Saturday, November 30, 2013

Feature Article about Mercy Technology in Farmington Observer.

In the wake of our Apple Distinguished School award we are receiving some nice publicity about our technology program:

Mercy recognized for its commitment to technology in learning

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Crowdsourcing, Flipping and other Ways to Innovate in the Classroom

How To Use Crowdsourcing In The Classroom
Although crowdsourcing is a new term-du-jour, it is a critically important information literacy skill that we must be teaching our students. If they are to become life-long learners, they need to learn how to work together in digital environments and to effectively collaborate with others. If you value this type of literacy – like the Harvard Business Review describes – here are a few simple ways to begin this important journey with your students.
Flickr CC photo by James Cridland

Google Apps for Education Teacher Documented Workflows
These are examples of individual workflows within a set environment. These are often the result of unsuccessful experimentation. The idea is for teachers to take what works for them and modify others to fit their environment and their classroom practice.

Turning Education Upside Down
Clintondale was the first school in the United States to flip completely — all of its classes are now taught this way. Now flipped classrooms are popping up all over. Havana High School outside of Peoria, Ill., is flipping, too, after the school superintendent visited Clintondale. The principal of Clintondale says that some 200 school officials have visited.

What the Internet Means for How We Think About the World
My generation, and the many generations before mine, have thought about knowledge as being the collected set of trusted content, typically expressed in libraries full of books. . . .Yet, for the coming generation, knowing looks less like capturing truths in books than engaging in never-settled networks of discussion and argument. That social activity -- collaborative and contentious, often at the same time -- is a more accurate reflection of our condition as imperfect social creatures trying to understand a world that is too big and too complex for even the biggest-headed expert.

PD Roadblocks: Control, Compliance, and Permission.
Any course, or workshop that a teacher has ever wanted to take for academics, or for professional development was either controlled, or in some way approved by someone in authority. . . .Someone other than the learner directs the learning in this model, because it was designed around control, compliance, and permission. It would be a big plus if the needs of the learner aligned with the needs of the director, and I imagine that sometimes it does. However, that would probably be more coincidental than a planned outcome.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Interest in and Interesting Things about our iWizards

Lots of activity is occurring within the iWizards' organization, and they are also stirring interest across the state.

The iWizards themselves are planning four new initiatives:

1) One task group is planning a January 23 all-day workshop which will be devoted to planning the 2014 iPad Orientation for new students. This year an iWizard will co-facilitate the workshop.  In addition, the iWizards are determining their orientation teams in advance so that they can "hit the ground running" in the iMac Lab at school.

2) Another task group is developing a sophisticated web site for hosting group resources and tutorials.  Ideally the site will also further group communication and planning.

3) A group of ninth graders are exploring the possibility of building an iOS app to serve the school community.

4) We are working on an internship program that would allow iWizards to assist the IT Department during school and into the summer.

New iWizards brainstorming about their projects

Several educators will be hearing about the iWizards in 2014.  I was recently asked to make a presentation about our tech team at the Michigan Association of School Administrators Midwinter Conference.  I also had a presentation titled, Empowering YOUR iWizards accepted for the 2014 MACUL Conference in March. In addition I intend to present on our iWizards at our own Tech Talk on February 28.  In that instance, it my hope to include some of the iWizards in the program.

WWJ Radio Interview on Apple Distinguished School Award

Last week we sent out a press release announcing that Mercy High School has been named an Apple Distinguished School for 2013-15.

Greg Bowman of WWJ (CBS - Detroit) interviewed me for his one minute Making the Grade segment:

Page from iMercy describing our innovative learning and teaching.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Mercy High School Named Apple Distinguished School

Mercy High School is pleased to announce that we have been recognized as an Apple Distinguished School for 2013 to 2015 for our integration of technology across the curriculum and school life. The Apple Distinguished School designation is reserved for programs that meet criteria for innovation, leadership, and educational excellence, and demonstrate Apple’s vision of exemplary learning environments.

The selection of Mercy High School as an Apple Distinguished School highlights our success as an innovative and compelling learning environment that engages students and provides tangible evidence of academic accomplishment. All ninth graders are required to take a Design Foundations course which teaches multimedia skills in photo, film, animation, and web design. Students collaborate on writing, and edit each other’s work using iOS apps; text, video, and audio recordings. An iWizard student technology team provides training and resources to the school community. Several faculty members present at regional conferences on topics related to instruction using the iPad.

We are proud that at Mercy, students have the opportunity to be technology teachers and program innovators. The multi-touch book submitted with our application will soon be available for all to enjoy through iTunes. Stay tuned for more Apple Distinguished school developments!

Mercy Administrative Team

Apple Distinguished School
Apple Distinguished Schools are K–20 schools that provide 24/7, schoolwide, one-to-one access to Apple notebook computers and/or mobile devices to all students, teachers, and administrators. They demonstrate an innovative and compelling learning environment that engages students and provides tangible evidence of academic accomplishment.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Dylan, the Samurai, and a Country Priest

I've been creating more media this year than at any other time in my life. However, my educational technology creations garner a pretty limited audience compared to some earlier movies

In 2009 I was teaching film and got the notion that I would do movie reviews. For a time I was trying to crank out one a month. In most cases I did these in collaboration with published professionals, which was fun. These productions took far more time than you might think, and my hobby sort of petered out.

Nevertheless, these reviews are alive and well on YouTube, and still draw comments.  Some of them have now received thousands of views.  I thought it would be fun to share the top three.

Bob Dylan - Shapeshifter  is by far the most "popular", no doubt because of its subject.  It has almost 25,000 views

I have made a few Akira Kurosawa movies. My Seven Samurai Review has about 8,700 views.

Diary of a Country Priest Movie Review has also been popular, garnering almost 4,800 views.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Patience for the Unconnected, Doomed Roll-outs, and other Ed Tech Matters of the Day

Patience for the Unconnected
Connected educators may be the worst advocates for getting other educators to connect. Too often they are so enthusiastic at how, as well as how much they are learning through being connected, that they tend to overwhelm the uninitiated, inexperienced, and unconnected educator with a deluge of information that both intimidates and literally scares them to death.  

Teach Kids To Be Their Own Internet Filters
Students live in an information-saturated world. Rather than shielding them from the digital world, many agree the most effective way to keep them safe and using the internet responsibly as a learning tool is to teach them how to be their own filters. That’s not only a life skill, but one that’s important when researching. Older kids, especially, have the capacity to learn how to decide which online sources can be trusted and why.

When Wikipedia Is the Assignment
Shared, public online documents have characteristics in common with parts of the academic review process. "The shift to thinking about placing the term paper as a Wikipedia encyclopedia entry allows for another level of peer review," Groom said. Such entries have references and citations; allow for a process of repeated, continual editing; and encourage collaborations between authors.

How Twitter Tore Down My District's Walls
Photo by Rhys A. via Compfight cc
I began to notice a few staff from my district were tweeting with people outside our district about education topics that informed the contemporary learning work we were doing. One night while watching a heated discussion occur--140 characters at a time--among educators from Michigan, New Jersey, and my district I started to see them exert influence upon each other. They were developing and influencing each other’s practice. This was quite different than the normal process of controlled professional development that is usually determined by the district and delivered within the district walls.

Why L.A.’s iPad Rollout Was Doomed
The second big issue was a lack of training, professional development, and overall, a failure to recognize the human resource needs created by a big device rollout like this one. “Teachers were not trained in the system to manage the devices. Nobody at the school was trained. A couple people from the district that came out to sort of help and they had somebody at the school who was the de facto tech person, teaching teachers how to use it after it had been deployed,” says Contractor #1

Seven Pathways to a New Teacher Professionalism
We saw that no matter what our schools were asking “for,” what they really wanted their children to do fell into one or both of two broad categories: They wanted children to use contemporary technologies to interact broadly and consistently with the world in meaningful and deep ways, or/and. they wanted children to be makers most of the day, not just consumers. 

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Preparing Our Students for "The 21st Century"? Guess, what-- They were BORN in the 21st Century.

"There are still educators saying things like: We need to prepare our students for the 21stCentury.” Students graduating for the last two years began their education IN THE 21STCENTURY! The time for preparation has long past over a decade ago." -- Tom Witby

“Every human has four endowments- self awareness, conscience, independent will and creative imagination. These give us the ultimate human freedom… The power to choose, to respond, to change." --Stephen R. Covey”

"Passion leads to focus, tenacity, self-discipline & persistence. Passion evolves into deeper sense of self-purpose." - Tony Wagner 

"Technology is a resource and not a learning outcome." -- Barbara A. Russell

"If you want a kid to care about his learning, he needs to know you care about him. We KNOW this. I just don’t think we’re always that good at PRACTICING it." -- Michelle Baldwin

"Many look at tweeting and blogging as technocentric or even narcissistic, yet I look at them as ways of learning and connecting."  -- George Couros

Photo Credit: floato via Compfight cc

Thursday, November 7, 2013

New iWzards Take the Plunge

A new crop of iWizards were inducted into our technology club this week.  They are primarily ninth graders and will bring some new energy and ideas to our projects.  Several of the new girls pitched in at the Mercy Open House on Sunday.  Then all were welcomed at an early morning reception at our usual haunt, the Baggot Street Conference Room.  I took some photos at both functions with my iPad.

Experienced iWizard, Taylor,  pitches the iPad program to Open House visitors.

Simone-- a ninth grade iWizard-- gathers an Open House throng.

New iWizard reception, November 6.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Tech Talk Taking Shape

The February 28, Tech Talk conference at Mercy High School is beginning to take shape.  Here are some of the planned sessions:

Passion-Based Learning With Everyday Technical Knowledge 
Keynote Presenter, Dr. Liz Kolb, Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of Michigan who teaches courses on educational technologies in all the school's teacher certification programs.

Creating and Publishing eBooks on the iPad
Karen Bosch,  K-8 Technology Instructor at Southfield Christian School. Apple Distinguished Educator.

iLearning.iFlexible.iPad: Ideas, Tools, and Resources That Amplify Student Learning
Joanne Rowe and Julia Alder,  Digital Age Curriculum Coaches for Birmingham Public Schools and national conference speakers.

"I Hate Copyright" ("Finding Public Domain and Creative Commons Images")
Larry Baker, Associate Principal at a Mercy High School and Apple Distinguished Educator

Weebly, Webquests, and more with Web
Stacey Sharp, Teacher at Marian High School and completing her Master’s in Educational Technology at Madonna University.

Student Presentations... iPad Style
Alison Kline-Kator, teacher at Mercy High School with MA Educational Technology) from University of Michigan-Dearborn, where she is currently a doctoral student.

Teaching Science in a Blended Format: Predictions and Perceptions
Dr. Jason Siko, Assistant Professor of Educational Technology at Grand Valley State University.

Web Portfolios for Students and Teachers Susan Smith, Art department Chairperson at Mercy High School, and also Mercy's team leader for Apple's Challenge Based Learning pilot in 2011.

Productivity Apps for the Busy Teacher
Zena Samona, science teacher at Our Lady of Sorrows School and B.S. from University of Michigan.

Check out the presentation details at

We are still accepting presentation proposals at the Tech Talk web site.

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