You think tech is overwhelming in your position? Try being a tech director! One of the things I love most about my job is the constant renewal, learning, moving forward. But it makes it very difficult to remember all the cool little things. The annual MACUL conference is one way I not only learn lots of cool new things, but it also gives me a chance to revisit the cool old things I heard about in the past. Much of this comes from chatting with staff who attend. When I ask them about their sessions, they excitedly tell me about a few neat tips/tricks they picked up. Having been around this block a few times, those sharing moments usually result in an ‘Oh yeah’ moment for me as I’m reminded of a neat tip or trick that has fallen by the wayside for me. So, this week I’m sharing a few of my ‘Oh Yeah’s’ with a little spring break twist. Enjoy!
If This Then That: A fantastic tool is full of little apps (aka Applets — get it?) that help you live your life better. Get a notification when the International Space Station passes over your home. Or a reminder to bring your umbrella if the forecast calls for rain. Send a text to someone when you leave work. Sync SoundCloud or YouTube likes with Spotify. Sync Instagram photos to auto-post on Twitter. Ok, some of those are just fun. But there are a million applets on IFTTT that consolidate lots of the little things you do every day, or remind you to do the little things every day (hourly reminder to drink a glass of water!) Can’t find what you want? Dip your toe in the programming waters by creating your own applet. For spring break, I’m going to set up all my staycation photos to save to DropBox.
Voice texting. I actually use this simple walkie-talkie app fairly regularly, but I keep hearing about new ways to put it to use. Create an account, get your friends/family to join and goodbye annoying group texts! As communication happens, everyone in your pre-determined group is guaranteed to get the message. And if there’s a flurry of activity, nothing gets lost, you know exactly who said what when. I especially like the voice memo. It’s just easier lots of times than typing. For spring break: Set up your family and keep track of what everyone’s up to in one convenient place.
And last, but not least; .gif (Please, don’t call me Jiff!)
When a standard image doesn’t quite fit the bill, go for the animated version! You can easily copy/paste .gif images into any doc, presentation, blog post, etc. Head on over to Google images and under tools, select animated. Spend an unnecessary amount of time picking just the right one, and away you go!
(reading time 2.5 min.) Author: Carol Glanville
About a dozen Diocesan educators attended MACUL17 in Detroit last week. As we wrap up the year, Everyday Tech will be one platform for sharing their learning across the Diocese. Today’s topic comes from Angela Critchett, West Catholic tech teacher.
They say a picture is worth 1000 words? Well, with Gone Google Story Builder a few words draws a vivid picture!
This interesting little tool that allows you to create a short story on the fly. You can have up to 10 characters and add background music from stock music choices. Of unconventional story-builder note does not incorporate images. It’s 100% dialogue-driven. When you watch a story on Gone Google Story Builder, you’re actually watching the typing unfold and essentially read along. Check out this short sample to get the idea:
Potential classroom uses:
Things to be aware of:
(reading time 3 minutes)
MACUL (Michigan Association for Computer Users in Learning) hosts their annual conference next week in Detroit. A number of Diocese of Grand Rapids teachers and administrators will be in attendance as casual observers, presenters and award winners. MACUL’s mission is “ignites learning through meaningful collaboration and innovation.”
With 5000+ attending (including teachers, admin, support staff, coaches, school board members, and state education leaders) and over 300 sessions the MACUL annual conference is one of the largest, and well-recognized state ed tech conferences in the nation. MACUL draws speakers of international acclaim, such as George Couros, Jaime Casap, and Kathy Shrock.
This year, as in years past, our own Office of Catholic Schools will be represented among the rock-stars of ed tech by a range of educators and administrators. Our presenters include Asst Supt. Jill Annable partnering with Josh Aldrich (English – CC) and Brett Lynch (Math – WC) to share work they’ve done around using metacognitive strategies to improve student growth. Director of Ed Tech (me, Carol Glanville) will join with Abby Giroux (ASA – Principal/science teacher) to lead a session on integrating design thinking in the classroom. And Pam Thomson (Tech Director/teacher St Stephens, Level 1 Google certified educator) will be guiding educators on how to best use Google for ed tools for effective instruction and content management.
Catholic schools are further represented by the Diocese of Lansing presenting strategies for recruiting reluctant teachers to engage with technology. (Renee Hornby) And the Archdiocese of Detroit; tried and true tricks for teaching the modern student (Maria Gonzalez). Larry Baker (Mercy High School Farmington Hills) leads three sessions; best practice for administrators, becoming an Apple teacher and creating dynamic student tech teams. We’ve partnered with Mr. Baker in the development of our own tech team program at Catholic Central — born out of a previous MACUL conference.
But, I’ve saved the best for last. MACUL also presents annual awards at the conference. This year, Angie Dressander (St Stephens) was selected from 100s of applicants to receive the Technology-Using Teacher Award. The application process involves letters of recommendation, evidence of practice as well as a personal narrative. This is a great honor for Angie, St Stephens, and the Diocese. We’re proud to be actively supporting teaching and learning that is regarded as the best in the state. Congrats Angie and all our presenters past and present who embody our vision to be an “alliance of Catholic schools expanding outstanding Catholic educational ministry.”
reading time 2 minutes
One of the programs we’ve been developing alongside our Learners 2 Leaders 1:1 program is the student tech support team. Since it’s inception 3 years ago, the student help desk support team at Catholic Central as grown from a couple volunteers opening iPad boxes to a solid team of student leaders who help run the freshman device orientation. They also test products, participate in focus groups, run Digital Learning Day and assist staff and students with tier 1 support. This year, they’ve been working on a school app and recently formally connected with an international network of student tech support teams. This network is run by our student help-desk mentor Larry Baker of Mercy High School in Farmington Hills. Participating with the tech team hub gives our students an exciting opportunity to collaborate with student tech teams from around the world. And all of this is without the pressure or expectation of a grade. Students volunteer for the Cougar Connection and participate on a daily basis during study hall.
As we continue to enhance technology in learning at both schools, the role of the tech team is expanding. We’ve tinkered with blogging in the past, but this semester, it’s really getting off the ground. Follow this link to the Cougar Connection blog. And return often for updates. We’ll also be cross-posting from them on the grlearners2leaders tech-knowledgey blog page.
The first post highlights one of the activities in the new makerspace at Catholic Central. And this week they’ll be sharing the story of the pre-engineering students who won a grant to funding their make-your-own drone project. Follow this link to get “the rest of the story”.
If you’re interested in starting a student tech team in your school, contact the Catholic Central Tech Support Specialist, Josh Friederichs firstname.lastname@example.org
Carol Glanville, M.Ed.
Organizational Design Consultant