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Volume 11, Issue 1

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Video Conferencing in the Classroom

Click here to see the video.On February 28, 2011, Ms. Falcon's 5th grade class at Navarro Elementary participated in a video-conference offered through Brownsburg's Learning Challenger Center. He title of the program was Alpha Base One. During the conference students worked in teams conducting experiments to monitor the environmental condidtions onboard the spacecraft and reported back their findings to a command center. Click on the link for more feedback on this program from Ms. Falcon at Navarro Elementary. Click to see the video.

Click here to schedule your video conference today!

iPad - An Educational Tool

Click here to see the video.Mrs. Cindy Hatzold is Principal at Victor Fields Elementary. Mrs. Hatzold talked to us about her uses of the iPad in her campus. She told us that she uses her iPad to read her email, check her calendar, conduct PDAS walk throughs and to provide immediate feedback to her teachers. She also, shared with us that learning to use the iPad was a little challenging but just like anything else, practice makes perfect. Click on the video to see the full interview. Click to see the video.

MISD Online Classrooms

Click to see the videoSchool-Fusion, our web host provider provides a K-12 Online Classroom solution for McAllen ISD teachers and students. Every classroom teacher in McAllen is required to maintain an online classroom. Online classrooms are available to students, parents, and teachers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Online classrooms provide teachers the ability to post announcements, calendar events, homework assignments with the ability to upload student files, and the ability to upload classroom resources and assignments to the Files section. Teachers also have the ability to create online quizzes and slideshows. Web 2.0 Tools such as wikis, blogs and discussion topics are also offered through SchoolFusion's Online Classroom. A teacher's online classroom also allows the teachers to see the number of student views and visits to their online classroom. Click to see the video.

SchoolFusion Online Classroom Help Guide

Audio Lessons

Click here to hear the audio.Many of our students are wired for sound already with their cell phones, iPods, and mp3 players. They find audio lessons to be engaging and interesting. Imagine setting a homework assignment that involved students commenting on information they listened to using their mp3 players. It is easier to create an audio lesson than you might think. Click to hear an audio lesson.

1 Laptop Per Student and 1 Laptop Per Teacher

Click to see the videoLamar Academy received a NCLB Title II Part D Vision 2020 grant. This grant provided 1 laptop per student and 1 laptop per teacher. It was developed and implemented with the support of the Instructional Technology Department. Click to view how technology integrated into teaching and learning.

Wordle in the Classroom

Click to see the videoWith so many web tools available, how do you choose? Explore what you can do at www.wordle.net. Wordle is a simple, online tool for creating word clouds from passages of text. The more frequently a word appears in the text, the larger it shows up in the word cloud. There are various applications in the classroom and you are only limited by your imagination. View this short video for a few ideas on how to incorporate Wordle into your classroom lessons. Click to see the video.

From the Director's Desk

Carmen Garcia, Director for Instructional TechnologyInstructional Technology Best Practices

This issue of the “The Server” provides examples of instructional technology best practices across the district.  Each article contains a video of how teachers and students are utilizing new skills, new tools, new online assessments, new knowledge, and new opportunities for when, where, and how learning takes place.  

The Instructional Technology Department works with teachers and leaders to help create learning environments with a focus on enhancing student achievement. Our program integrates rigorous and relevant learning, student engagement and assessment as part of professional development for teachers.

We are proud and excited about the revolutionary instructional technology practices occurring throughout the district.  If you would like to share an instructional technology best practice please contact me so that we may feature you and your students in our newsletter.

Thank you to all of the teachers, students and principals who shared their best practices in this issue of our newsletter,

Carmen G. Garcia, Director Instructional Technology

21st Century Classroom

Click to see the videoBrandi Ousley was on a search for ways to bring new technology into her 5th grade Perez Elementary class. As a part of an iPod mobile cart pilot program this year, she did just that. Her students are now using iPod Touch devices to understand concepts, answer their own questions and develop higher levels of thinking skills. They use apps to better understand math concepts, study spelling words, and enhance their thinking and problem solving skills. Click to see the video.

Regional School for the Deaf Makes Classroom Magic

Technology that brings magic to the classroom.This year, the Instructional Technology Department with the cooperation of the Regional School for the Deaf, enlisted the help of a deaf teacher and student to evaluate what impact the use of tablet computers have on teaching and learning.

The Design Center provided Apple iPads to Mrs. Beatrice Garcia and Caelan Peña at Memorial High School. As one of Caelan's teachers, Mrs. Garcia has tutored him in the use of the iPad to access the Internet and the use of educational apps on the iPad.

Caelan uses the calendar, contacts, and notes applications to keep organized at school. He inputs quiz and test dates into the calendar app which has helped him to prepare for upcoming quizzes and tests. The notes app helps Cealan to take assignment notes and create "to do lists". Since everything is on the iPad, it is easy to keep track of things instead of jotting it down on paper and running the risk of losing it.

He uses the iPad as a resource for finding information for class projects or essays on the Internet. Also on the Internet, Caelan is required to log in to Texas Web Tutor to prepare for TAKS. The iPad has made it more flexible for him to do this assignment. To strengthen his math skills, Caelan uses an Algebra app on the iPad to review and practice.

The iPad gives Caelan access to many resources such as the school library, online dictionaries, google earth and more. He has downloaded a couple of books to the iBooks app and uses the integrated dictionary to look up the definition of unfamiliar words.

One of Caelan's favorite apps is named "Verbally". Verbally uses text to speech technology. Verbally is a free iPad app that provides a complete assistive speech solution for communication. In his English class he uses the app to communicate with his peers. Communicating with his friends is something he is rarely able to do and the iPad makes it possible.

Caelan says he really loves the iPad. For him, it has opened many different avenues for learning, both in and out of school. Mrs. Garcia has now passed on her iPad to Mr. Rogelio Contreras. Mr. Contreras is also one of Caelin's teachers and has now joined the pilot. Rogelio knows the value of the iPad and has purchased a new iPad 2 of his own. Mr. Contreras believes that the iPad can be an important tool and resource for deaf students in helping them to communicate and access information.

This is technology that brings magic to the classroom. Click to see the video.

Apple's iPad Boosts Administrator Efficiency

iPad Boosts EfficiencyMs. Espinoza is the Principal at Alvarez Elementary. In this video she explains how the iPad has allowed her to perform her administrative duties in a more efficient way. She likes the iPad's mobility, the way it allows her to organize her busy schedule, and the instant feedback that she is able to give her teachers after her classroom walkthroughs. Click to see the video.

iPod Touches in the Classroom

Click to see the videoMr. Smith is a Social Studies teacher at Fossum Middle School. This year, he and his students were given the opportunity to pilot the use of a classroom set of iPod Touches. Mr. Smith reports that the integration of the iPods in his classroom was a success. The iPods enriched his students' learning by providing them with on-demand access to information. Students were able to use the iPod Touches to conduct research on the Internet, access their social studies text adoption, complete homework assignments, and join in on collaborative class activities. He also witnessed an academic improvement in his At Risk and Special Education students. In this video, Mr. Smith affirms his support for the use of iPod Touches in education. Click to see the video.

Enhanced Podcasting in the Classroom

Click to see the videoTeachers at McAllen ISD learn how to engage their audience through the use of enhanced podcasts at technology training sessions provided by the Instructional Technology Department.

A basic podcast is simply an audio recording that is shared with a broad audience over the Internet. Enhanced Podcasting takes it a step further. It integrates audio and visual elements such as music, sounds, jingles, narrations, graphics, and active hyperlinks into one simple but stimulating presentation. Click to see an example of an enhanced podcast teachers created at a recent training session.

McAllen ISD Students and Google Docs

Click to see the videoAll McAllen ISD students were issued Google accounts at the beginning of the school year. Google accounts provide our students with email accounts and access to Google Docs.

Google Docs include a web-based word processor, spreadsheet, presentation, form, and data storage service. Students can create and edit documents online while collaborating in real-time with other users. Its popularity in education is growing due to enhanced sharing features and accessibility. There are a number of other cool tools such as Google Earth, SketchUp, and Picassa to name a few that makes this program an indispensable tool in different disciplines. Click to see the educational value of Google Docs.

DeLeon Teacher Writes Smartphone App

Click to see the videoDalinda Gonzalez, a De Leon Middle School teacher, created an Android Phone App. The app allows teachers, students, and parents to access school information such as campusnews, events and school resources. To download the app, visit the "Market" on your phone and search for "De Leon MS" and click on "Install". Click to see the video.

Interactive Whiteboard Flipcharts

Click to see the video Promethean Planet is a free online community for educators developed by Promethean Ltd. It currently hosts over 800,000 teacher accounts from 140 countries. The purpose of Promethean Planet is to support teachers in using technology effectively. Teachers are encouraged to interact with each other using online tools such as forums, blogs and conferencing.

Services provided by Promethean Planet include:

      • Lesson plan exchange including over 23,000 lesson downloads in over 22 languages
      • Free image, sound and video resources mapped to national and state education standards
      • Forum and Discussion areas
      • Professional Development materials
      • Free software downloads
      • An Edublog
      • Events calendars
      • Video teacher features with practitioners
      • Activtips area, containing bite-sized professional development
      • Best Practice section, spot-lighting top educational thought-leaders
      • Enhanced Resource section

The main content that is shared on Promethean Planet are flipcharts. Flipcharts are interactive presentations designed for use with Promethean's Activstudio & Activprimary software for use on Promethean's Activboard Interactive Whiteboard. Free Viewer software enables any teacher to use the flipchart content without owning Promethean equipment. The Design Center instructs teachers on the use and integration of interactive boards and Promethean software. We provide the teachers with skills to make and use flipcharts to enhance their classroom instruction. Please click on the flipchart image for a sample of how flipcharts are used in the classroom. Click to see a sample flipchart.

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McAllen Independent School District , 2000 North 23rd Street , McAllen, TX 78501
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