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There are several Web 2.0 applications available that can help teachers increase student engagement and participation in the classroom. One fun and exciting application is called a Voki. Vokis are customizable animated vodcasts (video podcasts) that allow teachers and students to add their own voice or computer-generated voice to an animated character to communicate information. These animated characters can be used to introduce lessons, provide homework instructions, and/or convey instructional messages. Vokis are also an excellent tool for students to use to narrate or present information in blogs or discussion boards. Once a Voki is created, it can be easily shared through email, published on the web, or embedded in a classroom webpage. Click on the play button on the Voki below to see one in action.

For more information, please visit the following site:

Win a $50-$500 VISA Gift Card!

Gaggle is being used in classrooms all over the world, and they want to know how you are supporting your students' achievement with their service! Are you using blogging for book studies? Email to conduct surveys for graphing activities? Chat rooms for test review?

Gaggle is looking for submissions for their new Curriculum Library, a collection of lesson plans using their technology tools to support state and national standards.

Click here for the complete article.

Technology Grants

Lightspeed Technologies provides information that is useful in helping you find additional sources of funding and to write effective grants to support bringing technology into your classroom.

Click here for tips and recommendations for applying for technology grants and for a list of funding sources.

Virtual Field Trips

A virtual field trip is a guided and narrated tour of web sites on a particular topic that have been selected by educators and arranged in a "thread" that students can follow from site to site with just the click of a single button. Virtual field trips are the best way to assemble the most important sites that tell a story or follow a theme. In addition to an easy-to-follow thread, the narration window contains text explaining the site, putting it in context for the grade level and theme you are studying, and providing additional links to take students to key pages on the site. Tramline, http://www.tramline.com/vft/index.htm, is one of many sources out there for Virtual Field Trips. This particular site makes it very easy for a presenter to navigate through the virtual trip. You will find a listing of their virtual programs here: Printable list of the field trips and descriptions.

For any questions, please contact our office at 956-972-5600.

Carmen Garcia Elected to TCEA Board

Carmen G. Garcia, McAllen ISD Director of Instructional Technology, was elected to the Texas Computer Education Association (TCEA) Board of Directors.

TCEA is the largest state organization devoted to the use of technology in education. TCEA is divided into twenty areas across Texas. These twenty areas are defined by the Regional Education Service Centers. Ms. Garcia was elected as Area 1 Director. She will be the chief elected officer for the Region 1 geographical area (37 school districts and 24 charter school campuses in the seven county areas of Cameron County, Hidalgo County, Jim Hogg County, Starr County, Webb County, Willacy County, and Zapata County).

Click here for the complete article.

Educational Links

Web 2.0 Tools

skrbl is an online collaborative whiteboard; just create the free whiteboard, share the URL, and allow others to come in and work with you for planning, drawing, and much more!

Edmodo is a private microblogging platform that teachers and students can use to send notes, links, files, alerts, assignments, and events to each other. Students do not need an email address, just a code obtained from the teacher.

Google Notebook is a very useful tool (especially for students) for gathering clips, information, URLs, and notes to yourself as you are conducting research. With or without the browser plug-in, you can organize information, export to Google Docs, and share and collaborate on your notebook with others.

With Gliffy online diagram software, you can easily create professional-looking flowcharts, diagrams, floor plans, technical drawings, and more. The online diagram editor makes it easier than ever to create great looking drawings.

Voo2do is easy to use and collaborate on web-based to-do lists. It contains advanced task and priority management for busy, ambitious individuals.

Penzu allows private journaling with a neat, clean interface.

Zoomerang is an online survey creator that allows 20 questions and 100 responses for free.

PBwiki is the world's largest consumer wiki farm. Wikis are simple Web pages that let you share and collaborate with others.

An easy-to-use, online concept mapping tool similar to Inspiration; great to use when introducing a topic and using an interactive whiteboard or in a computer lab when students are starting a project. Plus, it’s free!


Interactive Sites for the Classroom

This site provides interactive models of cells, as well as other interactive pages covering cell biology, microbiology, immunology, and microscopy.

The Music Lab is an interactive site that allows students to learn the basics of sound, tempo, rhythm, pitch, harmony, and symbols. Students can also compose a short musical piece and experiment with instrumentation.

This Web site is brought to you from the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., the largest library in the world and the nation's library. “America's Story from America's Library" wants you to have fun with history while learning at the same time. They put the story back in history and show you some things that you've never heard or seen before.

Free audio stories for kids! Storynory is an online treasure trove of audio stories. Here you will find a mixture of new stories, fairy tales, and specially adapted myths and histories, and a sprinkling of verse.

Welcome to the interactive “museum” that takes you on geography journeys. Here you’ll climb a mountain, hover over the Earth, speed across Europe, visit an archeological dig, and even order sushi—plus games, animations, and more!

This is an online game where students can spend the government’s money.

Illuminations, a part of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, provides standards-based resources that improves the teaching and learning of mathematics for all students.

University of Houston’s collaborative project which includes e-lectures, lesson plans, classroom handouts, an interactive timeline, historic newspapers, and many other resources.
In this issue of “The Server”, we visit with Dai Tolkov of Morris Middle School. Dai is a 7th grade teacher who incorporates technology into her curriculum by using a multitude of Internet resources and class participation.

Mrs. Tolkov shared some of her background with us. “I am a University of Texas college graduate and my degree was in Business Administration. Right after college, I got a job in Retail Sales Management, the field in which I worked in for 12 years. I left retail in 2002 to be a stay-at-home mom. My children at the time were 4 and 2.”

“My son went to a Catholic day school, and I volunteered to sub one day. The school director called to give me a job teaching Pre-K. I ask her to let me sub for a week, and I would give her an answer at the end of that week. Well, I took the job and really enjoy it.”

“Over the summer break, my husband got transferred to Colorado in 2003. In Colorado, I volunteered a lot in my son’s classroom. Pretty soon, they had me as the volunteer math tutor for the entire 1st grade class.”

Click here for the complete article.

Student Multimedia Contest

McAllen ISD is sponsoring a student multimedia contest. The purpose of the contest is to encourage the use of instructional technology tools to communicate ideas and information. A student can compete as an individual or in a team. A professional employee must sponsor each project.

Students of all grade levels are eligible to enter a project. Trophies and ribbons will be awarded to all winners! All 1st, 2nd. and 3rd place winners will be entered into the "Texas Computer Education Association" state competition. The sponsors of winning students will receive a digital camera. Click for the contest flyer.

All projects must be turned into the DeLeon Design Center by February 6, 2009. Winners will be announced February. 23, 2009! Click here for contest rules.

For more information contact:
Danny Galeana (dgaleana@mcallenisd.net)
Gonzalo Sandoval (gsandoval@mcallenisd.net)

Skyward Educator Access+

Transfer Averages

Remember that when a student transfers from another school the teacher must input any previous “six weeks” averages in the gradebook.

Category Weighting / Percents

Important! If an assignment category is not used in a six weeks period, the allotted percentage for that category will be distributed among the categories that were utilized.

Click here for the complete article.

Enter to Win a Wireless Computer Lab

Enter the 7th annual Win a Wireless Lab Sweepstakes for your chance to win one of five grand prize wireless computer labs for your school, including 20 laptop or notebook computers, interactive whiteboard, mobile cart, projector, printer, wireless access points, portable document camera, digital camcorder, and a $5,000 digital media grant from Discovery Education.

Enter once per day until May 1, 2009 at discoveryeducation.com/cdwg.

DiscoveryEducation.com | 800-323-9084

TCEA Student Contests

Registration Now Open for Area Programming and Area Robotics!

Take part in TCEA'S annual Student Contests, designed to recognize and reward thinking and creativity in technology education, through the use of programming and design. Best of all, you can show your stuff!

The newly revamped 2009 Student Contests offer a simple process, clear criteria, and recognition among your peers and professionals in the field. For the nitty, gritty details visit the Student Contests web site. Registration for area programming, robotics, and technology contests will be done through the TCEA web site this year. Watch the web site for details. Please note that this year, teams cannot attend the state robotics contest unless they qualify at an area robotics contest.

To stay in the loop with other sponsors across Texas, make sure to visit the Student Contest Message at  http://forums.tcea.org/forum/. Questions? Please contact Katie Treat at treat@tcea.org or Janet Corder, student contest chair, at janet.corder@gmail.com.

Click here to register

*Registration for Student Contests will be unavailable from January 30, 2009 through February 9, 2009.

Microsoft Student Select Program

We invite you to visit the software store that has been set up for McAllen ISD at www.JourneyEd.com/Select.

From the Director's Desk

Greetings Administrators, Teachers, and Librarians,

New and Improved Web Hosting Service for
the 2009-2010 School Year

McAllen ISD is pleased to announce the award and approval of Web Hosting and Student Email services to Intrafinity/SharpSchool for the2009-2010 school year. SharpSchool offers improved services and new features for schools, teachers, and students. This service will support the 2008-2009 District Requirement that every classroom webpage must contain specific content relevant to current week of instruction.

Click here for the complete article.

Technology Training Sessions

The Instructional Technology Department has scheduled training sessions for the Spring semester. Limited seating is available.

Administrative Staff Sessions - Call 972-5600 or email Cris Garcia to enroll.


Date Time Location
Database 1 Wednesday, Feb. 4, 2009 8:00 to 10:00 a.m. Cathey DC
Database 1 Wednesday,Feb. 4, 2009 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. Cathey DC
Presentation 2 Tuesday, Feb. 10, 2009 8:00 to 10:00 a.m. Cathey DC
Presentation 2 Tuesday, Feb. 10, 2009 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. Cathey DC
Spreadsheet 1 Wednesday, Feb. 11, 2009 8:00 to 10:00 a.m. Cathey DC
Spreadsheet 1 Wednesday, Feb. 11, 2009 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. Cathey DC
Spreadsheet 2 Thursday, Feb. 12, 2009 8:00 to 10:00 a.m. Cathey DC
Spreadsheet 2 Thursday, Feb. 12, 2009 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. Cathey DC
Word Processing 2 Tuesday, Feb. 17, 2009 8:00 to 10:00 a.m. Cathey DC
Word Processing 2 Tuesday, Feb. 17, 2009 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. Cathey DC

Time Equivalency Sessions - Enroll now on ERO


Date Time Location
Into to OSX Thursday, Feb. 19, 2009 4:15 to 6:15 p.m. Deleon DC
Intro to Windows Monday, Feb. 23, 2009 4:15 to 6:15 p.m. Cathey DC
iPhoto Thursday, Feb. 26, 2009 4:15 to 6:15 p.m. Deleon DC
GoogleEarth Tuesday, Mar. 10, 2009 4:15 to 6:15 p.m. Deleon DC
UnitedStreaming Thursday, Mar. 12, 2009 4:15 to 6:15 p.m. Cathey DC
iMovie Wednesday, Mar. 25, 2009 4:15 to 6:15 p.m. Deleon DC
Picasa 2 Thursday, Mar. 26, 2009 4:15 to 6:15 p.m. Cathey DC
Classroom Webpage Tuesday, Mar. 31, 2009 4:15 to 6:15 p.m. Cathey DC
Desktop Publishing Tuesday, Mar. 31, 2009 4:15 to 6:15 p.m. Deleon DC
Thinkfinity Wednesday, Apr. 1, 2009 4:15 to 6:15 p.m. Cathey DC
Presentation 2 Wednesday, Apr. 1, 2009 4:15 to 6:15 p.m. Deleon DC
Classroom Webpage Thursday, Apr. 2, 2009 4:15 to 6:15 p.m. Cathey DC
Web 2.0 Tools Thursday, Apr. 2, 2009 4:15 to 6:15 p.m. Deleon DC
Electronic Scrapbooking Tuesday, Apr. 7, 2009 4:15 to 6:15 p.m. Cathey DC
Thinkfinity Tuesday, Apr. 7, 2009 4:15 to 6:15 p.m. Deleon DC
MS Word Creating Forms Wednesday, Apr. 8, 2009 4:15 to 6:15 p.m. Cathey DC
iTunes/Garage Band Wednesday, Apr. 8, 2009 4:15 to 6:15 p.m. Deleon DC
Classroom Webpage Tuesday, Apr. 21, 2009 4:15 to 6:15 p.m. Cathey DC
Desktop Publishing Tuesday, Apr. 21, 2009 4:15 to 6:15 p.m. Deleon DC
Creating an Audio Lesson Wednesday, Apr. 22, 2009 4:15 to 6:15 p.m. Cathey DC
Spreadsheet 2 Wednesday, Apr. 22, 2009 4:15 to 6:15 p.m. Deleon DC
Presentation 2 Thursday, Apr. 23, 2009 4:15 to 6:15 p.m. Deleon DC
Web 2.0 Tools Thursday, Apr. 23, 2009 4:15 to 6:15 p.m. 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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