Friday, August 15, 2014


If you'd like to follow our team's journey, find us on Twitter and Instagram. We created this poster to display on roll out days and send to our teachers. 
We will be sharing roll out day updates and pictures as well as sharing exciting tech lessons we observe and assist with during the school year. 

Monday, August 4, 2014

Tech Training for Induction Teachers

For the past five years I have helped teach a session to our induction teachers on technology. This year I was excited that our instructional technology team was asked to organize the day.
Our induction and new to the district teachers were invited. We had a crowd of around 50 teachers. We sent a list of apps they would need beforehand and issued a few iPads at the last minute if they had not already come in to pick them up.
They began the day with a quick survey asking them to assess their tech comfort level and share a tool they want to learn about this year. The QR code was on the screen when they came in. Getting everyone to successfully scan the code was a lesson in itself. I had to Airdrop or email a few that just were not able to get it done in time.

Our district administration welcomed them and shared some information about our district and curriculum updates. Then we began a rotation of six different hands on sessions.
1. iPad Boot Camp with librarian, Monique.
Monique tailored the session to beginners and advanced. She shared settings, tips and tricks for the device as well as items they may want to purchase such as stands.
2. QR Code App Safari with our Director of Planning and Development. 
This is a session I have blogged about in the past.
3. Tech Door Sign with Instructional Technologist, Kristen.
Using this template,, teachers created their own door sign with QR codes and tech information.
4. Finding and Evaluating Apps with me.
I used Nearpod to share a list of things to consider when evaluating apps, how to request apps for student devices and where to find apps. I used the Chirp app to send them this Thinglink to explore with tons of app resources. 
5. Core Apps with instructional technologist, Jessica.
Teachers explored all of the district selected core apps that will be on all student devices.
6. Digging Into Student Data with our Director of Testing
Teachers used anonymous student test data to discuss strategies for instruction.

We all enjoyed spending time with these enthusiastic, new teachers and we received lots of positive feedback about the day. I look forward to doing this again next year.

Are you involved in your district induction training? What types of activities do you offer them?

Tech Introductions

As the new year begins many of us are starting new positions or starting in a new school. This is my first year as instructional technologist and I wanted to build relationships with my teachers as soon as possible. Just like serving as librarian, this position is all about building trust and forging collaboration with the teachers. All three of the instructional technologists thought it was best if we create some sort of digital introduction. This would not only share our contact information, but allow us to model using the technology we're promoting and allow us to share our goals with the teachers.
Our 1:1 initiative is called A1 Digital Innovation and our three word "brand" is Discover, Transform, Excel. We used this to keep our mission focused and created a sort of vision statement for our team.

"Empowering teachers to discover technology, transform instruction and achieve excellence."

We put our vision into our email signatures and on our presentations. In addition we have a logo incorporating the three words for all of our materials.

Each of us selected a different tool to create our tech introductions. I used the Flowboard app to share a little about my teaching career, services I can provide, pictures and contact information. I would share it here, but I don't want weird spammers calling or emailing me. If you want me to send to you just drop me an email and I'll share. My two colleagues decided to use Adobe Voice and Powtoon.

In our introductory emails we also shared our digital technology magazine in Flipboard.
Finally we shared a template for a door sign that encourages teachers to share their classroom tech information such as Remind #, Twitter handle, class blogs, etc.

If you are starting in a new school or position, how did you introduce yourself? Even if you are staying in the same place, how do you introduce yourself to new staff?

Sharing Apps with the School Board

The instructional technologist team feels that it is important to ensure that our school board remains updated about the progress of our iPad initiative. One way that we are reaching out and communicating with our school board is a series we named "What's APPening in Anderson One". 
Our school board has the confidence in our students, teachers, and administrators to approve the investment of going 1:1 this year, so we want them to feel a part of every step we take.
Our first school board meeting visit was at the end of July. We created all of our presentation materials on the iPad to demonstrate the power of the device. First we created an iMovie highlighting pictures and quotes from our June professional development conference. We shared the movie on the projector. Then we created a Pic Collage using pictures from the day and layered it with quotes we typed up in the Notegraphy app. We used the Aurasma augmented reality app to layer the quotes over the pictures. We mirrored our ipad onto the projector and demonstrated how Aurasma works. Finally we created a QR code that links to our district technology magazine in Flipboard. We printed the code on a graphic "postcard" for each board member. We demonstrated how to use a QR reader app to scan the code and sent them home with their own to try. 
We wanted to make our first board visit a showstopper. I think these apps were great choices because of the "wow" factor. We received very positive remarks and even heard back from one of the board members that went home and scanned the QR code. Overall it was a great success.
Our next meeting is at the end of this month. By then we will have rolled out devices to all of our high schools so we will have pictures and quotes from those days. We plan to use Adobe Voice to narrate the pictures and share the excitement of the day. We also hope to show them how they can Air Drop documents for their meetings to the iPad and annotate in Adobe Reader. We created a Save the Date postcard to share advertising our October student app showcase event, Apptoberfest. I'll write another blog post about that as it gets closer.
How do you communicate your technology goals and achievements to your school board? or district administrators? I would love to hear your ideas.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

No wifi? No problem

After seeing this post,, I was inspired to create our own version. Many of our students do not have internet access at home and our teachers are worried about what the students can do after they leave school. I hope that this image can give them some ideas of how powerful the device is, even offline.
Feel free to use my version.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Innovate & Create: Using iPads in the Visual Arts

I was tasked with creating a presentation on art apps for our distrct's summer conference. I started by searching for apps to get more familiar with the most popular ones. Along the way I curated them into a collection using Edshelf. Thank you, Joyce Valenza!
I'm continuing to find and curate apps so please share this link with your art teachers. 

This is my presentation. You're welcome to use it if it is helpful to you.  The apps with the red star are apps that I opened and showed to the group. 

After showing a few apps and some ideas for projects, each participant downloaded an app from the art Edshelf and created an art product. Finally we put our iPads out on display and had an iPad art show. 

We voted for our favorites and I awarded a prize to the winner in each of the two sessions. My sister is an art teacher and she recommended Sharpies as the prize. I was very impressed with the art these teachers were able to create in less than 15 minutes!

This was a fun presentation because it was so interactive. Even the non-art teachers enjoyed the session.

This session was one of many that our district and iSchool Initiative planned for our district conference. It went so well. Teachers loved the two days. Many teachers said it was the best PD they had ever attended! We are so happy to see the enthusiasm in our teachers as we get ready for iPads next year.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

App Smash and App Dice

As a way of introducing the concept of app smashing to our teachers, Kristen and I put together a session using Nearpod and the Make Dice Lite app.

We shared the definition of app smashing and several examples. We built in a few activities in the Nearpod session that required them to think of a few of their own. Teachers met with their subject area and we provided an app key ring with a small picture of the app icon, brief description and a few ideas for using with the students. Next we asked them to choose their favorite 12 from a list of apps we have learned this year and our district's core and recommended app lists. Then create two dice with those apps on it in the Make Dice Lite app. Finally roll the dice and get your creativity going.

You can use Today's Meet or Padlet to collect their ideas as they brainstorm app smash possibilities.
We did this with our staff and the staff of one of our elementary schools. We plan to submit this session to our state's Edtech conference as well because it is so much fun.

Have you done any app smashing? How do you help your teachers and students understand the concept? I'd love to hear your ideas. Feel free to contact me for more details or the materials we used for these sessions.