Instructional Technology
Volume 8, Issue 1
Teaching with Technology Spotlight Home

In this issue, our Teaching with Technology Spotlight illuminates Susan Kirk. Ms. Kirk is a math teacher at Nikki Rowe High School and is currently in her fifth year as an educator.

Her teaching experience includes 2 years at a TECH school, 2 years at PSJA and this year she is teaching Algebra at Nikki Rowe HS.

One of her biggest motivating factors that led her to the Rio Grande Valley was its proximity to Mexico, where she is able to do missionary work.

The instructional technology tools that she is utilizing this year are Microsoft PowerPoint to create her presentations, and a content-rich SchoolFusion classroom webpage to communicate with her students, as well as their parents. Her SchoolFusion page contains a class calendar, class announcements, homework assignments, a message board, and resources vital to her students.

“Students understand technology. By using PowerPoint presentations, they see something without you being in someone’s view of the problem. By using the website, the students are able to access assignments and class notes out of the classroom. They are also able to take quizzes online which I use for x-credit. The students are asking when the next x-credit assignment will be posted”.

When asked how the use of this technology can better prepare students for post secondary education and success in the workplace, Kirk replied: “Technology is quickly becoming the way of the world, i.e. online degrees; college campuses using the internet for testing, submitting papers, etc. I feel that if students are subjected to this periodically throughout high school, college will not seem so intimidating”.

Educational Philosophy

“I believe that everyone should be encouraged to have dreams, goals, and ambitions. I believe that so much of the time students who are non disruptive fail to learn because of the disruptive ones who require most of the teaching time. I believe that all students can learn if they choose. I believe that a teacher cannot make a student learn but they can make them be respectful of other students who choose to learn. I believe that a teacher should not give up and should always be consistent."

It is teachers like Susan Kirk that prepare McAllen ISD students for success in the future!

Multimedia Contest Results Home
Multimedia - Linear Category
Grades 6 – 8
  Student Title Sponsor Campus
1st Esmerld R. The Scientific Method Yolanda Garza Morris MS
2nd Carla G. September 11 Yolanda Garza Morris MS
3rd Martina V. Electing Our President Yolanda Garza Morris MS
Multimedia - Linear Category
Grades 3 – 5
  Student Title Sponsor Campus
1st Michael M. Planets of the Solar System Carla Walk Perez Elem.
Skyward Educator Access Plus Gradebook Home

Changing Grades in Previous Six Weeks Periods

Follow these steps when you must change grades in a previous six weeks period:

  1. Teacher makes the grade change in the previous six weeks period in the gradebook.
  2. Teacher informs the office data clerk of the grade change (a grade change form may need to be filled out). The teacher will include the new six weeks average and the new semester average (if necessary).
  3. The office data clerk enters the grade changes into the Skyward office system.
  4. Teacher can print a grade proof sheet to verify that the changes were made in the office system (i.e. they will come out on the next report card).

Educator Access Plus Tips

Here are a few gradebook tips that should make using the gradebook a little smoother.

  1. Display Dropped Students
    Go to Display Options – Student Display – Check off the Dropped Students box. Your dropped students should appear in your roster and you can modify their grades if necessary.
  2. Drop Lowest Grade
    Go to Display Options – Drop Lowest Score – Select grading period to drop the lowest grade. The lowest grade for that period will be dropped automatically.
  3. Print a Class Roster
    Click on Reports. Go to Class Roster – Print report. This creates a simple class roster.
  4. Simple Report Card
    Click on Reports. Go to Student Information. Uncheck all options except current grades. Print report. This creates a simple a simple report card which is useful for parent meetings, open house, etc.
Region One Education Service Center, 14th Annual Technology Conference Home
May 13-15, 2008
South Padre Island Convention Center
South Padre Island, Texas

You are cordially invited to attend the Region One Education Service Center’s 14th Annual Technology Conference at South Padre Island Convention Center, South Padre Island, Texas. This event is scheduled for May 13-15, 2008.

The registration booklet is now posted on our conference website and registration is now open. Copies can be printed from our conference website. In addition, if any staff is interested in presenting a mini-session at the conference, please share the mini-session presenter proposal form located on the website as well.

Tools for the Classroom Home

Web 2.0

Web 2.0 applications and resources such as blogs, social networks, and wikis can be integrated within the curriculum to engage students and allow them to actively participate in learning. Students no longer have to just “read” the Internet; they can now create it.

Wikis, blogs, and social networks are online workspaces where students can read, write, and edit information. Students are asked to participate in communities where discussion, debate, and sharing of ideas is encouraged. This is an excellent way to allow students to take ownership of their own learning and understanding. They give students a purpose for learning and allow them to collaborate with other students around the world who may share the same thoughts and interests. These are just some examples of online technologies that support individuality and differentiation.

For ideas on how you can bring Web 2.0 into your classroom, please visit the following site:

Distance Learning Home

Videoconferencing at McAllen I.S.D.

Videoconferencing is an interactive tool that allows people in different locations to have a face-to-face meeting in real time. This technology is offered at McAllen I.S.D. through the Instructional Technology Department. You may contact your Technology Specialist for further information on this technology.

You’re welcome to visit our site to learn more about this program. But if you prefer to take the initiative in searching for a videoconference session, please visit This site makes searching for videoconference providers very easy.

If you come across a topic of your interest, let us know so we can start working on your request. We require at least 4 weeks in advance when you make a request due to the paper work involved in the process. When you’re ready to videoconference, contact your Technology Specialist and have available your topic of interest, 2 tentative dates and times for the session and the number of students and teachers participating.

From the Director's Desk Home

Greetings Administrators and Teachers,

As we continue the second semester, I would like to bring to your attention several important technology projects and initiatives:

  • FITNESSGRAM - All students in grades 3-12 will be given a physical fitness assessment. Our district coaches and staff are preparing to administer assessments beginning this month.
  • TechKnowledge - This program develops computer and technology literacy for students in grades K-5. Students may obtain their username and password from their campus computer lab manager.
  • MISD Technology Honors Presentation – this presentation will be held at the end of the year to honor staff and students that have excelled in utilization of technology for teaching and learning.
  • Distance Learning Virtual Field Trips – Take your class on a trip anywhere in the world – FREE! Contact the District Technology Specialist assigned to your campus.
  • FREE Parent SchoolFusion Accounts – keep those classroom websites updated! Please encourage parents to register!
  • NCLB Title II Part D Enhancing Education Through Technology grant is providing teachers with 35 projectors, 24 document cameras, 28 digital microscopes, 17 PDA’s, 23 Headphone/Microphone Headsets, 4 iPOD Nanos, 3 Garmin GPS Devices, and 5 Video Cameras. Principal selected teachers will be contacted within the next two weeks for equipment delivery and training.
  • 8th Grade iSafe Internet Safety Assemblies – these assemblies teach students to safely and responsibly take control of their online experiences.
  • District Technology Teacher of the Year Award - This award recognizes the outstanding efforts of classroom teachers who use curriculum-centered, standards-based practices for integrating technology into his/her classroom. Be on the lookout for the notice of application!

Please contact the District Technology Specialist assigned to your campus for assistance in any of these projects/initiatives or for general assistance in integrating technology into your curriculum.

Carmen Garcia, Director for Instructional Technology

Technology Teacher of the Year Home

Each year McAllen ISD is proud to name a Technology Teacher of the Year for the elementary and secondary levels. All teachers are encouraged to apply for this award or nominate an eligible candidate.

Click here for more information and to download the entry form. Application deadline is April 18th, 2008

2008 Region One ESC Technology Conference Logo Winner Home

Emmanuel R. Ramirez, student at McAllen High School, was honored at the February 25th Board of Trustees meeting. Emmanuel designed the 2008 Region One ESC Technology Conference Logo. The logo will be used on all conference materials - website, registration booklet, program, shirts, tote bags, posters, etc.

For winning the logo contest, Emmanuel Ramirez will receive credit for the logo, a conference shirt, a conference gym bag, conference clipboard and an Apple iPod.

Present for the presentation was Fred Villarreal - sponsor, Emmanuel Ramirez, Yolanda Chapa - Supperintendent, and Adrian Garcia - ESC1 Information Technology Administrator.

Technology Grants Home

Options High School - Lamar Academy Receives $2,000 Best Buy Teach™ Award

OPTIONS HIGH SCHOOL - LAMAR ACADEMY has been selected to receive a $2,000 Best Buy Teach™ Award based on the application submitted by Cristela Davila.

The award includes a $2,000 Best Buy Gift Card, as well as a 1 GB Geek Squad™ USB drive loaded with important tools and templates to help the school garner community and media recognition.


Gateway Gives

Gateway believes that investing in our communities is a corporate responsibility. One way we do this is through the Gateway Foundation. The foundation's mission guides the company's charitable giving: to invest in our communities and future by providing state-of-the-art technology and technical support to underserved youth and schools.

Deadline: On going

For more information, click here.


Staples Foundation for Learning

The mission of Staples Foundation for Learning is to provide funding to programs that support or provide job skills and/or education for all people, with a special emphasis on disadvantaged youth.


May 2008 - Proposals must be submitted between February 29 and March 14

September 2008 - Proposals must be submitted between June 2 and June 16

For more information, click here.

Educational Links Home

For Teachers

    Offering ideas and activities for children, parents, student teachers, and teachers. Includes theme units, research and reports, flashcards, and more with over 5000 free printable pages and worksheets for elementary students.
  • Math-Drills.Com
    Over 6000 free printable math worksheets including multiplication, division, addition, subtraction, fractions, integers, decimals, powers of ten, and graph paper.
  • Puzzlemaker
    Puzzlemaker is a puzzle generation tool for teachers, students and parents. Create and print customized word search, criss-cross, math puzzles, and more using your own word lists.
    The site that swims with learning fun! 1500 online, interactive learning games and activities indexed by subject , topic, and theme. The underwater atmosphere encourages students to return for more learning fun. Have fun with the fish!
  • NOVA Teachers
    Find all your classroom tools here, including classroom activities, TV program descriptions, related NOVA resources, and interactives for students. Hear brief audio stories or watch video podcasts related to NOVA programs.
  • Endangered Species – U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
    Learn how loss of habitat and ecosystems can lead to a decline in biodiversity, and how the Endangered Species Act helps conserve endangered and threatened species.
  • combines contemporary and classic English usage guides to form the best full-text searchable resource on the web.
  • American Presidents
    The History Channel’s interactive site includes biographies, timelines, image and video galleries.

For Kids

  • Sports Illustrated For Kids
    Did you ever want to coach a basketball team with Shaquille O'Neal and Michael Jordan? At Hoop-O-Matic, you can do just that, by drafting and coaching your very own NBA team.
  • Fact Monster
    A fact-filled site with ready reference information for students ages 6-14.
  • What's Cookin'?
    Enjoy science in the comfort of your own kitchen with The Accidental Scientist's Science of Cooking.
  • Dinosaur Planet
    Interactively explore 20 dinosaurs and other cretaceous creatures from Dinosaur Planet.
  • Time For Kids
    At Time for Kids, you'll find yourself up-to-date on all the latest topics.
  • Magic School Bus
    If you're the kind of kid who seeks out adventure and knowledge, then it's time to jump on the Magic School Bus. It's the wildest educational ride on the Information Highway today.
  • New York Underground
    What would you find if you could take a giant core sample of the Big Apple? A confusion of cables, gas and steam lines, a sliver of the subway, putrid sewers, and – below it all – huge water tunnels.
  • National Geographic Kids
    Find games, activities, experiments, homework help, kids news, and more.

For Fun

  • What Happened On Your Birthday?
    Use the History Channel’s online tool to discover important events that have occurred on your birthday.
  • Time Zone Converter
    Great tool to convert time zones anywhere in the world!
  • Your Weight On Other Worlds
    Ever wonder what you might weigh on Mars or The Moon? Here’s your chance to find out.
  • Coin Jar Calculator
    Most of us have a jar in our house full of loose coins...Ever wonder how much money that jar is worth? will help you figure it out.
  • Test your Keyboarding Skills
    Online keyboard to practice your touch typing skills.
  • beFunky
    An awesome web app that turns images to cartoonized paintings and videos to cartoons.

Technology Training Sessions Home

The Instructional Technology Department has scheduled training sessions for the Spring semester. Limited seating is available. Enroll now on ERO.
Description Date Time Location
Intro to OSX Leopard Tuesday, Mar. 4, 2008 4 to 6:00 p.m. DeLeon DC
Curriculum Colaborative - CSCOPE Wednesday, Mar. 5, 2008 4 to 6:00 p.m. DeLeon DC
Skyward Grade Book & Attendance Thursday, Mar. 6, 2008 4 to 6:00 p.m. Cathey DC
AEIS IT for Teachers Monday, Mar. 10, 2008 4 to 6:00 p.m. Cathey DC
Intro to OSX Leopard Tuesday, Mar. 11, 2008 4 to 6:00 p.m. DeLeon DC
Microsoft Office Excel (Spreadsheet) Thursday, Mar. 27, 2008 4 to 6:00 p.m. Cathey DC
Skyward Grade Book & Attendance Thursday, Apr. 3, 2008 4 to 6:00 p.m. Cathey DC
Curriculum Colaborative - CSCOPE Tuesday, Apr. 8, 2008 4 to 6:00 p.m. DeLeon DC
Microsoft Office Word (Word Processing) Thursday, Apr. 17, 2008 4 to 6:00 p.m. Cathey DC
MovieMaker (Windows) Tuesday, Apr. 22, 2008 4 to 6:00 p.m. Cathey DC
iMovie (Macintosh) Wednesday, Apr. 23, 2008 4 to 6:00 p.m. DeLeon DC
Garage Band & iTunes Tuesday, Apr. 29, 2008 4 to 6:00 p.m. Cathey DC
Skyward Grade Book & Attendance Tuesday, May 6, 2008 4 to 6:00 p.m. Cathey DC
Intro to OSX Leopard Tuesday, May 13, 2008 4 to 6:00 p.m. DeLeon DC
AEIS IT for Teachers Thursday, May 22, 2008 4 to 6:00 p.m. DeLeon DC
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