Students Teaching Students at the MHS iCreate Workshop

Art Rage/ Animator HD Group in Foreground / Photo by M. Weiss

The MHS iWizards conducted a free* iCreate Workshop for seventh and eighth graders on Saturday, January 17.  The iWizards consist of 9th-11th grade students who share an enthusiasm for the iPad.  Through a collaboration with the MHS Art Department**, they designed two one-hour sessions for the participants:

1) Students took photos, and became acquainted with how to employ some of Photogene’s many editing effects. They then dropped them into iMovie, learning how to quickly add sound and add features.

2) Students created drawings with ArtRage. They then they discovered how to animate the sketches with Animation Creator HD.

Both groups experienced using AirDrop* and enjoyed each other’s productions on LED projectors via Apple TVs.

The sessions were entirely taught by the iWizards who turned out in force in order to give lots of 1:1 help to our guests.  The iWizards created their curriculum through several weeks of before-school meetings.  The following sequence of extremely short videos outlines a portion of the animation group’s instruction.

The session began with an iWizard demonstration of what could be achieved with ArtRage/Animation Creator HD

After the projects were completed the iWizards worked hard to collect the files through AirDrop and then mirror them onto the projector.

The Animation group gave a Mercy souvenir to projects that stood out. Below I have videoed one winner’s creation.  Pretty impressive considering the kids only had an hour to learn two apps and create their masterpieces!

This final brief video shows photographs from the day’s fun.

Photos by L. Baker and M. Weiss


*Mr. James and Mr. Bank from Mercy I.T. set up 20 loaner iPads for girls who did not bring their own. They also created a special wifi for our guests and prepped the projectors (with Ms. Corte’s assistance).

**Thank you, Ms. Smith, Ms. Rife, Mr. Poris (Art teachers) and Maureen Weiss, Jen Stark (Admissions) for all of your help.


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Mercy Technology: Out with the New and in with the New!

As our first semester ends I find myself taking some exciting projects into the new year.  Last week the iWizards conducted their dress rehearsal foriCreate - the workshop that they will be hosting for 7th and 8th graders on January 17, 2005.  At this workshop the iWizards show the girls how to animate their own drawings as well as edit photos and movies. Already 25 girls have registered and there is still room for more! Seventh and eighth grade girls may register for this event at this link:
Tech Talk
When we return to school in 2015 Ann Lusch and I will be busy with Tech Talk“A day filled with real world applications for the K-12 classroom.”  She’s doing the heavy lifting as she will be organizing our rich program of presenters and processing registrations.  I will be working on establishing SCHECH credits for attendees and preparing my own presentation onBecoming a Digital School Administrator.  We have more presenters and sponsors lined up than last year and are expecting as many as 300 attendees.  The event is quite inexpensive.  Information may be found at the following link:
I learned this past week that my proposal to ISTE 2015 in Philadelphia was accepted.  The presentation will feature many Mercy tech training experiences.  All of our Schoology training was done peer to peer.  Of course iCreate and our iPad orientation for new students are great examples of peer to peer training.
iPad Orientation for New Students
As the year ends we are setting up the logistics for developing the content and presentations for the iPad Orientation given to new students on August 14, 2015.  Our current iWizards will spend as full day (March 26) planning the workshop.  Once again, the training will be driven by the students.




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Rich Variety of Presentations Booked for Tech Talk


Angela Harris-Schultheis at 2014 Tech Talk

In addition to a keynote by Karen Bosch Mercy’s 2015 Tech Talk on February 27 will feature 35 distinct break-out sessions!

3D Printing in Education Steve Dickie Divine Child High School
5 Inspiring Google Connect Apps Megan Black The Grosse Pointe Academy
Animation Creator HD Carol Rife Mercy High School
Backchannels in the Classroom – Twitter and Beyond! Andrea McKay Jackson High School
be inFORMed with Google Forms; communication=relationships Jodi Goff DAT
Because…technology?!?! How to clearly align your tech use with good instruction Jason Siko Grand Valley State University
Becoming a Digital School Administrator Larry Baker Mercy High School
Blending Traditional curriculum with Technology Abigail Powers Muir Middle School
Connecting with IFTTT Julie Alspach Oakland schools
Creating Quality Video Anne Eddy Mercy High School
Eliminating the Chalk Hands Angela Harris-Schultheis Mercy High School
Evaluating Features of iPad App Books for Early Childhood Literacy Engagement Dr. Tanya Christ Oakland University
Everything Google Colleen McMaster Rozman Mercy High School
Explain Everything–Explained! Lauren Marquard Mercy High School
Flipping and PBL and Google, oh my! Chip McDonald Novi Meadows
Flipping lessons in a snap! Creating student resources that extend beyond your class period. Cathy Riley and Lisa Schrimscher Mercy High School
Flipping with an iPad Steve Dickie Divine Child High School
Fluba what? Flubaroo!!! Chip McDonald Novi Meadows
Happy Together with Google Sheets Jeremy Badiner Thomas M. Ryan Intermediate
I got an Ipad, now what? Emily E Bliss Oak Valley Middle School
Introduction to Photoshop CS6 Susan Smith Mercy High School
iTeach, iLearn, iPad! Lori Wetzel and Wendy Murray Richards Middle School
Leading Your School from Your Mobile Device Theresa Stager St. Mary Rockwood
Pinterest: Beyond Crafts and Recipes Cindy Richter Mercy
Planning and running a 1:1 program Tom James (Mercy), Michael Kubik, Craig McMichael Mercy High School / Catholic Central
Productivity Apps for the Busy Teacher Zena Samona Our Lady of Sorrows School
Put the FORM in FORMative Assessments Andrea McKay Jackson High School
Snagit and Share-it! Jeremy Badiner Thomas M. Ryan Intermediate
Technology for the Flipped Classroom Stein Brunvand University of Michigan-Dearborn
The Best Free Classroom Resources and How to Find Them Jessica P’Simer Honey Creek Community School
Twitter for Professional Development Theresa Stager St. Mary Rockwood
Using Social Media in theClassroom Michael McVey Eastern Michigan University
Using the YouTube Editor Julie Alspach Oakland schools
Weebly in the Classroom Abigail Powers Muir Middle School
What is Genius Hour? Christina Chatel and Michelle Slaviero Boulan Park Middle School
YouTube in the Classroom: Beyond Kitten Videos Alison Kline-Kator Mercy High School

For a complete session descriptions and biographies go to

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Shadowing the iPad 1:1 Program

On Wednesday we hosted an English teacher and science teacher from a local grade school which intends to go 1:1 iPad in the upper grades next year.  I set up three classroom visits for each visitor.  I decided that for fun I would pop in and observe some of the iPad action as well. So you could say that I shadowed the shadowers.

First Period

In Ms. Riley’s biology class the students reviewed for a test by going to lab stations.  They used iAnnotate PDF to write notes on their digital worksheets. They also accessed their iBooks for information.
Ms. Harris-Schultheis’s class had recently visited the Holocaust Memorial Center. When I stopped by the girls were listening to a Camp Survivor anthem accompanied by visuals.  The students accessed the lyrics on their iPads through Schoology.

Second Period

In Ms. McGavin’s anatomy class I observed juniors using the iPad and seniors using the HP Tablet.  The students used their devices to access diagrams, highlight key items and take notes about the human jaw. As you can see in the foreground a student is holding a skull. Ms. McGavin was also projecting the images and notes through her Apple TV. So the students had many different ways to access and add to the information.

Ms. Hallie Smith’s ninth grade English class was also studying the Holocaust. Via an Apple TV they watched a YouTube of Hitler giving a speech, and then discussed it after looking up additional information using the Safari browsers of their iPads.

Third Period

In Ms.Waldsmith’s Women in Literature class the girls (like the student in the foreground) supported their discussion with digital resources accessed through their devices. I was surprised that most girls preferred a paper rather than digital version of their novel, but most girls took notes on their iPads.

During Ms. Schrimscher’s chapter review (
chemistry), many girls took notes with their iPads using Pages. Students had reviewed digital resources before class, including a video that they could review through Schoology.

Observations from the Visiting Shadowers  

At the subsequent debrief my new friends shared a number of impressions. They noted that each classroom teacher had used the iPad differently, but all provided students with digital resources that were at their fingertips.  They were impressed by how so many assignments and assessments were paperless. The shadows also noted that grading seemed easier with the iPad, particularly with the tight integration that exists between Schoology and Power School.  They heard about interesting instructional uses of the camera and other apps like Socrative and Explain Everything.  They were also impressed by how adept the students were at moving from app to app and from screen to screen. They also noted that when students were assigned to groups they automatically created collaborative documents as a first step.

It was fun hosting our guests and seeing your educational technology through their eyes.

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Mercy Ed Tech Decisions Feature Distributed Leadership

Distributed Leadership for learning and teaching is a leadership approach in which collaborative working is undertaken between individuals who trust and respect each other’s contribution. It occurs as a result of an open culture within and across an institution. . . .It happens most effectively when people at all levels engage in action, accepting leadership in their particular areas of expertise.  — (Jones, Harvey, Lefoe, Ryland 2013, p.21).

Science Teacher Sara McGavin troubleshoots with iWizards

Distributed leadership characterized Mercy’s decision to adopt Schoology as its Learning Management System. Reasons for changing from Moodle were identified by the I.T. Department.  However, we immediately put the evaluation different solutions in the hands of a committee of faculty members who self-selected and participated at a level each person could determine. (All meetings were open).

After the teachers chose Schoology they helped introduced the product to their peers and delivered the rationale for changing  Subsequently these same teachers conducted all of our professional development and training for Schoology.

August iPad Orientation led by the iWizards

We have also decided to hand over an important technology decision to our students. Recently we asked an iWizard to evaluate photo editing apps for use at the iCreate Workshop. The one she recommended has been so popular it may actually enter the school curriculum through our Design Foundations class. At a recent meeting of iWizards we were chatting our favorite iPad apps  One of the new ninth grade members began describing a planning app which sounded like one every student could use. It occurred to me that we should place selection of “Mercy apps”* more or less in the hands of the students.

Consequently, we are asking the iWizards to assess all of our current apps. And at our next meeting we will ask them to pitch new ones. This is another great example of distributive leadership which has come to characterize decision making within our technology program.

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An iWizard Columnist

One of our charter member iWizards has become a monthly guest columnist for our local newspaper.  She will write on technology topics that may interest a general reader. Please check out her first piece!

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A Week of iWizards

We had lots of iWizard Activity this week which I have captured in iPhone photos.

Wednesday morning the iCreate team gathered to work on the two project sessions that they will offer to 7th and 8th graders.  At one end of the table the drawing/animation team is working and at the other the photo/video team is planning their lesson.

On Thursday morning before school we held a formal reception welcoming new iWizards into the group.  We had seventeen 9th graders apply!. Below is a photo of veteran and new members who were still in the Baggot Street Conference Room at the end of the the Reception.

Each year since we Mercy adopted the iPad, the iWizards have demonstrated how we use it for instruction at the Mercy Open House.  Here they are today, mesmerizing visitors with apps such as iAnnotate PDF and ArtRage.
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