Tech Bytes

Carthage ISD Technology Department January 2015

New Year, New You!

The Holiday's are over and now people are making New Year's resolutions or setting goals for personal improvement throughout the upcoming year.

Why not TAKE CHARGE of your own learning in the same way that you make New Year's resolutions to lose weight, save money, etc.? Our administrators work hard to provide professional development that is relative to the campus needs and district goals, but maybe you are interested in other areas. You can be in charge of your own learning by creating your own 24/7 PLN, Professional Learning Network. You pick WHAT you want to learn about and WHEN you want to learn about it.

Twitter is one of the best resources for a PLN. I have to admit, I tried Twitter three times over a two-year period before I finally got what the fuss was all about. But, now I really enjoy it. It's not just another FaceBook.

In my opinion, the key to Twitter is the #hashtag. Hashtags are the topics or conversations that you want to follow, #edtech, #txed, #hourofcode, etc. They even have specific days/times that they meet to chat live and you can interact with questions/answers to a specific topic. But, if you are busy during the scheduled time, you can always read the conversation at a time that is convenient for you. Most of the time, these people will post links to important articles or ideas for your classroom.

If you are new to Twitter and you don't feel comfortable adding to the conversation, it is perfectly fine to "lurk and learn". I still do this all the time. You don't even have to login to follow conversations.

Twitter is just one way to learn about things that interest you. Give it a try. And, as always, if you need help, just call me or email.

Follow these professionals on Twitter

Another important part of Twitter is who you follow. Below is a list of some great people that have lots of ideas about education and technology.

Kasey Bell @ShakeUpLearning--She is a Google Certified Teacher, EdCamp organizer, and blogger. She also has her own website,

Jerry Blumengarten @cybraryman1--He is a connected eduator, speaker, and writer. He is the moderator for #edchat.

Michelle Cooper @_MichelleCooper--She is the Henderson MS Librarian and Co-Founder of #TXLChat as well as a TL News Night Anchor and #Symchat moderator.

Lisa Johnson @TechChef4u--Currently works for Eanes ISD and has her own website and app, TechChef4u.

Shannon Miller @shannonmmiller--A teacher and librarian and contributes to TL Virtual Café and TL News Nights.

Todd Nesloney @TechNinjaTodd--Principal at Navasota Intermediate School and part of @The3TechNinjas.

Amber Teamann @8Amber8--Currently an Assistant Principal and organizer of #edcampDallas.

Rachelle Wooten @rwootenits-- She works as an Educational Technology Specialist around the Houston area.

TCEA--Don't forget to follow TCEA @TCEA

Schedule for Twitter Chats

Sunday night

#1stchat--Held at 7 pm for First Grade Teachers

#txeduchat--Held at 8 pm for chats about Texas Education

Monday night

  • #4thchat -Held for fourth grade teachers starting at 7 pm
  • #engchat - English teachers can share ideas from 7-8 pm

    #sschat - Join this group of social studies teachers from 7- 8 pm

  • #edtechchat - Held from 8-9 pm and focusing on educational technology
  • #kinderchat - Early childhood educators chat at 8 pm

  • #tlap - Inspired by the book Teach Like a Pirate, this chat attracts creative educators who want to improve their professional practice. It happens at 9 pm.

  • Tuesday

  • #edchat - Held 11 am-noon and 6-7 pm
  • #5thchat--For fifth grade teachers starting at 7 pm
  • #txlchat - For Texas Librarians each 2nd and 4th Tuesday of the month at 8 pm


    #ipadchat--Held at noon to talk about iPads in the classroom

    #specialedchat-- For special ed teachers starting at 3 pm

    #web20tools-- Held at 5 pm to learn and talk about Web 2.0 tools

    #digcit--Meet the 2nd and 4th Wednesday of the month at 6 pm

    #ntchat--New teachers meet at 7 pm

    The Twitter 21-Day Challenge by Carl Hooker

    Carl Hooker, @mrhooker, is the Director of Instructional Technology at Eanes ISD. He is also the founder of iPadpalooza, "a cultural event showcasing the use of iPads in education. I have linked his The 21-Day #TwitterGuide4Beginners Challenge. I hope this will have you hooked the FIRST time you try Twitter. Try out his challenge and if you need help, I will be happy to come by and visit with you on your conference period.

    Message from the Director

    Happy New Year, CISD! I hope you had a relaxing break and are now back in full swing.

    I know during the month of January, teachers will be putting together proposals for Education Foundation grants. Please email me if you need quotes for anything in the area of technology. Also, it is very important that we check tech specifications for anything new you want to add to your classrooms. We have had grants in the past that were approved, ordered, and then not usable because they did not check to see if it would work in an educational setting. The earlier you let me know, the faster I can respond. It makes it difficult when everyone waits until the deadline day to get the information needed for the grant.

    We have been busy in the Technology Dept. Before the Christmas break, we were busy with our normal day-to-day duties in addition to lots of choir set-ups all around town at local banks and nursing homes as well as concerts and activities at night. But, we made it!

    We also filed for our yearly E-Rate proposals. This year's push nation-wide is upgrading internet access in schools with wireless access being one of the priorities. Our district installed wireless access for the first time about 5 years ago. Technology has changed so much in this amount of time and our district invested in more devices that would use this capability. Also, our campuses have loosened the rules about students and their personal devices being available to use in class. Our teachers have also learned to use video in the classroom with Discovery Education and YouTube. All of these factors have created a need for a wireless upgrade. We began the upgrade this past summer with the installation of a few new wireless points that would allow more devices to connect at one time. We hope this E-Rate proposal will be approved allowing our district to continue to upgrade at a discounted rate. Keep your fingers crossed!

    We are also in the process of learning everything there is to know about Google Apps for Education and the new Google Classroom that is now available. Just this month, Google is offering several new technologies to schools for FREE, such as unlimited email, unlimited cloud storage, etc. We are in the process of learning how to make this available to our teachers and students for the upcoming school year.

    Finally, I have been thinking about an idea for a while now of creating a Tech Academy for our district. Basically, I would need up to 5 teachers to volunteer from each campus. We would meet after school and learn about tech tools that would be helpful in the classroom. We would also discuss needs/wants/goals for your classrooms in order to make our students 21st Century ready when they graduate from high school and go on to college or the workplace. As a Tech Academy member, you would naturally become a tech leader on your campus. This would not be a paid position, but a volunteer that would become a natural leader on the campus in the area of technology. I am looking for those that are "Gung Ho" about teaching and learning new things. As others see you doing great things with your students, it is my hope that others would want to join a future Tech Academy. What do you think? I would love your input.

    I hope these monthly Tech Bytes give you at least something to think about and you have been able to try something new that has benefited you as a teacher or your students. I am available to visit during your conference period if you need me.

    Have a great 2015!


    Annette Johnson