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  http://www.techtalkmercy.com/ .  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– Zendesk.com

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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Social Studies: Critical Concerns Expressed to Authentic Audiences

This is twelfth and last in a series of blog “snapshots” of how Mercy students benefit from using iPad technology (and other tools) throughout the school day.


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Religious Studies Dept.– School Leader in Tech

This is the eleventh in a series of blog “snapshots” of how Mercy students benefit from using iPad technology (and other tools) throughout the school day.

The religious studies department is one of the most adventuress when it comes to educational technology.  Teachers employ a number of different digital tools for their creative assignments.

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Ms. Mals’ class produced some terrific videos such as this one by Mina Spryszak

Text and images by Dr. Kline-Kator, Ms. Lusch, Ms. Mals

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(EdTech) ROAD TRIP!!!!

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Tech in the MHS Math Dept.

This is the tenth in a series of blog “snapshots” of how Mercy students benefit from using iPad technology (and other tools) throughout the school day.

In the photos below, students in Geometry Honors are using GeoGebra to investigate the relationship between angles formed by parallel lines and a transversal. They will use the results to develop conjectures about the congruent or supplementary angle pairs.  The final component of the activity is to write the formal proof for each conjecture, thus developing the theorems found in geometry textbooks.  — Carol Baron

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Photos by L. Baker

Patty Perry uses Explain Everything to make tutorials for students to explain difficult concepts. She also uses it to respond to email or message questions.

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Counseling with Tech: Naviance Family Connection

This is the ninth in a series of blog “snapshots” of how Mercy students benefit from using iPad technology (and other tools) throughout the school day.

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Photos by Larry Baker and Julie Earle
The Mercy College Counseling Program is more than a guidance service for choosing a college; it is a program designed to assist students in identifying colleges that are considered to be a “good fit” academically, socially, and personally.  We strive to help each student develop her understanding of who she is, what is important to her, and what she hopes for her life after Mercy.  To help us with this endeavor, Mercy utilizes a comprehensive online college planning tool called Naviance Family Connection. , a college and career readiness platform that enables self-discovery, career exploration, academic planning, and college preparation for our students.  To introduce the various aspects of this resource to the student body, Counselors facilitate classroom lessons at various points during the 9th, 10th, and 11th grade years.
This spring, Mercy Counselors met with all freshmen students through their World History class. The focus of the meeting was to help students create their personal account with Naviance Family Connection. Counselors demonstrated how to create an account and assisted students with this task while they worked on their iPad.
Counselors also met with sophomore students through their English class. The focus of the sophomore classroom meetings was to introduce the students to the college planning and search features of Naviance Family Connection. Counselors demonstrated various functions of this online college planning tool and had students work along with them on their iPads as they explored things like: how to search for a college based on personal interests; how to learn about a college’s admission requirements; how to learn about major offerings at a college; how to know if a college is a good academic fit for a student based upon grades and test scores; how to begin building a “college list” of schools the student is thinking about, and how to build a resume to name a few.  All of this leads up to the junior year – one of the most important years when it comes to college planning.  We want students to have the tools and accurate resources to help them reach their post-secondary goals.
Tools like the iPad and resources like Naviance Family Connection have taken the college and career search and planning process to a whole new level.  
— Kristen Casey, Chairperson of Counseling Dept.
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MHS Coaches Active with Apps!

This is the eighth in a series of blog “snapshots” of how Mercy students benefit from using iPad technology (and other tools) throughout the school day.

Most of my these posts focus on the academic courses, but in this one shows you how pervasive technology is in our athletic program.  Here is a slide show showing how a wide variety of teams use apps and other tech tools

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The Athletic Director’s Office has very recently adopted Privit in order to automate required participation records. Assistant AD, Kate Scalzi outlined several reasons for adopting this online solution in favor of paper:

  1. Parents and families can easily update the records.
  2. The Athletic Trainer can access all medical records from any location.
  3. Information is far more unlikely to be misplaced.
  4. It’s easier to determine if all information has been submitted.
  5. Secure digital storage.



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