Friday, January 29, 2021

Game Design & Development- Day 1

January 29, 2021

I started my new job today. Game Design & Development teacher at William Annin Middle School and Ridge High School. I took over for my husband, Steve Isaacs, who retired from an incredible 28 year teaching career (yesterday) to be the Education Program Manager at Epic Games (yes, as in Fortnite, Unreal Engine, TwinMotion, Rocket League, Mandalorian sets).

I'm going to use this platform as a journal of my experience in this position. I am really excited to return to the district after leaving in 2015 to pursue a technology specialist position in NYC.

Teacher (knives chau) in a computer lab classroom

Monday, February 10, 2020

Miami- Where the Sun, and EdTech Shine Best! Future of Educational Technology Conference 2020

Steve and I attended our second FETC (Future of Educational Technology) last month (Jan 14-17), in gorgeous Miami, FL. The weather provided a perfect backdrop for discovering the latest and greatest in ed tech! I had the privilege of presenting at the CS Firehose on MakeCode Arcade and Creative Coding with Minecraft, and Steve and I presented on Transitioning from Block to Text Based Coding with Microsoft MakeCode. Daniel Pink's keynote was inspiring, and Leslie Fischer, Hall Davidson, Kathy Shrock, and Adam Bellow's TechShare did not disappoint. Much of the conference was dedicated to Esports, which was wonderful to finally see this become the focus for a major conference. I was so glad to see Esports arenas on the expo floor! I am really excited to see how this grows in the near future.

Loved seeing all the ways Minecraft Education Edition is being incorporated into classrooms. So proud of the work we've been doing with Insight2Execution to train teachers to use this amazing tool!

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

PDF to Word Converter

Ever come across a PDF that you need to tweak just a little bit? For me, that PDF came in the form of a cheerleading scoresheet. If you follow my tweets or are friends with me on FB, you know that we are BIG fans of competitive cheerleading. This year, Grace is cheering for the HS competition team, and I have been asked to work on tabulating score for our upcoming annual cheer competition. Our fearless lead mom (dare I say, Cheer Mom President) provided links to the score sheets that I intended to print on our hp960. Yes, we still have an hp960 in the printer rotation. It is a work horse (and I love it), though these days, it is not printing color, only in black and white. I have it "networked" via Google Cloud Print and shared with all family members. Only problem is it does not translate something that in color to print in black and white simply by choosing that setting on the print menu. Of course, rather than sending it to the cloud-ready color printer in another room, I am compelled to figure out a work-around. First thing is to covert the PDF to Word. I used a free, online converter called PDF to Word by a company called Nitro. All you have to do is upload the file, and enter your email, and the converter file will be sent to your inbox.
So, it turns out that all of this was much more trouble than it was worth, and I wound up printing to the color printer.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Gratitude yes, but

I'll never understand people who would rather have someone else do something for them. Never. Really. I don't get it. 
I'm working with a team that works great together. Second year is going to be even better than the first. So the team decided they want an email group set up to email to collaborators. This has to be done on an organizational level- tech support request, wait for the person in charge of doing it to complete the task, then if it needs to be modified, repeat the process of tech request, blah blah blah. You get it.
I suggested creating a group in Contacts.  My logic was, we could take care of it on the spot, and any mods could be done as needed. The collaborators' response was, but then we'll each have to make one. Okay, yes but it will be done, we don't have to wait for the Google admin, and we can change it as needed. Anyway, this stared on Monday. A mass email went out to staff to not ask individual tech team members to do things, but to make all requests via tech support. It's Friday, my group was created on Monday, and the group email is still in limbo.
I've given some thought to why I think this is stupid. Is it because I don't have 100% support and hooray over my idea? Maybe. Maybe my co workers don't get that I'm the most efficient being around. Whatevs.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Commuting Workflow- AM

I've officially been commuting for a year now, and have had several ideas about how to structure my time to be productive. Problem is, in my mind, I have envisioned the perfect workflow, and well, the vision is stuck in the iterative stages, you guessed it, in my head. I've tried time and time again to adopt the mantra progress over perfection and failed. I've read blog posts that procrastination just means there is lack of intent- that upsets me because I feel such remorse when I can't accomplish everything I hope to. I'm perpetually distracted too (#Squirrel!), which could also be seen as an excuse. :(
I get that sometimes you have to decompress after investing time and energy into something. I've experienced exhaustion/inability for days, even weeks this year after G's Sweet 16, and supervising G's driving her first time on I-78 in rush hour, and submitting intense applications. I don't know if it's age or just having to recover from the stress and/or adrenaline rush.

Proposed morning workflow:

6:30 #BFC530
6:45 Record commuting expenses; map out day in bullet/self/passion journal; schedule calls; take care of easy tasks
7:10 Arrive in Newark; depart for NYC; work on items that do not require internet connection (blog post, reading printouts)
7:40 Arrive at NYP; continue working on items that do not require Internet; brain break while waiting for subway
8:00 Arrive at TDS; breakfast before heading up to 4th floor; record arrival time and delays; complete blog post and upload (already the blog post upload is delayed- I'm getting to this at 10:00 am).

First revision (9:58 am 08/31): Whiteboard plan for the day and record image in an Evernote notebook. Erase items as they are completed. Make it a goal/game to erase everything

Another barrier is money (maybe that should be a separate blog post). 

Friday, May 20, 2016 Brainstorming Tool

Looking for an easy and engaging brainstorming tool? Try! Elegant, fun, and a minimal learning curve. Students can save their work easily with Google Single Sign On. Curious? Check out this how-to video. In the video, I have my kids starting from a link in our Google Classroom class. This is the link we used

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Restoring Deleted Calendar Items

It happens to me all the time. When attempting to update my Google Calendar (my FAVORITE app), I delete items from the wrong date, and miss the Undo opportunity that immediately pops up. Usually I just recreate the event. For single events, this is no big whoop, but for recurring events, this recreated event is not part of the original, might be named ever so slightly differently, you get my gist. Well today, Google alerted me that I could restore my deleted Calendar item from the Trash. What?!? Google Calendar has Trash?  If you know me, you know that I was grinning from ear to ear, because this news is just all kind of awesome. I literally did a happy dance.
To restore deleted calendar items,  click the teeny tiny down arrow beside the calendar it was deleted from
Click on View Trash
Check the items you wish to restore
Scroll to the bottom of the screen and click Restore selected items
Deleted calendar items remain in your Trash for 30 days, upon which they are permanently deleted (just like other Google Apps).
Woohoo! \m/