Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Campus Technology Specialist...

Campus Technology Specialist - 

The week before Thanksgiving break, I had the opportunity to attend a Campus Technology Specialist Academy hosted by TCEA in Austin. During the 2-day academy, I attended several sessions on professional development activities and badging - some of my "hot topics" of this school year. 

Professional Development - 

How does your district/campus handle technology-based professional development for teachers? In the past, I have offered a Tech Tuesday session. We would meet for about 30 minutes after school on Tuesdays and I would show teachers how to use a technology tool. Attendance slowly dwindled to 1 or 2 participants. Last year I implemented a Tech Tidbits newsletter that I would send out weekly. I used Smore and could track the number of times the document was opened. At the beginning of the school year, I had great response. As the year went, less people were opening and reading the newsletter. This year, I have based my information on my website and send an email notice every once in a while. After attending the Campus Tech Academy, I plan on creating an online professional development platform to provide my teachers technology training. My goal is to have it personalized for my campus and to roll it out in May - that way teachers can work through lessons during the summer. I know they would have less stress during the summer and this would give them time to implement some new technology tools in their lesson plans. 

Badging - 

Now that I have my professional development planned, I need to decide how I will reward my teachers. I attended a session on badging and found several sites that would either send electronic badges or let me create badges that I can print. Personally, I would like to have the badges in electronic format so that I can put below my signature line. However, I feel that I might get more involvement if I print badges for teachers to display - maybe develop some friendly competition between teachers. So, are badges enough of a reward? Do I need to plan on providing a prize, also? I do not have a training budget to buy prizes, so I would definitely have to think outside the box so that I do not spend a ton of money. 

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Participation in school activities...

Monday - Movie Day

Do you participate in school activities? I love when it is Homecoming / Red Ribbon week at my school because I love to dress up!! 

Thursday - Camo Day
Once upon a time, we had several days of dress up opportunities at my school. One week of Homecoming festivities and one week of Red Ribbon week, plus we had the occasional Pink Out day. It was a blast to find the absolute "best" costume. One of my fellow teachers and I usually get together and plan our outfits. We generally have a friendly competition and bounce ideas off of each other. Sometimes we even share the shopping list, lol. 
Tuesday - Galaxy Day
Wednesday - Twin Day
During October, we celebrated both Homecoming and Red Ribbon Week from October 23 - 27. Pinterest really came in handy this year! I searched for a Movie themed costume with short hair - I think I portrayed Ursala really well. On Tuesday, we had Galaxy Day - that one was fun because there really is not a rhyme or reason to being an alien. Wednesday, my teacher friend and I were Ketchup and Mustard for Twin Day. Thursday was the easiest day - Camo Day. I live in East Texas and it is hunting season... nearly every store has something with camo on it. And finally - Friday was Color Wars. Seniors were to wear Neon Yellow, Juniors were to wear Neon Orange, Sophomores were to wear Neon Green and Freshmen were to wear Neon Pink. Since I am a Campus Technology Specialist and I teach all grades I decided to wear all colors. Fortunately, this has been one of the dress up days the past several years and I have the colors down. I have not taught a "specific" grade since I moved to the High School in 2009. 

I have really enjoyed seeing the smiles on the students' faces when they see me coming down the hall or into classrooms. I even had students that started stopping by my office just to see what I was wearing that day. I truly believe one of the ways to show students that we care is to participate in activities on campus. I do not dance well, so I don't get in on the pep rally fun and I do not play volleyball, so I don't participate in the student versus teacher game. But, I can dress up! I also try to attend games and performances. This year I have fallen down on attending  Volleyball and Football games. However, there is still Basketball and Concerts! 

The next time your school has an event, make the effort to support your students, in any way you can. It will definitely make a difference to them, whether they admit it or not. 

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Chromebooks...

This year, my district rolled out Chromebooks in grades 9-11. So far, we have about 650 of the 740 Chromebooks assigned. Students could choose to receive one of the school-issued Chromebooks or bring their own device. 

This is my first experience with handling issues with students having their own devices to carry home. I did not realize the extent that my Tech Assistants and I would be called upon to assist with Chromebook issues. Some are relatively easy to solve, like rejoining our Wi-Fi network. Others are a little more in-depth. We have had several issues of the Chromebooks not powering up, which have been warranty repairs and we have had to contact the company and ship devices for repair. We have also had several devices damaged accidentally. We have had to use our group insurance policy for these repairs. Needless to say, my Tech Assistants and I have learned several new jobs this year. 

In addition, I have learned that I need to be more organized... I created a "Control Form" for the Chromebooks... keeping track of which students have issues, if we give the student a loaner, and if the device is sent out for insurance or warranty repair. I can definitely vouch for the phrase "learn from experience" because I am learning every day what we should have done. :) For example, I learned the hard way that if you deprovision a device when you send it out for repairs that you should re-enroll it and add the correct Wi-Fi access information before giving the device back to the student. Yep, my first three devices repaired and returned to students came back to me during the same class period. There was no WiFi...OOPS!!

Putting more technology in the hands of my students has definitely been a learning experience! I am sure that by this time next year, I will be an "old pro" at handling Chromebooks. 


Tuesday, October 3, 2017

2017 Brings Tech Changes...

Change 1: This year I am training students as Tech Lounge Assistants. I have ten students that have been placed in classes throughout the day that I can now send out on jobs or leave the office with a person answering the phone and assisting drop-ins. 

Change 2: We have rolled out 740 Chromebooks to our 9-11 grades on campus. We have experienced warranty issues and insurance issues. So far, everything is going okay; however, this is a new aspect that I am learning about along with my assistants. 

Change 3: New look, new logo. My campus librarian and I co-wrote a grant with our local Education Foundation. We used the phrase Lion's Learning Lounges as our title of the grant. We were lucky enough to be funded and have since implemented the Tech Lounge and Library Lounge logos, as seen above. 

Thursday, August 31, 2017

New School Year = Overwhelmed!

We started school on August 17th this year. I really do not think that any of my teachers were truly "ready" in the sense that they are accustomed to. Basically, we were seven days early.

The teachers are overwhelmed by their class sizes and/or their schedules, by the speed which the first day approached, the number of new forms they have to complete, having to submit lesson plans in a specific format, and attempting to move more into the digital realm, etc. Plates quickly went from full to overflowing. I am hoping that once everyone gets back into their "school routine" the stress they are feeling will ease.

How do you handle the new year? Do you provide teacher training sessions and help set up their technology in the classroom? So far, I have trained teachers to use Google Classroom, assisted with Chromebook check-out (first year of Chromebooks for 9th-11th grades), hooked up document cameras and computers to projectors, replaced projector bulbs, and reset passwords for students and parents. That is just the tip and I have students this year! :) We are starting a technology help desk where I will be training students to offer support for teachers and students. I've been swamped with emails, phone calls, and I can not see my desk... but, my kids have been great so far. They have rolled with me and helped in any way they can, without training. I am super excited about the possibilities that we have with the student help desk and will write more in another post.

Here is to the new year... I hope you settle in and find your rhythm. Hopefully,

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Reaching out to your staff

How do you reach out to your campus staff as an Ed Tech Coach? 


This past school year, I read numerous blogs, emails, and tweets, gathering information and developing a Tech Tidbits Smore every week to share technology tools with my teachers. In the beginning, I had fairly good results; however, as the year progressed, the number of people reading the Tech Tidbits dwindled. How do you keep your staff active? Do you use Badging or Gamification? I have teachers that want me to focus on only one topic per Tech Tidbit and others that enjoy the variety that I currently offer. How do you meet the diverse needs of your teachers? Technology support is top priority this year because this is the first year that my students will have their own Chromebook!!! 

Do you have a PD system that works for you? Is your training online, in person, or a mix of both? Do you make your videos, so they are personalized or do you find ready-made videos to share? My plan is to offer online videos with a Google Form questionnaire to fill out afterwards. I want to be able to send an automatic response whether they pass or fail the questions. I will also have face-to-face sessions. Now, I guess the biggest question is "where do I start"... I feel like I need a "How-to" to make a "How-to". 

Here is to a productive new school year!!! Good luck with all of your endeavors. :)

Thursday, June 8, 2017

The Roller Coaster ride of being a Campus Tech

Wow - a month has already passed and it's time for another post!

I am a Campus Technology Specialist at the high school level. Being a Campus Tech is a roller coaster ride of emotions... some days are great - the tasks are easy and you feel successful in your position. Other days - oh, those other days - you know the ones... When you are beating your head against the wall... Slideshows and spreadsheets don't work correctly and you can't figure out the problem... You are frustrated, the teachers you are helping are frustrated... you all are ready to throw in the towel! You overhear those comments about not using technology... Yet, you hang on for one more try... another computer does the trick! Really?!? That is all that it took?

Suddenly that frustration turns to laughter. Sometimes, that is my job... the good days and the bad days... it works here, it doesn't work there. There is no rhyme or reason. I often joke that I have a magic wand when things go right. When they don't, I accidentally left my wand at home. I guess it is a good thing that I love roller coasters.