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04 Sep 2014
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I Came for the WHY… I Stayed for the WHO!

A chat with one of our new Ed Techs prompted me to reflect on my last two years with Eanes ISD. And that led me to resurrect an unpublished post I drafted on the plane a few weeks ago…

While preparing for last month’s presentation “AWESOME ePortfolios” at Ed Tech Teacher’s Summit in Chicago, I found myself listening to Simon Sinek’s “Golden Circle” Ted Talk and reading Austin Kleon’s “Show Your Work”.

Start with the WHY

Simon’s states, “People don’t buy WHAT you do… they buy WHY you do it and that WHAT you do should prove WHAT you believe.”

ePortfolios are AWESome_ETT.003

Discovering the Golden Circle

His Golden Circle centers with a “Why”. The “How” and “What” must then revolve around the “Why”.

What is the WHY?


Applying his tenets and words of wisdom to my own sessions, I couldn’t help but flip the frame of reference on myself.

As I wind down from a very eventFULL summer and become entrenched in my third year as an Educational Technologist for Eanes ISD, I found myself reflecting on my decision to pick up my family and move to Austin to be part of what I very much now feel is my family and by far the best job on earth.

My First Year at Eanes ISD

At my previous job, I knew in my heart that personalized learning was here to stay and that a 1:1 with mobile devices would facilitate that ideal. But what really made me take the Eanes leap… was a very distinct feeling that Eanes special sauce was passion and a clear and compelling vision.

I Came for the WHY

During an inspiring site visit to WHS, I discovered that Eanes ISD didn’t start with the WHAT on a whim: Let’s buy a bunch of devices. They started with the WHY (Learning and Engaging through Access and Personalization) and then moved towards the decision to initiate an iPad pilot. They didn’t say let’s buy this cool mobile furniture… they asked how do we support collaboration and creativity and then designed flexible learning environments to facilitate that. As I dive in to year 3, I have to say their WHY is always at the forefront of their decision-making and I am overjoyed that the 3 C’s as well as social and emotional intelligence will be threaded through instruction as we support the whole child.

After a very reaffirming convocation… I ventured to add a layer to Simon’s Golden Circle… the Who…



I Stay for the WHO

But truly beyond the WHY…. is now the WHO, the people that get the vision and work tirelessly to support it and integrate the devices to transform and redefine the classroom. I feel very blessed to be in a place that supports big ideas, pushing the boundaries, and people that want to challenge the status quo. We hire the WHO to support the WHY.

Our amazing teacher of the year, Norm Morgan, devotes himself to our robotics program at the HS and gave an amazing speech… reminding us all that what students learn in the classroom has the impact to change the world.


While we lost two members of our iVengers team this year, we gained two new members. One of which created by far my favorite interview video of all time:

These are just a few of the people (the WHO) that truly support our WHY.

“So as we embark on the 2014-2015 academic year… I ask you to reflect on your WHY… and the HOW, WHAT, and even the WHO that support that vision.” – Lisa Johnson

As you begin to choose tools and apps, plan student projects, attend conferences, embark on new initiatives, and do what you do best… consider your WHY when making these HOW and WHAT decisions.

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Home Button StudsUpdated Stock of Chic Geek iJewelry on etsy!

1,800+ iPad Lessons Pinned HERE!

Contact TechChef4u to schedule Spring and Summer PD and Workshops:

“Differentiated iClassroom”  iTunes U course is now available!!!

02 Apr 2013
Comments: 2

The 360 iClassroom

It has been quite a year rolling out iPads to K-12. Today we handed out the last iPad to the last student. We are officially K-12 1:1 iPad! Yes, it was somewhat tempting (as it is April Fool’s Day) and would have been slightly amusing to tell the last student that we miscalculated and we had run out of iPads. However, we were fully stocked and prepared. Many of the teachers were so excited that the 6th grade students finally were mobily equipped that they have already began planning lessons that incorporate the iPad to enhance their instruction.

I will say it would not be effective or successful if it weren’t for the 360 model of supporting all angles of the initiative… from district and admin decisions to student and teacher training and even parent meetings ranging from disseminating information to providing tips and tricks to manage the devices at home.

A few earlier posts touched on these resources:

The video below highlights yet another resource provided for parents. The Digital Parent Learning Series. The third installment in the series focuses on “Internet Safety and Cyber-bullying” but also covered some wonderful digital wellness tips ranging from child-friendly browsers and filters, a discussion on why apps like snapchat may not be as safe as they claim, to suggesting opportunities for reverse mentoring with technology.

The speaker for the night, Reggie Cajayon (Internet Safety and Cyberbullying Prevention Coordinator for Texas State University), had everyone app-solutely captivated. While only had about 50 parents in attendance, twice as many absorbed the night’s info meeting from home as the event was live-streamed and then archived for later accessibility.

Though an initiative of this caliber will always encounter bumps and dips along the way as we trail blaze the iFrontier, I feel fairly confident that the resources that the district continually provides to support all angles of the implementation will definitely clear a path for student success. And truly… isn’t that what we are all here for?

One of our wonderful iVengers, Marianna Husain was kind enough to compile a Listly list of some of the resources shared from the night’s presentation:



San Antonio Area: If you are in the San Antonio area, I will be presenting at Tech Fiesta April 18th and 19th. Check out the program!

Atlanta Area: If you are in the Atlanta area, I will be presenting at iPad Summit April 11th and 12th.

Interactive TechChef4u Thinglink

830+ iPad Lessons Pinned HERE!

Contact TechChef4u to schedule Summer and Fall PD and Workshops:

iPadpalooza 2013  Almost Sold Out!!

HCMS Site Visit May 8th – Now Available!

“Student-Created Books in the iClassroom” iTunes U course is now available!!!


25 Mar 2013
Comments: 0


Last night was a virtual reunion of sorts dating back to the anniversary of our first congregation – the Mobile Learning 2012 conference. Alison Anderson (@tedrosececi), Jon Samuelson (@ipadsammy), Eric Marcos (@mathtrain), and myself  joined up to be part of Techlandia’s Sweet 16th episode. Techlandia… you say? That sounds an awful lot like Portlandia. Well yes, the podcast did emerge from a trip to Portland and a friendship that began at Mobile Learning.

Jon and Alison co-host the Techlandia show and invited Eric and myself as guests. You can download the audio only version of last night’s show in iTunes or opt to enjoy all of our late night hijinks in the archived video stream below.

I actually want to take a few moments to discuss the power of Google Hangouts (which created the video stream above). Not only can you chat with multiple people at the same time from varying locations (skype on steroids), you can record the hangout and archive it to Youtube. I have found this tool handy on multiple occasions for my own workflow and collaboration. As Yolanda and I no longer work in the same district but occasionally still present together, we used Google Hangouts to collaborate on a Google Doc and chat virtually to check in on each other’s progress on a project.

Google Hangouts with @mrhooker

Carl Hooker (@mrhooker), my iVenger boss, actually used Google Hangouts to appear virtually to our HCMS iPad site visitors less than 12 hours after his daughter was born. Not only was he able to answer district level questions pertaining to our K-12 iPad Rollout, he actually used the screen-sharing feature in Google Hangouts to access and share his presentation and slides with the attendees. Nothing short of app-tastic!

Another article shared how classrooms are using this tool to have shared readings or events that span multiple campuses and districts. If you are interested in more info about Google Hangouts, check out 100 Best Google Hangouts tutorial videos and How to Play iTunes Audio During a Google Hangout. Did I mention you can even hangout directly from one of your iOS devices with the Google+ app.

If you are using Google Hangouts personally, professionally, or with your students, please chime in. Add your comments for how this tool can be used.


San Antonio Area: If you are in the San Antonio area, I will be presenting at Tech Fiesta April 18th and 19th. Check out the program!

Atlanta Area: If you are in the Atlanta area, I will be presenting at iPad Summit April 11th and 12th.

Interactive TechChef4u Thinglink

800+ iPad Lessons Pinned HERE!

Contact TechChef4u to schedule Spring & Summer PD and Workshops:

iPadpalooza 2013  Almost Sold Out!!

HCMS 2013 Site Visits Now Available!
Ted X Youth Austin 3/30/2012!

“Student-Created Books in the iClassroom” iTunes U course is now available!!!


21 Dec 2012
Comments: 6

My Journey to Become an iVenger…

Little did I know that my visit to Westlake HS’s iPad 1:1 initiative last spring would be the beginnings of a complete life change. For two years, I made the dreaded commute to San Antonio from New Braunfels (my husband made this commute for 5). Constantly asked by coworkers if I would ever move back to San Antonio to lessen the commute, I always replied, “We will NEVER leave New Braunfels!”

… Over my last year with NEISD (I clearly was not aware that it was my last), I communicated with Carl Hooker (#bigdeal… even collaborated to make him a B-day video below) and would run into him at various events and even co-present with Jon Samuelson at ISTE and Mobile 2012. I also had both Carl and Jon on my radio show “appy hours 4 u“.  Gotta say I drank the Eanes koolaid and fell in love. When a 1:1 job presented itself, I felt there was truly only one decision to make.


While my family dabbled in the New Braunfels/Austin commute for a a few months, it soon became apparent that our lives were no longer in New Braunfels and our house no longer felt like home. Flash forward six months… I am living and working in Austin with my family. I feel very blessed to have the app-ortunity to work with such an amazing staff at HCMS and to have joined the epic likes of the iVengers. I look forward to many more years of iTriumphs and epicocity!


WME050 - Student Created Books in the iClassroom


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Contact TechChef4u:

HCMS 2013 Site Visits Now Available!

Ted X Youth Austin 3/30/2012!

Come visit me at FETC. I will be presenting a 3 hour workshop on Monday entitled “Student Created Books in the iClassroom.”


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