Brooke Mulartrick: Technology Integration Specialist

Who are you and what do you do?

photo (20)My name is Brooke Mulartrick and I am a technology integration specialist in the Methacton School District, located in the suburbs of Philadelphia.  I serve five K-4 buildings and support administrators, teachers and students in their quest to use technology in efficient and creative ways. I used to think my life was tough, traveling to five buildings, but then I met someone who traveled to 17 buildings.  I enjoy helping others expand their horizons when it comes to integrating technology in the classroom.  I taught transitional first grade for four years prior to moving into my current role, and yes, I miss having my own class!  Last year, I earned my Certificate in Supervision and Administration from Johns Hopkins University.

What hardware are you using?

At school, I use a district-issued Dell laptop.  At home, I use my husband’s hand-me-down Macbook.  Having used PCs my whole life, I’m more comfortable navigating on my PC, but I like the speed and easy maneuverability of my Macbook.  

At school, the big hardware investment has been SMARTBoards.  We’ve been purchasing them for years, but none were mounted up until last year.  I find mobile SMARTBoards to be very un-user friendly with the constant reorienting and the safety hazard of the leg stand and wires!  I used to spend a lot of time helping teachers set up their classrooms in the most efficient way to allow for a safe wire arrangement and a clean path to the board.

We also have a lot of IPEVO document cameras in the district.  I don’t know why anyone would want to spend hundreds, even thousands of dollars, on a document camera.  The IPEVO cameras meet our needs and the company is great to work with.  $69 and free shipping?  Yes, please!

Each elementary classroom has 4-5 desktop PCs.  Each building also has a stationary computer lab (Dell desktops) in addition to a mobile lab (Dell laptops).  We have a refresh cycle coming up and I’m hoping we can do some type of pilot to let teachers decide if the mobile laptop lab should be replaced with newer laptops or other devices such as tablets or netbooks.  Currently, we have 7 iPads in one elementary library.  Some other iPads are scattered throughout the special education department.  I have a district-issued iPad* so I can support the use of iPads in the classroom.  

*When I go to workshops or conferences, I take my Dexim iPad case with keyboardso I can type more efficiently.  This keyboard is almost full size with spring keys and I barely make any typing errors!

And what software?

Software/applications that I use for personal productivity:

  • Evernote for note-taking and task-organization.  
  • Dropbox for sharing documents between my work and personal laptops
  • Tweetdeck for viewing chats on Twitter (I use Hootsuite on my iPad because Tweetdeck crashes for me)
  • Google Voice for distributing my mobile number in my work email signature
  • Diigo for bookmarking favorite sites
  • Zite for catching up on news from my PLN

Software/applications that I’m using with teachers and students:

  • Google Earth (in 3rd grade, we’ve used it for cardinal/intermediate directions and evaluating changes over time in a suburban community)
  • Kidblog (using with 3rd and 4th grade students)
  • Little Bird Tales (using with 2nd grade students for digital storytelling)
  • Student Wiki – I created a wiki for our elementary students to use as a resource for quicklinks, skill practice and creation tools.  This wiki is a shortcut icon on every computer in the elementary buildings.
  • Teacher Technology Integration Wiki – I created a wiki for district staff to use as a resource for quicklinks, help guides and grade-level collaboration.  The help guides under “Technology Resources” are the most referenced pages on the site.

What would your dream set up be?

I would love it if all our systems could integrate with Active Directory so teachers and students would only have to remember one password. Wouldn’t that be nice?  It wouldn’t prepare kids for the real world where they have to remember 10,000 passwords, but maybe they won’t have to remember that many by the time they graduate.  

On the hardware side, I’d love to see a mobile device in the hands of every child and teacher.  I see these devices being used in the following ways:

  • As a student response system (with the use of an app like Socrative) to give teachers real-time data for formative assessments
  • As a tool for skill practice
  • As a tool that encourages the application of higher-order thinking skills through the use of various creation apps (i.e. PuppetPals)
  • As a tool that speeds up the process of receiving feedback on assignments
  • As a tool that promotes collaboration among students and teachers
  • As a tool that simplifies the process of giving parents a glimpse of what’s going on in the classroom (i.e. Instagram or the use of a blogging tool)

The list can go on, but I’ll wait for the day when my dream comes true.

Holly Clark: Assistant Principal & Technology Change Agent

Who are you and what do you do?

I am Holly Clark, Assistant Principal, Technology Lead and Ga-Ga Pit newbie from San Diego, California. This is my first year as an administrator and was lured to the school by a one to one iPad pilot.  Before admin, I was in the classroom teaching social studies, English and technology to middle school geniuses.  I have been incorporating tech into my curriculum since 1996, so I have done it all! I was a technology curriculum specialist in River Forest, IL before heading to the beach.  I am a National Board Certified Teacher and hold an MA in Ed Tech from Columbia University.  You can connect with me on Twitter and read my blog here.

What hardware are you using?

Wow – right now I am using a MacBook Pro and iPad only.  I always say once you go Mac, you’ll never go back! My new school has very limited and outdated technology resources – outside of a Smartboard for every class -which means I am positioned to make big changes at my school, which is truly exciting.  As the Technology Curriculum Specialist in River Forest, Il I worked only with Macs.  In my San Diego classroom, I worked exclusively with the Windows platform.  I could write a book about how each impacts education.  Thankfully, Google Apps for Education is helping to make it easy to teach between both platforms and Cloud Technology makes expensive programs a thing of the past.

And what software?

Since the concentration is on iPads, I am using a plethora of apps.  I am having the most impact on learning using tools like Evernote, Idea Sketch, Educreations and Edmodo.  However, I am really intrigued by a new online research tool called Surfmark.  I have worked with Photoshop, Premiere, After-effects, Flash, Office Suite, Keynote, Final Cut Pro…the usual suspects.  Online tools I love include Google Apps for Education, Edmodo, Quizlet, Diigo, Twitter and Educlipper.  My personal favorite is Flipboard! I could not live without it.

What would your dream set up be?

My dream setup would be a combo of mostly Apple Products and Chromebooks.  I truly believe in my heart that students need to produce and publish work and it is just easier on a Mac.  I would also like a professional level film studio and Skype equipped stand alone classroom like one I had at Harvard.  There each seat had a microphone and collaboration device which faced a large screen for Skyping.  I want my students to become global learners and contributors.

Jaymes Dec: Innovation Specialist

Who are you and what do you do?

My name is Jaymes Dec and I am a technology integrator and teacher at the Marymount School of New York. My official title is Innovation Specialist. I started a digital fabrication lab (Fab Lab) at the school in September 2011 and primarily teach 4th through 8th grade technology in that lab. My role at Marymount is to experiment with using different and innovative technological tools in the classroom. I test them with students, and if they work out, I’ll try to help other teachers find ways to integrate those tools into their classes. I am also a partner in, a technology education cooperative. We are a small group of people in New York City that share a common goal to teach people how to use technology as a creative medium. To that end, we teach workshops and classes to children and adults all over NY, NJ, and CT. I tweet about technology and education: @jaymesdec

What hardware are you using?

My favorite piece of hardware is the Arduino microcontroller, a small open-source computer that you can use to prototype any digital invention that you can dream up. Just connect the appropriate inputs and outputs, and then program it to act accordingly. It’s so simple to make novel and complex human-computer interactions: like a device to tell you when your plants need watering or a basketball hoop that automatically keeps score. 

The Arduino is actually the “brains” inside my second favorite piece of hardware, the MakerBot 3D Printer. Marymount has several Thing-o-matics. They came as kits that I put together with my students. 

The work horse of the lab is our lab is our 40 Watt 24″x18″ Epilog Helix laser cutter. Everyday we use it to cut out or engrave acrylic, cardboard, wood, or paper.

What about software?

For software, I like programming in Processing, an open-source language built on Java. It’s great for artists, hobbyists, and students. Of course Arduino has their own programming environment, but it is modeled on Processing. Arduino and Processing play very well with each other. For any other programming (mostly Ruby), I use TextMate. For 3D design I really like Rhino and OpenSCAD, but I teach with and I find it to be an excellent web application. I love Twitter as a content curation and discovery tool. I use Getpocket to save interesting looking content from Twitter for later browsing. I use Evernote a lot for collecting notes and other bits of information and Rememberthemilk for task management. 

What would your dream set up be?

I’ve pretty much got my dream set up in the Marymount Fab Lab. The only changes I’d like to make are to put more of our furniture and equipment on wheels so that we could reconfigure the space for various tasks and to have drop down retractable power cords for better cord management

Dan Callahan: Instructional Technology Specialist & Edcamper

Who are you and what do you do?

I’m Dan Callahan, an Instructional Technology Specialist at Pine Glen Elementary School in Burlington, MA. I’m also the Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Edcamp Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to spreading and supporting free, participant-driven professional development for teachers. I tweet as @dancallahan and I blog at Remix Teaching.

What hardware are you using?

I’m pretty much exclusively Apple hardware these days, although I certainly didn’t intend to turn out that way. I was a pretty hardcore PC guy, but when Apple released the Intel-based polycarbonate MacBooks, I decided to give it a shot, since I’d always be able to run Windows if I didn’t like it. That was six years ago, and I haven’t looked back since. I have a work-supplied MacBook Pro to get stuff done there, and at home I have a 5 year old iMac that I’m hoping to upgrade soon. Between both, I have my iPhone 4S (64GB, black) and 3rd-generation iPad (32GB, black). I also run a computer lab with several N-computing setups, and my school currently has 60 iPad 2s that I use with my students.

And what software?

When the speaker before me at a conference left his coffee on the table and it spilled into the back of my MacBook Pro, I was really glad that I’d switched almost completely over to cloud-based software. Thanks to the Mac App Store, I was able to redeploy almost all of my software very quickly. Thanks to Evernote, DropBox, and Google Drive, I had all of my must-have files back after a quick download. Across all my devices, I use Reeder to keep up with my RSS feeds and Echofon to keep up with Twitter. Skitch is an essential screenshot annotation tool for me when I need to explain how to fix an issue to a teacher. For photo management I use iPhoto, but I do serious editing work in Adobe Lightroom. For video editing I use iMovie, but I’m planning on dabbling in Final Cut Pro X this summer. If I need to make a document or presentation that looks nicer than what Google Docs can handle, I revert to Pages and Keynote. Finally, one of my most essential apps is Sparrow, which I use for all of my email on the Mac.
On the iPad, some favorite apps for workflow include GoodReader for PDF annotation, and Agenda for calendar management. I’m really enjoying using Paper these days for note-taking. With the kids, I love Toontastic, Book Creator, iMovie, and Drawing Pad.

What would your dream set up be?

Those new MacBook Pros with Retina screen look incredible. I’d want one of those plus an additional 27” Thunderbolt display at home and at work. I’d gladly carry the machine between the two locations. I’d also upgrade my iPad to 64gb with 4G service.

Danielle Hartman: English, Literacy & Technology Teacher

Who are you, and what do you do?

My name is Danielle Hartman and I am an English/Literacy Specialist/ Technology Integration teacher. You can visit my website and/or follow me on Twitter.

What hardware are you using?

I use a Macbook Pro for personal and educational uses.  At work, we predominantly  use the Macbook carts and the iPad carts.  Occasionally, we will use the PC lab.

And what software?

I have to say, the most versatile and useful software we use is iMovie.  I have found so many uses for it.  We use it for full movie projects, but we also use it for quick check for learnings. I often have the students create (either on the macs or the iPads) a talk show style movie just to explain what they have learned.  I also use some Web 2.0 tools pretty consistently.  For example, I use at least twice monthly for back channels.  Sometimes we have these online discussions with another class in the school, other times we will chat with our ePals.  ePals is another tool I use regularly.  We will often have multiple global collaborations at the same time.  This past semester, we worked with classes from Spain, Chile, and Brazil.  Love it!

The last tool that I use consistently is Pixton.  I love Pixton for short projects.  It is easy to use and the kids love it.  I don’t use it to have students recreate a book we read, rather, I use it to have my students take an informational reading and turn it into a comic.  This is actually a fairly rigorous project.  They have to read and digest a complete article and then teach it to others in very few words.  Not as easy as it seems.  Here is some of my student’s work:

What would be your dream set up?

I am so fortunate that our school is as tech savvy as it is (hence the name Burlington County Institute of Technology). I think if it was to be even better, I would either go 1-1 with the iPads or have my own Mac lab in my room.  I believe we are replacing our iMacs in Ad Art this year, so I might just get my wish!  I would also like an overhead that worked with Apple TV so that I could easily broadcast my iPad.