Monday, July 25, 2016

EQ Time

Are you looking for a way to get EQ time before school starts?  If so, then look no further.  We have several sessions coming up the week of August 8th.  Log in to Eduphoria and click the Technology Category icon from the front page to get registered for these courses.  Courses that still have space available are listed below:

August 9th:
Introduction to Canvas (both a morning and afternoon session)

August 10th:
Introduction to Canvas (both a morning and afternoon session)

August 11th:
Building in Canvas (both a morning and afternoon session)

August 12th:
Nearpod (both a morning and afternoon session)

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Book Your Appointment!

Scroll down to see available time slots.  Use the green arrow at the top to view other weeks.  All appointments will take place at the new Genius Bar on the first floor of the Annex. Address: 10310 Old Denton Road, Fort Worth, Texas 76244.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Thoughts of a Keller ISD Genius

What does it mean to be a Keller ISD Genius? It means you are not just a student, but also a teacher. It is not only a great honor to have that tittle, but it is pretty extraordinary to see both sides of education as the student and the teacher.

It also gives students a whole new take on how we feel about teachers and how hard teaching is. The employees at the Genius Bar now have a better respect towards our staff -- not that we didn’t have respect for them before!

Personally, I now see my teachers in a different light… they are now my students. I am someone who knows a lot about computers. Having grown up around them, technology is very easy for me to understand. For some of our teachers, a computer wasn’t a common tool when they were my age. So, when we sit down with them, some teachers don’t understand how some features work. That is when I do my best to try and help them understand. It may take a while, but I love teaching them. It’s is a great feeling to know I have taught them a concept to help them further their career. This must be why teachers love to educate students. My mom, who has been a life-long educator, has always talked about the light bulb moment. Now, I understand and appreciate the concept.

As a KISD Genius, I had the opportunity to attend and present at the ISTE (International Society of Technology in Education) conference in Denver. The ISTE exhibit hall was one of the most amazing things I have ever seen. It was huge with thousands of booths. But it wasn’t only the size of the convention that amazed me; it was what was at the booths themselves. Sure, not all of the booths had super cool products in them, but every booth I saw could and will benefit teaching through technology. It really is such a shame that every teacher in Keller ISD could not go. I think if every teacher could attend they would then have a better respect and knowledge of classroom technology. Some of the themes I noticed were virtual reality, three dimensional printing, and coding. VR at ISTE was all over the place. It’s pretty amazing to me to see VR being looked at through a technology standpoint considering it has only become popular within the last two years, and becoming more prevalent within the past nine months. It’s very innovative and bold to try and implement a technology originally designed for video games. I know that is how I really want to learn.

Coding was everywhere. If you think about it, kids like my 6-year-old cousin, Peyton, should be learning to code in first grade just like she is learning to read. I will start my senior year at New Directions High School this fall. I am ending my time in public education, however there are millions of new students that will just be beginning their time in K-12. I know that coding will be a very important part of all of their futures.

Presenting to educators from all over the globe at ISTE was amazing. There really is no other way to put it. I met a man who had a program for his district in Germany similar to the Genius Bar. We told him how we did everything, and he was very impressed. His school was much smaller than Keller ISD. I also met another man from Taiwan who coded Microsoft PowerPoint Online; he was amazed that students were teaching teachers how to use some of the programs he help to code, like Outlook. Also, everyone I talked to that works in a school district said that they wish they had a program like the Keller ISD Genius Bar. They applauded us for the great work that we are doing.

Being a Keller ISD Genius has really changed my perspective on teaching, learning and technology. I really appreciate Keller ISD believing in ME and trusting ME to be a representative of such an amazing place to learn. 

Landry Hart
Keller ISD Genius
Senior New Directions High School 

Monday, July 11, 2016

My Thoughts on Being a KISD Genius

What’s the first thing you think of when you hear the word Genius? Most people probably think of someone super smart like Sheldon from the Big Bang Theory. While that may be somewhat true, I don’t think you have to be the smartest person ever to be a genius. Being a Genius isn’t about knowing the answer every time. A genius isn’t afraid to ask for help and learn from their mistakes. Here at the Genius Bar, there are times when we students don’t know the answer and we may have to ask someone from technology or professional development for help. Teachers always joke, well if you’re a genius then you must know all the answers. While most times we might laugh and play along, the truth is we don’t always know the answer, but we are willing to ask and learn. Being a true Genius is an ongoing learning process, not an inherited trait. Like Dr. Seuss once said, “The more you learn, the more places you’ll go.”

In June, three of us Geniuses traveled to Denver and presented the Keller ISD Genius Bar at a conference with over 19,000 attendees.  Overall teachers were so excited to see a successful model of student lead technology help. For me it was fun to see the excitement on people’s faces when they heard our story. I didn’t realize how big of a deal the Genius Bar truly is. We had teachers from all across the U.S. and even Europe and Taiwan asking us how we did it and wanted information on how they could start one in their school district. Microsoft even sent some techs over to speak to us and get feedback from us, three teenagers, on how the Windows 10 roll-out was going in Keller ISD! I didn’t truly realize the impact us ten Genius Bar student workers had until after we presented at ISTE. As students we are now teaching those who taught us everything we know.

If you’ve never been to an ISTE convention, you’re missing out! There is a 500,000 square foot Exhibit Hall filled from door to door with vendors giving demonstrations, handing out freebies and trying to sell you “the next greatest thing.” It’s a little overwhelming when you first walk into the hall.  People are everywhere you look and exhibitors are trying to lure you into seeing what they have to offer. It’s definitely a technology lovers paradise. I saw so many incredible things while in Denver, but the thing that stood out to me the most was Coding. I can’t tell you how many vendors had coding activities for the classroom. We saw one vendor who had a robot, and you use markers to create a code for the robot to follow. For instance when the robot went over a red line, the robot would start going in reverse, when it hit the blue line, it would spin in a circle. Google had just announced a new coding project for classroom use and it worked similar to a puzzle, allowing students to put together codes. As a college student, I had to learn coding in one of my college classes. I loved seeing how much emphasis ISTE put on coding in the classroom. I know I wish I had learned some of it before I had to code an entire website for my final grade in a college course. Coding wasn’t the only emphasis. I also saw hands on learning activities that could be very useful in the classroom. Microsoft for instance had a table where I participated in a Salad Spinner race. I had to keep my salad spinner moving to create energy. Once I was finished they showed me a spreadsheet with energy I had created. After I walked away from the booth I thought, man when I was younger I would have much rather learned about energy that way instead of reading a text book. Another cool hands on learning experience was using the Google Cardboard. It was sort of like cardboard binoculars with an iPhone inside and headphones attached, and when I put the cardboard up to my eyes, I was suddenly on a field trip…to the moon. I even had a tour guide telling me all about the different craters, when it was explored and what the surface of the moon was like. Since teachers can’t actually take us on a field trip to the moon or the ocean, the cardboard is the next best way to teach us about it. I was in shock with how realistic it seemed given that I was looking through a piece of cardboard. Overall my experience at ISTE was unforgettable, I saw endless uses for technology in the classroom. After going to ISTE, I’m so jealous that I’m in college now and won’t get to use all of this incredible technology during school. ISTE was an experience like no other and I wish all of our teachers could go and see just what the potential for student learning could be. 

Taylor Shaw
CHS Class of 2015
Lead KISD Genius