iWizard Earns Leadership Award

Katie, center; Principal Carolyn Witte, right

 It was my pleasure introduce Katie Birecki for her 2015 Optimist Leadership Award in Farmington, MI. Each of the four local high schools had one 11th grade recipient. Katie is a charter member of the Mercy iWizards, a group which was formed when Mercy adopted the iPad for all freshmen in 2012.  Consequently I had the benefit of  observing Katie in authentic leadership roles her entire time at Mercy High School. Here is a shortened version of what I said about her:

 During her ninth grade she helped plan and execute a three hour iPad orientation for our new students.  She was vitally involved in this project and took and even higher profile last year when, again, we planned the new student orientation.  Last year, after we were named an Apple Distinguished School, we were visited by many school leaders and members of the media.  Invariably I asked Katie to participate in these sessions as an iWizard representative. . . . She was a team leader for our iCreate workshop for Middle School students. 

Recently she and I were among five co-editors who published a collection to iTunes called iPad Tips and Tricks by MHS iWizards. If you visit http://tinyurl.com/mcmcard you will see her picture gracing the cover.  Furthermore, she was one of three iWizards who accompanied me to Cobo Center to deliver a break-out session about iWizards at MACUL, the state’s largest educational technology conference. 

 Katie is intelligent, sincere and utterly responsible.  She is incredibly generous with her time and sets the very best example for other students when she serves as an iWizard leader. She is entirely deserving of this award from the Optimists.
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iPad Tips & Tricks by MHS iWizards

The iWizards have published a collection of iPad Tips and Tricks to iTunes U, available for anyone to access.  It is best experienced in the iOS iTunes U app.

iPad Tips & Tricks by MHS iWizards is searchable at the iTunes store or it is available online at http://tinyurl.com/mcmcard

The collection is currently composed of thirteen very brief tutorials or descriptions of apps or shortcuts that we have found useful in our school work. We intend to add to and update the collection as a continual project.

We are also placing the collection as a “course” in Mercy’s Schoology LMS. All students and staff will be enrolled and they will receive animated virtual badges when they complete tutorials.  More on that in a week or two!

Course editors: L-R, Izzy, Tomoe, Larry, Katie, Taylor.  Photo courtesy of H. Smith


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Photos from Tech Talk 2015

Photos courtesy of Ann Lusch, Katie Birecki, Theresa Benton, Larry Baker, Tom James, Chris Baker, Renee Valentine, Cheryl Corte, Michelle Slaviero.

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Update on Tech Talk — SOLD OUT!!

There are less than three weeks until our second annual Mercy Tech Talk!  We had a huge influx of registrants at the early-discount deadline.  Our goal was 300 attendees and we surged past that number. In order to deliver a quality program we have closed registration.

My fellow conference coordinator, Ann Lusch, and I are looking forward to the following new wrinkles:

*Attendance will be 30% greater than last year’s conference.

*We have the full faculties registered from five schools.

*We tripled our sponsorship this year.

*Professors from four universities will be leading break-out sessions

*This year we will offer a school administrator program strand.

*We offer 36 break-out sessions this year.

* 60% of the presenters are new to the conference and nearly all of the topics are new.

*The SCECH credit (continuing ed.) process will be streamlined in 2015.

*Several Mercy iWizards will be providing logistical and technical assistance.

We look forward to the challenge of giving all attendees a great experience. Follow the conversation on Twitter at #mhtalk


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What’s Next for the iWizards?

iWizards at iCreate Planning Meeting

Hot off of our successful iPad iCreate Workshop for seventh and eighth graders, the iWizards are now turning their attention to several other activities over the next couple of months.

Jan-Feb  iWizards Tips & Tricks iTunes U and Schoology Courses

The iWizards are currently working on a project of collecting iPad “tips & tricks” about to share with the Mercy community through a Schoology course. We have tentatively decided it will have the following features

*lessons that last 1-2 minutes

*GIF badges as “rewards”

*Possibly some kind of raffle for those who “complete” the course.

Gabriella Meyers, our Apple DE recently visited and suggested we create an iTunes U course with iWizard tips and tricks.  I think this is a great idea and would complement the Schoology course.

Feb. 15  Winter Open House Demonstration

For the past three years the iWizards have provided iPad demonstrations for prospective students.

Fall ’14 Open House Demonstration

Feb 27  Assist at Tech Talk  

Mrs. Carol Rife will be conducting and Animation Creator HD break-out session at Tech Talk. Based on the their effectiveness at iCreate she intends to ask iWizards to assist.

March 20  MACUL Presentation

Mrs. Meyers has asked us to consider doing an iWizards presentation in the Apple room at the 2015 MACUL Conference— the largest state educational technology conference on March 20, Cobo Center, Detroit.

March 26  iWizard Workshop

All of the iWizards will gather for a full-day workshop to create the program and materials for the 2015 iPad orientation for new students. The orientation will be held on August 14.

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