Allow us to introduce ourselves: The Google Applantans of Google Teacher Academy #GTAATL

§ June 24th, 2014 § Filed under #GTAATL § No Comments

I’ve just arrived to the Google Teacher Academy in Atlanta, GA. I’m already exhausted simply from a lack of sleep. I’ll be sure to sleep tonight, so I’m ready for tomorrow. Let me introduce the marvelous team of folks I’ll be learning with tomorrow:

 

Adam Seipel

Social Media Presence:

Google+

 

Website:

Mr. Seipel’s Site- somewhat defunct since my recent career transition

 

GTA video:

http://youtu.be/GWmqnL8c8sU

 

Introduction:

I am originally from Ohio and moved to North Carolina after graduating from Ohio University. Throughout college, I worked at a summer camp and in this isolated setting, I first used Google Docs way back in 2008. My first doc was the parent letter for my initial class. I arrived in NC and started in a rural high school English classroom, but I quickly began assisting my peers with using technology in their instruction. I met my wife at church in 2009, we got married in 2010 and had our son in 2012. We announced that she was pregnant with this photo and picked his name this way. Just a few months ago, I migrated from the classroom into my new role as an Instructional Technologist where I am able to work with our district’s 4,000 teachers and 55,000 students.

 

Interesting fact:

I was on America’s Funniest Home Videos as a child; I lost.

 

What I hope to gain at GTA:

I look forward to get Googly with this team. I am in a district that does not use GAFE — although I have helped lead several districts to its adoption — so I want to experience applications of this suite and Google’s other tools — cough Classroom cough — in the hopes of convincing the powers that be to make the transition to GAFE.

 


 

Amy Burvall

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Social Media Presence:

 

Web sites:

 

GTA Video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wzh1N7Pr_BM

and you can read about my process here: http://amysmooc.wordpress.com/2014/05/15/the-royal-google-making-my-google-teacher-academy-video/

 

Introduction:

I’ve been a Hawaii private school teacher for over 20 years and currently teach Theory of Knowledge in the International Baccalaureate Programme at Le Jardin Academy on the island of O’ahu. My involvement in the History for Music Lovers project on YouTube has led to my fascination with remix culture and social media, particularly in respect to education. I speak and run workshops internationally on new literacies, remix, transparency and creativity among other things.

 

Interesting facts:

I am blessed to be a breast cancer “survivor” (always hesitant to use that phrase), I live on a beautiful island but rarely go to the beach, I secretly want to be an OS system or cyborg, my signature colours are hot pink and black and I only wear black clothing, and I eat a cookie every morning for breakfast to start the day off sweetly. Oh, and a Philadelphian drag queen revue has covered my song in a live performance.

 

What I hope to get out of GTA:

camaraderie, connections, creative inspiration – and maybe a collaboration for a project involving GAFE.

 


 

Andy Plemmons

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Social Media Presence:

 

Website:

http://barrowmediacenter.com/

 

GTA Video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b1x-Sr73iL0

 

Introduction:

I am the school library media specialist at David C. Barrow Elementary in Athens, Georgia where we expect the miraculous every day.  I serve approximately 535 students in Pre-K through 5th grade.  My library program is grounded in transliteracy, participatory culture, and students as creators of content shared with the global community. I make my own work and the work of my student public through my blog, social media, and connecting with libraries, authors, experts, classrooms, and developers via Skype and Google Hangout.

 

Interesting Fact:

I’m a huge Mariah Carey fan, and I may or may not have been gently pulled away by security when I gave Mariah a friendly hug backstage in Orlando in 2003.  I’ll also be leaving my wife at home alone with a 2 and 4 year old from June 22-July 1 to visit Evanced Games and attend GTA and ISTE, missing our anniversary on June 25.

 

What I hope to gain at GTA:

Attending GTA will allow me to connect with more leaders in education, strengthen my own use of Google’s collaborative tools, and ultimately expand the opportunities my students and teachers have to connect and collaborate with people around the world.  Collaborating between multiple locations and school cultures is complicated, and GTA will help me think about how to better facilitate this process for classrooms and libraries worldwide.

 


 

Bob Deneau

 

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(Taken on a past trip to Atlanta at the CNN Center…I was younger and thinner back then)

 

Social Media Presence:

 

Website:

Technology That Actually Works Blog

 

GTA video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xqeATdC4rqo

 

Introduction:

After teaching 4th grade for 8 years and being a part of opening up a new school, I became an Instructional Technology Specialist and have served in that position for the past 7 years. This year, I moved up to support our middle schools and this was a great professional move. I love working with this age group and their teachers. I have been married to wife Michelle for 12 years and she is an elementary school librarian. Many of our non-educator friends are not sure how we can survive being home all summer together but it is great! When not exploring edtech related items, I enjoy golfing and as seen in my video, I can marginally “play” the guitar.

 

Interesting fact:

Although I have lived in the St. Louis, Missouri area my entire life, I have never been up in the St. Louis Arch (our #1 tourist attraction). This is probably because of my fear of heights and listening to the stories of my sister getting stuck at the top with our very interesting grandfather. One other interesting fact would be that I helped move a port a potty out of the way at the 2008 presidential inauguration so my group of 10 high school students could get into the DC mall area to see the speech. Being in charge of 10 students in a crowd of millions was one of the scariest things I have experienced.

 

What I hope to gain at GTA:

For me, GTA is all about making connections and learning with other Google enthusiasts. In my area, I have been able to collaborate with a number of Google Certified Teachers and I have seen how this program made them better educators. I want to experience this and grow as a professional. My newly acquired knowledge and skills can then be shared with my fellow Instructional Technology Specialists, 1400+ teachers, and 22,000 students as we enter our second year in using Google Apps for Education. Selfishly…I hope we get to look at Google Classroom too!

 

 


 

Cameron McKinley

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Social Media Presence:

-

Website

:http://cameronmckinley.weebly.com/

 

GTA video:

http://youtu.be/8vINOa5dv_0

 

Introduction:

I currently serve as a Technology Integration Coach for Hoover City Schools in Hoover, Alabama. I’ve been in education for 17 years after working in business and for the military for 10 years. I’ve served elementary, middle, and high school students and teachers over the years. My husband is a math coach/tutor and we have 3 children ages 16, 14, and 11. We are a close family who love learning and playing together!

 

Interesting fact:

I have lots of interests. I have a pilot’s license but don’t really use it now. I’ve run 9 marathons and actually won two of them. I wish I could keep running but injuries prevent it. I coach Cross Country and Track and also Lego Robotics. I love theater and though I am better watching it than participating I give it a try sometimes – or at least for my Google Application video! :)

 

What I hope to gain at GTA:

I look forward to the collaboration and sharing and to all that I will learn from others. I also hope to find more efficient ways to share through my online presence which is a bit outdated at the moment. I can’t wait to see what others are doing and bring back new ideas to my district and state!

 

 


 

Cathy Jo Nelson

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Social Media Presence:

 

Website:

Cathy Jo Nelson’s Professional Thoughts

 

GTA video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jkHCoBHXNec

 

Introduction:

I am a High School Librarian serving a student population of 2600+ students in the upstate of SC. I am active in the American Library Association, American Association of School Librarians, South Carolina Association of School Librarians, and South Carolina Association of Educational Technology. My PLN spans many face to face and virtual avenues. I will begin my 29th year of teaching in the fall. I am a National Board Certified Teacher in Library/Media.

 

Interesting fact:

I’m an avid University of South Carolina Gamecock fan, and my husband seriously questioned my devotion when I said I was coming to GTA instead of the College World Series June 25.

 

What I hope to gain at GTA:

New connections, broadened understanding of technology integration, and great ideas to bring back to my teaching context.

 


 

 

Chelsey Eminger

Social Media Presence:

 

Website:

 

GTA video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kynSG-uSrus&safe=active

 

Introduction:

My name is Chelsey Eminger.  This was my first year as an Instructional/ Technology coach in Mentor, Ohio.  Prior to that I was a first grade teacher for four years, a job that was very difficult to leave!  Now I have the chance to work with risk-taking teachers every day while learning new things!  I’m always ready to learn new, interesting things, especially when it comes to educational technology.

 

Interesting fact:

While hanging in Atlanta for GTA and ISTE, I’ll be leaving my husband alone with the dog for our anniversary!

 

What I hope to gain at GTA:

I am excited to spend time with others that learn and work the way that I do.  I’m hoping for amazing conversations that spark ideas to take back to my district, that hopefully lead to conversations with my PLN online!

 

 


 

Chris Aviles

 

 

Social Media Presence:

 

Website:

www.techedupteacher.com

 

GTA video:

http://youtu.be/6yEry676cKc

Introduction:

My name is Chris Aviles. I teach English at Barnegat high school in Barnegat, NJ. My class features advanced Gamification (including what might be the world’s first yearlong Alternate Reality Game), self-paced mastery, flipped learning, BYOD, and much more!

 

Interesting fact:

I survived Hurricane Sandy. We were without power for nearly two weeks. We ran out of food, water, fuel, and firewood quickly. Imagine Beyond Thunderdome set on the beach. It was like that… kind of.

 

What I hope to gain at GTA:

New friends, new ideas, and new practices to bring back to my classroom.

 


 

Corey Holmer

 

Social Media Presence:

Website:

http://edtech-channel.com/

GTA Video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4WhJuHptiVk

 

Introduction:

Educational technologist, movie fanatic, and all-around geek. Previously a 1:1 iPad teacher, my goal is to support both students and teachers on how to integrate technology into learning as a seamless part of instruction. As a Technology Integration Facilitator is to make sure teachers, students, parents, and are the community are properly prepared on the use of technology for classroom and personal use. My end goal is to empower anyone with the willingness learn on the use of educational technologies to connect, create, and collaborate in the 21st century classroom.

 

Interesting fact:

Recently finished my first Half-Ironman and Ragnar Relay (10 person team, 200 miles). On a side note, I hate the feel of styrofoam and chalk boards.

 

What I hope to gain at GTA:

Looking forward to connecting with like-minded individuals and broadening my knowledge of education, while also contributing to this ever growing Googly community. I want to build capacity of the educators I work with, helping them to take  best instructional practices to another level in any way possible.

 

 


 

Dale Van Keuren

 

Social Media Presence:

 

Website:

 

GTA video:

http://youtu.be/5-cPRi9b1QE

 

Introduction:

I am an Instructional Technology Coach at Waukesha North High School in Waukesha Wisconsin.  After spending 12 years in the classroom as a Social Studies teacher, I made the move to a tech coach role last year to help improve teaching and learning at a systemic level.  During my first year as a tech coach it was our first full year as a Google Apps school.  Collaboration, creation, and communication skyrocketed amongst teachers and students.  This past year was our first year as a 1:1 iPad school.  Google Apps has been the bedrock of how we are trying to transform teaching and learning.

 

Interesting fact:

I have nothing interesting about me :)  Seriously though, the most interesting thing about me is the life I lead with my 3 kids and lovely wife.  We go to Packer and Brewer games, go to Walt Disney World every year for Spring Break, and spend boatloads of time together.  I am a super hero freak (check out my GTA Video) and tech nerd at heart.

 

What I hope to gain at GTA:

Honestly, most of us can learn tech pretty easy, but the ability to connect with like minded people is one of the biggest reasons I applied to GTA.  Our Atlanta group, as well as the other GCT’s, are leaders in education, and the ability to network and develop leadership skills is very important to me and my development as a leader.  But…from a nerd point of view I do hope we get access to Classroom early :)

 


 

Danielle Forst

 

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Social Media Presence

Twitter @danielleforst

Google+ Danielle Forst

LinkedIn Danielle Forst

 

Website

https://sites.google.com/site/daniellereneeforst/

 

GTA Video

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tdYqvjOBlaA

 

Introduction

I work as a Professional Learning Program Specialist for CUE where I organize and present at professional learning events around the country. Prior to accepting this fantastic job, I was the Lead Teacher for a K-8 Independent Study Program where I used GAFE and multigrade workshops to build community. I am involved in many different projects surrounding Educational Technology. I love to learn!

 

Interesting Fact

Along with some of my sixth grade students, I shaved my head for a St. Baldrick’s school event. In just 48 hours, I exceeded my goal of raising $1500 for childrens’ cancer research.

 

What I hope to gain at GTA

I want to build my Personal Learning Network, sharing with and learning from others. As a Professional Learning Leader, I hope to connect with others and discuss how educators can use Google to positively impact student engagement, collaboration, productivity, and achievement. I also hope to play around with and learn more about Google Classroom.

 


 

Danny Wysong

 

Social Media Presence:

GTA Video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xiFL5LAhis0

 

Introduction:

I am a Digital Integration Specialist with Horry County Schools in Conway/Myrtle Beach, SC where I get to help teachers learn how to effectively utilize and integrate technology into their classes and curricula. Prior to this position, I was a middle school English/Language Arts teacher for 8 years and in the final two I was able to pilot a 1:1 iPad environment. Currently my district is rolling a 1:1 personal device (iPads and Dell Venues – don’t ask about the choice of the Venues) initiative which will give all teachers and students from grades 3-12 a personal device. Though I miss interacting with students, I incredibly enjoy working with teachers and helping them learn how to use effective technology and web tools to heighten their classroom environment and inspire innovation and creativity within their students. In those sessions and in this movement to a 1:1 environment and digital learning, GAFE has been an incredible tool and in many ways the motivation and foundation of moving forward. I am also currently at the dissertation stage of my PhD in Education with a specialization in Educational Technology through Walden University, hoping to be completely finished by the Fall of 2015!

 

Interesting fact:

I played college football at the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss) and won a SEC West Championship in 2003 (technically we were co-champs with LSU that year) but it still count and I still got a really big, really nice, championship ring which I wear all the time much to the chagrin of my wife. ;) More interesting facts: Speaking of my wife, I proposed to her in Disneyworld, in front of Cinderella’s castle, right before the evening parade, so she was completely surprised and everyone waiting for the parade gave us a very loud and excited round of applause (plus Disney gave us “Engaged” pins and Mickey and Minnie Wedding Mouse Ear hats!). Also, our wedding was outside at a beach resort and we danced down the aisle, with our wedding party, to Chris Brown’s “Forever” (video on Youtube if interested) which completely shocked all of our guests.

 

What I hope to gain at GTA:

I am excited to meet and work with fellow educators who are motivated by educational technology and aware of the exponential benefits of incorporating effective technology into our schools. The ability to connect with such motivated, creative, and innovative educators is truly an exciting opportunity, especially under the leadership and of fellow Google Certified Teachers. Also, I am looking forward to expanding my PLN and my knowledge of the educational tools Google offers so I may bring back to my colleagues and teachers more ways to innovate and educate our students in a 1:1 digital environment. Speaking of which…maybe we can get an early look in Google Classroom, or if anyone has Google Glass, I am extremely interested and intrigued in the educational applications this type of technology offers.

 

 


 

David Deeds (aka Deed Davids)

 

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Social Media Presence:

 

Website

http://www.scoop.it/t/3d-virtual-worlds-educational-technology

 

GTA Video

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q-iGRAFlwpE

 

Second Life Cybercampus SLURL

 

Most Recent Presentation (for Second Life MOOC 14)

 

Introduction:

I was a higher ed professor for eight years, teaching computers, business and English, in the USA and South Korea. It was in the ROK that I started using virtual worlds, or immersive learning environments, in order to provide a truly hands-on (well, cyberhands, anyway) educational experience for my students. I´ve maintained a Second Life cybercampus since 2006, plus OpenSimulator since 2009, when I switched to international K-12 schools. As of this fall, I´ll be the Technology Integration Coach for the American School of Guatemala, where, after 13 years of teaching, I´ll step out of the classroom to train teachers full-time.

 

Interesting Fact:

When the Tech Bubble burst in 2001, I was a systems analyst for an international  software/consulting company, earning darn near six figures a year. The layoffs hit but I was unemployed for exactly one day. I got a gig teaching software engineering courses and realized I had missed my true calling in life. I met folks involved with teacher exchange programs and decided to change location as well as vocation. In addition to South Korea, I´ve also lived in Georgia and China, and now Mexico.

 

What I Hope to Gain at GTA:

My next school is one part of an organization that includes another K-12 institution and three universities! That´s right, a whole lotta Googlers! I´d like to get some tips on how to implement GAFE on such a large scale. Plus I just want to join a network of Google Gurus so I can stay on top of developments and swap ideas, tips, etc.

 

 


 

Frank LaBanca

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Social Media Presence:

  • YouTube: franklabanca

  • Google+: +franklabanca

  • Instagram: franklabanca

  • Twitter: @franklabanca

  • LinkedIn: Frank LaBanca

  • Pinterest: franklabanca

 

Website:

 

GTA video:

http://youtu.be/Lf7sW_aaLfc

TEDxLitchfieldEd video:

http://youtu.be/FKkA3mfa798

 

Introduction:

Dr. Frank LaBanca is a teacher, educational researcher, and change agent. He is the founding principal of Danbury’s Westside Middle School Academy magnet.  Prior, he was the Director of the Center for 21st Century Skills at EDUCATION CONNECTION, he directed and managed the implementation of innovative Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math programs in 50+ middle and high schools across Connecticut. During his 16-year career in the classroom, Frank taught Biology and Applied Science Research at Stamford, Newtown, and Oxford High Schools. He has been recognized as a National Education Association Innovation Teacher; a GTE GIFT (Growth Initiatives For Teachers) Fellow; a RadioShack National Teacher for Excellence in Science, Math, and Technology; and the Teachers’ Insurance Plan Teacher of the Year. He was also recognized by Discovery as the National Outstanding Classroom Blogger for his blog Applied Science Research and was a global finalist in the best teacher blog category of the 2011 Edublog Awards. Frank adjuncts at Western Connecticut State University and the University of Bridgeport teaching Science Methods, Quantitative and Qualitative Analysis for Educational Research, and supervises dissertation research.  Frank holds a BS in Biology, an MS in Science Education, and an EdD in Instructional Leadership.

Interesting fact:

Founding Principal of a new Magnet Middle School scheduled to open in September.  Will be the first school in Danbury to operate 1:1, facilitated by using BYOD.

 

What I hope to gain at GTA:

Hoping to learn how to bring 1:1 to scale effectively using web-based strategies to make students better producers.

 


 

Greg Pitzer

Social Media Presence:

 

Website:

http://www.gregpitzer.com

 

GTA video:

http://youtu.be/nn8bI9tK2gs

 

Introduction:

I am the instructional technology coordinator for the Cupertino Union School District in Cupertino, CA – Yes – the home of Apple. How I got here is a circuitous route – I was part of Tech for America in 1993 and started teaching middle school science in Oakland, CA.  I got my masters in biochemistry from the University of Texas (Go Horns!). I taught for 5 years in Austin, met my wife, Cristina.  I then worked for NASA as an education specialist in MN and WI, then CA for 5 years before returning to public education.  I worked at the county office for 3 year as an education technologist before moving down to the district level where I’m having a great time!

 

Interesting fact:

I’ve been fortunate to travel a fair amount – lived in Germany for 4 years, seen most of Europe, saw southest Asia, the middle East, South Africa for the World Cup (I’ll be streaming games during any free time :)  I’ve been to 49 states, but am still missing the best one yet – Hawaii

 

What I hope to gain at GTA:

This is always a tough question -but I would say that it has already started – getting to know all of you and hearing your ideas, thoughts, brainstorming new ideas and knowing that I have a whole new group of educators to bounce ideas off.  I’m never one to set certain expectations for a new adventure, but rather see what presents itself.  I think the best will just be trading ideas, debating thoughts- of course I’d love a sneak peak of Classroom, but I’d also be curious to brainstorm ideas of what Google Glasses might bring down the road – what are some of the social issues it presents.  And of course coming from Cupertino – finally I won’t be laughed at for having an Android phone :)

 


 

Janet O’Hara

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Social Media Presence:

  • Twitter:  @ndrrvec

  • Google+:  +JanetOhara

 

Website:

RRVEC

 

GTA video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8RsQGRlWlMQ

 

Introduction:

Hello new #GTAATL friends!   I am a technology coordinator for the Red River Valley Education Cooperative. I also am a part-time adjunct instructor at the University of North Dakota.  I have worked in education for the past 17 years as a teacher, technology specialist, and coordinator in both Minnesota and North Dakota.  This month I also became an Authorized Google Education Trainer.  I am originally from Cavalier, ND a small town in NE North Dakota with a population of just under 1500 people.  I currently live in Grand Forks, ND.

 

Interesting fact:

I am a terrible driver.  I am allergic to beer.  I have a twin sister that I think I look nothing like, but everyone mixes us up.  I once used my only personal day of the school year to stand in line and buy George Strait tickets.

 

What I hope to gain at GTA:

I am excited to create a cohort of educators that share of a love of technology and learning. I also want to meet other Glass in Education Explorers to share and collaborate potential Glass projects.

 


 

Janna Gibson

 

Social Media Presence

 

Website:

www.jannagibson.com

GTA video:

http://youtu.be/rVnG_NRUaOQ

 

Introduction:

After years of avoiding the inevitable of following in my mother’s footsteps, I left my cubicle and returned to school to eagerly earn a degree in Education. With a natural wanderlust, I moved to South Korea to experience, not just visiting, but living abroad. Within my first year, I was approached and offered a job in my field of study, Birth through Five years old. I jumped in with both feet and in a short three years, I fell in love with living and teaching abroad. For the 2014 – 2015 school year, I am thrilled to announce I will be teaching in the Early Years Centre at Vientiane International School, an I.B. World school in Laos.

 

When I’m not teaching, I focus my energy (in no particular order) on photography, volunteering, traveling, cooking vegetarian meals, good coffee or tea, listening to NPR, discovering new music, watching documentaries, blogging, connecting with new people, practicing yoga, and keeping in touch with family and friends.

Interesting fact/s:

In 2008 and 2009, I worked for the NBA Atlanta Hawks as a Spirit Squad member (aka T-Shirt cannon pro).  Once, Spirit the Hawk, the mascot from Zoo Atlanta, swarmed the arena during the pre-game hype during playoffs. I’ll never forget the players scrambling and hiding behind each other, afraid to start the game, in fear of the hawk! Another time, a massive tornado hit the arena and most of downtown Atlanta.  Parts of the rafters were dangling, yet no one budged — we had no idea what had happened. It was business as usual.  The timer buzzed and we hit the court and threw our shirts! We were in for quite the apocoyptic scene as we exited that game! I have worked many jobs to survive my long journey through school, but this was definetly most memorable. Oh, and just a couple more things: 1) I don’t like shopping, ice cream, or chocolate. However, if the mood strikes (about once a year), I will buy chocolate ice cream. 2) Last Summer, I volunteered on an organic green tea farm in the middle of nowhere, Japan. I will never take another sip of tea for granted in my lifetime. 3) Brevity has never been my forte.

What I hope to gain at GTA:

My enthusiasm for Google Apps for Education (GAFE) grew from my attendance at the 2013 Google in Education Summit – South Korea.  Esoteric by nature, the Early Years age group did not receive much attention at the Summit. However, a conversation with one of the Keynote Speakers left me encouraged and activated. With her specific advice, I returned to my classroom and began using even more Google. The result was so positive that I later presented my successful experience at the KORCOS Conference in 2014. My exuberance multiplied when I saw fellow educators’ faces in the crowd for I was not the only one eager to learn more about bringing this technology to our classrooms.  What I learned this year has only scratched the surface. There is much more than needs to be shared on Google use in the Early Years setting, I just don’t know what it is. It is my hope that the Google Teacher Academy will teach me. In short, I’m ecstatic to be a sponge and am ready to learn anything and everything google-y there is to learn about Google in Education!

 


 

Jennifer Armstrong

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Social Media Presence

 

GTA video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dw9Jv_FPN_4

 

Introduction:

Since December I have been the Manager of the Instructional Resource Center at Georgia Regents University. In this position I work with both faculty and students who are studying to become teachers. I am blessed that I get to work with individuals as they begin their career in education. My hope is to expose our students to technology tools that will further enhance their teacher education program so they are truly ready to enter the classroom in this digital age.

 

Prior to the move to higher education I served as a Technology Consultant for CSRA RESA (Central Savannah River Area Regional Education Service Agency) and the National Science Center ETC (Educational Technology Center). While working as a  technology consultant I served 12 local schools systems conducting professional learning with teachers and administrators at various schools. I began my education career as a middle school math teacher. My passion is sharing with teachers new technology ideas that will bring both sizzle and substance to the classroom.

 

Interesting fact:

At our house we celebrate a special holiday on October 31st each year.  While most people celebrate Halloween we celebrate Hallowring.  The tradition goes back to when my husband David and I were dating.  As a joke during a halloween party David got down on one knee and gave me a ring pop I put it on my finger we all laughed took pictures and I ate the ring pop. The whole drive home I was so worried that someone would post one of those pictures on social media and I would have lots of questions asked at church the next day. David just smiled and continued driving me home. When he got out of the car he opened my door and in his hand was a real ring and he proposed. Since the first Hallowring we continue the tradition of dressing in costume and pass out ring pops. Last Hallowring David and I dressed as Google Maps. Check out our costume. Picture Link

 

What I hope to gain at GTA:

I have two main goals for attending the Google Teacher Academy.

1. Learn as much as my brain can absorb during the 2 days of the academy. I have found through conducting technology trainings that many people don’t know what they don’t know. I am open to any learning experience.

2. Collaboration, Collaboration, Collaboration… The collaboration has already began through the G+ Community and on Twitter but I really hope to have some additional times of strong collaboration to build a foundation for future collaborative projects.

 


Jennifer Schlie-Reed

 

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Social Media Presence:

 

Website:

http://stocker.kusd.edu/library/index.html

 

GTA video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FMNLXO3qflc

 

Introduction:

I am the Library Media Teacher at Stocker Elementary School, in Kenosha, WI.  Prior to taking a position at Stocker, I taught social studies at the secondary level for four years and earned a Masters of Education in Instructional Technology.  I am dedicated to reshaping student learning experiences and providing professional learning support for teaching faculty.  In my current position, I draw on my past teaching experiences to design inquiry-based learning experiences for the 500+ elementary students at Stocker.   I am an advocate of digital citizenship and teach students the importance of their digital footprint and online safety.  I produce a weekly segment for the Stocker News called “Tech Time” to showcase innovation and student work at the elementary school.  I am also on the Kenosha Public Library Board of Trustees as the sole representative for the Kenosha Unified School District.

 

Interesting fact:

First of all, I am a huge fan of the Milwaukee Brewers and attend games regularly, each year hoping for a trip to the World Series, but always coming up short (I am cautiously optimistic about the Brewers this year given their great start).  I love taking road trips around the country and focus on visiting historical sites, local shops and breweries/wineries along the way.  I also enjoy road biking and walking my dogs for exercise.  This past summer, I was able to attend the Paul McCartney concert when he was in Milwaukee with my mom, both of us are huge Beatles fans, and we had great seats in the 10th row.  I also have collected Raggedy Ann items (dolls, ornaments, knickknacks, etc) since I received a doll on my first Christmas.

 

What I hope to gain at GTA:

I am excited to collaborate with educators beyond the scope of my district as a part of the GTA program because this will translate into exciting learning opportunities in and outside of my school and district.  I look forward to meeting forward thinking individuals and making connections as a part of our GTA community and to working as a member of this learning community.

 

 


 

Jerry Swiatek

 

Social Media Presence:

 

Blog:

 

http://jerryswiatek.com

 

Introduction:

This coming school year will be my 10th year as an educator. I am currently a District Technology Specialist for the Citrus County School District in Citrus County, FL. I love, love, love my job. In my role, I get to travel from school to school helping teachers and students integrate technology into their classrooms. I am the founder and organizer of EdCamp Citrus. I’m proud that EdCamp Citrus was the 5th EdCamp to ever take place back in 2010. This year’s edition will be the 5th annual. I am a member of the #edchat team. I’ve been archiving the #edchat discussions for 5 years now. All of those archives can be found at http://edchat.pbworks.com. I recently became a Google Apps Certified Administrator and am thrilled to become a Google Certified Teacher. I’ve been married to my wife, Kari, for almost 16 years and two amazing, sometimes pain in the rear end, kids, Madison, 12 and Kalen, 9. I’ve also realized that I need a new headshot. :)

 

Interesting Fact:

I LOVE baking. I can bake anything, cookies, breads, cakes, cupcakes. I’ve made birthday cakes and loaves of bread for many of my friends. I’m not great at decorating (yet) but my baked goods taste fantastic. :)

 

What I hope to get out of Google Teacher Academy:

For me, events like GTA, education conferences like ISTE, FETC are all about the connections. I will occasionally learn something new but the best part of these events is meeting amazing people, people who will challenge me and my thinking to help make me better at what I do. It’s always great to meet people, whom I’ve been connected with online for so many years, face to face. for the first time.

 


 

Jessica Brogley

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Social Media Presence:

It’s way easier to give you this link: http://about.me/Jbrogley

 

Website:

http://mrsbrogley.com/blog/

 

GTA video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OjBAe52QQoA

 

Introduction:

I am starting a new position with the University of Wisconsin – Platteville in their school of education. I’ll be teaching a course in educational media applications and language/social studies methods class. Sounds awesome, right? Before this change, I taught Communications courses for Southwest Tech. In the past, I taught English Language Arts 8-12th grade for 11 years, and I enjoyed a short stint as a District Technology Coordinator. I’m also a certified Verbal Defense and Influence instructor. My areas of preferred studies would be Communication and Educational Technology.

 

Interesting fact:

I have two horses that I adore!

 

What I hope to gain at GTA:

I want to learn the finer points of Google Apps, the Chrome browser, and Chromebooks. I use Google “stuff” every day but things change every six months, it seems. I find it hard to know all of this little specifics. I’m looking to collaborate will others. After a break from serious edtech networking, I’m looking forward to connecting on a daily basis.

 

 


 

Jim Jamieson

 

Social Media Presence:

 

Website:

 

GTA video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FcP_MA2__t0

 

Introduction:

I am Digital Literacy Resource Teacher in the York Region District School Board (YRDSB) just north of Toronto, Ontario.  I have the best job in world!  I am part of a team of 8 VERY enthusiastic edtech innovators that support our 10, 000 teachers and 125, 000 students on their journey integrating technology into their work and learning.  I’ve been a teacher for 20 years and I’ve never been so excited about the possibilities!  Along with +Scott Monahan, I having been helping to spread “the Google” throughout our Board for the last couple of years including two “Google Camps” that brought out close to 1000 teachers on Saturdays to learn together.  I got to work some of my “social media mentors”  Eric Sheninger, Eric Byrne and the EdTech Team as keynotes and presenters.  My career has been diverse including years a drug counsellor in a school, a phys. ed. teacher, site administrator, AP Biology teacher and Department Head of Science.  How did a biologist end up here…..?  I never want to stop learning.  I look for opportunities to learn anywhere I can.  Chances are, I learned something from you online!

 

Interesting fact:

Believe it or not, that picture of me is the first “real” picture of me I’ve posted on social media.  I’ve always been seen as “Beaker” in all my networks until recently! (See the resemblance?)

 

What I hope to gain at GTA:

I never want to be the smartest person in the room!  I think that’s been the key to my success!  I never want to stop learning and am looking so forward to learning from everyone at #gtaalt and the network beyond that exists beyond our two day adventure!  To be in a group with so many like-minded and innovative educators, I have to come out a better person on the other side!  I try to live by one of my favourite quotes…. “It’s okay to be where you are, it’s just not okay to stay there!”

 

 


 

Joe Sisco

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Social Media Presence:

 


Julie Shah

 

Social Media Presence:

 

GTA video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yMmeVhG7P-o&feature=youtu.be

 

Introduction:

I was born and raised in Southern California, but I have spent some time in Michigan (for undergrad) and India (with family). I spend most of my time with family and working (mainly because my work does not feel like work). The best way to describe my family . . . Well, just watch My Big Fat Greek Wedding. That pretty much sums us up in a nutshell, minus all of the meat. My family and I are vegetarian for religious reasons—we’re Jain.

I work as a math teacher, Title I Lead, and Technology Coach for the Perris Union High School District. My colleagues are inspirational people, and we serve amazing kids and their families.

My hobbies, besides hanging out with family and working, include needlepoint, beading, and other crafts. I love Bollywood dancing and am a huge I Love Lucy fan.

 

Interesting fact:

I dropped out of college as an undergrad. After a few month, my dad forced me to go back and sat with me in class. Today, I have my doctorate from USC. Fight On!

 

What I hope to gain at GTA:

Collaborate, collaborate, collaborate! I want to expand my PLN. I would love to learn how to better use social media. I feel overwhelmed right now and want to learn how others streamline their resources. A sneak peak at Google Classroom would be AWESOME. I look forward to spending two days (of many more to come) with out-of-the-box thinkers.

 


 

Laurie Clement

I was hosting a Mini WE Day when I found out I was accepted to the GTA-ATL.  It seemed fitting as WE Day is an opportunity to inspire and empower youth to Be The Change!  This is me with my 3 children who also worked the event.  I am so excited about the opportunity to be inspired by all of you and empowered to continue working toward being the change in my classroom, school and community.

 

Social Media Presence:

 

Website:

 

GTA video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rOWBFrmzdK4

 

Introduction:

I am a currently teaching in a Grade 8 1:1 Chromebook classroom. Technology has transformed the way I teach and has allowed me to bring my students to levels that I never thought possible.  My goal is not to “use” technology but to seamlessly embed it into the learning process.  I am also very passionate about providing my students with opportunities to connect globally which led to the development of Global Students Global Perspectives.

 

Interesting fact:

I am currently working with my class to raise $10,000 to build a school in Kenya.  If we achieve this goal, I am definitely planning on going there myself to help build it.

 

What I hope to gain at GTA:

It is evident already that this group is very passionate about learning and the endless possibilities that technology can provide our students. I am really excited about the opportunity to be part of this learning community and to learn along with each of you!  I have a lot of staff members very excited to share in all of this knowledge as well!

 


 

Linda Humes

Social Media Presence:

 

Website:

www.librarianlinda.com

 

GTA video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_OIJgJ6ouiU

 

Introduction:

I am a first-year high school librarian at Northern Burlington County Regional School Distict in Columbus, NJ.  Prior to that, I taught English at the middle school in the same district.  In the library this year, I have integrated technology that was not previously being used.  For example, I requested and received a cart of Chromebooks that are used daily, and have purchased many new databases and other electronic resources for the students. I have pretty eclectic interests (Star Wars, quilting, Billy Joel, and heavy metal…).

 

Interesting fact:

I am a huge fan of stand-up comedy.  My husband and I have probably seen more stand-up shows than music concerts.  Some favorites: Steven Wright, Jim Gaffigan, Jim Breuer, Anjelah Johnson

 

What I hope to gain at GTA:

I look forward to meeting other tech types and am excited to learn a variety of new tech tools.  It will be great to expand my PLN and support system.  I can’t wait to bring new things back to the “hungry” teachers back at school who love Google and want more!

 


Lindsey Brouillard

 

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Social Media:

 

GTA video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kX6s_QwikF0

 

Introduction:

I am a high school, language arts educator at Archer High School in Gwinnett County, Georgia. Through 8 years of experience, I have become passionate about transforming education to meet the complex needs of our 21st Century students. I encourage building a high performance culture and risk-taking within a project-based learning classroom atmosphere. In order to fine-tune my knowledge and craft, I am pursuing an Education Specialist degree in Instructional Technology and School Library Media at The University of Georgia. I love facilitating at workshops in order to help educators learn how to provide authentic learning experiences and digital literacy instruction. I enjoy being a trailblazer and jumping head first into new ways of doing things.

 

When I am not focused on all things education, I explore the outdoors and play with my two dogs, Roscoe and Beamer. My husband and I love creating and working on projects together. Our most recent one involved landscaping around our Koi pond. I really enjoy a great cup of coffee, reading, Mexican cuisine, baking, singing in the car, watching National Geographic, and spending time with friends and family.

 

Interesting fact:

I am a rudderless ship. I get lost and turned around very easily. Although it poses a problem while driving, it has led to some amazing discoveries along the way in my daily life and career.

 

What I hope to gain at GTA:

I am really looking forward to meeting my fellow cohort members and learning about all the amazing things each of you do. I hope to bring back ways to enhance student learning in my classroom. My ultimate goal is to walk away with the confidence and knowledge to impact and develop educators locally and globally. I hope to grow, learn, and increase my Googliness through this experience while connecting with a phenomenal group of like-minded individuals.

 

 


 

Michelle Cordy

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Social Media:

 

Website:

http://hacktheclassroom.ca/

 

GTA video:

http://youtu.be/U8PWxoHj4qA

 

Introduction:

I am a teacher on an urgent quest. Currently learning with my Grade 3&4 class, using 1:1 iPads. Interested in the social aspects of the internet. Wannabe maker. I am doing all that I can to join the flows to help transform education right now.

Let’s do this.

 

Interesting fact:

I recently took up the Ukulele and crochet. Why not? It’s always a wonderful experience to be a beginner and experience the arc and adventure of learning.

 

What I hope to gain at GTA:

I hope to build relationships with other educators with a heart and mind for helping students learn and plan some potential projects.  I also wish to foster a closer connection and understanding of Google and the Googly vision for helping learners.

 

 


 

Renee Nolan

Renee Profile Pic.png

Social Media Presence:

 

Website:

Fond du Lac Tech Team PD Site

 

GTA video:

http://youtu.be/UfB9AXVXzJI

 

Introduction:

I am part of the Instructional Technology Integration Team for the Fond du Lac School District in Wisconsin.  Previously, I was a middle school science teacher for 20 years in our district.   I am always looking for new ways for students to communicate, create, collaborate and think critically using technology. In the fall of 2012 our district rolled out one the largest high school 1 to 1 initiatives with 2200 Chromebooks.  I received my Masters Degree in Educational Technology, I am a Google Education Trainer and a Haiku Learning Certified Trainer.  I have presented at several conferences including: ISTE 2013 Google Booth, Midwest Google Summits, and Google/Intel Mini-Summit.

 

Interesting fact:

I have been to the Googleplex and rode a Google bike across the campus!

 

What I hope to gain at GTA:

Growth!  I embrace lifelong learning and being inspired by new ideas. I am always looking for innovative teaching methods to use in the classroom. I want to bring new ideas back to my staff so I can share that energy and enthusiasm.   Becoming a GCT will give me the opportunity to be inspired by other educators at the academy. I look forward to making new acquaintances, friendships and further develop my professional learning network.

 

 


 

Reuben Hoffman

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Social Media Presence:

 

Website:

reubenhoffman.com

 

GTA video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sSCmdy4HmCg&list=UU7ir4woEaeYemOYwzyrYV1w

 

Introduction:

I teach Geo/Tech (9th) and Sociology (12th) at West Hills HS in San Diego. When I am not in education mode, I love to spend time traveling, camping and being outdoors with my family. iPhoneography has been a hobby of mine for about a year, so if you are up for a photowalk let me know.

 

Interesting fact:

I was a hog farmer in “The South” for six months.  A few weeks after graduating from San Diego State, I decided I needed to mature and get out of my comfort zone.  I boarded a Greyhound bus and road 72 hours, across the US to Turbeville, South Carolina to work on my Dad’s hog farm. After saving a little money, I went to by myself to Costa Rica for three months. After the Costa Rica trip, I returned to San Diego to start my teaching credential. I have only made a few appearances as a farmer since :)

 

What I hope to gain at GTA:

Friendships and what will be shared, created, generated by an incredibly motivated group of educators.

 


 

Sarah Thomas

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Social Media Presence:

 

Website:

www.sarahjanethomas.com

 

GTA video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mskooq4u0U8

 

Introduction:

I am the Technology Liaison at John Hanson French Immersion School in Prince Georges County, MD.  In addition to this, I also teach Technology Integration and English Language Arts at the middle school level.  I have served on the School Leadership Team, advising administrators and teachers on technology-related matters. My main focus for this year has been on flipping the English class, and gamifying the technology class.

 

Outside of my work at John Hanson, I also conduct professional development for teacher recertification hours at the county level, on topics such as Google Drive, Google Sites, and Using PowerPoint in the Teaching and Learning Process.  I have presented on various technology topics at the local, regional, and state level.

 

I am a doctoral candidate at George Mason University, with a major in Education.  My upcoming dissertation, Using Technology to Facilitate Language Acquisition of English Language Learners, is rooted heavily in PBL.

 

Much of the learning that I do, however, is not from a textbook.  It comes from inquiry and collaboration. I hope to reinforce these traits in my students, so that they can become life-long learners. My hope is that they are also able to transform passion into livelihood!

Interesting fact:

I also go by the name of DJ Sarah aka “The Ph.DJ.”

 

What I hope to gain at GTA:  I hope to connect with other passionate educators from around the globe, and learn everything that Google has to offer in terms of education!  I’m really interested to learn more about Google Glass, scripts, and Google Classroom.

 

 


 

Scott Monahan

 

 

Social Media Presence:

 

Website:

http://blog.teachlearncollaborate.ca/

 

GTA video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omKd3ksHxxk

 

Introduction:

I’m a digital literacy resource teacher in the York Region District School Board and pursuing an M. Ed. at Nipissing University. I’m passionate about changing elements of the educational culture by working with teachers to show them how technology can make their lives easier and provide more engaging learning for them and their students, and convincing them that they need to share the great things that are happening in their classrooms to support other teachers around them.  I am also the facilities engineer, zamboni driver, and concession stand operator at my backyard rink (build, flood, shovel and provide hot chocolate).

 

Interesting fact:

The first time I got to see a polar bear [IN THE WILD] was when one of my grade 9 students in Arviat, NU, came up behind me on an ATV while I was walking and asked if I wanted to go see a polar bear.  Of course I said “Yes!”   Little did I know I would only be riding about 500 feet up the road!  The polar bear was dozing on the ice beside the road I was walking on.  Yikes!  I did manage to see a few more in my time in Arviat, but it turned tent camping into a whole new adventure!

 

What I hope to gain at GTA:

I’m looking to connect with other leaders to find more ways to engage teachers in an inspiring educational future where teachers see themselves as co-learners with their students and are less afraid to venture into new modes of learning and collaborating.

 

 


 

Teri Rossman

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Social Media Presence:

 

Website:

 

GTA video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e2MybgKsYU4

 

Introduction:

I was born and raised in a small, and I live in a small town.  Oops- quoting John Cougar Mellencamp, but it’s true!  I have been teaching for about 17 years and loved every second of it.  Currently, I teach STEM at a small K-8, rural school with only about 110 students.  It is my little Utopia!  I LOVE it!  I get to be creative and create my own curriculum.  I also work for our local Regional Office of Education where I provide PD services to area educators for all thing tech and curriculum related.  I get to meet many great educators.  I’m living the dream!

 

Interesting fact:

In 2009, I won the Illinois Computing Educator’s Technology Administrator of the Year, and got fired the next week from my district.  I will tell you all that story! LOL

 

What I hope to gain at GTA:

I want to gain as much as possible to be able to fully implement google tools in my building and geographic locale.  I want to be able to show teachers and students how to work more effectively and efficiently (smarter) rather than working harder.  I also can’t wait to work with a group of like-minded individuals and develop a stronger PLN!

 


 

Todd Norton

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Social Media Presence:

 

Website:

toddnorton.me

 

GTA video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f4bjR2p8tuo

 

Introduction:

I was born and raised in a small farming community in Iowa(actually, all of Iowa is a small farming community).  After college I moved to Kentucky, married a cute southern girl and live happily with our two crazy children.  I am obsessed with technology and love some #deepgeekspeak.  I am a PhD. candidate in the University of Kentucky’s School Technology Leadership program with an amazing #ukstl cohort that I am proud to call friends.  I teach Media Arts at a one-of-a-kind school that strives to teach in a collaborative manner to foster creativity.  I also co-lead #kyedchat on occassion.

 

Interesting fact:

I used to be a field corn inspector in Iowa.  I know more about corn than most people should ever know.  I also get bored easy and seek change often.  I earned a Journalism degree in college, but went into ministry and eventually fell into teaching.

 

What I hope to gain at GTA:

I look forward to connecting with people who geek out about technology as much as I do.  I want to learn more about how technology can be used to enhance student engagement and further learning.  I also look forward to skills I can bring to other educators.

 


 

Wendy Morales

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Social Media Presence:

 

Website:

http://wendygmorales.blogspot.com/

https://sites.google.com/site/fabhistory/home

 

GTA video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qWndaVeqo4M

 

Introduction:

I have been a middle school teacher for 17 years (5 years in Newark, NJ and the last 12 in Middletown Twp.)  I currently teach 7th grade Social Studies, but have taken on the informal role of tech coach in my building during my duty and prep periods (as well as before and after school.) I earned my undergraduate degree at The George Washington University in Washington, DC. My degree is in Radio, TV & Film and my dream is to one day write a screenplay that sells!  I have a 9-year-old and 12-year-old at home who have also become Google obsessed (I am still working on the hubby!)  I will hopefully be in a more formal tech coach role next year and will be helping to roll out the 1-1 Chromebook initiative in my large district. I would also like to implement “20% time” next year with my students!

 

Interesting fact:

This is not that interesting, but I have a chronic disease called Eosinophilic Esophagitis, which limits the foods I can eat (no dairy, no peanuts, and limited wheat for me), so I am going to be that annoying person that has to ask what the ingredients are in everything we eat in Atlanta! On a lighter note, I am obsessed with the Beatles and my favorite show of all time is Buffy the Vampire Slayer!

 

What I hope to gain at GTA:

I hope to build my PLN and continue to learn ways to implement GAFE into all content areas, so I can assist teachers in my district.  I would also love to learn more about Google Classroom and Chromebook implementation, as I was already asked to do PD on this in the fall!  I look forward to being inspired by all of you, who already seem so wonderful!

 

 

A Milestone: A Google Teacher Academy

§ May 27th, 2014 § Filed under #GTAATL, Google § 1 Comment

I have always been driven to push myself to continue professional development, especially when it comes to educational technology. Lucky for me, I’ve kept a great network of people to inspire and challenge me. Two good friends, Katie Grassel and Kurt Wismer, have been incredibly inspirational to me. Both have led the charge in their districts with many edtech initiatives; they’ve also been Google pioneers for their districts. Both have become Google Certified trainers and teachers. I have been entirely inspired with their growth and eagerness to share, but my career sent me on another path for a few years. As a result, I fell quite far behind. Despite that, both people encouraged me to keep knocking down what I could.

Finally, they both gave me a shout out when the GTA applications were posted. Although I promptly started planning, the end of the semester derailed my goals once again. Katie, I believe, sent a message on Google+, I think, reminding folks that they had two days to pull their videos together. I think shortly thereafter Kurt asked where I was in the process. I told both that I would not be submitting anything; I was burned out. Both encouraged me to pull something together regardless. I stayed up so late, but I pulled the video and the application together. Although my video was not what I wanted it to be, I felt that my experience and written application would provide compensation. After I submitted it, I remember thinking, “At least I didn’t let them down.” And I waited.

When the 21st rolled around, I didn’t think much about the GTA. Honestly, I didn’t think I would be accepted simply because my video wasn’t as cinematic. By the end of the day, I received the “congratulations!” email. I read that email ten times over before I believed it. I was going to Atlanta.

Click Here for my GTA Thank You!

Where would I be without Katie and Kurt? Seriously? These two people inspired me to reach for goals that I didn’t think I would obtain. True teachers challenge others to learn new skills to better themselves. I’m blessed to call these two my friends.

Great Apps for Studying Sign Language

§ April 30th, 2014 § Filed under Android Apps, Ipad § No Comments

Many of my days are spent to my devices, and I also support teachers in their own app and mobile device adventures. I find that while learning with a mobile device does not replace a real, live teacher, it does offer me a way to self-direct my own learning. There are many iOS and Android applications that can support my learning when studying sign language.

As a means of testing these apps, I have installed them on three different devices in my household (two iPads and my Android phone). My reviewers include my children and myself. Matthew is 5 ½, and Jenna is 8 ½. Because Matthew has Juliette as a teacher, he is getting some sign language instruction at school; this is causing him to have a greater interest in searching for signs at home. Much of my research reflects his experiences and my observations.


There are many useful Android applications to learn sign language.

 

My Favorite


  • ASL Dictionary: The paid version is just under six dollars, but the student will have access to over 5k signs. This is what I used to take the Sign-Language course on campus. A few times the app had a sign that was different than what was taught in class, but for the most part, I was able to blend in with those using the textbook. In some cases, I excelled because the app offers a looping feature. Here is a quick demo of the app:

Other Options

  • ASL American: This app allows users to learn the alphabet.

My Wishlist

  • Sign Savy: The free version offers minimal instruction. Any serious learner would want the paid version. Unfortunately, it is $50 per year, so I did not have the courage to jump into that application. If the signs are universal, I think it would be useful because the app does the following things:
    • works cross-platform
    • includes video
    • supports phrase signing
    • allows for share lists between members

 


There are many iOS apps available as well for iPhone, iPad, and iPod users.

My Favorite

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  • Baby Sign & Learn: Initially, I just downloaded the free, lite version, but Matthew enjoyed it so much that I purchased the full version for $2.99. The app is especially valuable there are verbal explanations for the signs. In many other sign language apps, there is not much audio. Since my son is an independent learner on the iPad, I try to find apps that allow him to control his own learning. Many of the apps I downloaded do not allow him to do that, but Baby Sign & Learn does.

Here is a video of Matthew, my son, playing this particular app.

The video cannot be shown at the moment. Please try again later.

 

Other Options


  • ASL Coach: This app is very simple. It merely teaches the alphabet. It’s a good app though because the signs are clearly shown. This would be a good app for someone to start with that wanted to learn the alphabet.

My Wishlist

  • Emergency Signs: This started out on my wishlist, but I eventually bought it. I was so curious! This app would be so useful for EMT and police officers to study. The app contains hundreds of videos that emergency personnel might need to sign. The people acting out the signs do a good job conveying the emotion during the sign. I do wish the camera was closer to the subjects. The male actor, thankfully, goes much slower than the female. I did notice, though, that he signed words in a different order than I expected. For example, when he signed “Get out of the car,” he signed the word “car” first. I don’t remember doing that in class ever.

 


Unlike the Android and iOS platform, there are just a few options for the Chrome browser. As Chrome continues to braid itself into our everyday lives, I would expect the number of apps to change.

 

Only Options (both are not good)

  • Sign the AlphabetSign the Alphabet does nothing more than sign the alphabet. There are no human people; the animations are cartoon hands. There are also google ads on the page.
  • Sign Language on the Go: This app is exactly the same as the application above.

Regardless of the device, there are plenty of useful applications for anyone needing to further their sign language education. I do think a foundation education with a real instructor would be best first. That way immediate questions can be answered by peers and the instructor.

I will be using the ASL 5,200 Signs, Baby Sign, and Emergency Signs to further my sign language skills. Matthew will continue his exploration using Baby Sign, but he’s often asking for new applications to try.

The video cannot be shown at the moment. Please try again later.

My action plan is simple.

By June 1, I would like Matthew to have ten commands he can use over the summer. Because the apps I have selected, do NOT require wifi, it is within reason that we can practice and apply these anywhere we travel. As far as myself, my goal is to create ten sentences that I can use with him over the summer. Of course, we already have a few nailed down.

  • I love you.
  • I need help.
  • Stop talking! (Haha! Thank you Mrs. Schneider.)
  • I am hungry.

Here is my ACTION PLAN.

In the end, this project has reinforced my interest in self-directed learning. I never would have studied sign language this much if I hadn’t taken Marlene’s class. I needed the foundational material and the encouragement of an instructor first. From there, I’ve been able to continue my studies. Actually, I think I’ve learned more because I didn’t purchase a book. Since I downloaded apps, I was able to learn more and on demand. Plus, my son took to the material even faster than I did. It’ll be interesting to see how much he remembers over the summer.

Google Apps Create Online Experiences That Allow for Collaboration

§ March 8th, 2014 § Filed under Google § No Comments

Many years ago it was a fair statement to say that students in an online class wouldn’t collaborate in the same way face to face students would. Those days have certainly changed. Of course, with the invent of blogging and content management systems, students were able to engage in somewhat synchronous activity. Those tools provided an excellent way for teachers to integrate technology that encouraged discussion and provided opportunities for students to demonstrate understanding.

Around 2007 Google launched Google Apps which forever changed online collaboration.

Teachers are now able to design learning activities for online classes where students can easily collaborate and demonstrate understanding in innovative ways. Even better, much of the collaboration can happen synchronously. Students can launch chat windows or a Google Hangout to discuss and collaborate. While in the hangout, they can even work on Google documents at the same time.

As a teacher, I’ve worked hard to use Google Apps to deliver sound instruction. My students have worked hard to use Google Apps to demonstrate understanding.

  • GoogleDocs allows students to collaborate live on documents, presentations, and spreadsheets
  • Google Hangouts allows to up to ten students to meet live to collaborate, discuss, and present. Here’s a sample from my speech students. Basically, the learning objective was to have students test their public speaking skills in a webinar format, similar to webex. As you can see, Google Hangouts allow students the ability to present information via video and audio; they can also screen share which adds another level of collaboration.

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  • Google Sites allows for collaboration in the same way a wiki does. Several years ago I had students in separate classes collaborating on research projects using Wikispaces. That was nice, but Google Sites is certainly a better tool in that

That’s just a drop in the bucket. Seriously, you need to check out what Google Apps can do for your classroom. Don’t be intimidated by the power. With proper training and support, you can do it. Find a few buddies, so you can support each other. Utilize training tools like Atomic Learning, Google trainers, or your local Edtech groups to coach you through the experiments. Of course, don’t hesitate to turn to social media for outstanding connections!

Sensory Details in Descriptive Writing

§ February 10th, 2014 § Filed under Describing, Perception § No Comments

I think back to when I taught the good ole’ Personal Narrative. I wonder how many of them I’ve read. Probably over 500. The skill of describing is so important regardless of the career. Looking back, I wish I would have spent even more time on the unit.

Every day we take in sensory imagery. Actually, too much most days. Movies, TV, and music alone can create a rich experience simply because the sensory images are stimulated. Think back to your favorite movie. Every time I was Seabiscuit I get emotional. I know, I know. He’s just a horse, but the production team does such a good job stimulating sensory imagery that I become caught up in the moment.

 

Description will attend to sensory imagery, but also time, person, or place. We use descriptive transition words to let us know it’s time to move to the next part. Here are some transition words to signal visual description:

All of these things will give us a mental picture of the person, event, place, object, scene, or situation. Study photographs and movie scenes. Ask yourself what you see that’s triggering thoughts and feelings. Much of the time those details are included to trigger perceptions.

You all will use descriptive writing in some way. Depending on your career, you’ll be able to use it more creatively. For example, someone going into sales will enjoy a great deal of freedom with descriptive writing as they’ll be creating persuasive messages. Rhetoric will be your friend. Others will be heading into health care or public safety where accurate description is a must, but creative writing is taboo. You have to describe a scene of an accident or the behavior of a patient, but your ethical practice will tell you to stick to the facts.

The writer has the ability to spin the facts however they want to. Honestly, it’s hard to find a media source that’s unbiased. Even in our local media we‘ll see angles. On event that comes to mind is the Tumbledown Golf Course 9/11 special.

 

 

A New Addition

§ December 31st, 2013 § Filed under Family Stuff § No Comments

I grew up with oodles of animals, so it just seems par for the course that I’d want that for my kids. It was good for me. I learned compassion and hard work.

I chum with other folks that feel the same way, so I’m often surrounded with all these crazy ideas. This past spring my family fostered two mother cats and nine kittens for about four months. That was so much work!

This winter we adopted a dog from the Dubuque Regional Area Humane Society. She’s a one year old lab mix. I specifically picked her because she looked so afraid in the shelter. We have a ton of work. She lacks confidence and isn’t trained, but she deserves a chance.

Her name is Ally. :-)

Can Craigslist be a Teaching Tool? YES.

§ December 1st, 2013 § Filed under Business Communication, Students Today, typos § No Comments

It’s always a good feeling when students are able to easily critique bad writing, especially online. Folks say that these young whipper snappers can’t write or read a darn thing because of all these computer gadgets they’re playin’ with. To some degree I agree, but I know they can cut through the digital mess with guidance.

As a society we are completely over-stimmed with information. Research has proven that our mind trims off excess information as a means of preservation. Hence, we miss typos. Plus, there’s no doubt, we read less now than 50 years ago. As a teacher, I’ve noticed that students who read non-fiction or informational texts, are almost always better writers. Those that don’t read, make oodles of mistakes.

Really, we all make mistakes. I’m no grammar elitist, that’s for sure. Still, there has to be value in a carefully crafted sales message, even if it is just for Craigslist.

I asked my students to critique a few Craigslists ads against the AIDA format. Boy, did that open their eyes! It’s such a simple format, but very few ads on Craigslists follow a model.

Here are a few samples they thought provided poor examples of the AIDA format.


Finally! I did it.

§ November 3rd, 2013 § Filed under Google, Making a Difference § No Comments

My good friend Katie Grassel became a Google Certified Trainer well over a year ago now. Maybe it’s been two years. I don’t know. I was immediately envious at her knowledge and commitment.

In my defense, I had started a new job and was getting settled at home. There was no way I was keeping up with Katie. :-) About a year later, Kurt Wismer, another friend became a Certified Trainer too. Gah! More Google envy.

Both of them had been to a Google summit and had immersed themselves in those tools, whereas I had only taught myself how to use them on my own time. I vaguely remember watching Chad Kafka at WEMTA three years ago; other than that, I was on my own. Again, I was jealous.

This summer I decided to stop making excuses and get those tests done. Honestly, the tests were a lot harder than I had anticipated. Finally some time in August, I finished my tests. On November 1, I became an official certified trainer.

I am excited to share my knowledge with others. Maybe I’ll get to a Google Summit, who knows.

Overall, I’m proud of myself for getting through this. I’m glad Katie and Kurt reached that goal first; they certainly inspired me to finish my goal. :-)

Paying Attention to the Media

§ October 13th, 2013 § Filed under Business Communication, Life on the Internet § No Comments

Almost every week I share some tid-bit of how businesses, government agencies, or social groups are handling digital communication. I often reference how those entities are communicating using social media, specifically. Once in awhile a student will ask, “Where do you find this stuff?!”

It’s a good question. Part of my job requires me to be current on all these trends, right? I thought I’d share the list of tools I use nearly every day to help me stay connected to current happenings.

  • Twitter. It only takes one friend to retweet just the right article. I’ve also searched for certain terms to see what folks are saying about a particular business or topic.
  • Flipboard. Flipboard allows me to create magazines based on my interests. I can create a magazine called “social media news” and Flipboard scours the internet for me looking for relevant items. Those selections can be shared to a multitude of social media outlets.
  • Facebook Groups. Typically I only use Facebook for personal use, but I’ve found a few Facebook groups that share great resources for my classroom. Particularly, I like Mashable lately, although they also have posts that are of no value to me. Like with all resources, the usefulness fluctuates.

These three resources can prove to be useful for any teacher if used frequently. I have everything synced on my laptop, iPad, and phone. Yes, I’m wired, but someone in Communications should be. The days of only paying attention to the printed word is long gone.

 

Tomorrow the Kittens Go

§ August 23rd, 2013 § Filed under Family, Giving Thanks, Making a Difference § Tagged , , § No Comments

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Since mid-april I’ve been a foster mother for the Purr-fection Animal Shelter and Rescue of Galena, IL. During that time I raised 9 babies and helped 2 mothers transition away from their parental roles. These kittens were born from a semi-feral cat colony that exploded in East Dubuque, IL. We only took maybe 1/4th of the colony to my house, I think.

20130823-230610.jpg My children and I helped the kittens learn the ropes of being kittens and we helped the mothers understand that not all humans are mean. It was a long road. We lost one baby along the way; we never did understand what took his life. He faded in a day and the next night I found his mother resting on him. He lived for a few days, but in the end, his little body couldn’t recover. That was a tough lesson to learn. He was buried by a willow tree in a friend’s yard.

My children learned a great deal from this experience. I hope my son, especially, learned the importance of being compassionate. Whether I like it or not, he’s shown all sorts of images in media and school that tell him men are only tough and domineering. I hope this softens the edges a bit. I hope my daughter learned the value of hardwork. She’s a bit of a princess and at times we had to get really dirty in a cat-poop type of way. It was not pretty work, but the reward was great.

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Tomorrow some of the kids are heading to a new foster home. The others that are neutered are heading to a farm where they’ll be reunited with their mothers. They’ll be able to live peacefully with food, shelter, and affection.

I am thankful that I was able to do this the past five months. I’ll admit I’m tired, but I’ve also rekindled a new-found passion for animal-control and neutering awareness. I’m thinking to be the Bob Barker of Grant County if I have to. It seems that I’ll burn out cleaning up the problem. I wonder how I can help from the other end — prevention.

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The work is never going to be done, but at least I know I did the right thing this time.

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