those directions. Access is available but not guaranteed for each classroom situation.

I have my personal laptop/mobile device with me in class. How do I get on the Internet now?

You can find general instructions for getting network access on your personal device here.Once you follow these instructions your device should connect to the NISD network. Guests without an NISD login are welcome to utilize the NISD-Guest network.

My personal computing device is not prompting me to choose a wireless network. Is there another way to connect?

In the settings menu of your device, there is usually a network access icon. Go to this icon and choose NISD-Open from the list of available networks, or prompt your computer to look for wireless networks in range. Consult your device owner’s manual for exact directions for accessing a wireless network.

What if my laptop or phone is stolen or damaged? What recourse can I take?

Students bring personal computing devices to school at their own risk, just like any other personal item. The district will not be held responsible if an electronic device or other item is lost, stolen, or misplaced, including those that have been confiscated.

I don’t have my own personal computing device to bring to school. Will I be penalized or miss out on instruction?

No, it is not mandatory for students to bring a personal device, even if they do own one. Students K-12 have regular access to a district-issued device as part of the 1:World initiative. For information about the issuance of a district device, please contact your campus technician, or refer to the district page on student devices.

Is it required that I use the Northwest ISD wireless network? Can I use my own 3G or 4G service?

It is required that you use the district filtered wireless as stated in the Northwest ISD Responsible Use Policy and Student Code of Conduct. Using your own wireless provider during school is a breach of both agreements and the violation may result in confiscation of your device.

How might my elementary student use their NISD email address?

Email accounts offer the opportunity for students to apply their 21st century skills in a safe environment. Students now have the opportunity to safely share work and communicate digitally with classmates, teachers, and parents through their student Gmail accounts.

How is my secondary student using their NISD email address?

Northwest ISD strives to provide resources to prepare students in their journey to be future ready. Email addresses are one of the ways students are able to connect with universities, businesses, scholarship providers, and district Partners in Education. Students at the secondary level are using their student Gmail accounts to communicate safely with teachers and staff regarding assignments, homework, and/or projects.

How will the district ensure safety procedures are in place?

Your child’s education and security is a top priority in Northwest ISD. The district uses two filters to limit the spam or unintentional content your child receives. If a child receives an inappropriate or questionable email, they are encouraged to immediately notify an adult and send an email to helpdesk@nisdtx.org. Please note the district filter follows the district owned devices whether they are on campus or connected to another network. For example, when in any district building or at home, the district issued device is subject to the district’s filtering policies. For information on filtering non-district owned devices at home, please visit www.openDNS.com.

Is my child’s NISD email account deactivated upon graduation or un-enrolling from NISD?

Upon graduation or un-enrolling from Northwest ISD, your child’s NISD email account will be deactivated and you will no longer be able to access it. However, student accounts are marked as inactive for 6 months before being deleted. During the time they are inactive the contents of the account can only be accessed upon request. Please make arrangements prior to graduation or leaving the district, especially if using for college applications or scholarship information, to change your email communication preferences.

What are ways I can help educate my children about email and their digital footprint?

The district encourages your partnership in discussing the importance of digital citizenship and appropriate use of email. At the beginning of each year, students and parents sign an Responsible Use Policy for district-issued devices and appropriate use of district email. To revisit the document your child signed, please visit the NISD Responsible Use Policy.

NISD students learn about the importance of digital citizenship and making smart choices when using the Internet. In addition to specific digital citizenship curriculum and lessons, cyber-awareness education is ongoing to ensure our students are prepared, responsible digital citizens. In today’s digital world, it is necessary that your child is aware of the footprint they are leaving. Feel free to use the following website as a resource to discuss digital citizenship: https://www.commonsensemedia.org/. The website provides trusted advice, innovative tools, and information for parents.

We also encourage parents to be an active participant. Some strategies include logging in and reviewing your child’s email account and corresponding with your child via email for additional practice.

What does “filter” email mean?

The district uses multiple email security systems to scan both inbound and outbound email for spam, viruses, appropriate content, attachments, and bulk marketing.

Will there be limitations on how students use email?

As stated in the NISD Responsible Use Policy, email should be used for educational purposes only.

Can students use their NISD emails to create accounts for web-based services?

Students have the ability to create accounts for web-based services approved by their teachers as long as they are in accordance with the terms and conditions of the service.

If you have further questions for a technology staff member, please email helpdesk@nisdtx.org.

Does the district audit student email on a regular basis for appropriate content?

The district does not audit student email unless there is a specific request or requirement from law enforcement, administration, or parents. We strongly encourage parents to monitor their child’s email account on a regular basis.

Can students change their email/network password?

Yes, students have the ability to change or recover their password by navigating to portal.nisdtx.org and licking on “Need Help?” at the top right of the page. This will prompt them to recover/change their password by entering their district username.

Do elementary students receive a district issued device?

While devices are not issued to individual elementary students, they have access to a variety of devices on their campus that can be checked out by the teacher, including Chromebooks at a 2:1 ratio in grades K-2 and a 1:1 ratio in grades 3-5. For more information regarding the specific devices available to your child, please contact your child’s campus.

Where can I view account balances and sign the Parent/Student User Agreement Form?

To access account information, please visit https://tx-northwest.intouchreceipting.com/.

What does the research say about School One-to-One Computing Initiatives?

Schools today are given the task of not only educating students with the three Rs of Reading, wRiting, and aRithmetic but also are expected to give students strong backgrounds in science, technology, global studies, and a diversity of so-called “21st century skills” such as critical thinking, collaboration, agility, initiative, oral and written communication, analyzing information, and imagination (Wagner, 2008). Recognizing that we now live in a digital rather than analog world, many schools are implementing one-to-one computing initiatives to help accomplish these academic goals.

Sauers & McLeod, Brief Castle, (2012), No. 1, What does the research say about school one-to-one computing initiatives?

How can I help my child become a better digital citizen?

At school:

As a result of a federal mandate, school districts are required to certify their staff and students have learned about CyberSafety and Digital Citizenship. This professional learning opportunity, mandated by the federal government in its requirements for public school districts to receive eRate funding, is to learn more about CyberSafety and Digital Citizenship. NISD is proud to be a Common Sense Certified School District through the use of specific Digital Citizenship curriculum and lessons, as well as ongoing, classroom-embedded cyber-awareness education to ensure our students are prepared, responsible digital citizens.

At home:

Parents can take steps to help their children become better digital citizens, including:

• Monitoring your child’s presence on social media
• Have conversations with your child about the types of information they share online
• Ensure they understand not ti reveal their full name, telephone number, home address, social security number or password(s) to other people
• Encourage them to notify you, a teacher or administrator if they inadvertently access a website containing obscene, pornographic or otherwise offensive material
• Discuss the impacts that a positive and/or negative digital footprint could potentially have on their future

Learn more ways to help at home by visiting www.commonsensemedia.org

How does technology improve learning the classroom?

Learning is not linear or one size fits all. The modern classroom is not designed to be a sit and get model. Our educators strive to pose questions to our learners that they cannot Google on the Internet or look up in a database. We strive to teach our learners how to find information that is relevant while challenging them to apply that information to what they are learning in an authentic way.  There is also research that supports that this generation of student’s brains are wired differently. They learn differently and use information differently than adults. We need to adapt teaching and learning strategies to meet our students where they are in their own learning using the tools that that engage their curiosity and creativity.

The future belongs to a different kind of person with a different kind of mind: artists, inventors, storytellers-creative and holistic “right-brain” thinkers whose abilities mark the fault line between who gets ahead and who doesn’t.
A Whole New Mind, Daniel Pink

What is Google Suite for Education (G Suite)?

Google provides access to a Suite of digital tools to school districts at no cost. Visit this G Suite for Education FAQ for more information.

Why did we choose G Suite for Education compared to other cloud services?

While there are many cloud-based services available, the choice was made based on workflow, collaboration capabilities, total cost of ownership, and platform compatibility. In this case, G Suite provided the district with opportunities to to support our Profile of a Graduate. Please note that the cloud-based Microsoft 365 suite (Word, PowerPoint, Excel, etc.) is still in use and supported on district devices.

My child is on their technology 3-4 hours per night “doing homework.” I don’t want to limit their learning. What are some tips to manage their screen time?

We recommend the following guidelines:
1: Have a dedicated space for homework that is not isolated from others, but still quiet enough to reduce distractions.
2: Communicate with their teacher(s) and refer to the teachers’ Moodle courses to help inform you of assigned activities and work.
3: Check-in with your child periodically during their homework to have them share their work/exploration.
4: At night (after homework or designated time), have the student charge their device in your bedroom or other designated space that is not their bedroom.
5: We promote and discuss with students and teachers the importance of a balanced use of their device and other technologies. We understand that technology is a critical component of our lives, but it always needs to be balanced with the other needs of personal growth through personal and family relationships.

How are issues of inappropriate usage being handeled?

Infractions of the RUP are considered disiplinary issues and are handled accordingly on a case by case basis by your student’s campus.

How can I protect my child’s online experiences at home?

While the district issued device is filtered at home the same way it is filtered at school, we recommend setting up rules on your home network for non-district devices. Open DNS is free internet filtering service that can be utilized at home. This service is fairly easy to setup. Please visit www.openDNS.com for more information on protecting your family at home.

Please note the district filter follows the district owned student device whether it is on campus or connected to another network. For example, when in any district building or at home, the district issued device is subject to the district’s filtering policies. For information on filtering non-district owned devices at home, please visit www.openDNS.com.

What federal laws and regulations does NISD follow to protect student privacy?

Student privacy is of the utmost importance. Please visit our student privacy page to learn more information.

How is filtering software applied to the school network and to the devices? If an assignment is blocked by the filter and firewall, how are exceptions granted so the students can finish the assignment?

In general, the filtering systems within our network utilize managed categories (adult content, adult language etc.) to apply filters and block inappropriate content. As with most filtering systems, we have the ability to “whitelist” sites to allow their use. If a student attempts to visit a site, and it is blocked, the process currently is for the student to talk to their teacher. The teacher will put in a helpdesk request and the site should be unblocked within 24-48 hours. No filtering system is perfect in blocking out unwanted sites and allowing wanted sites. It is always a process of managing expectations, processes, and planning for our end-users to test sites and have conversations with their teachers regarding any challenges they are facing in terms of access.

Please note the district filter follows the district owned student device whether it is on campus or connected to another network. For example, when in any district building or at home, the district issued device is subject to the district’s filtering policies. For information on filtering non-district owned devices at home, please visit www.openDNS.com.  

Can the student(s) access non-educational and inappropriate content?

The district filters Internet access to any student device. The filter follows the requirements of the federally mandated Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA).

Please note the district filter follows the district owned student device whether it is on campus or connected to another network. For example, when in any district building or at home, the district issued device is subject to the district’s filtering policies. For information on filtering non-district owned devices at home, please visit www.openDNS.com.  

How can I be sure that the social media application or digital tool a teacher may ask my child to use is safe?

Northwest ISD is very careful about what types of information we ask students to enter into any online platform. We use proactive measure via a digital citizenship plan and ongoing support to ensure our students are safe. While we do our best to test and explore all digital tools our students use, the classroom teacher is ultimately responsible for deciding which tools their students use for their class. If you have questions or concerns about a particular digital tool, please email your student’s teacher.

May students bring their own devices for classroom use? Do they have to use a district-issued device?

Students must adhere to all district policies and regulations as outlined by the Student Responsible Use Policy. Students can use a district-issued device or choose to bring their own device to use. If a student chooses to bring a device to school, Northwest ISD accepts no responsibility for lost, stolen/damaged personal devices, or the maintenance of the device. In addition, BYOD devices should have protection against malware and viruses. For more information, visit the district BYOD Guidelines.

Who receives devices at the secondary level?

All secondary students in NISD have the opportunity to be issued a district device.

Can my student connect to home wireless?

Yes, click on the Wi-Fi icon in the bottom right corner of the task bar and select the network you want to join.

Will district devices replace student textbooks?

Northwest ISD does offer access to select online textbooks and digital resources based on the curriculum and content area. Please have your student contact their course instructor(s) for specific textbook information.

What tools are available to help me stay informed as a parent?

Common Sense Media

Common Sense Media is dedicated to improving the lives of kids and families by providing the trustworthy information, education, and independent voice they need to thrive in a world of media and technology.

OnGuard Online

Provides tips from the federal government and the technology industry to help you be on guard against Internet fraud, secure your computer, and protect your kids online.

Be Web Smart – for the analog parent in a digital world

Parental Control resources and guidance for parents who want to keep their families safe and productive on computers, tablets, smartphones, and other devices.

Do students have access to YouTube while at school?

Northwest ISD utilizes Restricted Mode on YouTube. This means that students have access to educational videos and those approved by NISD Educators.

If you are an NISD Educator, directions for approving videos on YouTube can be viewed in video form here or document form here.

 

What are the procedures if a device gets lost or stolen?

If a device is stolen, the student needs to file a police report with the campus SRO. If the SRO is unavailable, the student should report the loss/theft to their principal or assistant principal.

Where can I find additional information about student devices?

Please visit the Technology Department’s web page on Student Devices for more information.