I am a current a MBA student at Lamar University, completing the master’s program. I am a certified educator in Technology Applications grades EC-12 and Generalist grades 4-8. I was a technology teacher for two years at Bob Hope School. I am currently a Programmer and Analyst employed with Port Arthur Independent School District, I have been in the district for four years.
My passion for Technology all started with programming an object to trail a mouse. In 2008 I received my Bachelor in Business Administration in Management Information Systems at Lamar University in Beaumont. During my senior year we created a mock website with an employee database, when you searched for an employee, the link would take you to their image and information. This experience motivated me to began building websites. I purchased several books everything from Photoshop, Flash, and Dreamweaver the entire Adobe Creative Suite. I even bought a book on creating your own virtual server as I wanted to build my website with a database. I was fascinated with Adobe’s Flash application, and I purchase a tutorial on how to create a website with the software from the ground up.
I worked part time at the Diocese of Beaumont while I went to school for my teaching certification at Lamar Orange. In 2011 I began my professional career in technology at Bob Hope Charter School as the Career and Technology Director/teacher for High School. I performed many roles including managing their website and I was also the photographer. Apart from that I solved any technical issues on campus. I also assisted the networking department with updating and adding student emails through the active directory. The class I was excited most about teaching at the time was Digital Media. I downloaded a free trial of Photoshop, Flash, and Dreamweaver to every computer in the lab. I was excited to share my knowledge with the students as it was all so fascinating.
Once I was in the classroom we went on to purchase SchoolVue Classroom Management Software. I was able to open applications like Excel for the lessons in advance with the press of one button for when the students arrived to class. Classroom management software improves learning by giving students more time on lessons. While searching for lesson plans, I discovered Exam View. I used this application to create online midterms. The students’ would submit their answers and the scores went to my email. This software helped to save paper and time spent on grading.
One month into the school year I was invited by the principal to attend the TCEA (Texas Computer Education Association) conference in Austin. I was thrilled as I was interested in other Adobe applications such Premiere Pro and After Effects. At the conference, there was so much technology to learn beyond Adobe. One presenter demonstrated how to align student exam results with the TEKS through Cloud using iPads as scantrons and teachers could target weak areas. At the conference, I learned about the website Adobe Education Exchange where teachers shared lesson plans. Some teachers receive recognition for their lesson plans. Adobe Exchange and communicating better to my students prompted me to create a tutorial. I posted a YouTube video on a Flash CS5 bouncing ball animation with an instruction sheet available to download. I was very excited to share with my classes everything I learned from the conference, especially special effects with Premiere Pro and After Effects. Once I realized the computers did not have enough ram for Premiere Pro a decision was made to order more memory and upgrade the computers. In the meantime, I worked with my class on a school video with the use of a green screen and a Flip camera, before Go Pro developed, cameras, so the quality of the video was poor. The video was about the Leadership trip to Chicago. We decided to put a Chicago background on our green screen. I shared the editing of the video with my class in Premiere Pro on my MacBook through the Smart Board. As free trials of software would expire, I ended up downloading a free trial of Adobe Illustrator. We did a Thanksgiving tutorial that turned out to be very creative, constructive and fun for the students. We presented pictures of their turkeys on the school website.
I continued to think of innovative ideas for my classroom to keep the students motivated, and next was Oracle. I was introduced to Oracle my junior and senior year at Lamar University in Beaumont. I went to the Oracle downloads website and downloaded the database software to each computer in my lab. Then I found the lessons that went with the database, Introduction to Oracle9i: SQL. Learning about database design was an enjoyable practice for my students as it gave them a real world experience. I was delighted that I knew how to set up this learning environment for them. I demonstrated for my students how to connect to the database.
My time with Bob Hope School was a great experience sharing every aspect of technology and new teaching strategies to help improve instructional technology for the better.
During a lesson, one morning in my Career and Technology class was when I stumbled upon my new career opportunity as a Programmer/Analyst with Port Arthur Independent School District. We were researching jobs when I saw the posting. I knew this was a perfect opportunity for me. I looked forward to bringing my skills in design and problem solving to the district as I knew I would transition well.
I hit the ground running as my boss stated in our first department meeting. He set up training for Report Studio IBM Cognos reporting software. I did an excellent job of creating PEIMS reports for discipline with this software. I then went on to create several different reports for the district. There are several types of business software within our district. SunGard’s eSchool Plus is our student support system. Tyler Technology’s Munis is our financial software and Versatrans is our school transportation software. I attended out of state conferences for each of these vendors; it was an excellent learning experience.
As my skills were recognized, I received a request from the Business Department to create a solution for tracking the measures of department supervisors’ goals with the district. Every supervisor had a set of different goals.The development of my first professional database built from the ground up was a growing experience. I created the official Scorecard for the district. As I created this form, it became more and more elaborate as I amused myself. When a supervisor selected their name from the drop down their goals would appear. As requested I coded their answers yes or no, a number or percent. If they did not meet their goal, it was flagged in red with conditional formatting. I generated a dynamic report from the form for the months selected. We put the Scorecard into play. A request came in to change the drop down menu for goals to list the next goal after one entry. So I put my problem-solving skills to work and made it happen. I then challenged myself to add to the form, buttons that would save each department’s data to their documents date it and name it. I added a print button too that would print directly to their printer. We are in our third year and still using the Scorecard to measure goals.
My most recent project was Attendance Letters. This project was challenging as the utility in eSchool plus was very cumbersome to set up. I had to set up the criteria based on the current Texas law for truancy. Once I had everything configured and running nightly calculations, I realized there was more work to be done. eSchool Plus software is not limited to Texas as other states use the software. The utility does not take Texas law into consideration, absences within a four week period and a six month period. I decided to build a Cognos Report to create the letter by pulling the information from the nightly calculations. I programmed the report to count the days between the attendance dates and the trigger date, the date in which the program flags students for their absences. The “count of days” made it possible to filter the exact criteria for Texas law. While planning to train attendance clerks, I created a video with the business presentation software Powtoons. The letters have been approved and will be implemented in March of 2016.
It is evident to me as my background speaks for itself that I will continue to research technology, collaborate with other professionals and share my ideas to improve instruction for students by integrating technology. I have a passion for technology and showing others they way. I knew how to use technology to make the process of teaching and differentiated learning more effective. Recognizing new practices, setting goals and leading the way would describe me. My desire is to continue to explore every element that could contribute to students’ learning outcome.
SchoolVue Better Learning with Technology. Retrieved from http://www.crosstecsoftware.com/schoolvue/#.VtYGvNiFOfA
Gina Flanagan (October 1,2012) Flash Bouncing Ball. Retrieved from https://edex.adobe.com/resource/f968ceef85/
Gina Flanagan (January 31, 2012) Flash CS5 Bouncing Ball Animation. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QLfdo4rz2Qs
Gina Flanagan (March 5, 2012) Bob Hope Charter School Chicago Leadership Program. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=REyr_CW3vUw
Grow Media (October 12, 2009) How to draw a Thanksgiving Turkey in Adobe Illustrator CS4. Retrieved from https://vimeo.com/7021937
Create Animated Videos and Presentations Retrieved from http://www.powtoon.com/
Gina Flanagan (March 4, 2016) eSchool Plus Attendance Notifications. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NBilS3r44yM&feature=youtu.be