Campus Links
Ed Tech Star of the Month

April 2017 - Kim Hillis

Kim Hillis
What Do You Teach?
Campus Instructional Specialist - All Subjects
Where Do you Teach?
San Jacinto Elementary
How Long Have You Been Teaching?
19 years (all at San Jacinto Elementary)

How Does Educational Technology Play a Role in Your Classroom?
As a CIS, I try to encourage and promote the use of technology as much as possible. This year with the help of my principal, we transitioned our staff into using Google Drive for uploading lesson plans and for implementing our entire PLC process. For our PLC's, I set up grade level folders in Drive so that when our teams meet, they upload and create everything from start to finish in Google Drive (unpacking TEKS, creating CFA's, uploading data, reflecting on CFA's). Using Google Drive for this process allows our teams to truly share and collaborate everything they create for the PLC process since they all have access to it at any time. I also try to consistently promote the use of technology when I plan with teams. I try to give ideas for how teachers can implement the use of technology in their lessons either by using tech we already have on campus or by informing them about new apps or web based software that might be useful for them and their students. I try to promote student use and creation with tech as much as possible since I know that's where the majority of the impact will be.
My favorite role using tech this year has to be running our first ever STEM Club. I was able to get Wonder Robots from our Partner in Education-ExxonMobil. In STEM club, I teach students to program robots to do different tasks. The teams are also competing against each other to program specific tasks and they are awarded points for how well they can program their robots. I feel this club is a way to ignite the fire for STEM and hopefully get them excited about it for their future.

Students using technology
How Do You Find Technology in the Classroom Helpful?

I think technology can be helpful in that it engages students in the classroom in a way that they are becoming more accustomed to. There are so many different tools and tech mediums that teachers can use to teach with and get students to show off what they've learned. If students can research a topic and include animations, videos, pictures, and writing to support their learning, they are possibly getting more out of that topic than just by reading about it and writing notes. Not to mention, when students are using technology to produce something, most of the time, it is at the application level. This helps boost the rigor of the learning.
What Is Your Favorite Piece of Classroom Technology? Why?
My favorite piece of tech this year has to be Google--from Drive to Classroom, I have used it more than anything else this year. I use Google Classroom for STEM Club. My student teams record all their programming and upload it in Classroom where I can score it and send it back to them. I use Forms for sending surveys out to staff content teams to get feedback about curriculum and content needs on our campus. I use Drive for storing all of our PLC Docs as well as my own. I share many docs I've created with staff so we can collaborate, edit, and make them better. Being a CIS of all subjects is very challenging and using Google has helped me organize, share, and collaborate well with our staff and students to maximize instruction on our campus.
What Is On Your Technology Wish List For Your Classroom? Why?
I would love to be able to have access to a variety of other robots. I'd love to learn more about programming and see what else is out there.
What Do You Love Most About Teaching?
My favorite thing about teaching is creating a fun and engaging way for others to learn something and being able to see the learning happening. I love to see and hear the excitement when students are doing something they find engaging. I think technology has that excitement about it. When students are able to use technology, they can be very focused. The hard part is making sure the tech is purposeful and tied to what students should be learning. It does take some extra work to integrate technology in, but the benefits of what students can do with it can be phenomenal.
Students using technology

Nominated by:
Diana Truesdale, Technology Integration Specialist - Elementaries
"Kim Hillis is the CIS at San Jacinto Elementary. She is an active promoter and initiator of technology use on her campus. Whenever I am at San Jacinto, Mrs. Hillis and I have many discussions of new and innovative ways both she and her teachers can use technology in the classroom. She is an enthusiastic learner and understands how the interactive features of technology can promote student learning. She herself used various apps and online tools for her SSI students so that they would be more engaged and to learn in new and different ways. Also Mrs. Hillis teamed up with her principal, Mrs. McAdam, to bring the whole staff on board with online lesson plans shared through Google Drive. Mrs. Hillis is a leader, a role model, and an inspiration not only with her teaching style but also with her understanding of the powers of technology in the classroom and whole school."