Twitter Interview

  • A Fresno State student is interviewing me through Twitter! Below are the questions and my responses. The Interview was recorded over the course of a few days
  • Question 1 by: Jessica Zendejas ‏ @jessica84011
    @teachusingtech Hi Mr. Diaz, I am going to begin our interview.How have you used twitter in your professional development?Thankyou #ci100
  • Question 1 response: I use Twitter on a nightly basis to improve my skills as a teacher, stay current with ongoing education news and also to help where I can professionally. Twitter is an awesome tool that allows me to reach out to teaching professionals on a daily basis and ask questions and/or provide help to those in need. I primarily follow like minded people on Twitter. What I mean by that, is that I follow people in the area of education. This allows me to ready micro-blogs that are written specifically for my area of interest.
  • Follow-up Question 1a: Jessica Zendejas ‏ @jessica84011
    @teachusingtech and why twitter, when there are so many other social media sites out there? Thanks again for your help
  • Question 1a response: You are right, there are a lot of choices when it comes to social media, including Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and so on. However, it has been my experience that Twitter allows for the most convenient and densely populated center for the type of information I am looking for. You get to populate your Twitter feed with interests that fit your needs. My needs are in the area of education and more specifically education technology and I follow like minded educators. My Twitter feed is populated with links to articles and videos, as well as 142 characters of thought provoking statements and conversations.
  • Question 2 by:Jessica Zendejas ‏ @jessica84011
    @teachusingtech Thankyou. Second question:what suggestions do you have for educators who want to use twitter as an educational resource?
  • Question 2 response: My number one suggestion would be to try it out and see if it fits your needs. I am a fan of Twitter but you may not be and that is okay. On the other hand, the education conversation needs to continue outside of the classroom and being a good educator, one who works on making a difference, takes time outside of the classroom. Therefore, some type of social media allows you to access the minds and thoughts of thousands of educators all around the world who have a similar mission. Okay back to Twitter as a resource. Another suggestion I have is to find a hash tag, which is a grouping of comments tied to a specific idea, and begin browsing through content and comment when you can to add to the discussion. You can only be better for it and you begin to form relationships with people you can count on. If you want to follow education technology conversations, a suggestion would be #edtech or if you are a new teacher #ntchat is great! One last suggestion would be to have parents, students and/or teachers create a hashtag, so that you can create a conversation about a particular topic. For example, I have started a hash tag on the greatness of #dchilders. Please go there and comment when you can. We will see how popular this topic is?
  • Sir Ken Robinson: Creativity

    Evaluate these thoughts:

    • Legislation destroys creativity
    • Standardized testing has become an obsession
    • The thought has been to learn things in school that lead to jobs
    • Industrialization has shaped modern education
    • For math and science, the question is asked, “how can we make it better.” For art, there needs to be a space created for dialogue and discussion to even take place. Why?
    • Our current system is obsolete
    • Promote innovation and creativity
    • Education+Culture+Commerce
    • Organizations are having trouble with complexity
    • Promoting creativity is a bottom line imperative
    • For most of human history we have led local lives and communicated primarily with those around us. Today we act differently
    • Technology is in its infancy
    • Within the next ten years, computers may go from algorithms to rewriting their own operating systems
    • We direct people to jobs we believe will be available
    • Misconceptions: Only special people are creative
    • We can’t wait to change education, children cannot postpone their lives
    • There are three types of people (trying to change education):
    1. Immovable: you are never going to change their thoughts, do not bother
    2. Movable: might be able to be persuaded
    3. Movers: those who create change
    • Create the right conditions
    • Encourage students at what they are good at
    • Special knowledge is a complex set of disciplines
    • Do attempt to teach “academic disciplines” through the arts, because what you are saying is that art is not academic and then not worthy to stand side by side next to such things as math and science.

    Not seen or heard Sir Ken Robinson in action? I highly recommend the following talks:


    Two books I am reading:


    Changing how we teach and how students think in Math!

    I recently watched a TED Talk video, titled “Math class needs a makeover,” by Dan Meyer. It inspired me to re-think the way I teach my students in 6th grade. You see, we have had one formula for teaching kids, for as long as I can remember, the math T.E. (teacher’s edition). I use it everyday, whether it be to plan my lessons or to go over the homework problems. Somewhere deep inside me, I know that I am better than this. I am the planner and the person in charge to decide how my class is going to learn content for the day and synthesize it for it for a lifetime. Now, no one expects students to remember every last breath that a teacher makes in an effort to explain content, however, the process and the journey should very much be a appreciated and highlighted to the fullest extent. I could go on and on, but you have to buy in and work that much harder to get the results that you wish for. Simply wishing is actually not enough, so put your hard hat on and work to improve your craft so that students become the thinkers that we long for them to be. I am along with you for this journey, for I am a teacher who is constantly looking for avenues to improve my skill set and more importantly, the skill set of my students! Watch the video and let me know if you think that you need to make a change in your instruction?

    Yahoo!!!! Former Students Achieve

    Today I was blessed and touched by something really remarkable. I was invited to attend an Eagle Scout Court of Honor Ceremony. What was really special about this ceremony was that two of my former students were receiving the highest honor a Boy Scout can attain, Eagle Scout!
    Statistics vary, but only 2%-4% of the boys that venture into Boy Scouts, end up achieving Eagle Scout. You might ask what this has to do with technology, and for the most part, absolutely nothing. However, it has everything to do with being a teacher and providing students with every ounce of effort that we have. You see, I do not think these two students reached this honor because I single-handedly made the difference in their lives to push forward and attain such a great honor, but what I do know is that I gave them everything that I had in the classroom. I was a role model. I preached and portrayed consistency and effort. I made sure to work hard so they could make up their minds for themselves, who I was, and whether or not they wanted to take a little piece of me and place it in their life portfolio. I am so proud of these two young men and as they continue to shape their lives, I have a small piece of their courageousness in my life portfolio. It keeps me going and your personal triumphs in education, no matter how big or how small, should keep you going to provide small pieces of yourselves to the students that you serve. Technology is the tool that I use to engage, promote, excite and ultimately deliver content, but it is the embodiment that you put on display each day that makes a difference. Congratulations Sean and James! It was my honor to have shared part of my life with you. Mr Diaz.

    Do you have a story that you would like to share?


    Make a Movie: Part One

    I currently teach 6th Grade Math, Technology and Spanish and its always exciting for students, not to mention myself, to make a movie about what we are studying. There are many ways to make a video or movie. You can simply have students shoot raw footage of the content of your choice, transfer it to your computer and display it to the whole class or place it on your class website for everyone to enjoy! You can get a little more sophisticated and import your video into some software, like Garageband which is part of the Apple iLife suite, which also is bundled with iPhoto and iMovie. With Garageband you can add narration video or images and background music to your project. On the Windows side, I have only used Audacity which does the job for composing audio but lacks the image and video components of your project. I did some research on a product for windows that is very intriguing. It does a very similar job to Garageband and most importantly it has the capability of combining images or videos and narration to your project. The name of this software is Acoustica Mixcraft 5.

    • Checkout Mixcraft 5:
    • These are just some of many ways to go and make a movie from your content and have some fun along the way.For those of you who really want to wow ’em and take your movies to the next level, there are more robust programs such as iMovie, Final Cut Pro, Adobe Premiere, Quick Time and Avid Technologies just to name a few. I recently came across a piece of software that I have not used yet, but I am certainly taking a look at and it is Illusion Mage. Click on the link and watch some of the videos of what it can do. Simply “Amazing.” Stay tuned for part two of this blog post, where I am going to show you how to use some of this software and give you some ideas on projects that you can put together for your students!



    CUE Conference 2010 – How To Videos Posted

    Hello and thank you to all the people that attended “Igniting the Mathematical Mind” session at CUE on Friday (3/5 ) @ 11:30 AM! Jamie Sweet and myself really enjoyed ourselves and you were a great audience! We would really love to hear from you. We have posted how to create many of the games that we covered in our session. If you see something that is not there and would like to know how to create it, please let us know. Also, if you have time, please visit Session Evaluations (Friday @ 11:30 AM)and evaluate our session, Thanks! Click on the CUE 2010 tab above to access the videos. Subscribe to access the latest videos!

    It’s All About The Kids – The Simple Ideas

    It’s all about the kids! Have you ever heard this sentiment before? How many people really mean what they say? It makes for a great moniker, tag-line, or feel good type of statement. However, the reality is that it’s easy to stand behind a declaration that more often than not, is completely supported. Kinda one of those head shake moments, where you get the proverbial “yeah, yeah, I hear ya.” I call shenanigans! In education, in this current climate, it seems that its less and less about the kids and more about fancy filled promises and doughnut hole size delivery. Let see, It’s all about the kids right! Then why on Earth would you overcrowd a classroom where the teacher has less and less time per student. Make sense? In school, what would you say is the single biggest asset that a student can have? Perhaps a teacher? You can have the world’s greatest programs, but without a vessel to transfer and bridge information, what’s the use? Yet, shall I state, “it’s all about the kids,” right? Vibrant teachers who come into the work force to teach the eager beavers of the world are dismissed and perhaps never to return to the teaching workforce. These young teachers come prepared with the latest technology know-how and are ready to unleash their talents and meld their fresh youth, enthusiasm and love for digital connections amongst their students. This would only benefit our youth but instead classrooms are stagnant around the U.S., with very little digital creativity for our digital stalwarts. If we want it to be all about the kids, then we as teachers, at every level, need to exhaustively work to create meaningful lessons that incorporate today’s technology. If we want it to be all about the kids, there needs to be a common denominator and that is the teacher. Teaching is a special service within our society that touches young lives in exponential ways, that most will never get a chance to experience. There are thousands of quality teachers in this great nation of ours, but we need millions! Make it happen, cause it’s all about the kids.

    Teacher of the Year, Technology and Cool Links


    I was recently honored as my school’s teacher of the year. I am very appreciative that my colleagues would distinguish me in this way. A few days later I received a message from the district that I could apply for the district teacher of the year award. Lucky me, more paperwork! Well, I decided to do it. I wanted people to know how I felt about using technology in the classroom and I did. I spoke about the inadequacies in today’s educational landscape and how we need to move forward in our instruction, because the students are up there waiting for us. They are waiting for us to teach them how to podcast, the are waiting for us to teach them how make movies and they are waiting for us teachers to catch up so they can teach us a thing or two. We need to learn to be the experts in any types of technology and often times we will have overwhelming support by the bright-eyed and bushy tailed students in our classrooms around the world. I use to love playing video games as a child. Space Invaders and Centipede were my favorite. Games have come a long way since then, but if I look back at those games and how they grabbed my attention, that is what we need to do all the time: grab their attention and keep it! Video games are nothing more than interactive television. Instead of watching the Simpsons or CSI, you get to control the characters, you get be part of the action and this is exciting! In education, we need to let student be part of the action. We compete with cell phones and text messaging, so wouldn’t it be great to tell students to pull their cell phones out and not to turn them off and put them away. Some may think this is far fetched and that students are just going to use this technology to cheat. Maybe we need to re-evaluate how assessments are being given. At you can try this by using this website as a differentiated way to take quiz or ask a poll question when there isn’t any money in the school budget for individual responders. You might even say that every student does not a cell phone or have a text plan, I say buddy up, “pair share.” There are always problems, some students don’t even come to school with paper and pencil to work with. This will always be a problem, but let’s not make it an excuse. I am driven to, not only highlight the fact that teachers at all levels must join the 21st century, but I am also willing to help you get there. is one of many sites that is a class ‘A’ tool for learning. Here are some others links to sites that I will be making tutorials for in the near future:

    Grown Up Digital: Insight to teaching technologically

    This a great book that lays out the inadequacies that we have as teachers if we are delivering instruction the old fashion way. I do not think that it is any secret that the students of today learn differently than students of the past. I agree with the book that we cannot continue to deliver an outdated model of instruction when students sit bored in our classrooms. Society is changing daily in many different ways and technology is at the forefront. I have always embraced technology but even I have taken a second look at how I deliver my instruction. Simply asking students to produce PowerPoints and/or Excel charts is just not good enough. If you are still lecturing: STOP! Read the book above and give our students a chance. I am inspired by students everyday and they can actually teach us a thing or two about technology, and this is the point. I was at a conference last year for gifted students and a speaker stated that she has known teachers to actually ask their students to be experts in in a certain content area and teach other students. The presenter was totally against this and stated that this was not the job of the student, it was the job of the teacher. Students need to be able to explore and confirm their knowledge base. It does not have to be through a multiple choice exam, it can actually be observed through interaction among peers in real-life applicable situations: This is how our world actually functions, making decisions and helping others understand. This book has opened my even more of the importance of the use of technolgy and allowing the students to be owners of the content, rather than just a constituent to information that will not have value a week later. The learning should have lasting value. This book is definitely a winner and I encourage anyone in education to read it. Aside form education it allows you to learn more about the net gener, the institutions such as education and the workplace and how society is dealing with kids that grow up with so much to offer. Are we ready?

    The four minute flip chart for ActivStudio 3

    Activstudio 3 is a wonderful piece of software that comes with the purchase of a Promethean Activboard. Some of you may have just received your Promethean board and your not sure where to begin. Sure, you can start writing on the board and even begin to bring in a few shapes or text but you want more, so did I! What I’m about to explain is an easy way to get you and your students started in just minutes.

    1. Open Activstudio 3 Professional
    2. Click on your RESOURCE LIBRARY
    3. Click on the SHARED SHAPES ICON
    4. Expand shared shapes and click on SQUARES AND RECTANGLES
    5. Drag a HORIZONTAL RECTANGLE onto your blank flip chart (do this 3 times)
    6. Expand the rectangles so that they are all of equal size and so that they cover the entire flip chart and are connected
    7. Now, click on the first rectangle, from the color palette click on green and then click on the FILL TOOL icon (the bucket), move it over the first rectangle and click the space bar. The rectangle should have changed to green.
    8. Leave the second rectangle black
    9. Repeat step 7 for the third triangle, but change it to blue
    10. Double click on the first rectangle and click on the icon, OBJECTS TO BACK. Repeat this step for the third rectangle
    11. Double click on the second rectangle and click on the icon, OBJECTS TO FRONT
    12. Let’s add some text! Click on the TEXT TOOL (“T”) and move the cursor over the first rectangle, towards the top portion and click the space bar. An area for you to type and a text palette will open.
    13. On the text palette change the color to blue and type 1.23 + 0.02 = ?
    14. Press the space bar 7 times (or so), change the text color to green and type ? = 1.25
    15. Un-check the BACKGROUND box on the TEXT PALETTE
    16. Close the TEXT PALETTE
  • Note: that when un-checking the background box, at times it converts back. Simply go back and un-check the background box.
  • There you have it! A revealing flip chart template. Move the math question from the left to the right and it will magically disappear and the answer will appear in the blue section. You can use this template to further be creative and add objects, multiple backgrounds and much, much more! Have fun with it. If you have any questions leave a comment or e-mail me. I am glad to help!
  • If you are more of a visual person, click on the tutorials tab for a video enhanced explanation!