Archive for category reflections

What a Week!

I have been finding that the ideas about what to blog about are eluding me lately. I do not know what to contribute to the educational technology world other than what other people are sharing. So after reading several other blogs lately I am going to try something new – making it a bit more personal by recapping what I do on the front lines of the Instructional Technology World. Teachers are doing some amazing things lately and if I don’t take a few minutes to record those, I will forget that I am making a difference at the campus at which I work.

April 22 – 26

Last week was a state testing week and much of my time was spent making sure that the online testing we were trying out was going well. Not exciting and certainly not a memorable ed-tech week. I was able to make into classrooms before and after testing and saw some great uses of technology. Science teachers are teaching biology and anatomy through online exploration of body systems in their annual medical school. In Language Arts students were reviewing for the STAAR test using Socrative and Turning Points to provide last minute clarifications to students on TEKS they were not quite grasping. Now that testing is over technology is in full use for the next month. I will be busy!

The other bright spot this past week was I got notification from Google that I was selected to be a Certified Google Apps for Education Trainer! Last year I participated in training and testing for this certification and finally this winter I finished my application and turned it in for consideration. I am a little overwhelmed at this moment trying to make sense of what exactly this means, but at the same time am excited at the doors that could be opening for me.

My First Flipped Professional Development ~ Reflections

Last week I was able to deliver the face to face portion of the Flipped PD session I had been planning. I asked the teachers to log into the district moodle site and join my PD class. Once enrolled they were to watch a 5 minute video on what an Infographic is and tips on designing one. At the end of the video there were 3 pieces of information to fill out in an embedded Google Form. These three questions were based on what I had learned at TCEA from the Three Tech Ninjas – WSQ.

  • Where did you watch the video?
  • Summarize what you learned?
  • Ask a Question that you have or that someone else might have?

Of the fourteen teachers that were to attend all but three logged in to moodle and answered the questions.  Those 3 teachers were male teachers, not sure if that is relevant, but I found it interesting.  :)    The summaries and questions were good to see ahead of time and let me know what concerns the teachers were walking in the door with and I was able to prepare to address those concerns at the beginning of our session.

When it was time to meet face to face I had prepared example assignments of how a teacher might assign an inforgraphic creation to students.  I included the data they would need to create the final product  so that we could get to the heart of making an infographic with PowerPoint   I tried to make the assignments and data relevant to their current or upcoming units of study and based on a PBL approach more than a straight forward assignment.   I wanted to try to model best practices all around as much as possible.  I also had prepared a handout that covered the basics of how we were going to use PowerPoint and the tools that would be most useful in this assignment.   I made sure to focus on things that were new or different than the normal use of PowerPoint so that I did honor there time with me.

I began by thanking them  for watching the video ahead of time and answering some of their questions they had asked.  I also told them we would now get started with creating their own infographic and I would not be talking about what an infographic was since they had already learned that.   I wanted to re-emphasize that the time they had already invested was worth it and I would be honoring that.

Overall they had positive things to say and were excited to walk away with something practical they could use.  They also appreciated all the hands on time and got a good feel of what would be involved in making an assignment like this for their students.  The biggest confirmation that this was time well spent is that the 8th grade teachers are assigning an infographic to their students for after Spring Break.  Looking forward to seeing this strategy played out in the classroom!  I also look forward to trying out the Flipped PD model again in the future.



I was inspired at TCEA to start exploring a model of Flipped Professional Development.   After a week of toying with the idea I decided it was time to actually work design and complete a flipped training to get my feet wet.  I’ve learned a lot so far and I am only in the beginning stages.

Here are my take-aways so far:

  1. It is a lot of upfront work!   
  2. Have a good outline of what you want to cover and then create your presentation.  I started with the presentation and had to scrap it as I needed to get a better focus on the outcomes of the session.
  3. Determine the best format to present the information.   What needs to be video, what needs to be written and what should be done face to face.
  4. Choose a presentation tool to fit your audience.   I chose Prezi for this training because it allowed me to zoom in on the images so I could point out the details.   I thought using powerpoint would be too flat for a video and would lose their interest for this.  Also – I haven’t played with it in a long time and wanted some practice.
  5. Make sure you are having a good hair day if you are going to include a webcam shot of you during the presentation.  Vain I know, but this video will be around for a long time.
  6. It takes a lot of work!   I know I am repeating myself, but I have spent hours on a simple presentation becuase my hope is to create something that I can use again and again with different groups.  That makes the time investment worth it.

I am going to set up the video in our district’s moodle and will incorporate an embedded google form to ask questions after the video.  I am choosing google forms to demonstrate how the teachers can use them on their own websites when they are intimidated by moodle.

Here is my Prezi that I will be narrating and recording with Camtasia Studio.   The topic of the training will focus on creating Infographics in the social studies classroom using tools they are familiar with, more specifically Powerpoint.

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It’s a Wiki Wiki World – Update

I was reading a colleagues blog recently and her post was about focusing on just one thing and learning it.  This made me reflect on my “one thing” this year – the incorporation of wikis into the school.  During the October 8th Staff Development day I introduced wikis to campus.  The basic idea was to have an easy way to create web pages whether it be webquests, teacher collaboration pages, trainings, etc.  So did wikisbecome part of the way we do things?  Withthe year coming to a close I decided to share what some people on campus have done with their new found wiki knowledge.

TeachWikiThe Beginning: – I started using wikis in order to keep track of the info I was learning about web 2.0.  I needed a way to keep track of my notes and be able to access them wherever I was.  A nice bonus of using a wiki for this is that others are able to add their own knowledge about topics.  The site has grown to be my home page of staff development notes and a place to collaborate with others to plan trainings and set campus goals. 


Why use wikis for webquests?  These webquests were designed by a team of teachers who needed to be able to add in resources and details from various locations.  It also allows teachers to add in new resources as they go along and clarify instructions as the lesson is implemented in class.

  •  Texas Energy – This is a 6th grade science project to have students research different types of energy to be used in the regions of Texas.  Students were to create a presentation of their choice to make a recommendation.
  • Bill of Rights Webquest – 8th Grade US History – Tying into the novel “The Giver,” students were to explain to the citizens of the book why their amendment was vital to civilization.  Students then put that info on a wiki page.  After each group had completed the research they then used their classmates wiki pages to learn about the other amendments.  Here are some  random class examples:
  • Go Green – 8th Grade Science – The students job is work in groups and to persuade the government to use that alternative energy source in place of oil. Students have a choice of products to use in your presentation to the government.
  • Welcome to the World – 6th Grade World Cultures – Students researched a country to help create their own mini, online encyclopedia through use of another wiki page.
  • Republic of Texas  – – 7th Grade Texas History – Students were to represent one of the many points of view that existed in Texas after the war for independence.  They were then to try to persuade the people of Texas on the issue of Annexation.

Student Projects:

Staff Pages:

Are there others?  Please let me know if I left anyone off the list!

Ideas for the futures:

Remember that wikis can be made private and not open to viewing for non-members!

  • Online Staff Collaboration – Examples:
    • Potluck on May 7th– Sign-up for food could be online instead of the traditional work room refrigerator.
    • Chair Massage Time Slots
    • School Supply Lists– Why not collaborate on next year’s supply list through a wiki?  Everyone can see each grade level and know who has requested what.  Easier than tracking emails!
    • Plans for grade level field trips– a great way to keep everyone updated on who is going where and when (not who – that info needs to be a little more inhouse.)
  • Online Staff Development– take the model of the LA department – could more training be offered at flexible times by going online?

 Need to know what a wiki is or how to get started?  A post will be coming soon to help fill you in!

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