Scenes from 2016 Tech Talk

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Mercy High School hosted its third annual  Tech Talk for Educators conference on February 26.

Keynote speaker Dr. Jason Siko began the conference with“Futures of Educational Technology; Possible, Plausible and Preferable.”  Approximately 300 persons participated this year attending 28 one-hour presentations and six two-hour workshops. Faculty from around 30 metro area school systems were in attendance. Mercy iWizards assisted with technology and logistical support. Six eighth graders from Hillel Day School participated in a “Collaboration Using Student Expert Teams” workshop.



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New iPad Policy for 2016 -17 School Year

ipadsPlease note that starting with the 2016-17 school year new students will  no longer be required to purchase the Mercy iPad Package if they already own an iPad meeting the minimum storage and model requirements listed below.

Acceptable iPad models and storage capacity:
iPad Pro—128 GB
iPad Air 2—64 GB
iPad Mini 4—64 GB

If you decide to bring your own iPad, your daughter should be the sole user of this iPad and will be required to register the device on the school’s management server and also pay the $50 Mercy app fee.

If you do not own an iPad that meets these minimum requirements then you are required to purchase the Mercy iPad Package. Costs are listed below:

  • iPad Air 2-64GB $579.00
  • 3-Year AppleCare+ $99.00
  • Mercy App Fee and Custom Mercy iPad Case $75.00
  • Total $768 (includes $15 order processing fee)

Please visit our iPad FAQs page for more information.

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Senior iWizards Well Prepared for Their Futures

Four iWizard seniors (and a senior citizen!)

As I recently posted, some of my iWizards have grown up! As originally formed three years ago, all members were ninth graders.  While still skewed toward younger members, the iWizards will now be represented by students from four grade levels, among them the seniors pictured above.

Three of my seniors have been vitally involved with the program since its inception. We have shared many wonderful experiences and I have promised them that for all of their efforts I will write them absolutely superb college recommendations. I am presently in the process of drafting these letters. In those recommendations I will be remarking upon how the iWizard experience has helped these young women develop the following qualities:

Leadership The iWizards do not have fixed leadership positions. For each project, leaders are self-selected or selected by project teammates. Senior iWizards have been leading projects for four years now and have been continually identified as take-charge individuals with exceptional leadership skills.

Responsibility The iWizards are accountable to each other rather than an adult leader and the team bond is the most effective system of accountability. Students who do not follow through don’t remain iWizards very long.

Self Direction iWizards are given free reign to develop their curriculum and instructional plans for projects like the new student iPad orientation and iCreate! — an arts workshop for middle school students. They do not need “approval” from a teacher though they select mentors who critique their work. The mentor’s participation is more collegial than hierarchical.

Problem Solving The iWizards become good at problem-solving. These problems could be technical, logistical or inter-personal.

Presentation Skills  All iWizards are involved in making presentations at student-to-student workshops.  This includes developing slide presentations or designing ice-breaker activities. The students whose letters of recommendations I am writing also presented last spring at the largest teacher technology convention in our state. They were invited by Apple to present on “ iWizards– Empowering Students as Leaders“.

Collaboration Outside of developing our collection of iPad Tips and Tricks, all of our projects have been completed as teams that have required continual communication through digital means such as Google Apps.

Stretching Technical Skills It is not uncommon for the iWizards to join a particular project team so that they can learn more about a technology. Perhaps the best example of this would be a project team which intended to introduce the Schoology LMS to new students. They were required to learn how to use and develop tutorials before the school actually adopted it. Consequently, they became proficient long before the great majority of teachers did.

Service Finally, after mentioning all of these intangible benefits the iWizards gain from their participation in the group, it should be noted that all of their projects perform a service to the school or greater community. The benefits of this program flow in both directions.

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iWizards Lead the New Student iPad Orientation

This was Izzy’s third year leading an iPad orientation session

Three years ago Mercy adopted the iPad as its 1:1 device for the class of 2016. Shortly afterwards we formed a club of ninth grade iPad enthusiasts who named themselves the “iWizards“. Those ninth graders set upon an ambitious project: They would conduct the two and a half hour tech orientation for the next group of ninth graders.  While the iWizards now pursue additional projects, they still produce the new student tech orientation before school officially starts. This year every Mercy student will have an iPad, and some of the iWizards who originally formed the club are now seniors. Learning with them over the past three years has been a fabulous experience.

Last Friday (August 14), twenty-four current iWizards provided an orientation for the new students four separate sessions. This actually meant that eight teams of iWizards independently taught sessions with a teacher of their choosing in the room for support.

The process of choosing the subjects, creating the curriculum and presenting the material is a great experience for these young women. They acquire presentation and technical skills but also they gain self-confidence and leadership skills. They hold each other accountable and each year we have been delighted to find that none of the iWizards bail out on the project over the summer.

By all accounts the iWizards did a splendid job on Friday. I have shared a small slice of the experience in the following video:

P.S. New students may apply to become iWizards in October.


Top photo by Gary Morris


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Strong Evidence of iPad Success with Mercy Students

This spring we completed a survey of nearly all of our ninth graders using a likert scale to measure their perceptions of how intrinsic their iPads were to their learning in school.  We used the the ISTE Standards for Students as the criteria for measuring this.

We has used the identical survey in 2013 when we applied to become an Apple Distinguished School.  In every instance the 2015 students were in greater agreement that they had made the fifteen standards that we had selected.

The above chart is an excellent example. Asked to what extent they agreed that they had fun learning with their iPads, about 57% agreed or strongly agreed in 2013.  In 2015, 60% strongly agreed and the great majority of the rest agreed.

Impressive results were measured with other very important standards, such as “My iPad aids me in exploring solutions”:

Why did the 2015 ninth graders a higher percentage of agreement with the survey statements shaped from the ISTE Standards. My own classroom observations lead me to believed that their teachers integrated the iPad more fundamentally into instruction. I also believe that the Mercy’s adoption of Schoology as and LMS was a factor. The iPad app for Schoology is closely approximates browser functionality.

Click through the following slide show if you are interested in seeing the other survey results* as well.


*Thank you Christopher Blitz for creating this great slide show for our updated version of iMercy.

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iPad Buyback Info and We Repair ADP

We Repair Accidental Damage Pan – Located in West Bloomfield, We Repair is offering an accidental damage plan that will cover your iPad in case of screen breakage and spills. The cost of this coverage will be a $75 initial cost for two years of coverage. A $25 deductible will than apply for any necessary repairs , $40 for LCD/Screen replacement. The form can be downloaded from here, or student’s can pick one up in the IT Office. Please make checks payable to We Repair. The deadline for applying is July 1st, 2015.

iPad Buyback – If you are interested in trading in your old iPad and purchasing the new iPad Air 2 there will be a drop off date on Monday, June 22nd, 11:00 AM here at Mercy. Please enter at the Flagpole entrance. The Mercy IT Dept. will check to make sure that all of your current content is backed up to a recent iCloud backup or you can back up your content to a computer using iTunes before arrival. Please also bring your charger and cord. Your old iPad will then be shipped to a warehouse for evaluation where the value will be determined. You will then be able to order your new iPad from the Mercy Business Office (do not order from the school website). Students will also have to purchase a new iPad case compatible with the iPad Air 2. Mercy cases will be available for purchase or you can choose to buy one on your own. Loaner iPads will be available for those who would like one before their new iPad arrives.

Here are approximate values for each model:

iPad 3 (Class of 2016)- $145.00

iPad 4 (Class of 2017) – $ 175.00

iPad Air (Class of 2018) – $ 185.00

Students will receive a check for the trade-in in late August. If you have any further questions regarding the iPad buy back please feel free to call the Mercy IT Dept. 248-893-3590.

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Options for our Aging iPad

It is hard to believe that the 2015-16 school year will be our fourth year of going 1:1 iPad at Mercy High School.  Since our adoption of the iPad involved switching 1:1 devices, we began the program with ninth graders, and then successively required all incoming students to purchase iPads. Next year, every student in the building will have one.

When we started the program, we had a fundamental concern that Apple could not really answer for us because the device itself was so new: How well will the iPads stand the test of time?  Thankfully, the iPads have stood up incredibly well. While we sometimes encounter storage issues, we have not experienced hardware or battery issues.

We require all parents to purchase two years of AppleCare + at the outset. Next year half of our iPads will be out of this warranty. In order to be proactive about warranty concerns, we are providing our earliest adopters with a couple nice options in addition to doing nothing and hoping the iPad stays healthy for four years. Here is what Tom James (I.T. Director) communicated recently:

We have researched and selected a set of best options.  Listed below are your warranty/service choices:

Purchase a repair warranty from We Repair (located in West Bloomfield) that will cover your iPad in case of accidental damage. The cost of this coverage will be a $75 initial cost for two years of coverage. A $25 deductible will than apply for any necessary repairs , $40 for LCD/Screen replacement. The form can be downloaded from the Mercy IT Blog, or student’s can pick one up in the IT Office. Please make checks payable to We Repair. 

Purchase a new iPad with 2 years of AppleCare +. Currently enrolled students can purchase the new iPad Air 2 (64 GB, wi-fi) from Mercy for $673. If you wish to purchase the new Mercy iPad package please contact the Mercy Business Office. Do not order from the school’s website. Please also be reminded that you cannot purchase a new iPad from another source to use at school. 

New this year, student’s now have the option to trade in their current iPad in working condition and receive $100 – $200 (depending on model and condition) towards the purchase of the new Mercy iPad package (64 GB iPad Air 2). If you are interested in the buy back program please contact the IT Dept.

We are pleased that the “old” iPads have retained excellent residual value, allowing us to present a “buy back” option.

He have few regrets about adopting the iPad as our 1:1 device.

Mercy IT help counter


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