Scenes from Nov. 3, ’17 Mercy Tech Talk

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Tech Talk– an MHS Team Effort!

As a newly minted Apple Distinguished School 2017-19, It will be exciting to host Mercy K-12 Tech Talk for Educators on November 3. Like the application process for ADS, this event is a huge team effort. The coordinators for the event are Ann Lusch and Lisa Robinet. And of course Tech Innovation Team and Maintenance crew go all out for the conference.  In addition we have twenty-five iWizards and staff assisting.

Once again we will be hosting attending educators and presenters throughout the region. And once again the event will consist of a keynote address, four hours of workshops, presentations, and panels as selected by attendees; as well as 2 meals a raffle and possible continuing ed credit. We offer this for the subsidized cost of $50 due to our many Tech Talk sponsors.

But new to Tech Talk this year are the following:

  • We are flying in keynote speaker Brent Coley from California.
  • We are offering a “design your own lunch” period with planned and ad hoc chats.
  • We have approached our sponsors with a special scholarship program which has taken off.  Over twenty pre-service university students will be attending the conference for free.
  • Instead of a conventional paper survey at the end of the conference, we are going to try Flipgrid video chats instead. This fun feature comes courtesy of Filpgrid expert, Angela Harris-Schultheis
  • Two iWizards have been assigned to photograph and tweet throughout the conference.

You can still register for Tech Talk here:

If you can’t attend follow the action on Twitter with this hashtag: #mhtt17

Our keynote speaker is a California principal elementary school and edutech rock star!

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iWizards Celebrate #GlobalEd17

On September 21 the iWizards participated in Global Collaboration Day and staged an event in order to launch a discussion of a global project with other student tech teams. The event was presented through their International Student Tech Team Hub. During the event they enjoyed hanging out with a team at Pinch Elementary in West Virginia.

The Hub was built by the iWizards last year and has members from six countries and fifteen states. iWizards have contacted the other teams and urged them to fill out a project survey and participate on their FlipGrid as well as on Twitter at #Hubprojchat Visit the Hub and the iWizards’ activity pages at

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Feeling Podcastic!

This August and September I have become passionate about podcasts. As a teacher I am thrilled by the way it has enriched my Shakespeare class. As and administrator I am excited about how it has connected stakeholders to the school in a meaningful way. As a life-long learner the experience enriches my life.


ShakenbakeCast is a collection of interviews with actors, academics, directors, movie makers stage managers and assorted experts on Shakespeare. I have woven the Shakeninterviews into by course curriculum for the Shakespeare class but the series is also intended to serve a broader audience of Shakespeare lovers. Most recently I interviewed two independent film makers who have made a movie of Love’s Labour’s Lost  at a boarding school. They have just released a new trailer of the film and are thrilled by their project.  It was great fun to chat with them about a film that is aimed a young audience like my students.

                                                                  Accent on Mercy Alumnae

Accent on Mercy Alumnae  was inspired by Shakespeare interviewees. Two of them were former students who earned doctorates in Early Modern English. I thought it a shame to limit my interviews to alumnae Shakespeare experts and thought it would be fun to “catch up” with other alumnae– classical musicians, entrepreneurs, CEOs of non-profits, etc. It is also gratifying to do this in partnership with Julie Earle (MHS Communications) and Margaret Kurpiers (MHS Alumnae Office).

At the recommendation of educators/podcasters Derek Rhodenizer and Jethro Jones, I have used Zencastr for these audio interviews.  I do some mixing in GarageBand and then upload to SoundCloud. I can then use the RSS feed to podcast on iTunes where anyone can subscribe.  This is much simpler then it sounds. In fact I am considering a presentation at MHS Tech Talk for K-12 Educators on “Feeling Podcastic!”


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Collaboration Abounds with Tech Talk Planning!

This school year Mercy will be hosting its fifth annual Tech Talk for K-12 Educators. We have moved the conference to November for the first time, so planning began over the summer. I have not minded a bit. The collaborations involved are rewarding and fun– I have the opportunity to scheme, plan, and share with so many fine people. Check out this incomplete list:

  • When we moved the date I wanted to be sure that our past rock stars could make the shift with us– mainstays like Jeremy Badiner of Gull Lake,  Megan Black of Grosse Pointe Academy,  Stacy Cushman, from Marian, Dr. Alison Kline-Kator, Lauren Marquard, and Angela Harris-Schultheis from MHS, Dr. Jason Siko for Madonna, and Lori Wetzel from Fraser. All are returning.

  • I recruited workshop leaders Steve Dickie, from Divine Child,  Marnie Diem of  Hillel Day School, John Sowash, Google Education Trainer, Jason Gribble from Riverview.

  • I have had many conversations with our keynote speaker,  Brent Coley. We are flying Brent in from California for the event.  I have introduced him by video-conference to Chris Janusch and we planned together Brent’s topic, now titled #eduinfluence. I learn something every time I communicate with Brent.
  • I met twice this summer to plan a session with Charli Migoski which we are calling, “Let’s Get Everyone Involved in Our English Class”. It will be so fun to present with her and if you want to learn Charli’s incredible digital techniques for involving all students in class discussions, you should attend.
  • I recruited four presenters who will be streaming into N-13 form remote locations: Katie Morrow from Nebraska, Derek Rhodenizer from Ottawa, Aaron Hogan from Texas, and our crazy Aussies stationed in Dubai, the amazing Steve Bambury and Luke Rees.
  • I set up two panels of five luminaries each. Our new principal Pat Sattler will moderate one about supporting teachers with tech adoption The social media panel will be moderated by our communications director Julie Earle.
  • Julie does the marketing for Tech Talk. She, Ann Lusch, Lisa Robinet and I meet regularly to coordinate the event. Ann and Lisa do all the heavy lifting with speaker/sponsor communications, logistics and registration.
  • I have even enjoyed soliciting sponsors. I was blown away when Performance Environmental offered to sponsor our lunch  and Aquatic Source doubled what I asked for to sponsor the ever-popular snack table. Other sponsors like Plante Moran, One Earth Writing, F.A. LaFontaine, and TMP Architecture are helping us underwrite free vouchers for teacher interns by sponsoring workshops and individual speakers.
  • And of course it is fun to collaborate by offering free admission to universities. This has already given me the wonderful opportunity to be in touch with two wonderful long-time school of ed collaborators — Dr. Liz Kolb of the University of Michigan and Dr. Karen Obsniuk of Madonna University. (We will once again offer SCECH credit trough Madonna thanks to Theresa King.

So many more incredible collaborations to come! Check out the marvelous web site that Ann Lusch has built .  And follow news about the conference @TechTalk_mhs   #mhtt17



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New Book Completed about MHS Tech

We have just submitted a brand new multi-touch book to Apple, Inc. which captures Mercy educational technology. We are anxious to publish it to iBooks but will not do so until Apple finishes a review.

Composing and pulling together together this book has been a huge collaborative project and has actually yielded some new conversations and products, including

  •  Some powerful insights about learning from Ana Warner’s testimony about her experience robotic’s experience.
  • A complete documentation of the faculty’s ‘2017 #appleteacher professional development experience.
  • A concise expression of the school’s educational technology vision as aligned directly with the MHS strategic plan.
  • The formation and branding of the five-member Mercy Tech Innovation Team.
  • A broader, deeper data collection of our educational technology department yielding many interesting outcomes and next steps such as
    • a new understanding of the students’ enthusiasm for and dependence on the iPad Notability App
    • a discernible gap between teacher expectations of student multimedia products and student’s actual ability with multimedia tools
    • the engagement of a university professor in conversation/collaboration in possibly researching deeper by setting up focus groups or establishing a longitudinal studies.

I can hardly wait for the book to be published.


Screenshot 2017-07-27 10.48.55

One page of our new 25 page book

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Digitally Driven Maintenance Team

It is possible that the the maintenance team is the most digitally operational team in the building. Besides using HVAC controls that can be operated by phone, most of the team’s communication is app based.

Maintenance Request Tickets   Two years ago our Maintenance Team. moved its ticket system from paper to digital. The advantages were that the requests became transparent, easier to track, and allowed a means for us to maintain a slow chat about particular maintenance issues among ourselves and effected parties without maintaining complicated email threads. After investigating options we adopted the same system used successfully by our I.T. team–

Conveniently staff can send cleaning, repair, and set up requests by email to Zendesk. Then I assign ticket responsibility to an team member. If we get a backlog I will call a meeting, but generally the work gets requested, assigned, completed very efficiently.

Screenshot 2017-07-08 10.31.53​​
Our communication with crew leaders is mainly through our smart phones. We were having communication issues, however because we were using both email and text messages. Unfortunately information was not being shared efficiently as we would neglect to “reply all” or include everyone on information that would benefit all. Consequently I asked our faculty which group text app they used for youth sports, girl scouts, family groups. I got lots of feedback and eleven different suggested app. The most votes went to GroupMe.  My maintenance group adopted it and we have had great success. We have also adopted protocols. Instead of me alone being texted when contractors are in the building or a team member is absent, we use GroupMe.


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