My name is Alex and I work for the Ysleta Independent School District in El Paso, Texas. My job is to provide training and support for the integration of technology within the district curriculum and teacher lessons.
Most of the time I drive from campus to campus providing support. I like providing the one to one or one to many support, but I find that we only support a small fraction of the teachers that need our help. For years I’ve managed to provide online support documentation for most technology used in the district and some technology not directly supported by the district. Web pages have been one of the most efficient methods for me to deliver this support.
To help provide needed support, I started developing instructional tutorials. At first these were short instructions with lots of pictures. I made these tutorials available for download from our district site as a PDF. I discovered that teachers really liked the instructions with lots of pictures. Several teachers even printed them and placed them into binders for easy reference.
This gave me the idea to create instruction books for easy reference on specific technology. I often spent weeks developing a book. One of these books was for our Credit Recovery lab managers. It provides a great deal of information for lab managers with lots of easy to follow instructions and suggestions. I uploaded this book and provided a link to lab managers.
Teachers often thanked me for the books I made available. I got a little curious and wanted to know which ebook was the most popular. To my surprise the lab manager book topped the list back then at about 300 downloads. I wondered why our lab managers would download this book so often. Then it hit me. The web site is available all over the world. I was curious to know who was downloading my book. After looking at Google Analytics, I found it was being downloaded by most of the southern states like Carolina, Kentucky and Mississippi. It was also being downloaded in countries like Germany, Australia, and Brazil. To this date that book has been downloaded over 2,000 times. Not going to make the New York Times best seller list, but it is more than I ever expected. A companion book for teachers has been downloaded over 1,000 times.
With this success I decided to place these books on the iTunes Book store. For free of course. I found that people were downloading my books regularly. About one or two a day. Then it happened. A school district downloaded 4,000 copies of my Prezi basics book. At first I thought it was a mistake, but sure enough it was 4,000 copies! After that, the downloads went back to a trickle. I would have gotten discouraged if I didn’t already know that the books I create have short lives. This is because technology is always updating, changing and dying. Sure enough, Prezi updated its site and my book was not as useful as it was before the update.
Every now and then I get a surprise when someone tells me about one of my books. Last year my sister in law was placed in charge of the credit recovery system in her school. I wasn’t aware until she told me the story. She was about to start class the next day and was very nervous because the software was new and confusing. She got up late the night before and searched for something to learn about the software. After a brief search she found a PDF with easy to follow instructions. It made sense to her. As she read on she saw the name of the author, Alex Reyes.
Recently I received an email from a man in Germany who ran across one of my books. No, not credit recovery or Prezi but a book on a software for iPads called BaiBoard. He wanted to know if I would grant him permission to translate this book into German. Wow, I’m international now! This book on BaiBoard has been downloaded over 1,000 times.
This great feedback and response has spurred me to create something new. I’m taking what I regularly do and going into the magazine platform. I hope that this will provide the same level of support to our teachers in a format that will be useful and relevant. Learning from what I’ve done before I realize that technology is always changing and there is a lot that needs to be shared. A magazine will help me bring current lessons to teachers and students. It will also allow me to bring a broader array of information and lessons. I will be able to target specific technologies, skills, or platforms. I can also be broad and cover emerging technologies with a brief overview and its relevance to education. As always, I’ll apply my teaching experience into every issue and lesson.
I write the instructional material with teachers and students in mind, but the instructions can be used by anyone.