Saturday, November 29, 2014

March MACUL Presentation

This past week I was delighted to have my presentation proposal accepted for the 2015 MACUL Conference at Cobo Center, Detroit, MI.

Outside of the Box Peer-to-Peer Tech Training Strategies

Peer to peer training is powerful. This session will describe some methods which have proven effective at Mercy High School such as teacher lead workshops, drop-in labs and a teacher-to-teacher conference. A badged self-paced course for teachers will shared as well as an iTunes U course for administrators which includes resources exclusively created by building administrators.  Additionally, a program where savvy students orient new students to their iPads will be described.  

The learning objectives for this proposed session are closely aligned with the ISTE Standards:

- Attendees will learn how to “engage in professional growth and leadership” through successful programs that provide teacher-to-teacher tutoring and training.

- Attendees will become acquainted with peer-created online courses that address staff deficiencies in a non-threatening way, cost nothing, and conform to a busy educator’s time constraints.  Related to this, attendees will become acquainted with iTunes U, animated GIF badges, and Schoology.  Those with advanced skill levels will be challenged to “model digital age work and learning”.

- Attendees will be challenged to consider how they might enlist tech-savvy students to mentor and tutor less technically proficient students.  They will learn about a successful tech  orientation program that makes a valuable contribution to the school community. They will see how this promotes “critical thinking, problem solving, and decision-making.”

katerha via Compfight cc

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Bonanza of Break-outs for 2015 Tech Talk

Angela Harris-Schultheis at 2014 Tech Talk

In addition to a keynote by Karen Bosch Mercy's 2015 Tech Talk on February 27 will feature 36 distinct break-out sessions!

3D Printing in EducationSteve DickieDivine Child High School
5 Inspiring Google Connect AppsMegan BlackThe Grosse Pointe Academy
Animation Creator HDCarol RifeMercy High School
Backchannels in the Classroom - Twitter and Beyond!Andrea McKayJackson High School
be inFORMed with Google Forms; communication=relationshipsJodi GoffDAT!?! How to clearly align your tech use with good instructionJason SikoGrand Valley State University
Becoming a Digital School AdministratorLarry BakerMercy High School
Blending Traditional curriculum with TechnologyAbigail PowersMuir Middle School
Connecting with IFTTTJulie AlspachOakland schools
Creating Quality VideoAnne EddyMercy High School
Eliminating the Chalk HandsAngela Harris-SchultheisMercy High School
Evaluating Features of iPad App Books for Early Childhood Literacy EngagementDr. Tanya ChristOakland University
Everything GoogleColleen McMaster RozmanMercy High School
Explain Everything--Explained!Lauren MarquardMercy High School
Flipping and PBL and Google, oh my!Chip McDonaldNovi Meadows
Flipping lessons in a snap! Creating student resources that extend beyond your class period.Cathy Riley and Lisa SchrimscherMercy High School
Flipping lessons in a snap! Creating student resources that extend beyond your class period.Cathy Riley and Lisa SchrimscherMercy High School
Flipping with an iPadSteve DickieDivine Child High School
Fluba what? Flubaroo!!!Chip McDonaldNovi Meadows
Happy Together with Google SheetsJeremy BadinerThomas M. Ryan Intermediate
I got an Ipad, now what? Emily E BlissOak Valley Middle School
Introduction to Photoshop CS6Susan SmithMercy High School
iTeach, iLearn, iPad!Lori Wetzel and Wendy MurrayRichards Middle School
Leading Your School from Your Mobile DeviceTheresa StagerSt. Mary Rockwood
Pinterest: Beyond Crafts and RecipesCindy RichterMercy
Planning and running a 1:1 programTom James (Mercy), Michael Kubik, Craig McMichaelMercy High School / Catholic Central
Productivity Apps for the Busy TeacherZena SamonaOur Lady of Sorrows School
Put the FORM in FORMative AssessmentsAndrea McKayJackson High School
Snagit and Share-it!Jeremy BadinerThomas M. Ryan Intermediate
Technology for the Flipped ClassroomStein BrunvandUniversity of Michigan-Dearborn
The Best Free Classroom Resources and How to Find ThemJessica P'SimerHoney Creek Community School
Twitter for Professional DevelopmentTheresa StagerSt. Mary Rockwood
Using Social Media in theClassroomMichael McVeyEastern Michigan University
Using the YouTube EditorJulie AlspachOakland schools
Weebly in the ClassroomAbigail PowersMuir Middle School
What is Genius Hour?Christina Chatel and Michelle SlavieroBoulan Park Middle School
YouTube in the Classroom: Beyond Kitten VideosAlison Kline-KatorMercy High School

For a complete session descriptions and biographies go to

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Badges, Room Keys, Blending Learning and More

The Teacher’s Guide To Badges In Education
Educators can learn a lesson from the video game industry. Every game gives the player an achievement (like a badge) for completing certain missions or for finishing the game. But they also give achievements for doing something really, really hard – or really, really cool! . . . .Students WANT specific goals in class to
jovike via Compfight cc
push them to try harder. It gives students direction instead of just telling them to “go learn on your own and report back to me”. The teacher sets precise targets which are important to the class, and the students earn a reward for hitting that target.

The iPhone Just Made Room Keys Obsolete at Starwood Hotels
The new simplified check-in process is shockingly simple. Just download the SPG app and you can check-in up to 24 hours before your reservation, retrieve your room number and Bluetooth key. Then when you come to the hotel you go straight to your room, pull up the app and hold your smartphone up to the lock to open it.

Bridging gaps with blended learning
Blended learning also fosters the ideal conditions for achieving the Common Core and ISTE Standards. In such an environment, learners are encouraged to exhibit creative thinking by designing interactive presentations that help others improve their learning. And digital citizenship becomes front and center when teaching responsibility in multiplayer gaming, simulations, messaging and other collaboration tools.

5 Ways to Engage Parents Using Google Drive
After attending a workshop on using Google Drive in the classroom, it dawned on me that I could use this completely free service to collaborate with parents in a way that was much more accessible than sending home a ton of paper with a forgetful 4th grader.

CNN Caught Using Microsoft Surface as iPad Kickstand
Microsoft proudly announced last month that it would be paying CNN to use its Surface tablets for the historic Mid-Term 2014 coverage, but when it came time to actually use Microsoft’s tablet last night, CNN political commentators discovered an incredible new Surface feature: it doubles as an iPad kickstand.

The 20 Top TED Talks for Education Inspiration

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Mercy Tech Talk Sponsorships

On February 17, 2015 we will be hosting Tech Talk at Mercy High School

"A day filled with real world applications for the K-12 classroom".  We expect to surpass last years attendance of 250 regional educators. In an upcoming post I will preview some of the presentation topics that will be offered.  In order to keep this event very affordable ($40 for early registration), we depend on sponsors.  If you or someone you know would like an exhibit table or other form of sponsorship please contact event coordinator Ann Lusch 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Shadowing the Shadowers of Mercy's iPad Program

On Wednesday we hosted an English teacher and science teacher from a local grade school which intends to go 1:1 iPad in the upper grades next year.  I set up three classroom visits for each visitor.  I decided that for fun I would pop in and observe some of the iPad action as well. So you could say that I shadowed the shadowers.

First Period
In Ms. Riley's biology class the students reviewed for a test by going to lab stations.  They used iAnnotate PDF to write notes on their digital worksheets. They also accessed their iBooks for information.

Ms. Harris-Schultheis's class had recently visited the Holocaust Memorial Center. When I stopped by the girls were listening to a Camp Survivor anthem accompanied by visuals.  The students accessed the lyrics on their iPads through Schoology.
Second Period

In Ms. McGavin's anatomy class I observed juniors using the iPad and seniors using the HP Tablet.  The students used their devices to access diagrams, highlight key items and take notes about the human jaw. As you can see in the foreground a student is holding a skull. Ms. McGavin was also projecting the images and notes through her Apple TV. So the students had many different ways to access and add to the information.

Ms. Hallie Smith's ninth grade English class was also studying the Holocaust. Via an Apple TV they watched a YouTube of Hitler giving a speech, and then discussed it after looking up additional information using the Safari browsers of their iPads.

Third Period

In Ms.Waldsmith's Women in Literature class the girls (like the student in the foreground) supported their discussion with digital resources accessed through their devices. I was surprised that most girls preferred a paper rather than digital version of their novel, but most girls took notes on their iPads.

During Ms. Schrimscher's chapter review (
chemistry), many girls took notes with their iPads using Pages. Students had reviewed digital resources before class, including a video that they could review through Schoology.

Observations from the Visiting Shadowers  
At the subsequent debrief my new friends shared a number of impressions. They noted that each classroom teacher had used the iPad differently, but all provided students with digital resources that were at their fingertips.  They were impressed by how so many assignments and assessments were paperless. The shadows also noted that grading seemed easier with the iPad, particularly with the tight integration that exists between Schoology and Power School.  They heard about interesting instructional uses of the camera and other apps like Socrative and Explain Everything.  They were also impressed by how adept the students were at moving from app to app and from screen to screen. They also noted that when students were assigned to groups they automatically created collaborative documents as a first step.

It was fun hosting our guests and seeing your educational technology through their eyes.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Mercy Ed Tech Decisions Feature Distributed Leadership

Distributed Leadership for learning and teaching is a leadership approach in which collaborative working is undertaken between individuals who trust and respect each other’s contribution. It occurs as a result of an open culture within and across an institution. . . .It happens most effectively when people at all levels engage in action, accepting leadership in their particular areas of expertise.  --- (Jones, Harvey, Lefoe, Ryland 2013, p.21).

Science Teacher Sara McGavin troubleshoots with iWizards
Distributed leadership characterized Mercy's decision to adopt Schoology as its Learning Management SystemReasons for changing from Moodle were identified by the I.T. Department.  However, we immediately put the evaluation different solutions in the hands of a committee of faculty members who self-selected and participated at a level each person could determine. (All meetings were open).

After the teachers chose Schoology they helped introduced the product to their peers and delivered the rationale for changing  Subsequently these same teachers conducted all of our professional development and training for Schoology.

August iPad Orientation led by the iWizards
We have also decided to hand over an important technology decision to our students. Recently we asked an iWizard to evaluate photo editing apps for use at the iCreate Workshop. The one she recommended has been so popular it may actually enter the school curriculum through our Design Foundations class. At a recent meeting of iWizards we were chatting our favorite iPad apps  One of the new ninth grade members began describing a planning app which sounded like one every student could use. It occurred to me that we should place selection of "Mercy apps"* more or less in the hands of the students. 

Consequently, we are asking the iWizards to assess all of our current apps. And at our next meeting we will ask them to pitch new ones. This is another great example of distributive leadership which has come to characterize decision making within our technology program.

*All students own a "Mercy iPad" which is pre-loaded with a set of instructional and personal productivity apps.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

An iWizard Writ Large

One of our charter member iWizards has become a monthly guest columnist for our local newspaper.  She will write on technology topics that may interest a general reader. Please check out her first piece!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

A Week of iWizards

We had lots of iWizard Activity this week which I have captured in iPhone photos.

Wednesday morning the iCreate team gathered to work on the two project sessions that they will offer to 7th and 8th graders.  At one end of the table the drawing/animation team is working and at the other the photo/video team is planning their lesson.

On Thursday morning before school we held a formal reception welcoming new iWizards into the group.  We had seventeen 9th graders apply!. Below is a photo of veteran and new members who were still in the Baggot Street Conference Room at the end of the the Reception.

Each year since we Mercy adopted the iPad, the iWizards have demonstrated how we use it for instruction at the Mercy Open House.  Here they are today, mesmerizing visitors with apps such as iAnnotate PDF and ArtRage.

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