iCreate 2017

The Mercy iWizards work year round planning activities for potential students and incoming students. The iWizards also work together to make technology more accessible and enjoyable for current students and staff. Every member has a voice and plays a role in each event and idea.


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The  iCreate event is aimed towards 7th and 8th grade girls who have an interest in using an iPad creatively. Girls may bring their own iPad or borrow one from Mercy. At this event the girls attend two one-hour hands-on workshops.

One team of  of iWizards presents some concepts of photo design, allows the students to take photos and then edit them in Photogene. They then make an iMovie using the photos.

The second group is guided through the process of drawing with ArtRage. They then animate their drawings with , Animation Creator HD

Both workshops allow sharing through Air Drop and Apple TV projection.  After an hour the groups switch. 21 students attended this year.

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The Power of Photos in Health Class

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

In Health class the students had to narrow down the entire topic of Suicide and put the most important information on a business card. They researched pictures that could enhance their project and made sure they had the rights to use them. Some students chose to create their own picture. All students had to create the business card, print it double sided and distribute them to their class. In addition, they also had to submit a rationale on Schoology about why they chose the specific information that they did, understanding that a business card is very small and could only fit a few pieces of information.

— Ann Jamieson and Brandi Lavely, Health/P.E. teachers

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Digital Drawing in MHS Fine Arts

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

Our 9th grade Design Foundations class students create compositions using the principles of good design such as filling the frame, creating unity, developing a focal point and balancing the composition, all accomplished with Adobe Illustrator. Adobe Illustrator is a digital drawing application which is available in both of Mercy’s computers labs. Because I am always looking for ways students can use technology to enhance other mediums, it occurred to me that these designs would make interesting surface embellishment on a slab wall piece students we’re working on in Ceramics 2.

Part of the Ceramics 2 curriculum is surface design. Some people may think that the only way to enhance the surface of a clay piece is with glaze alone. I had planned to have students use a variety of techniques using colored slip to add color and texture to the clay as opposed to glaze. We used Adobe Illustrator to create the stencil by using the text tool and a variety of fonts. Most of the students chose to incorporate their initials to personalize the design. The resulting print was then cut to create a stencil that would mask sections of the background previously embellished with Mishima and Sgraffito. This is what the stencil looks like after the negative space was cut out and masked onto the clay with water.

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After we covered the stencil with colored slip, we removed the paper and cleaned the edges. It was then bisque fired. The bisque piece was removed from the kiln, and finished with clear glaze.


The use of Adobe Illustrator allowed students to manipulate, position, and size the letters and fonts which resulted in a strong design and allowed students to use and reinforce design and technology skills previously learned in their 9th grade Design Foundations technology class.  — Guest Blogger:  Carol Rife, MHS Fine Arts teacher

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How Students Rock the iPad in Performing Arts

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

I had the opportunity recently to witness Ms. Moore managing a perfect lesson with a class of interested and fully engaged students. Her scheme was to have students use earbuds while watching oral interpretive speeches. They “split-screen” their iPads and took notes following authentic guidelines like these: http://www.ncfl.org/orginal-oratory


Ms. Moore

The students accessed all materials including the links to the YouTube videos in  Schoology. They used the popular Notability app. This lesson had the advantage of achieving 100% thinking and participation before the students shared their ideas orally.




A screen shot from Ms. Moore’s lesson


According to Dept. Chair, Ms.MacDougall, students in Acting One and other performance groups use iPad apps to assist with script memorization. One of these students- Grace Hannah- shared her enthusiasm for Memorize Anything and gave me a demonstration. This app assists with memorization by allowing the performer to hear her own voice read a selected passage over and over again. The student can select the length of the passage, determine how many words or phrases to mute, and even change the speed of the delivery. Grace found the app so personally helpful that I urged her to add it to the iWizards iPad Tips and Tricks, so that other could benefit from her experience.


Grace working with Memorize Anything

Grace had another tip to share as well. She could practice taking script cues from the Quizlet app, the flash card app. Quizlet is a popular app with our students for test preparation. However, Grace has imaginatively added it to her retinue for script memorization.

It was really fun learning about Mercy technology from Grace and Ms. Moore.


Larry Baker, Cross-posted to Inspired by Connectivity



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Connecting and Sharing with Apple


Recently I had the terrific experience of accompanying three teachers from Mercy to an Apple Education briefing in Chicago. We were all excited by the presentations.

I returned very interested in three possible initiatives. 1) Apple Classroom serves as a teaching assistant “that helps teachers guide learning, share work, and manage student devices.”  Our I.T. Department is setting up a pilot and if this goes successfully we may very well implement it.


2) A new Apple Teacher program allows teachers to build skills with the iPad, Mac, and workhorse apps. The program is time-intensive, so I was very impressed in Chicago when Fredy Padovan (Florida, Immaculata-LaSalle High School) showed us how he had adapted the program to an iTunes U course

Bottom line: after consulting with Madonna University, I believe we can allow our teachers to earn continuing education credit from the state by taking a modified version of Fredy’s course.


3) Finally, all of us at the briefing got an opportunity to do some coding at the Swift Playgrounds, a new app that makes coding fun on the iPad.

Chris Janusch was among our Mercy contingent and is certified to teach coding. Apple’s many coding resources would make it relatively easy to start a course. Chris and I came back to determined to give our students the opportunity to code. If circumstances allow, we would like to develop a course soon.

Larry Baker — Cross-posted from Inspired by Connectivity


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“Thank goodness for Twitter … “

“Thank goodness for Twitter … would love to connect some students”  was recently the tweet that I received from @NancyinLux1  This would be Nancy Lhoest Squicciarini, Assistant Principal at the International School of Luxembourg. We had crossed paths on Twitter and we are hoping to connect our student tech groups at The Student Tech Team Hub that the Mercy iWizards are developing.

unspecified-1Folks are often surprised when I tell them that nearly all of my professional development as a school administrator is through Twitter. In the last month I booked speakers from Massachusetts, S. Korea, Canada, and Dubai to make virtual presentations at Mercy’s Tech Talk in February. I also did a podcast with an educator in Ottawa and had Google Hangouts with principals in Illinois and Jakarta. In each case my initial connection with these interesting educators was made through Twitter. For me, social media is most often intellectually stimulating, professionally gratifying, (and fun).

I am pretty sure our Dean of Students and Athletic Director would not say the same thing. I work closely with both individuals and social media– particularly in the form of Twitter and Snapchat often lead to major hurt and headaches. In the “old days” a student might be mean to a peer or a parent rude to a coach. But on social media these remarks get shared and go viral. It is much harder to get past being stupid or inconsiderate when the messages or photos get seen by dozens or hundreds of others. When this happens, it’s awful…and guess what, social media is not going away soon. In fact it’s changing our world.

So I am not naive about Twitter but I think we really need to consider as schools what obligations we have to instruct students about this form of communication. A one hour assembly every couple of years is probably not enough….but what is the best way?

I’ll make sure that I will follow the best educators on Twitter who have something to say helpful to say about this important topic.

Larry Baker — Cross-published at “Inspired by Connectivity”: http://tinyurl.com/hme8x8m

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Connected Education

Of course one of the great instructional advantages of placing a mobile device in each student’s hands is that she has a world of information at her fingertips. But as a learner and teacher, I have found that being connected to other people has had an even more powerful impact on deep learning.

At the very founding of our iWizards student tech team group, our consultant, Lucy Gray, arranged Google Hangouts with other groups, such as the Tech Sherpas of Central Maine. More recently, we experienced a fun collaboration with the iWarriors of Birmingham Brother Rice. Together tech team members visited the ultra-techie-cool Data Center of Rock Financial in Detroit. This was a terrific learning experience about technology , engineering, and careers.

In this spirit of collaboration the iWizards are now trying to connect globally with other student tech teams. We have established a hub where teams can gather virtually and share. Even though it is only under construction, I invite you to see it (and promote it on social media).  http://techteamhub.weebly.com/


Mercy also helps its staff learn by connectivity. Each year we host an ed tech conference for 350 attendees at cost. We invite the best ed tech practitioners in Michigan to present o stimulating sessions. This year’s, Februarly 24,  topics will include coding, 3D Printing, digital environmentalism, formative assessment, social media, and much, much more. Check out  and  follow the2017 Mercy Tech Talk for K-12 Educators #mhtt17  http://techtalkmercy.weebly.com/

screen-shot-2016-09-25-at-7-11-01-pmMy presentation proposal to tech talk also involves connected learning. It showcases my iTunes U collection of the best best digital practices of school administrators around the world. http://tinyurl.com/loe7z9b. Contacting administrators in New Zeeland, Ireland, Singapore, British Columbia, and throughout the 50 States has taught me more that any source of PD that I could imagine. As learners we are blessed to live in these times if we know how to leverage these powerful tools.

— Larry Baker, Associate/Operations andproud ’09 Apple Distinguished Educator. @labcbaker




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iOS 10

ios-10-1It’s that time of year again when Apple releases it’s next big iOS update and this year is no different with the release today of iOS 10. For those of you who may not already know, iOS is the operating system Apple uses on most of it’s mobile devices such as iPads and iPhones.

Below is a link to Apple’s website that explains some of the cool new features:


The Mercy IT Dept. highly recommends that you upgrade to iOS 10 at some point within the first few weeks of it’s release. You will need around 1.3 GB of free space on your device in order to download and apply the update. To check how much free space you have go to Settings, About, and look at the available amount of space. If you do not have enough free space usually cleaning up your camera roll is the best place to start.

Starting today you will start to receive notification of iOS 10’s availability through your Settings app. When you choose to do the update it should be done at home and not here at school. There are two reason for this. The upgrade could take as long as one hour depending on your connection speed and your iPad will be unusable during the upgrade. Also, we will be limiting the internet bandwidth allowed so that any users attempting to update their iPads on the school network will find it very slow. This is to prevent the update from bogging down the school’s internet connection during the first few days of it’s release. Before you initiate the upgrade you should have a recent iCloud backup or you should backup your iPad to a Mac or PC using iTunes. If you have any other questions or if you run into any issues please feel free to drop by or contact the IT Office.

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Joining the iWizards

New students are immediately eligible to join a dynamic tech club at Mercy self-named the “iWizards.” The iWizards came into existence five years ago when the school adopted the iPad. They have been active leaders, teachers and learners in technology ever since.

Ninth graders were introduced to our iWizards at the iPad Orientation. The iWizards completely created the curriculum for the program and taught it.


iWizards conduct the iPad Orientation for new students, August 18, 2016

The iWizards are involved in a number of activities. They create tutorials, conduct a workshop for grade school students and troubleshoot technology in classrooms through a new badging program.


iWizards who receive special training from the I.T. Department are “badged” as classroom tech troubleshooters.

The iWizards also collaborate with other tech teams. They have Skyped with the Tech Sherpas of Central Maine and last spring attended a field trip to the Rock Financial Data Center with the Brother Rice iWarriors. They currently building a collaborative web site for schools around the world.

On August 31, 2016 all students will be sent an application for the iWizards and we hope lots of ninth graders will apply.  Another application opportunity will occur next semester.


April, 20167 field trip with Brother Rice tech team.

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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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