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Technology Integration Learning Sessions April 19, 2010

Posted by timsparacino in Administration/Leadership, Technology Integration.
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One of the most powerful and enjoyable things that we do within our department is host regular “learning sessions.”

We block off time each Thursday afternoon to meet face-to-face to discuss and prepare for upcoming events, training sessions, etc.

A recurring, regular agenda item for these weekly department meetings is a learning session.

Any member of our group can request a session on a topic that they would like to know more about and another member with knowledge of that topic will host the session.

Due to mandated testing last week, we had significantly more time together in the office.  That allowed us to have several learning sessions throughout the week.  Some of our topics were:

Glogster
Google Apps
Microsoft Tips and Tricks (Word, PowerPoint, OneNote)
Posterous
Quizdom
Voicethread

In addition to being an integral component of my personal learning network, these sessions have allowed me to see just how talented our Instructional Technology team is.  I feel very fortunate to work with a group of individuals that are dedicated to continually honing their craft and are so willing to share their expertise.

I would strongly encourage any team out there to incorporate some type of learning session into the way that you regularly do business.

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What am I up to? A lot! March 3, 2010

Posted by timsparacino in Administration/Leadership, Global Learning Network, Resources & Information.
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What am I up to today?  A lot.

Along with writing this post, I am finalizing my preparations for two training sessions that I have tomorrow.

The first session will be during our monthly Director’s meeting and is basically geared toward administrators.  Last month, I took this group through a brief overview of using digital tools to create and cultivate a global learning network.

I talked about the development of my own learning network and previewed (with the help of a wiki and a Prezi) the tools that I use the most- Google Reader, Twitter, and Diigo.

My presentation sparked the creation of a study group of administrators that will convene each month after our Director’s meeting to preview, discuss, and work with technology tools that can help members of the group be more productive.

A tool will be selected, the group will investigate possible uses of that tool during the month, and the following month we will have a session to review our progress and decide on the next course of action.

I am really excited about this opportunity to showcase what the Instructional Technology Department is doing and how the tools we help teachers/students use can also be very beneficial for administrators.

The other session that I have tomorrow will be held after-school and it pertains to sharing internet resources.

I will demonstrate for teachers how beneficial it would be for them to:

  • Shorten long URL’s
  • Combine multiple URL’s so that they are under one “umbrella”
  • Create online “binders”

I’ve collected the tools that I will be demonstrating on this page of my Top Tech Tools wiki.

So, what am I up to?  A lot!

Google Apps, Here We Come June 16, 2009

Posted by timsparacino in Administration/Leadership, Resources & Information, Technology Integration.
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Plans are underway now for the Paris School District to become a Google Apps school and I couldn’t be more excited.

I know that we’ll have lots of growing pains and there will be some issues that we haven’t thought about, but I believe that any bumps in the road will be completely overshadowed by the awesome suite of collaboration tools that Google Apps has to offer.

Before I go any farther, I would like to take a moment to say how much I appreciate working for our Superintendent, Jim Loyd.  Obviously, he makes all of the final decisions on changes like this and without his support and progressive thinking, our technology integration efforts would still be in the dark ages.  Because of his leadership, we are well on our way to becoming a model school in the area of technology integration.

Back to Google Apps…

What does Google Apps for Education offer?  I copied this from their Frequently Asked Questions section:

Google is currently offering schools a hosted solution for their email, calendar, and chat through Google Apps Education Edition, our integrated communication and collaboration solution. Our offer includes Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Talk, Google Sites, and Google Docs and Google Video, all using your own school’s domain.

Google Apps Education Edition includes:

  • Gmail: Email storage and search tools that help your students find information fast and instant messaging from right inside their accounts.
  • Google Calendar: Students can organize their schedules and share events and calendars with others.
  • Google Talk: Students can call or send instant messages to their contacts for free anytime, anywhere in the world.
  • Google Docs: Share documents, spreadsheets, and presentations. Collaborate in real-time with your team or with your whole school. You can publish final documents to the entire world, too.
  • Google Sites: Work together to keep related documents, web content and other information in one place, on one site.
  • Google Video for education: A video hosting and sharing solution that enables schools and other organizations to use video as an effective medium for internal communication and collaboration.

How much does it cost?  That’s the best part.  It’s free!  Why? See this response from their FAQ section:

Google Apps for Education is free. We plan to keep the core offering of Google Apps Education Edition free. This includes user accounts for incoming students in the future. As you may know, Google was founded by a research project at Stanford University, and this is just one way we can give back to the educational community.

If I haven’t sold you yet, check out the Top 10 Reasons to Use Google Apps.

I am working for the day when everyone in our district (students, faculty, and staff):

  • are connected with shared calendars, messaging, and e-mail.
  • access documents, presentations, and spreadsheets at anytime from any device
  • and, collaborate in real-time

Thanks to Google Apps, that day will be here sooner than later.

Administration Resources May 13, 2009

Posted by timsparacino in Administration/Leadership.
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This post goes out to the wonderful group of people that I had the privilege of facilitating some technology training for yesterday at the Western Arkansas Education Cooperative.

As you practice the skills that were covered yesterday pertaining to RSS and Google Reader, visit and subscribe to this page containing all the resources that I collect and tag as “administration.”

You’ll find articles there dealing with student discipline, curriculum issues, technology leadership, etc.

Most recently, you’ll find information debating the importance of homework and the move to make electronic textbooks available to students.

P.S. Don’t forget to access and bookmark the wiki that contains all of the resources that we dealt with yesterday and add your own ideas on the Future Topics page.