Mercy renews status as Apple Distinguished School

Bridgette Conniff, Senior Staff Reporter

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Mercy High School has renewed its prestigious status as an Apple Distinguished School (ADS). Although Mercy originally achieved this honor in 2013, the designation expires every two years and is not automatically renewed.

“In order to get the distinction renewed, we had to re-apply and demonstrate that we had built upon the progress we had made in 2013,” said Associate Principal Mr. Larry Baker, who added that he underestimated the difficulty of the application process.

“I initially thought that [in order to renew the ADS status,] we could just take the old application and spruce it up,” Mr. Baker said. “But as it turned out, there were so many things that changed [within Mercy].”

One of the major changes made in recent years was the switch from the Moodle app to the Schoology app, which has greatly improved the paperless exchange of information within the school community. Another major highlight in the ADS application was the creation of a major regional technology conference for teachers, known as Tech Talk.

Mr. Baker also cited the work of the iWizards as a very important part of Mercy’s ADS application.

“[The] iWizards have become much more involved in different types of projects,” said Mr. Baker. “They published a Schoology course, created a program for middle school students, and help at orientation for new students.”

Senior iWizard Taylor Lombard loves working at the orientation for incoming freshmen.

“I love the helping aspect of iWizards,” said Lombard.

Originally, the iWizard Schoology course, iWizard Tips and Tricks, was available only as an iTunes course. Soon, however, Mr. Baker and the iWizards realized it should also be a Schoology course, so Mercy students and staff could have easy access to the information.

Mr. Baker said he is very proud of the iWizards and their special type of leadership through their use of technology, creativity, and design. Apple was so intrigued by the work of the iWizards that it even extended a special invitation to the group last year.

“[Apple] invited the iWizards to the Apple Room at the state technology conference to do a presentation on who they were and how they do things,” he said.

The newly updated school iBook, iMercy, also played a vital role in the application. This book was originally published in 2013, and Mr. Baker hopes the new 2015 version will be available on iTunes within the next few weeks. Mr. Baker said he is grateful for the many staff members who contributed to gathering media for the update.

“I’m just so proud of the book,” said Mr. Baker. “It shows so many cool features of what [Mercy] is doing.”

Many Mercy students are so used to using technology daily, they fail to realize how dynamic and unique Mercy’s use of technology is. Mr. Baker said that visitors he takes in classrooms are extremely impressed.

“Many things that [Mercy does are] replicating what the best workplace environments are doing,” said Mr. Baker.

 

 

Senior iWizard Taylor Lombard demonstrates one of the tips featured on the iWizard Schoology course. The app shown, called the CamScanner, allows users to annotate a document, a photo, and various other things. The work done by iWizards like Lombard was vital to the renewal of Mercy’s ADS status.

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