Monday, December 23, 2013

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Launching new RRISD Productivity Blog - This is How We Work - Thanks

Click on the Productivity Central tab at the top of the site to check out our new RRISD Productivity Blog. We will be highlighting some of the most productive people in Round Rock ISD. The first post is below.

Mya Mercer
Mya Mercer has been the principal of Old Town Elementary since 2011. During her first year in the Principalship she attended a two-day workshop that focused on executive productivity and specifically how principals can organize themselves in a way that allows them to spend more time away from the front office. Since then she has been able to implement a system where she spends two "coaching days" each week where her teachers and parents know that if they need her she will be in classrooms coaching teachers and visiting with students. Her goal is to get to three "coaching days" a week. Read on to see how she organizes herself day-to-day as a mom, wife, and principal.

Location: Old Town Elementary

Current Gig: Principal

Current Mobile Device: Iphone

Current Personal Computer: Dell XPS Ultrabook

One word that best describes how you work: #Purposefully

What apps/software/tools can't you live without?: I don't really know how I've lived this long without google, camera, instagram, eduphoria, twitter and houzz apps, texting and my chargers for all my devices! I also really love to use Smore ( for my staff weekly newsletter and I've traded my wikispace for a page on our school's website ( where I have recently traded ordinary links for a symbaloo webmix...(Thanks Leslie:-) 

What's your workspace like?: I try to keep a neat workspace free from extraneous clutter most days! I have both a desk and conference table for office work and meetings. At least two full days out of the week, I am out and about in classrooms and common areas, so on those days "my workspace" is more mobile and adaptive.

What's your best time-saving trick/life-hack?: I tend to Google most things (information, graphics, etc...) but, I do find setting the coffee pot to "auto brew" each night for the morning to be a major time saver...that's about the only thing I can't "Google" to save time!

Besides your phone and computer, what gadget can't you live without?: Unless I absolutely had to, I would have to say I would find it very difficult to go back to my life before Ipad/tablet. This thing has every app I need/use on it: calendar, books, periodicals, Netflix, Candy Crush, Drive, Prezi, podcast subscriptions, Eduphoria etc. Yes, the same apps I could access on my phone, only much better on the eyes!

Mya's Office
What everyday thing are you better at than anyone else? What's your secret?: I would hope it's not procrastination, but some have told me that I'm really good at smiling and making cornbread Belgian waffles!

What do you listen to while you work?: This depends on the day. On "coaching days," I enjoy listening to students collaborating, sharing their thinking, and interacting with instruction in meaningful ways. On "office days," one might find me listening to parents, teachers, students or my own thoughts as I respond to a good amount of email!

What are you currently reading?: Currently, I'm reading "Who Owns the Learning" by Alan November. He speaks a lot to teaching students how to think, lead, contribute to their own learning and provide solutions to real world problems in the digital age.

Are you more of an introvert or extrovert?: I'm most certainly an introvert, but love being surrounded by positive extroverts who have a great sense of humor!
What's your sleep routine like?: I'm more of a day person. Most evenings I'm in bed by 9:30pm-ish but find myself making a "to do list" at 5:00am-ish.
Mya's Desk

Fill in the blank. I'd love to see _______ answer these same questions.: I would love to hear what Leslie Long, our superstar ITS, would have to say in response to the lifehack question!

What's the best advice you've ever received?: The best advice I have ever received is to be kinder than necessary, because you never know what difficulty, trial or tribulation a person might be going through.

Is there anything else you want to add for readers?: Life's too short to not live it fully, on purpose and with gratitude! Hope everyone's having a great year so far!

Thanks +Mya Mercer. Who in Round Rock ISD would you like to learn more about how they organize their daily lives and seem so productive? Comment below or send suggestions to Ryan Smith

Monday, December 16, 2013

Spend Some Time Swimming in the Deep End this Winter Break - The Self-Authoring Mind

Don't watch this video until at least January 1st! 

We will all rest and relax our bodies and minds during the winter break. We will want to put work behind us and not think about anything more complex than whether to rake the leaves, clean the gutters, or curl up with a book. But perhaps when there are only a few days left and we are getting ready to shake off the blasé mindset of vacation life - it will be time to return to the life of the mind. 

So don't watch this video until winter break is almost over and while it is not strictly about education, it does offer some important mental calisthenics. It will loosen up the dendrites and fire up the old synapses. After all, you don't want to get back on Jan. 6th and pull a muscle. 

Dr. Kegan will be in RRISD delivering a workshop March 29th.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

ASTD Learn Now Conference is helping us all communicate and grow our group knowledge

Surprise! Industries from every sector are working through the same growing pains as us in education in regards to adult professional development. How will we move online in a way that allows our learners to collaborate and communicate in a way they expect? How will we make it an obvious and easy extension of their daily work?

I'm spending a couple days this week with professional development supervisor-types at the ASTD Learn Now conference from companies as varied as Microsoft and Playstation, to State Farm Insurance and Campbell's Soup. They all see the potential in using social learning. Whether it's Google+, Edmodo, and Twitter for Round Rock ISD or some internal enterprise sharing platforms I learned about today from my new friends in training and development - or T&D as they like to call it - everyone is looking for their employees to talk to and learn from one another. My big take-away so far is that we have a lot to gain from working with one another.

Some great quotes from today's presenters:
"Email is where organizational knowledge goes to die." Jane Bozarth @SoMe4Trainers
 Paraphrased from @SoMe4Trainers: If you are about to send an email to 5 or more people, should it really be emailed or should it be posted for the organization to learn from it?
"Education leads to knowledge, but experience leads to belief." Julie Dirksen @useablelearning
And an overall +1, Like, Favorite or whatever social media mumbo jumbo you prefer to Chad Udell, author of Learning Everywhere for leading us through a talk on Design Thinking, Lateral Thinking in Problem Solving, the Six Thinking Hats for meeting collaboration and getting a little comfortably numb with Oblique Strategies to problem solving.

Check back here for tomorrow's learning and follow #learn13 on Twitter to comment or take part in the conversation.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Headed to the ASTD Learn Now Conference.

We talk a lot about collaboration. We expect it of our principals, teachers, ourselves, and students. But we rarely look at ways to work with other industries. We rarely look at how other industries train their employees.

They participate in professional development as well, but how does it look for a large-scale health care company? How does REI or Starbucks handle the training and development of their employees? How are companies like State Farm Insurance addressing the desire of its employees to utilize online learning solutions and the ability for its employees to personalize their learning? What systems have these companies integrated into their business model that we in education could replicate?

Luckily I will be able to spend the next two days learning with professional development supervisors from these industries and hopefully find ways that Round Rock ISD can learn from the private and non-profit sectors in the areas of training and development and specifically online learning.

Keep up with this blog or follow @rrisdpd on Twitter to share in the learning at the ASTD Learn Now conference. 

Friday, October 25, 2013

Inaugural RRISD EdCamp set for February 1st, at Walsh MS. Only 50 spots left. Sign up now!

EdCamps have been sweeping the nation over the last couple years and it's time for Round Rock ISD to jump into the fray. We will be holding our first EdCamp on Saturday, February 1st, 2014 at Walsh MS. It will be a day of participant-driven learning where the topic of the break-out sessions will be determined the morning of the event. See the video below for a better idea of the EdCamp experience and if you would like to help plan the event or facilitate a session, please fill out this form.

We are capping our first EdCamp Round Rock to 100 attendees so sign up soon if you would like to take part. Our goal is to make this type of participant-driven learning a part of our 2014 Summer Professional Development Conference as well. Round Rock ISD folks please sign up on eCampus, the number is (4458.25484). Everyone else who would like to attend, please use this form to register.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

PBL 101 with The Buck Institute Day One

Of the many insights shared today during the first day or RRISD's latest "PBL 101" three-day training from The Buck Institute, the idea that may resonate the most with attendees is that Project Based Learning (PBL) is not looking to dethrone the ARRC. Rather PBL is looking to highlight the opportunities that are already present within RRISD's aligned curriculum.

Many opportunities for collaboration across and within contents and grade levels were shared today. And one lesson learned today was that often all it takes is for a group of skilled educators to be taken away from their daily work and given the opportunity to share their skills with one another for systematic growth to occur. If you want to learn more about the work that RRISD is doing with PBL and The Buck Institute check out the video below.


Monday, September 23, 2013

Video of the Week: Analyzing Student Collaboration. Harkness Discussions

This week's video looks at student collaboration and specifically at the 4:00 mark looks at the use of the Harkness-style discussion and ways to analyze the success of those conversations. Please share your thoughts at the RRISD G+ Professional Development Community.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Making Soup with Sites, Blogs, and Social Media

We are all still learning how Google Apps for Education (GAFE) can allow us to communicate and collaborate more effectively throughout RRISD.  Below are some thoughts on why and when to use each of these distinct tools and how they work as a team. Plus a tasty ending.

Web Site (Google Site, Sharp School Site, etc.) 

  • Stable and Consistent
  • Calendar
  • Directory
Everyone needs a web site. Think of your web site as your consistent home where your students, teachers, parents, or customers can always count on getting what they need. A web site does not change much structurally on a daily basis. If you have a page on your site where you upload homework, then your students/parents need to know that they always need to look in the same spot on your site for homework.

Blog (Blogger, Edublogs, etc.) 

  • Your voice
  • Easily updated
  • Get your message across
Everyone should have a blog. Your blog is your voice and the voice of your web site. There may be stable elements around the blog, but the purpose of the blog is to give updates, explain an upcoming initiative or tool like Atomic Learning, or share celebrations. A blog can be linked from or embedded in your web site.

Social Media Platform (Google+, Twitter, etc.) 

  • Fluid Environment
  • Get people talking about your idea, assessment, or project
  • Grow your Personal Learning Network (PLN)
Everyone should learn how to incorporate social media. Social media platforms like Google+ allow those you are communicating with to communicate directly with you and each other. Don't use a Google+ Community or Twitter account as your only space to post department or campus documents, but post those documents there if you want others to be able to comment or ask questions about those documents. Social media also allows you to expand your Professional Learning Network (PLN). Click here for more information on how to use Twitter as an educator.

It's Like Making Soup

Think of these three tools as a hearty soup. Your web site is your cast-iron pot. If you don't have a pot, you might as well give up right then. But if all you have is a pot, at least you have somewhere sturdy to keep your stuff. Your blog is all the ingredients you have foraged. You chose which vegetables to pick from your garden and those carrots and beets taste pretty good on their own, but why have a pot if you are not going to bring your ingredients together. So social media is the broth. It lets the carrot talk to the beet and together they create a big bowl of nourishing goodness, mmmmmm.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

RRISD P.E. = Functional Fitness - Special Guest Post from Assistant AD Susan Nix

P.E. Job-Alike 2013



Functional Fitness has reshaped the structure of physical education in Round Rock ISD. 
For the past two years we have been slowly implementing functional movement in several PE classes across the district.  Coaches have witnessed firsthand the higher levels of confidence, the increased enthusiasm towards the new curriculum and the body transformation among the students.

Functional Fitness has created a community within the classes. Students challenge themselves to improve their previous scores while encouraging others around them.

District professional development sessions have not only taught the coaches how to properly implement the movements but have also outlined the reason behind this shift into functional movements and how to program and modify for diverse fitness levels.  And, let me not forget that the students are having FUN GETTING FIT!

I have had an outpouring of support from coaches, administrators and community members through this whole process!  We are making a difference in the health and wellness of the students in RRISD!

Talk to your campus' P.E teacher for more information about this new approach to student fitness.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Video of the Week Looks at Classroom Design

A Three-Part Video Series on Classroom Re-Design

Take a look at how this team came together to re-design a crowded classroom to make it more efficient and conducive to collaboration. Click here to read more about the project from Edutopia. Also, click here to discuss the ideas from this video at the RRISD PD G+ Community.

Take Advantage of Swivl Devices Added to the Instructional Media Department Library

The Round Rock ISD Instructional Media Department is home to a wide variety of materials to check out and enhance your instructional delivery. One of the newest devices that has been added to its library are four Swivl devices. These devices will allow a teacher to use an iPod or iPhone record their instruction. The device will record his or her voice as well as use motion-tracking software to follow the teacher around the room. Click on the video above for an example. Several teachers have already used the device to record themselves delivering a lecture prior to class and then posting it on their site to give students a preview of an upcoming lesson. 

How To Check It Out:

Since this is a professional item, it will not appear in a search done in the online e-Library catalog which is used by our RRISD students.

Principals may contact their campus library to locate this (or any other cataloged professional) item in the district online Library (Sirsi WorkFlows) catalog.
Search by title:  SWIVL, other search terms have been added: "swivel" and "motion tracking".  The campus library will then submit a request for checkout from the Media Center.


Requests may be submitted from the RRISD website through the Instructional Media Department webpage:
Please select and complete the Instructional Media Request Form
Please allow 3 work days after the request is submitted for delivery by inter-campus mail  to campus.  
Requests may be placed in advance of an upcoming event to insure that a SWIVL is available.

If there is an immediate need, a request may be submitted by phone to Marie Nowak at 464-6992.  If the item is available, it will be checked out and may be picked up that day, from the Textbook  / Instructional Media Center at 16255 Great Oaks Dr. Suite 400.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Have Questions About Technology? Atomic Learning is Your New Best Friend.

Round Rock ISD has taken a big step in integrating technology into our classrooms. Atomic Learning is a key partner in our dedication to providing the highest quality technology training resources available. In addition to being a resource for our staff and students, our subscription to Atomic Learning is available to all families of our students for use in the home.

How to Login:

Log in with the following username and password:

User Name: your network log in (e######)
Password:  your network password

Our subscription to Atomic Learning includes:

Project-based training on:
  • 21st century concepts and content
  • Tech Integration Projects: Lesson Accelerators
  • Workshops on emerging tech topics, such as blogging
  • Applying 21st century skills in the classroom
50,000 step-by-step technology tutorials
Tech Skills Assessment based on ISTE NETS-S
21st Century Skills Assessment for teachers based on ISTE NETS-T
Access for staff, students and their families 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
The log in for the RRISD parents and community is available by contacting your students' campus.

We encourage you to use it as a resource for yourself, integrate it into your classroom, and invite your students to use it from home.


Round Rock ISD Instructional Technology

Thursday, August 15, 2013

We Worked Hard This Preseason. Now It's Time to Do the Real Work. Students show up soon.

I dare you not watch this whole video. Share it with your staffs, students, friends, and anyone else. We will be posting one or two videos a month on the blog and encourage you to share your thoughts on the RRISD G+ Professional Development Community

Saturday, August 3, 2013

RRISD ITS Department Busy Planning First Google Ninja Academy November 2, 2013 at RRHS

Who in RRISD could learn to better integrate Google into their daily work? Everyone and anyone. Google Apps for Education (GAFE) has become so embedded in the way Round Rock ISD organizes and communicates, that it is important to continue to sharpen our saw in regards to how this tool-set can help us meet the needs of our students.

With that in mind the Instructional Technology Department is in the process of crafting a day of learning about all things GAFE. The department will be utilizing techniques and resources as old as email and as current as G+ Communities, Hangouts, Apps, Extensions. Sure, technology will be used. But technology is not the focus. Communication, creativity, and collaboration are the essential skills that we may find with broadening our knowledge of GAFE.

The Google Ninja Academy promises to help you learn tools that will broaden your network, make you more efficient, and most importantly raise the achievement of you students. Click the picture above or right here to sign up. 

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Check out these upcoming Coursera MOOCS

Most have heard of MOOCs or Massively Open Online Courses, but few have finished one. Coursera is offering many teacher professional development courses starting in the next few weeks. There are courses to meet the need of teachers and administrators from every level and almost every area of study. Video previews of two of the classes are below. Check them out and if interested in receiving Continuing Education credit, leave a comment on this post or email

Thursday, July 11, 2013

RRISD's own presenting at conference in Scotland

Round Rock ISD's Lyn Crowell is going to be presenting a professional development session at the British Educational Leadership, Management and Administration Society (BELMAS) conference in the coming days. The conference is held in Scotland and she will be sharing her notes from the sessions she attends as well as her thoughts from the events tied to the conference. This will be a great opportunity for a lens into what is going on with educational leadership across the pond. Please stay tuned and follow either @rrisdpd or @LynCrowell on Twitter to learn along with her.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Notes and thoughts from Day 2 of Texas ASCD Ignite13

My day two session focused on BYOD efforts in Katy and Houston ISDs. But, really it was about leading systematic change in large organizations and the presenter reminded us that everything we do is about improving instruction. It's not about 1-1 initiatives, BYOD implementation, or anything else. He also reminded us that the technology is the easy part. For the most part tech stuff works. The hard part is changing mindsets and dealing with setbacks along the way. He shared a chart that beautifully outlines the path that new initiatives take. I know it will remind me to remember the trough that comes for all initiatives around October. That is a dark month all around. FInd all that in the notes below.

Along with my notes on today's session I am also going to share a video the presenter shared with us. It personifies the way many of our students feel when we can't meet their needs. They either give up, act out, or find a way to manipulate the system. The sad thing is often we use the "right to refuse service" sign and they end up failing, in the DAEP, or worse. But the message is not a sad one. It highlights an opportunity to improve. There is no sweet sorrow, no pity with RRISD PD. We rage rage against the dying of the light. And Round Rock ISD is once again a shining city on a hill at this conference. Sometimes when we are in the moment it seems like we are the man stuck on the elevator, but we are clearly the doers not the followers. 

Tomorrow we finally get the chance to present our session. A double-header no less. Like Ernie Banks says, "Let's play two." Don't worry, we are hoping to video it so we can share it right here with all of RRISD in the next couple weeks. We will be sharing with everyone our plans to fuse Instruction, Curriculum, Professional Development, and Instructional Technology into a Bogart and Bacall type union for the ages. It will be a union that builds upon itself and helps ensure that every student will learn...whatever it takes.

The notes from today's session are linked in the second paragraph above and the video from the session is below. Enjoy...

Monday, June 17, 2013

Learn vicariously with @rrisdpd at the 2013 Texas ASCD Ignite13. First up: "Flipped - Not Just for the Classroom"

The conference is well underway and everyone is looking forward to three days of learning about blending technology into our daily teaching and learning practices. Follow here or @rrisdpd on Twitter for shared notes, resources and thoughts. RRISD 's very own Mandy Estes, Robert Autrey, Jeff Uselman, and Ryan Smith will be presenting on Wednesday about blending instruction, professional development, and instructional technology into "The Perfect Marriage." Stay tuned for a video of the presentation.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Learn Vicariously Next Week with Round Rock ISD Professional Development

Vicarious PD

A team from RRISD will be presenting at the Texas ASCD Ignite 13 conference next week and the professional development department will be Tweeting comments, pictures, and sharing notes after each session. We will also be posting a video of the RRISD presentation to this blog later in the summer. If you are on Twitter, follow @rrisdpd or this blog for access to the resources and ideas that are shared at the conference.

Want to Share Your Summer Learning?

Leave a comment below or contact Ryan Smith at

Monday, June 3, 2013

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The school year is almost over. What will you become world-class at this summer?

Check out this video from Tim Ferriss about mastering any skill. Also join the RRISD PD G+ community to discuss this video and anything else related to professional development in RRISD. Bookmark this site and follow us on Twitter @rrisdpd as we will be sharing resources and putting out interesting content all summer long. And since it is summer, we will be focusing on personal and professional development ideas and discussion.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Free ASCD Webinar with Dr. Robyn Jackson

Never Underestimate Your Teachers free Webinar 5/16 at 2:00 p.m.

Comment below if you or someone you know will take part.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Guest Post from Gifted & Advanced Academic Services

Many of you are familiar with TED Talks.  Here is an upcoming opportunity featuring some amazing speakers, but two speakers of particular interest - Sir Ken Robinson (who speaks on the need for creativity in the classroom and leadership) and Angela Duckworth (who speaks on grit and determination as essential skills in the 21st century).  Both will be concepts featured in our summer RRISD PreAP/AP Conference scheduled August 6 & 7 at SPHS.  I highly recommend you set your DVR...and register for the Conference...

TED Talks Education, hosted by John Legend, premieres May 7, 2013 at 10/9 c on PBS. Public television and TED, the non-profit organization devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading, share a deep commitment to addressing the high school dropout crisis. The TED Talks Education one-hour program brings together a diverse group of teachers and education advocates delivering short, high-impact talks on the theme of teaching and learning. 
Speakers include John Legend, Sir Ken Robinson, Dr. Angela Duckworth, Bill Gates, and more. 

Please consider tuning in. 

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Harvard Learning Lab Vicarious PD Reflection

It's hard to go wrong with a poem in a room full of academics, but a poem about public administration? Sure it was Harvard in springtime, trees blooming, minds expanding, coeds scurrying along to the next brick building - but I was skeptical that our host the last three days, Dr. Robert Kegan, could pull off the feat of inspiring us with a poem about administration. Even the word itself - "Administration" - brings to mind stereotypes of fluorescent lights, cheap suits, and TPS reports. But he looks and talks like the Harvard professor everyone idealizes and wishes they could be mentored by - so it was a mild skepticism I suppose. 

He pulled it off. Read it here. It may inspire you too, and remind us that while few students will grow up remembering their favorite central office administrator or even the value of a great principal, our work makes everything else happen, and perhaps the sacrifice in romanticism is a noble one.

The three days of learning the RRISE team experienced at the Harvard Learning Lab were highlighted with moments of complete genius and moments of what some might call, "lecturing birds how to fly." Even though a couple sessions inspired thoughts that RRISD could probably do an as good or better job of presenting the particular concept in a more practical and effective way - or perhaps I had some personal hubris at Harvard - the other four will inspire doing and thinking for time to come. 

One session by Dr. Kegan concerning why it is so hard for people to change a behavior is going to keep me up at night and I'm not sure I am even ready to talk about it yet so that will come in another post. Attendees were seen wondering the dark streets of Cambridge that night alone trying to come to grips with their new reality of unavoidable self-sabotage. Here is a video of him leading another group through the same process.

Another learning session helped us look at how to inspire urgency for change in others and then they did just that for us in an exercise where the entire group of 100 watched a video of a teacher and then we had to evaluate the teacher on a A-F schedule. The scores ranged from A+ to F, with the majority C+ or above. It was a well-known and older video, but this group of campus and district leaders were nowhere near aligned in regards to good teaching. Luckily we were more aligned as a team and agreed that none of us would want that teacher teaching in canine obedience classes, let alone public school children. My notes from that and all the sessions are below.

We finished the conference with the opportunity to get some coaching from fellow teams attending. The process, called step-back consulting, was different than any of us had experienced and could have some relevancy to collaboration between different departments or groups within RRISD as we help each other look at our problems of practice in new ways that are not clouded by our own judgments and assumptions. 

 And then they all sang me Happy Birthday, which was nice.

This fist attempt at Vicarious PD was a little clunky, but we will get the kinks out. If you would like to share your own learning in the future, please let me know.

My notes from the Learning Lab:

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

First Day at the Harvard Learning Lab: "New Tools for School Success"

One cannot help but learn on a sunny spring day on the campus of Harvard. The grass is green, the tulip trees are blooming, and clean cut spending their parent money freely. The RRISE leadership team is here attending the "New Tools for School Success" learning lab and the first day was filled with deep discussion about managing change, managing urgency and calibrating our approach to better supporting RRISE campuses. We will be sharing notes from the conference on our Twitter account @rrisdpd. Please follow and take part in this vicarious professional development opportunity. Stay tuned for updates.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

A special RRISD blog from a few years ago.

We came across a great old blog from the 2010 Superintendent's Leadership Retreat. Check it out and think about ways we can continue to think and learn together. We are a little sentimental about the "Growing Older but Not Up" post. As someone once said, "Why do we waste youth on the young?"

Monday, April 8, 2013

Are you new to MOOCs? Here is a great one to get your feet wet.

This MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) just started on April 8th and will cover topics about bridging the gap to digital learning. It looks like it is full of informative videos and not too much homework. Here we go!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

How to use Google Hangouts for Education

Using Google Hangouts for education is still in its infancy and many RRISD teachers are pushing the envelope in regards to this new technology. Here is some useful information and a space to collaborate with those around the world. Get to learn Google+. You may be able to use it with your RRISD email account in the near future.
Skype and Google Hangout in the classroom podcast

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Working on our speaking skills

A lucky group from RRISD had had the opportunity to hear from ISpeak during February. They are a local Round Rock company that works with groups and companies on customer service, public speaking and leadership.

It is not your traditional education professional development, but are skills that will help us do our jobs better.

Here is a link to some free resources on their web site:

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Updating our look

We are working on our final blog template for the Professional Development site. So pardon the dust, but thank you for visiting. Check back often for the best in RRISD Professional Development.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Could Coding be a new elective in middle school?

End your work week and head into Spring Break with a final message from the future.

SXSW Audio Podcasts

Each of the sessions and keynote talks at SXSWEdu were audio podcasted on this site. Listen while sitting on the beach over Spring Break.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

RRISD shines at SXSWEdu

The focus around the majority of the panel discussions and keynotes at SXSWEdu have evolved from anti-standard and anti-state testing to outsmarting the policy makers. This new generation that touts innovation, creativity, and the maker-movement know better than to take on the man face to face. These 20-somethings know that as much as a teacher thinks the idea of BYOD, students and teachers using social media for blending learning, or problem based learning, if their district decision makers don't also see how these innovations will benefit all students their vision will only reach individual classrooms. I am proud of them for couching their argument against excess testing in the veil of technology.

However, after spending several days here with educators and entrepreneurs of all types from around the world, I am reminded of how fortunate we are to be working in RRISD. Visiting with those from other areas, they were jealous of not just our access to cool hardware, but the flexibility we are given. I'm never going to complain about bandwidth again after hearing from so many who said their district blocks YouTube from both teachers and students. When I visited with representatives from Google about how Walsh Middle School has been piloting Google+ for collaboration and video conferencing, they were floored at our innovation and couldn't even think of other districts who were allowing teachers that access using their district Google accounts - they are going to get back to me.

My point is that we have it better than most. So what. More speed, more access, more creativity, more innovation, more flexibility, will help one more student learn - right? We are thankful for what we have, but there is always more. Is any school ever successful enough? Is anyone ever smart enough? Are we ever good enough? Sorry for the rant, I forgot to mention that also here at SXSWEdu I've spent all week being lectured to by 20-year-olds about how us "old" people could do everything better. They might have a point, but still.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Just checked in ar SXSWedu. Looks like a lot of excited educators looking at ways to change the way we embed technology into the classroom and how we change the way we provide professional development for all the adults involved.  

Tuesday, February 19, 2013


We will continue to update this space at least once a week to keep everyone up to date on professional development opportunities throughout the district. There will be a focus on enhancing efficiency and collaboration through the use of embedded technology. Check back often as we will be celebrating student and teacher achievement.