Monday, December 17, 2012

Google+ - Digital Learning Tools

I recently upgraded to Google+, I am finding it is great resource for collaborating with colleagues in our individual fields along within Education. The Communities feature is an added bonus. I have recently joined three communities( Edtech, Iowa Education, and MCSDtech). They all keep me informed on technology and education. I recently was reading some posts in the Edtech Community and came across a great article addressing 22 great digital learning tools to use in the classroom. I thought I would share the article with all of you. I loved how the article shows what style of teaching the digital tool works best for. I'll attach the article! I found all 22 were great resources!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Tech Tuesday

I have been offering technology tutorials on Tuesday mornings from 7:45-8:30 at Muscatine High School. So far topics covered have been Google Calendar and Sites, iMovie, and Edmodo. I am always open to suggestions of new topics to be covered. Please feel free to email me at with suggestions for tutorials. I have several teachers taking part in the tutorials but I would love to see some more faces. Upcoming tutorials will be part two of Edmodo, organizing google drive for the teacher, using google forms as a dropbox, and any other suggestions the staff finds to be beneficial. So send me your requests!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

ITEC Conference

Monday and Tuesday several staff members from the Muscatine Schools attended the ITEC conference in Des Moines. Everyone walked away with a passion for technology. The conference consisted with two Keynote presentations and then several break out sessions for attendees to attend. I must admit some break outs were excellent while others were not as substantial. Everyone in the group took notes on what we could take back to our schools to help enhance instruction. I will attach the document of notes please feel free to check out the great resources we discovered through the conference. I took away several great apps to use like Voxer and WordLens. Voxer turns your smartphone into a walkie- talkie. WordLens translates signs in different languages to your preferred language. I made connections with Technology Integrationists from around Iowa and plan to collaborate with them once a month. I am very excited about this connection, I am hoping it will help me improve on working with all staff members and will give me ideas to share with everyone. I also learned about iTunes U where you can build your own courses to share via the iPad and iBooks author where you can create your own text books that will be shared via the iPad. All in All a great conference! Check out our notes and see what others learned as well!

Friday, August 31, 2012

The 1:1 roll out is coming soon!

Finishing touches are taking place for the 1:1 roll out. We are designing the digital bootcamp sessions that will take place with students before they get their laptops. The bootcamp will cover 5 major areas of digital citizenship. They are security, confidentiality, navigation, features and software, and ethical practice. The computers are just about ready for student use with just a few more touches to be added. It is an exciting time at MCSD and we are looking forward to the upcoming roll out. The tech department has been working diligently all summer and into the beginning of school year to make sure the roll out is as smooth as possible. Please support us in our endeavors, this is a major undertaking that will be worth all the efforts of so many.

Monday, July 23, 2012


I recently took a Webinar from Edmodo giving me permission to conduct trainings on Edmodo, what I discovered that Edmodo is a great resource. If you are familiar with Facebook then you will feel at home with Edmodo's interface. The difference is it a place for a teacher to store their curriculum so students may access it at anytime. Edmodo is compatible with Google docs/drive, this makes it very easy to upload you documents into Edmodo. You may create folders that students can access and you make certain folders for specific groups of students or members of Edmodo. Some draw backs are students must become members and teachers must set groups to give permissions to various groups. If you are interested in receiving more information on Edmodo you may contact me for information. Feel free to sign up for a Edmodo account. Muscatine Schools has already created a Community within Edmodo. As you get familiar with Edmodo you'll find that joining Communities and Groups will keep you connected with your interests of our profession.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

1:1 Implementation

Last night the 1:1 implementation of laptops for students in 6th -12th grade passed. The School Board followed a thorough investigation into the effectiveness of the implementation. In the end, they supported the implementation unanimously. Now, the real work begins! This will be a huge endeavor but the benefits to our students will far surpass our expectations. It will give all students opportunities to explore technology. Students will have access 24/7 verses the possibility of only having access when they are in a classroom with technology available. VERY EXCITING!! Can't wait to see what innovative projects and enhancements to curriculum occur due to the implementation. Congratulations Muscatine Community School District!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Reminder- Google Calendar

I want to remind teachers that Google Calendar has so many nice features. You may use the agenda view and set-up a daily schedule. Along with using this view you may link attachments or google documents including documents, spreadsheets, forms, and power points to your calendar appointments. Your calendar then is very easy to embed into a Google Site. Students would have immediate access to notes, presentations, and homework covered in class from anywhere internet is available. If you need instruction on how to use any of these cool features within Google Calendar, please feel free to contact me anytime for instruction or assistance.

Friday, April 13, 2012


There has been some interest in using Edmodo among teachers and students. Edmodo's interface is very similar to Facebook. The difference is the site is a more secure site. Edmodo also allows the teacher to have attachments linked to the site. Google docs are compatible with Edmodo as well. Like Google accounts the Muscatine School District has created a group within Edmodo so teachers and students can be linked together and students can easily set up accounts. I will attach the link to Edmodo, take sometime and check out this helpful site. If you join the MCSD group it will ask you to put in a code and email Scott Comstock, or one of the tech staff.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

1:1 Conference

Tomorrow the Technology Committee will be attending the One to One Conference in Des Moines. I will attach the list of sessions available. If there are some sessions that interest you and you would like me to attend and get feedback on, please feel free to email me or comment to this post and I'll try to investigate it for you. It looks like it is going to be a very informational conference!

Conference Agenda

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

IPads for Preschool

Yesterday, I gave a tutorial to the Preschool teachers in the Muscatine Community. Debi Welk, Director of Early Childhood, invited me to give the tutorial to the Preschool staff. Each Preschool was given 6 iPads to use in their classrooms with students. Teachers were enthusiastic to implement the new technology. We discussed management of the device as well as how to investigate engaging apps for the device. I shared some apps that were free and appropriate for Preschool students. This sparked great collaboration among the staff and they shared apps they had found to be engaging as well. I found this to be very exciting, Preschoolers will be familiar with technology as they enter into Kindergarten. We know from research the more prepared a student is for the classroom the more successful they are in school. I think this is just one more way to prepare our students for the digital world. Congratulations Preschool teachers! I look forward to hearing how you are using the iPads in your instruction.

Monday, February 27, 2012


If you are interested in creating a project highlighting your classes activities, don't be afraid to ask for assistance. I recently assisted Terri Phillips at Colorado School with a Presentation to highlight her Flat Stanley project she did with her class. She informed me that her students learned more about geography and vocabulary then was directed by curriculum guidelines for second grade. She felt like this was one of the best projects she has done with students. Students were engaged and excited about their new learning. Check out the Powerpoint she created using features from Google Presentation and iMovie.

Flat Stanley Presentation

Thursday, February 23, 2012

All kinds of Blogs

As a professional you may find it very informative to follow many styles of blogs. Usually, blogs are put out to entertain or to inform. I have come across some blogs that are geared to educators and technology to be very informative. I thought I'd share some great blogs with you. Have fun!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Training and Time

Yesterday, I visited Waverly, Iowa. Their Middle School went one to one with iPads. I was able to interview a teacher while there. I received a lot of insight from her, training and time are key to making this amount of technology successful in the classroom. I knew this but, again it was confirmed. They decided as a district to allow their teachers select their own Professional Development. So, teachers would set a goal and use the Professional Development time to achieve that goal. With the realization that technology must be included in their PD goal. I asked the curriculum director, it seems that every teacher is highly motivated to integrate as much technology as possible. How can that be? I must admit even as a classroom teacher there were times that integrating took too much time and was scary. She responded, we are so progressive and have so much success that staff is eager to be in on the excitement. When you see success with students, its infectious. Well, I realized in order to keep technology moving progressively through our district, I must be very positive and wow the teachers and students. When you do this they'll  want to be a part of it. I must also, support them so its not too scary or time consuming. Technology is a tool to enhance curriculum and to be used for efficiency. With that in mind, I'm asking you to let me help you transition more technology into your classrooms!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Technology Committee

The Technology Committee met on January24 and 25th. We met for some training, along with collaboration on what technology should like within the Muscatine Community School District. Eighteen participants from all levels met at the board office. The objective was to define clearly what learning is and to set technology goals for the district. It became pretty evident that as a staff we define learning as active engagement that encourages reflection along with a process of obtaining new information. We began to set broad goals for technology. The exact wording is still to come but in general, the committee envisions technology to be integral part of all curriculum (not separate) but a seamless integration. We would still focus on standards and benchmarks of the area being taught and technology would just become a natural part of each lesson. We began discussion of how to obtain this natural infusion, it mostly came back to leveling the playing field of resources. We realize we have pockets of large integration and pockets of little to no integration of technology. Some of this is due to resources and others is due to lack of knowledge. As a committee how may we support both avenues? These are our underlying questions that will lead us in the future to a more advanced and knowledgeable staff. I am excited for the changes!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Apple hints at partnering with McGraw Hill

Rumors are floating that Apple is partnering with McGraw Hill. This suggests that textbooks will be available on the iPad. If this is true the recent purchases of iPads by the MCSD will become an even better investment. When textbooks are updated the newest versions will be accessible. The cost of textbooks will become way less. Also, we will be able to share purchased texts with 6 devices. I will continue to follow this story and where it may lead. I will attach the article so you may follow.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

iLife Training

The last couple of days the district had Apple trainers into to provide instruction on iLife products. Two representatives from each elementary and several from the middle and high school were able to attend. The training focused on iPhoto, GarageBand, and iMovie. The training was excellent and gave lots of good ideas of how to use all three applications in the classroom. I've added the notes from the training to my web-site feel free to check them out. I'll attach the link to my web-site. The notes are posted under tutorial documents on the side bar.

Thursday, January 5, 2012


Our last Professional Development was on "How to Create a Blog". Many staff members found it interesting and have started new blogs to share with students and the community. Blogging is such a great tool to improve writing skills along with enhancing communication. The technology department highlighted some MCSD teachers blogs, and the staff were able to see how Blogs were being used in many different ways. I'll attach the links to the blogs we highlighted feel free to check them out. Each of these blogs are being used uniquely to what fits the teachers classroom and curriculum.