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.




Monday, May 1, 2017

Blogging Buddies



About a week ago, I saw this tweet about a Blogging Buddies group. I thought what better way to start blogging than to be involved in a challenge style setting with a support group... Right? Well... I have waited about a week trying come up with a great topic...and I had to fall back on one of their suggested ideas. :) I'm going to start with a post about Blogging Buddies!

There are only a few guidelines for the Blogging Buddies program - You have to agree to the following:
  • Post at least once per month
  • Offer feedback to all others in my group at least once per month
  • Practice best digital citizenship
  • Use LARA method - Listen (or read), Affirm, Respond, Add (this one is new to me)

So far, I have joined ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education), which is a move I needed to make because of the great resources available. I have also joined several of the PLNs offered through ISTE, one of which is the ISTE Ed Tech Coaches PLN which is hosting the Blogging Buddies. I got my email today with my team members, four other Ed Tech Coaches that will go through this process with me. All-in-all, there are 50 Ed Tech Coaches participating. I am scared and excited at the same time. Some have awesome blogs and some have blogs like mine - in the infancy stage. My goals is to not only promote professional growth as an Ed Tech Coach but to model it, also. I don't think I should "preach" blogging if I don't "practice" blogging. Anyone else want to join me on this adventure into the wonderful world of blogging?