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Does your district use Google Apps for Education? My district jumped on the GAFE train last year and I love it!
As the instructional technology TOSA, I spent the first part of the year making sure teachers and students had their accounts and passwords all set up and ready to go. Now that everyone knows how to log in and what the different Google Apps are and how we can use them, we're getting into some great tech integration activities.
In the hopes to make things go as smoothly as possible for teachers and students, I created screencasts that go over basic uses of Google Apps (Docs, Drive, Sheets, Slides, and Forms).  After creating the screencasts, I added them to a Smore flyer and sent it out to teachers. You can check that out below.

My district is also piloting Synergyse, which provides short, on-demand help tutorials for all the Google Apps. If teachers like this, I'm hoping we'll purchase it for all teachers. Have you used Synergyse? What did you think?
Last week I organized a Parent Tech Night. The goal of this night was to inform parents of our district's technology initiatives and to discuss digital citizenship.

We started the night by having parents use an iPad to scan 4 QR codes around the room. These codes led them to 4 survey questions on Google Forms about devices in their home and how their child uses these devices.

After about 15 minutes, I used the Summary of Responses feature from the Google Form to grab a visual representation of the data and inserted that into our slide presentation.
Our director of instructional support (my boss), began the presentation by showing parents how their answers compared to the data collected by Common Sense Media's various surveys.

My boss then led parents through many of the district initiatives our we are implementing regarding educational technology. Then I was up! I shared the following presentation about digital citizenship with parents.

We looked at social media, digital tatoo, 21st century learning, and technology for learning. During the social media portion of the presentation, we played Kahoots! which was a blast!

Overall, I think the night went very well. Parents were engaged and excited to learn about the things going on in terms of tech. Can't wait to share more with parents to help support their child's learning!

Hello Blogland! I am rededicating myself to blogging. I think I'm going to update the look of this space since I am in a new position and have a new focus.

Back in August, I moved out of the classroom and into the role of instructional technology TOSA (teacher on special assignment). I am in love with this position and what I am able to do. Right now I am the only tech TOSA in my district so I serve all 19 schools, grades TK-12. While I am not doing the personal coaching that I would like to yet, I do feel like I am having a positive impact on teachers and students in my district.

Here are a few of the things I've done this year in terms of instructional technology:

  • Piloting an LMS (Haiku in the fall and Schoology in the spring)
  • Hosting a monthly EdTech Community of Practice
  • Attended and presented at the Fall CUE conference in Napa
  • Organized a Parent Tech Night
  • Compiled Digital Citizenship lessons for TK-12 from Common Sense Media
I am very excited to continue sharing my love of educational technology and the ways it can be thoughtfully integrated into the classroom to positively impact teaching and student learning.

Hello blogging world! I have been MIA the last few months, but will try to be better this summer. I've spent most of my social media time on Twitter and I am addicted! I love growing my PLN and participating in Twitter chats. If you're on Twitter, you can find me @teacherbrandi. If you're not on Twitter, you should join. It's a great way to get personalized PD at your fingertips!

I've met some great educators on my Twitter journey and have found some great chats to participate in and some fabulous hashtags to follow. One great hashtag I found was #beyouEDU. This was started by Dr. Will of iamdrwill.com as a challenge for educators to find the best within themselves. Each month there is a different topic for you to reflect on via your blog, YouTube, or Twitter.

This month's topic is finding your niche. As of Thursday I will have taught for 11 years and I will be unemployed. I am currently teaching on a temporary contract and it doesn't look like we'll be brought back until the beginning of the school year. This means that I am on the hunt for a new job. I am hoping my district will open up positions, but I can't sit around and wait on them.

A few months ago, I was asked to be a part of my district's EdTech CoP and as a member I was able to attend the CUE conference in Palm Springs. This conference opened up a new world for me! I came back energized and ready to better integrate technology into my teaching. Tech wasn't going to be a toy or a distraction. It became a vehicle to facilitate more collaborative and interactive learning experiences for my students.

I also came back from the conference ready to lead. I began presenting at our district's Mashup Monday events which were small sessions where we presented on our learnings from CUE. I began presenting at staff meetings. This new found confidence, led me to submit proposals to present at the Fall CUE conference and the Arcadia Innovation Summit. I am happy to say that my 2 proposals were accepted for the Arcadia Innovation Summit!

All of this brings me back to my niche. I think my niche is every growing and changing. It involves finding ways to reach students where they are and pushing them to achieve. It also involves incorporating 21st century skills into the daily workings of the classroom and educational experience. This is where ed tech comes in. I love what ed tech has to offer teachers and students and I would love to find a position where I can share, lead, and grow in this field. I have an interview this week for an ed tech TOSA position and am prayerful that I will wind up in the best position for me.

What's your niche?

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