This post marks a very important transition for me and my family. I am wrapping up my time in Birdville and moving on to a new role as Director of Digital Learning in Seguin, Texas. I’m extremely excited about the new opportunity, although I will miss my incredible co-workers and fellow educators in the district that has been my home basically since the age of 8, including 19 as a teacher and technology specialist. It has been an incredible honor and pleasure to work alongside each of you. I am proud to have been a small part of some great accomplishments and innovative practices, but I recognize that you all did the heavy lifting. I’ve taken away far more than I could ever have given back. To Kelli, Dwight, Jeff, Cheryl, Karen, Teresa, Crysten, Deborah, Denise, Paula, Lynette, Jon, Jeff, Janice, Matt, and Scott, in particular: you’ve given me lofty targets to shoot for in my new position, and I hope you realize how incredible you really are. Thank you for your friendship and your patience. Best wishes for incredible success, God bless you all, and please keep in touch! Give me a holler if you want to hit the river and grab some Q!
A change in leadership is always an interesting experience. It’s also a great opportunity for self-assessment and adjusting your direction and focus. This is very descriptive of this year in Birdville, as we have a new superintendent and several other members of the leadership team (or, more accurately, the “cabinet”). As expected, our new leaders are examining every program that is in place in the district, evaluating its merits, costs, needs, and direction. We are utilizing the opportunity to refine our methods in the Instructional Technology team, something that’s probably overdue. We’ve dwindled from 12 strong down to 7, moved from our technology department to curriculum, and worked with several different administrators in the past 9+ years.
As a result of our reorganization, I will be working primarily with elementary schools this year (5 of them, to be exact). I’ll also support our district’s librarians and fine arts teachers, train and support webmasters, and continue to try and keep up with the emerging technologies, especially Web 2.0 varieties. I’m very excited about the year. I have an elementary background originally, spending my first six years in the business in elementary classrooms. It will be exciting getting expanded opportunities to work with younger students and our fantastic elementary teachers. As for the librarians and fine arts folks, I absolutely look forward to working with the “keepers” of information and creativity–I can’t imagine a more perfect group to work with.
Finally, I’ll also be working closely with elementary math and science curriculum specialists. My role will be evolving, but it is certain to include serving as a go-to resource for science and math teachers who wish to integrate technology into their classroom practice. I’ll also be working to add these types of resources and lesson plans to our district curriculum documents.
All in all, I’m anticipating a challenging but rewarding year and a great opportunity to work with an expanded team of educators.
Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/broken_simulacra/103802259/
The BISD 12 Second Tech Challenge is back! This time, it is packaged with a creative, new title: The Revenge of the 12 Second Tech Challenge. For those who haven’t participated, the process is simple. I’ll post and share a short video (You can probably guess how short.) that either prompts you for a response or challenges you to complete a task, such as trying out a new technology tool. At the end of the challenge, which could be as soon as a few weeks or as long a few months, participants will be entered into drawings for prizes that are actually quite cool (e.g. class video cameras, graphics tablets, etc.). The number of times you will be entered is based upon the amount of participation, which is easy to document. Sooo, let’s start off quite easily, so those of you who are not regular blog readers or comment-writers can get the hang of things. This one should just take a few minutes. Watch the video below, then answer the question it poses by leaving a comment in the space that follows. We’ll start by trying to hash out just what “21st Century Skills” really are.
Revenge of the BISD 12 Second Tech Challenge on 12seconds.tv
This week’s 12 Second Tech Challenge is by far the easiest yet (The final one will make up for this, I promise!). It does require you to plan for the future, however.
BISD 12 Second Tech Challenge #12 on 12seconds.tv
(If the video isn’t displaying above, you can view it here.)
In 2007, the International Society for Technology in Education released a list of student technology skills that would be needed to ensure that our students would be successful in modern society. The document is the National Educational Technology Standards and Performance Indicators for Students (NETS•S). Your task is simply to download and read this document (It is SHORT–only 1 page.), then reflect on your curriculum. Think about a way or ways you could incorporate technology into your existing curriculum in such a way as to effectively meet your course objectives and the NETS at the same time. Share your lesson idea in the comments here. That’s it!
Now, for the “and…” part. Just to tease the big giveaways (which will occur next week), I decided to draw a name for one of the prizes, 4Gb thumb drive. This is no ordinary USB drive, mind you–it is covered in rich, Corinthian leather! The winner of the USB drive is . . . Janet Erlinger! Coincidentally, Janet has completed every challenge–you have to play to win! She will still be eligible for further prizes next week. Congratulations, Janet!
We’re getting down to crunch time. The big prizes will be announced next week, but for now, intrinsic motivation will have to do! For today’s challenge, you’ll need to create your own blog, using the site Posterous.com. Now, before you click back to the Cartoon Network site just yet, hear me out for a second.
BISD 12 Second Tech Challenge #11 on 12seconds.tv
Posterous is a site I recently shared that allows users to post using just an email message, even one that includes pictures or videos. You can even read and reply to comments via email. Accounts are free, of course, and you can blog about anything you like to talk about: family, sports, work, children, movies, food, etc. I want you to see how addictive they can be, and the best way to ensure that is to write about what you know and care about. Just be sure to share your blog’s address here once it’s set up!
Continuing with the theme of creativity, today’s challenge is to try out a very cool alternative to PowerPoint, Animoto.
BISD 12 Second Tech Challenge #10 on 12seconds.tv
(Click here if you can’t see the video.)
Animoto lets users create videos that incorporate images, music, and text into a very slick, professional-looking product. This would be a great tool to allow students to present information on just about any topic, and the product would be very engaging. Videos can be embedded in blogs or wikis or downloaded to view on your computer or portable media player, such as an iPod. You could even upload the presentations to a podcast hosting site. The video below (click if video is not displaying) is an example that I made in just a short time, using family pictures and music from the Animoto music library (no copyright issues–yea!). Imagine how much more engaging and relevant a presentation on a topic such as fossils or presidents might be when done using Animoto. Heck, even a vocabulary list could become exciting!
As always, be sure to share a link to your finished products, and be sure to share any thoughts you have for using this with your students!