#ManorISD Tweets!

What’s trending? Manor ISD is!

Screen Shot 2013-11-14 at 10.36.40 PM

Amazing learning opportunities and experiences are occurring within our classrooms and we finally all get to see and share! It has been exciting to witness so many teachers and classrooms connect within our district and beyond! In order to better capture each week, we will be compiling a weekly Storify to illustrate the week’s happenings. We hope you’ll check it out. Two weeks ago there were only 67 #ManorISD tweets to choose from for our Storify compilation and this past week we had 160+ tweets that were tagged #ManorISD! WOW! Thanks for sharing, everyone! Let’s continue to tell our story for all stakeholders utilizing the district hashtag and by joining us Tuesday, November 19th at 8PM for our next chat. For this month’s Twitter chat we will be talking all things Google! See y’all then!

 

Meet Steph!

557194_3431870883058_563688366_n

Hey all, it has been an absolute pleasure working with y’all these past few months. Thanks for the warm welcome and for the support I’ve received from everyone at Manor ISD. Now that I have my feet (sort of) planted, I figured it was about time I did a bit more sharing. After all, if we want our students to reflect and share then I better get on it, right?  So expect to see me snapping shots and posting write-ups on all the innovative learning that is occurring in your classrooms! And eventually (fingers crossed) getting students to do their own sharing! I can’t wait. Still before I jump right in, here’s a bit about me and what I’m all about:

I’ve had experience teaching multiple content areas from kindergarten to early college mostly in bilingual classroom or as a Spanish teacher.  I believe in hands-on, inquiry based learning while using tech to amplify instructional practices..but I feel I should also say, it’s not always about the tech! For me, innovative teaching and learning means rethinking current practices overall and learning spaces as well!  On the side (because I love what I do),  I  serve on the SXSWedu advisory board, consult with schools as a Google Certified Teacher, and help to organize both EdTech & EdCamp Austin. I work on each of these with the greater of goal of pushing the Austin community from pockets of innovation to an entire community of innovators that connect with one another.

Well, there you have it! I look forward to learning from and getting to know each of you as the year rolls along.

Meet Lacy

Me

Welcome to the iTeach Manor Blog! We have had quite a few changes in our department over the last 6 months with lots of new faces. As a matter of fact, we are experiencing an interesting season in the Technology Department of Manor ISD. In order to get started at making this blog a meaningful and inspiring resource for you, we thought we would start with each of our team members writing a bio post first. It is important that for as mobile as we are throughout the district, you understand the context we are coming from. We have huge plans, hopes, and dreams for the students of Manor and rely on our connectedness to the classroom, its teachers, and its students to make those dreams reality. That said, on our team of 4 there are 3 brand new faces from outside the district. I am the one from out of state. Let me rewind and explain how in the world I ended up in my dream job.

So almost a year to the month ago while we lived our happy little life in Fresno, CA, my husband received a job offer in Austin. We knew change was a comin’ and leaped through the door that opened. In my time at a special little elementary school in Manor’s sister city of Selma, CA, I was incredibly blessed to be in a small town with big leaders. My admin and district leadership were visionaries most do not have the fortune to work with. I was WELL trained as a teacher-leader and flourished in many years of struggle. I started in an overflow classroom, moved with my bubble, and finally got settled in the most perfect situation a teacher can imagine. I finally had the collaborative buy in and freedom to try many things in my District-technology in the classroom being one of them. I was fortunate to work in a district where the doors were always open and I was able to be involved at the top level to support the classroom level. Somehow I found a niche in technology.

Technology was my survival skill for the most rag tag kids to the ones at risk of being bored in their brilliance. It was through simple technology usage on a campus with no wifi and no devices other than a teacher Dell desktop, 4 broken thin clients, and a thin client computer lab bound by district directed programs that I was able to help create a culture of increased teacher collaboration and high levels of student tech usage at very young ages. My final year in Selma was magical. My kids could effortless explain appropriate usage to district personal, demo new technology, and even act as MY IT Support. It was this very special class that made me send my husband off to Texas and join him 7 months laters once the school year was over. Hardest thing I’ve ever had to do, but how those students transformed in that time was worth every minute of it.

At this point the plate spinning act of running a classroom that was challenging and innovate while getting my feet wet with District responsiblities and extracurriculars had me labeling myself with what educators know as “burnout.” When you are trained, they tell you to pace yourself, they tell you to set boundaries, but then you have 32 little faces that deserve every opportunity you were born with. This gratifying season of burnout in a job done well also had me realizing that I could multiply my efforts by becoming a teacher trainer. I had no idea what that looked like. I knew I was pretty comfortable presenting to colleagues, fairly energizing, and passionate about creating an environment that truly prepares kids for Century 21. I also new I happened to be moving to a technology hub in Austin. I started asking “What if?”

What if I didn’t teach? What if I could do anything? What if I could teach teachers how to use technology? What if I could see more kids succeed as much as Room 6 did? Then I thought…Well, insert any insecurity here. After 30 applications knowing that seeing “California” on my credential kicked me out of many piles, this strange thing happened when my husband asks if I had heard of an app called Meetup. He tells me to search “Edtech” and I found an EdTech Austin Meetup happening the next week. Angela Matthews, Manor’s Chief Technology Officer, was on the discussion panel as was another teacher who is now on our team, Stephanie Cerda. I was so impressed with the heart of the technology usage in Manor as a way to bring equity to east of the 35 that I email her the next day (something I would never normally do) and the rest is history.

So in this introductory novella, let me share what drives my involvement in educational technology. First and at my core, I believe in equity. That each and every child deserves the experience of doing something that makes them passionate and benefits this world. I was born into educational privilege and want to see the kids from rural, migrant, language learning, under-serviced, and forgotten communities to have the same opportunity that others are often born into. Secondly, I believe in efficiency. I cannot load the dishwasher without thinking there must be a way to do this faster, better, and with less stress so I can spend that time with my family. You are in the trenches, overworked, under-appreciated, tired, and weary. Technology provides the opportunity to save precious time, energy, and resources so that you have the juice to innovate with your students and still be a human being with the capacity to engage in your family and community on more than just the weekend and during the summer. I hope you will begin following me @whatifclass as I strategize with teachers, coaches, students, and administrators to make Manor classrooms as an exemplar of innovation and 21st century learning.

 

Want to create a quick Podcast? Just Croak It!

bd5615d64314444d77ac9664f56d48bdPush. Speak. Share. It’s that simple. Croak it is an application that allows you to put voice stamps of your own voice in 30 second and share it with anyone on the whole of internet. Every “croak” generates a link that can be heard from any mobile device from anywhere on the internet.

Here in Manor, students at several campuses are using croak.it to create audio previews of library books and attach QR codes to them.  Attaching QR codes of book previews/reviews to library books is not something new but croak.it has simplified the process greatly.  Students can now record their “croak” and create a QR code for it on the same device in a matter of minutes.  In the past, multiple devices or applications had to be used to complete this process.  One other great benefit to Croak it is that this application does not require a log in.  Follow these simple steps to create your own Audio QR code: QR Podcasts with Croak.it.

Take a Field Trip…Virtually, That is!

0944830607e2ff1ea20e709d503aa5e1

Virtual Field Trips are becoming quite the item across the district!Students are participating in a variety of video conference events such as: El Paso Symphony presentation with a Violinist and Cellist, Cowboy Close Up, a virtual field trip to the Fort Worth Zoo and learning how to spin yarn with an expert from the Institute of Texan Cultures.  Bringing these events to your classroom are available through a software called ClearSea. Renee is visiting campuses and sharing how to get started.  For more information about virtual field trips visit the iTeach Videoconference website or contact Renee Setser.

Using Twitter to Expand your Learning Community

twitter-app-logo

As teachers, we get several holidays during our school year.  Because of this, many other professions tease us about not working as hard as they do.  What many of those critics don’t know is that planning and learning in our profession never takes a holiday.  Educators are always planning or at least thinking about creative ways to get through to their students.  Planning great interactive lessons, a wonderful PBL project, or even just trying a new resource. Learning never takes a break in our profession.  During this “Holiday”, when you find yourself relaxing on the sofa with your iPad or other tablet, download Twitter. Create an account and expand your Digital Professional Learning Community. Twitter has quickly become one of the most valuable resources educators have in planning lessons.  These are not just technology integrated lessons but any type of lessons from teachers all over the country and even the world. Follow teachers from all levels of education, K-12 and beyond.  These are educators ready to share ideas and best practices with anyone willing to listen.

Caution: Beware of App Overload!

Taking on the challenge of making the iPad integration in Manor ISD successful is the job of the iTeach Team.  We are excited about the possibilities.  Our different perspectives and experiences will translate well when we begin assisting teachers with the integration of iPads into everyday instruction at Manor ISD.

As you all read in our introductions in the last post, I am a firm believer in limited amount of Apps on the iPad.  When considering iPads for everyday use in the classroom, many people often make the mistake of downloading far too many free or paid applications.  I know this, because I was that person.  At my previous campus, when we received iPods and  iPads, I kept up with the free app of the day posted by TCEA on Twitter (@tcea) and I downloaded to my hearts content.  I expected all these apps to be revolutionary when it came to teaching our students.  Unfortunately, many of the apps I downloaded quickly lost the interest of our students, took up space on the iPad and became a distraction.  Having too many apps can also lead to the iPad becoming an entertainment device rather than an educational tool.  Because of this experience and other similar stories, we are distributing the iPad with a limited number of apps pre-installed.  A mixture of paid and free apps that can easily be integrated into traditional classroom activities will be provided.

Students and teachers will have Pages for word processing, Keynote for presentations and animation,  iMovie for video creation,  Safari and Chrome for web research, and a few other powerful applications.

With the limited number of apps, teachers can concentrate on getting the students accustomed to using iPads on a daily basis.  This will also be a great way to get our teachers, some of which have never used iPads with their students, comfortable in using these powerful devices in class.  Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of wonderful apps that can be used by teachers in the classroom. I just believe that introducing targeted apps over time will make them more effective. What do you think?

Let us know @iTeachManor.

Back to School with iTeach

Manor Independent School District is excited to begin the first year of one-to-one iPad use in classrooms.  For our initial year, all high school students, Decker Middle sixth graders, and Decker Elementary third, fourth and fifth graders will have individual iPads.  As the district begins this roll out, two Instructional Technology Specialists will support teachers with the implementation of iPads in their classrooms.

Let’s start with introductions.

Jodi Hawkins has been a Manor ISD staff member for the previous three years.  Last year, as a co-creator of the elementary Project Based Learning training modules, she worked with Ruth Burrell to train the entire staff of Decker Elementary.  Chances are, if you have been through GTAL training with Lisa Barrett-Johnson in the past two years, you met Jodi.  She is no stranger to the use of iPads in the classroom and will help integrate them into PBL projects.

Jacob Luevano comes to us from Ysleta ISD in El Paso, TX.  He brings to Manor ISD over thirteen years of teaching experience, but more importantly two years implementation of iPod and iPad integration at Dolphin Terrace Elementary. Jacob is a firm believer in using iPads as tools to supplement instruction, without making them the complete focus in the classroom.

Randy Mathisen will also be assisting with the launch of iPads.  He was the trendsetter for one-to-one iPad use at Manor High School.  Last year, he worked with the technology team to incorporate iPads into his classroom.  This year, his title has changed. He will be the Instructional Coach over technology at Manor High School and a contributor to the iTeach blog.

These three will be your teammates in navigating this exciting year, as well as coaches, that will help lead you to great success with technology in your classroom.  Turn to them with questions that you may have or wonderful ideas that should be passed on to others.

When the iTeach team and teachers in MISD work together, we will be more powerful educators and lead our Manor students to reach their full potential.  

Jacob and Jodi will be on campuses 95% of their time and would love to pair with you to incorporate iPads into your daily teaching. They will provide ongoing support and ideas via the iTeach blog, their Twitter handle and Edmodo group.

Follow them on Twitter @iTeachManor and join their Edmodo group with the code mcbpta.

Welcome back to school, Manor!