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Volume 10, Issue 2

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My PSA Video Contest

The "My PSA Video Contest" will begin November 1, 2010. McAllen ISD students in grades 3-12 are eligible to compete. The theme of this year's contest is "Safety for Students". Students may submit a Public Service Announcement (PSA) and/or a short video promoting safety (i.e. fire safety, food safety, driving safety, internet safety, bicycle safety, etc.) for students. 1st Place Winners will receive an iPod Nano with Video and a trophy, 2nd and 3rd Place Winners will receive trophies. Entries will be accepted until Friday, April 15, 2011. McAllen ISD staff interested in sponsoring students and learning how to create a video, please register on ERO for one of the following sessions:

  • Tuesday, November 16, 2010 - iMovie for MAC - Cathey Middle School 8:00AM-11:00AM; use subcode 27900 if necessary, PRINCIPAL APPROVAL REQUIRED.
  • Wednesday, November 17, 2010 – MovieMaker PC - Cathey Middle School 8:00AM-11:00AM; use subcode 27900 if necessary, PRINCIPAL APPROVAL REQUIRED.

Click here to print a flyer for your classroom.

Here are some sample PSA videos:

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Produced by: Mt. Lebanon School District, http://multimedia.mtlsd.org/play.asp?


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Technology Grant Opportunities

The Foundation for Technology Education in cooperation with Pitsco/Hearlihy & Company proudly announces the $2,000 Pitsco/Hearlihy/FTE Grant in honor of Tom and Mary Hearlihy. The grant is for a technology and engineering teacher at any grade level (K-12). Its purpose is to recognize and encourage the integration of a quality technology and engineering education program within the school curriculum. Criteria include: (1) evidence of an effective quality technology and engineering education program, (2) documented success in the integration of technology and engineering education with other academic subjects, and (3) plans for professional development via the anticipated grant.


Compu-Teach gives teachers the support they need to develop their students' potential with educational software that stimulates the learning process. Plus we offer a unique funding solution through our Partnership Grant. This grant covers up to 90% of your site licensing costs for a variety of educational software titles. We don't just deliver the software. We provide teachers the hands-on training that will jump-start them into getting the highest classroom benefit of every software title. And we don't stop there. We are gathering a wealth of teacher generated input in the form of hands-on ideas for using the software. These are practical real-world results based on actual classroom use. This information will be available on the web and published on CD-ROM. Every participating school is eligible for a Partnership grant of up to $7,200. Compu-Teach offers an innovative cost effective way to bring technology into classrooms today. And because we offer our software on multiple platforms, even schools with older hardware can benefit.


Digital Wish Grants from Digital Wish. Digital Wish is a public charity designed to help educators locate much-needed funding for technology. All teachers who submit a technology-based lesson plan on Digital Wish will be automatically entered to win as many as 43 technology grants! Grants will be awarded on the 28th of every calendar month.


Greer/FTE Educational Grant from International Technology Education Association. The purpose of this grant is to encourage professional development participation of classroom teachers and supervisors in Technology Education. The successful applicant will receive a check in the amount of $1,000 to offset the expenses of attending an International Technology Education Conference.


The Connections Grant is designed to leverage the transformative use of digital content in the classroom, at home, and in the community.
The grant program is focused on building connections among schools, teachers, and students in which they:

  • Engage in and exemplify anytime, anywhere learning;
  • Demonstrate the use of technology to improve teaching and learning;
  • Use digital content and resources to extend learning opportunities from school to home; and
  • Exemplify instructional practices and lessons that support academic learning in the classroom and at home.

Grant award amounts range from $389,936 to $850,000. The grant program begins October 1, 2010, and ends June 30, 2012.

Please go to http://www.tea.state.tx.us/index2.aspx?id=2147
for more information.

TCEA 2011 Convention & Exposition - No Limits

TCEA 2011 will be held February 7th-11th, 2011 in Austin, TX. Registration for this year's convention is currently open. There are no limits to your personal convention experience! You can choose from the many workshops and sessions, exhibit hall, playgrounds, special events, and evening festivities to tailor your TCEA experience to your professional needs and interests. For more information, please go to http://www.tcea2011.org

Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellowship Program

The Triangle Coalition for Science and Technology Education is currently trying to reach outstanding K-12 science, technology, engineering and math teachers to let them know that the Einstein Fellowship application period is open for the 2011-2012 school year. For more information, please go to http://www.trianglecoalition.org/ein.htm

Educational Links

Zoodles keeps your child safe by engaging them with fun and educational content that has been pre-approved by our team of educational experts. Your child is blocked from visiting any other pages.

StoryJumper is a site that gives parents, kids, and authors a fun set of intuitive tools for writing and illustrating kids stories.

Over 300 instructional resources on how to use the newspaper in the classroom including high quality teacher guides, student supplements, character education materials, video & audio teacher training modules and much more.

KidScoop Activity Pages for teachers and students.

A site to learn about Music Fundamentals, everything from Music History, Music Theory, Instruments, Music Professions and more!

Ask a question and get immediate feedback with this easy to use interactive.

Learn about our US Presidents (past and present), White House Fun Facts and about Presidential Pets.

The Official Robert Munch Site where you can listen to and follow with along any of his famous books.

Free downloadable mp3 traditional kids songs for the classroom.

Vocabulary Resources

DictionarySquared helps you learn words by showing them used in context.

Learn vocabulary and donate 10 grains of rice through the World Food Programme to help end hunger for each correct answer.

Practice your vocabulary with SpellingCity's online spelling program. Just copy and paste your list into the tool and it will teach you, test you and incorporate your vocabulary words into learning games for maximum retention. Plus, it's totally free!

Vocabulary Building Games - The Fun Way to Build Vocabulary Skills! Test Preparation & Vocabulary Building Made Fun by Vocabulary.co.il.

An easy way to improve your students' (or your own) vocabulary.

English Vocabulary Word Lists with Games, Puzzles and Quizzes.

We are happy to spotlight in this issue Ms. Brandi Ousley, a 5th grade teacher at Perez Elementary. Ms. Ousley is among three McAllen ISD teachers that are piloting an iPod Touch mobile cart with a classroom set of iPod Touch devices. Her high interest in technology and her willingness to adapt to the newest tools in order to engage her students made her a prime candidate for the pilot program.

Ms. Ousley graduated from Stephen F. Austin University in 2004 and began her teaching career at Covenant Christian Academy in McAllen, Texas. Two years later she began teaching for McAllen ISD at Bonham Elementary and is now in her fourth year teaching at Perez Elementary. Her joy of teaching is evident. She says, "I enjoy being around kids, helping them in becoming what they are to be."

Ms. Ousley is thrilled about being chosen to pilot the iPod mobile cart in her classroom. She uses the iPods every day and every chance possible. Students in her class use the iPods to better understand math concepts, study spelling words and enhance their thinking and problem solving skills. "I don't know how I would teach without technology. Technology is so much a part of my student's lives. Using the iPods students are able to understand concepts, answer their own questions and develop higher levels of thinking skills." Ms. Ousley feels that her students will be better prepared for the upper grade levels and even the workforce because of their exposure to technology at an early age.

We thank Ms. Ousley for her dedication, hard work, and her ability to effectively incorporate educational technology resources into her everyday teaching.

iPad in Education

In education, when we think of "emerging" technology, we think of technology that enhances and enriches the traditional classroom by not only motivating and engaging students, but also by helping teachers improve their delivery of instruction. One such technology is the Apple iPad.

The iPad is a revolutionary product that takes advantage of a large multi-touch screen to manage literally thousands of iPad eBooks, games, videos, and apps. From electronic textbooks and mobile computing, to new ways to research and create content, the iPad can help teach a host of K-12 and higher-education subjects. Its portability and Wi-Fi connectivity also makes it easier to connect to on-line databases and resources at any teachable moment.

Many educational online services are now taking advantage of this new mobile technology. One example is Discovery Education. Discovery Education has developed a new iPad web app that allows current subscribers to access and explore thousands of educational video clips and resources on the go. To begin using this highly engaging app, please use your iPad to visit http://mobile.discoveryeducation.com/users/login.

iPod Touch Pilot Program

Mcallen ISD currenlty pilots an ipod touch program to improve academic achievement through the use of technology in elementary and secondary schools. An iPod Touch is an electronic device that allows students to listen to audiobooks, access educational videos, browse the Internet and download educational applications. The program provides iPods for checkout so that participating students have access to the device at home and school. To gather ideas of how iPods were used in the classroom or at home, we had an opportunity to interview two students from the IB Lamar campus.

Abigail W. and Angelica R., both 9th graders, are using the iPods at home and in the classroom. They use the iPod Touch mainly for reading online books, which are given as assignments, and for researching. When asked about what specific applications they used the most, they were quick to respond and provided a long list of iPod applictations. These are some of the iPod applications currently set on their iPod Touches: Homework Planner, Flash Card creator, Foreing Language translator, Periodic Table and others. Abigail and Angelica were enthusiastic about using the iPod Touch at public places with free WI-FI like Barnes and Noble . Both students reported having no technical issues or problems with the devices.

For more information about this program, please contact the Instructional Technology Department at 956.972.5600. Training files and iPod resources can be downloaded from the district's website.


McAllen ISD has been awarded the Texas Workforce Commission High School Robotics Education Team Development Program grant. The purpose of the grant is to form new high school robotics teams across Texas and to foster an interest in STEM-related careers.

McAllen High, McAllen Memorial, and Lamar Academy high schools will each receive:

  • Four-pack LEGO MINDSTORMS Education NXT Base Set
  • Four-pack LEGO Education Resource Kit
  • One LEGO Race Against Time Mat (for Arena competition)
  • One Windows netbook for programming the robots
  • Registration per team at area robotics competition (assuming four teams per campus) held Saturday, December 11, 2010 at PSJA North High School, all other costs associated with the competition will be covered by the Instructional Technology Department
  • Registration per team at state robotics competition (if one winning team per campus), all other costs associated with the competition will be covered by the Texas Computer Education Association.
  • Four licenses of LEGO LabVIEW software
  • Robotics Facilitator Certification program (three days of face-to-face training, multiple webinars led by LEGO–certified trainers and robotics experts, and online forum of resources) for each sponsor

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Participating students design, collaborate, plan, redesign, construct, create, assemble, invent, reinvent, write, present, and compete to see who has developed the smartest robot. Students not only have the opportunity to compete in a prescribed problem contest; there is also an open-ended invention contest. Students use marketing, programming, writing, constructing, and presentation skills to find a solution for a problem of their choice.

Robotics Team Sponsors are Luis Avila – Memorial, JC Hernandez – Rowe, Michael Padgett – McHi, and Miguel Torres – Lamar Academy.

From the Director's Desk

National News:

  • National Educational Technology Plan Update - The draft National Educational Technology Plan was released on March 5, 2010 and provides the context and vision for how information and communication technologies can help transform American education. The plan provides a set of goals to inform state and local educational technology plans as well as recommendations to inspire research, development, and innovation. The U.S. Department of Education has closed the public comments period for the plan. Please go to http://www.ed.gov/technology/netp-2010 to keep up with the latest information regarding the National Educational Technology Plan.

State News:

  • Texas Education on iTunes U - Gov. Rick Perry and the Texas Education Agency have joined together to launch Texas Education on iTunes U, which provides free multimedia content to educators, students and parents in Texas and around the world. Texas Education on iTunes U will allow teachers to access professional development and support materials, while giving students access to information to help with understanding concepts or conducting additional research on a subject area. Additionally, iTunes U will serve as a venue for state agencies and non-profit organizations to post their educational content. The complete press release from August 24th, 2010 can be found on the Texas Office of the Governor website, http://governor.state.tx.us/news/press-release/15046/.
  • SBOE Technology Applications TEKS Review - The State Board of Education (SBOE) has legislative authority to adopt the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) for each subject of the required curriculum. SBOE members nominated educators, parents, business and industry representatives, and employers to serve on the review committees. Technology applications review committees met in October 2010. The SBOE will discuss the proposed revised TEKS at its November 2010 meeting. First reading and filing authorization of the proposed revisions to the technology applications TEKS is scheduled to occur at the January 2011 SBOE meeting and second reading and final adoption in April 2011. To follow the process, visit: http://www.tea.state.tx.us/index2.aspx?id=8192.

District News:

  • Texas Virtual School Network - Starting with the second semester, high school students in the McAllen School District will have the opportunity to enroll in courses provided through the state virtual school network. Courses can be used for credit advancement or credit recovery. There is no cost for these approved high school courses. Enrollment begins October 27, 2010. Interested students may contact their academic counselor.
  • Google Apps for Students - Student email accounts, powered by Google, are now ready. Student Google Apps features include, email with over 6 GB of storage, Google Calendar allows students to schedule their academic life, create personal calendars, invite friends to events, and set up meeting times with their classmates, and Google Docs provides students with the ability to create documents, spreadsheets, or presentations, share them with their classmates, and collaborate in real-time, from the convenience of their home or school. Please assist your students in logging in – click here for instructions.
  • Over 1,150 Teachers and Librarians attended Summer Instructional Technology Training!
  • 100 Element K accounts will be provided to MISD instructional staff interested in taking on-line courses for professional development or time-equivalency credit. MISD instructional staff can access training instantly-at the office, at home, or on the road, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Education is available when and where you want (and need) it. Through interactive self-paced courses, staff members can take advantage of an extensive on-line reference library. Hundreds of in-depth courses are available instantly-covering everything from "MS Office software" to "Frontpage" web editing software. The accounts are free, and will be assigned on a "first-come, first-served" basis. Instructional staff will be notified via email with further instructions.

Carmen G. Garcia, Director Instructional Technology

Technology Training Sessions

The Instructional Technology Department has scheduled training sessions for time equivalency or transcript credit. Limited seating is available, so register on ERO now!

Session Guidelines:

  • Participants must be present throughout the scheduled session time
  • Participants are NOT allowed in session 10 minutes after session begins.
  • No children allowed.
  • Participants are required to submit session evaluations.
  • You must register at least (5) five days in advance of session date.
Title Date Time Location
Intro to MAC OS X 11/9/10 4:15 - 6:15pm CATHEY DC
Online Classroom 2 11/9/10 4:15 - 6:15pm DE LEON DC
Presentation 2 - Keynote (MAC) 11/10/10 4:15 - 6:15pm DE LEON DC
Presentation 2 - MS PowerPoint 2007 11/10/10 4:15 - 6:15pm CATHEY DC
Spreadsheet 2 - MS Excel 11/11/10 4:15 - 6:15pm DE LEON DC
Spreadsheet 2 - iWork Numbers (MAC) 11/11/10 4:15 - 6:15pm CATHEY DC
Teaching with a Document Camera 11/16/10 4:15 - 6:15pm CATHEY DC
Thinkfinity 11/16/10 4:15 - 6:15pm DE LEON DC
Web 2.0 Tools for ELA 11/17/10 4:15 - 6:15pm DE LEON DC
Using the Internet For Teaching and Learning 11/17/10 4:15 - 6:15pm CATHEY DC
Database 2 - MS Access 11/18/10 4:15 - 6:15pm CATHEY DC
Web 2.0 Tools for Science/Math 11/30/10 4:15 - 6:15pm DE LEON DC
Web 2.0 Tools for Secondary Social Studies 11/30/10 4:15 - 6:15pm CATHEY DC
Discovery Education Streaming 2 12/1/10 4:15 - 6:15pm DE LEON DC
Desktop Publishing - MS Word 12/1/10 4:15 - 6:15pm CATHEY DC
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McAllen Independent School District , 2000 North 23rd Street , McAllen, TX 78501
Phone: (956) 618-6000   |   Fax: (956) 631-7206

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