Episode Transcript
Ixchell Reyes
The DIESOL podcast

Brent Warner
Digital Integration in English as a Second or Other Language,

Ixchell Reyes
Episode 44 interview with Martin Ricardo Cisneros

Brent Warner
Welcome to DIESOL. This is Episode 44. We are your hosts, I’m Brent Warner.

Ixchell Reyes
And I’m Ixchell Reyes. Brent – halfway through. We’re halfway through 2021 it’s only 6 more months…

Brent Warner
Oh, yeah, I didn’t even think of it that way. But yeah, here we are. We’re making it, making it, making it work. How have you been?

Ixchell Reyes
Yeah. Good. inching toward face to face. two more weeks left than we’re going back to 100% face to face. And I don’t know how to feel about transitioning but it’s happening. How about you?

Brent Warner
Uh, yeah. Moving forward. I’m just tired. Summer School, like, we talked about that before. But I’m still I’m still on my having been tired. And last night for some reason I couldn’t sleep. So same. So there we go.

Ixchell Reyes
Yeah, Brent, I just wanted to say congratulations for being selected as one of the 30 innovators in IT to follow by EdTech Magazine.

Brent Warner
Yeah. Thank you. Thank you. I talked to a couple people yesterday, and I don’t know how they found me. But I guess, cool. I was super cool. But it’s partly, you know, it’s part to you. It’s part to Tim. I do the other show the higher ed tech podcast. So it’s like it’s not alone. And so these things are like, they didn’t ask me for any information when they put the bio together for that or anything. It’s just like here. You’re on a website. And you’re, you’re you’re an influencer of some level and said, Okay, that’s cool. But I wish I could have had a little say and how we put that together. But, but I am grateful. So thank you EdTech magazine for for that, and we’ll put a link in there so people can go check out the other people who were also the people to follow

Ixchell Reyes
Yeah I recognized and a couple others. I know. I know you know a few of them. Yeah, we have a special guest today.

Brent Warner
Yes. Martin! How are you?

Martin Cisneros
I am doing well. And congratulations on that accomplishment, sir. Yes, yes!

Brent Warner
Thank you. Thank you. Yeah. So Martin, we’re happy to have you we’ve been talking about having you on for a while a little while, and we’ve been busy, you’ve been busy. It’s hard to make schedules line up even for like for two of us. It’s already hard. And then it’s like and then your your schedule is slammed all the time. So we are really happy to have you on today. But before we get too into it, Martin Ricardo and I cannot do as good of a rolling accent – Martin Ricardo Cisneros! So Martin is a modern learning advisors, Speaker geekdad tech Jedi, super mariachi and Director of technology from Silicon Valley. And his current position, he provides strategic leadership in anticipating and developing appropriate and innovative systems to future needs and challenges regarding the district’s Information Technology Program, and blended learning in the workplace and classroom and Martin for you. I’ve been going to your presentations at cue for years. You’re one of the few people that talks about yells and tech at cue. I am happily among you and a couple of other people that do those regularly. But there’s not a lot of us. And so, so I’m really happy to have you on to talk about wherever we end up with this conversation. To a galaxy far, far away. Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. And there’s just so much cool stuff out there. You know, this show, we focus on just tech for for language learners and for teachers trying to get people to see how they can use technology to better engage their students. And you, all of your presentations are just awesome about that. And so we’re start real broad, just kind of, we’ll see which direction we want to end up going in. But I know… you know, you’ve you’ve dealt a lot with language learners, you know, have a lot of love for that community and trying to build things in. Let’s let’s go back. Actually, let’s let’s go back a long time ago in this galaxy far, far away. When did you start using tech with with your language learners?

Martin Cisneros
Oh, and here we go with the age question. Yeah, was 1993 That’s right, ladies and gentlemen, I started teaching with tech with English language learners in 1993. For those of you Young listeners. That means yes, I was teaching with tech before the internet was in our schools. And the reason why I tell this to folks is because I didn’t start off as an educator. I was a graphic designer. I used to work for only Vizio and television network. And I was the graphics guy. And every now and then I would do voiceovers, those who had his own camino. For those of you that are novellas, folks, you know, exactly. But it really just started because, you know, I started off as a Kindle teacher, right? And I tell people, I’ve gotten up been over the year. So the only grades I have not taught are first, second, seventh, 10th and 11th. I’ve taught everything else over my career, right. But I started off as a Kinder teacher, and then someone said, Martin Do you know, it is your responsibility to teach kids how to read and first in second grade? So like I said, I was a brand new teacher started off in Canada was a lot of energy. I had a lot of energy back then. And then I said, Yeah, I’m gonna wait and go into third grade. So you know, once again, be careful what you wish for Be careful what you ask for the universe, because I asked for third grade. And because I had so much energy, they decided to give me a third, fourth and fifth grade combo. It was a 3/4/5 combo, and there was at least 16 different languages being spoken in our district. Seven, which happened to be spoken in my classroom.

Ixchell Reyes
Wow!

Martin Cisneros
And as, as most of you know, you know, as a first year teacher, you get all the materials that you need, right in all the different languages. Yeah, no, I’m kidding, folks. I’m kidding. (laughter) But basically, when the people asked us, like, Where did you learn how to do all this stuff? Is it because I had to, there was no other curriculum, I had to learn how to build curriculum. And I say this to everyone, right? If you look at the past three decades, or four now, and people say, Well, how did you learn how to build curriculum, and I go, it’s easy, because that was part of our teacher credentialing program, right? I came in during that time of whole language, and you know, do this, do that. And then of course, 1000s came around and No Child Left Behind, and everybody was scope and sequence. And then 2000 10s came along, and it’s like, oh, it’s common chord. Let’s go back to creating stuff. And of course, a huge problem with that was number one. Teachers were like, What do you mean, you want me to create my own? No, let’s know. Just tell me the scope and sequence. So I know what to follow. Kids were like, What do you mean, gonna give me grades? What’s all this mastery stuff you’re talking about? I know that of course, you had parents, right? Parents were like, What do you mean, you’re not gonna give my kid a grade? Now I need this so they can go on. And anyways, you see the whole world? Oh, by the way, there’s this thing called technology that was really thrown into us. But going back into the into the 90s. I basically use technology to hug to engage my students, right? Because I’m gonna give you a great story, right? This was the time when they used to give out free computers to schools. That’s right, ladies and gentlemen, you did not you heard that correctly. They gave free computers to schools. And there was a huge beige ones. He knows what I’m talking about. Right? The one with a monitor was about like 80 pounds, and they look like an alien head. Right.

Brent Warner
It was a Good workout.

Ixchell Reyes
You could play Fraction Munchers on it.

Martin Cisneros
Exactly! So I tell I go I was that one teacher that I was just trying to figure out how do I engage students into learning, right? And I had all the levels of English learners in my classrooms. So what I ended up doing was I went around the whole school and started asking other teachers and say, Hey, I see that you have dirt graffiti on your brand new computers, can I have them? And then of course, a lot of teachers because there was no tech director, there was no you know, PD in tech, there was, you know, cue was so far away from me at that point. So most of the teeth, then yes, next thing I know, I have a portable classroom with, I was literally one to one by 19, mid 1993, my classroom looked like the matrix, because I only had two outlets in there. So you’re hopefully you understand what I’m saying. And like I said, there was no IT director. So that’s when I started, you know, messing around with edtech. And the reality was, that my students, it was a way to engage my students, and over the years, you know, you learn how to buy programs, and back then, you know, I pretty much use whatever, you know, supplemental monies will give me in technology, and on if you remember the 90s each, oh, I’m looking at you and you’re like, I was probably like in first grade. So no, I don’t remember. But Brent, you might remember from googling this, you know, back in the day, I had to go purchase, you know, software at Costco or or you know, or Radio Shack. And back in those days, there was like a piece of piece of software, and it took like five or six days just to install one piece of software. Right, y’all remember that one thing? And, and, you know, of course, what would happen is I would buy this and you know, I would take it to our tech person, which happened to be on him who was our custodian, our bus driver, literally his coach and cook all at the same time. So in order to make that that wonderful man happy I would give him a six pack of Pepsi every every every month, the first of the month, because that’s when we’ll get paid. That’s when I get my supplemental, you know, money that go by software. So I tried everything out right. Last I’ve been through does the sticky bear right math blasters and Oregon Trail? Yeah, Oregon Trail. But all I can tell you it was it was just a way of engaging my students. Now over time, you know, I learned that, you know, not everything you buy is going to be used for what you need. But it didn’t matter for me. Because, you know, when they think about, like, what was I trying to do? And like I said, Before, I had so many different English language learners in my classroom I kept off making is what is the role of language in global competence? Right? What does that mean? Because the parents, like I said, they were all from different parts of the world. This was in San Diego, by the way, and we were close to a military base. So I had parents from all walks of life from, you know, everywhere. So I kept on thinking like, Okay, what do I how do I want to develop my students, I want them to be able to investigate the world to recognize perspectives, right? communicate different ideas. And then of course, take action, right? At the end of the day, I painted, that’s what I want the graduate to beam. So I then started looking at different programs globally, because, you know, as you know, if you’re a listener outside of California, one thing about California, if you go from one district to another, you’ll find out the implementation of any bilingual program is completely different. Right, it’s completely different. And but that’s when I started learning about, you know, bilingual programs across the globe, whether there were developmental, you know, bilingual education, transitional to way foreign language, heritage language programs, right. And I started to think, oh, there is no one way Oh, it’s almost like religion. (laughter) We all share some commonalities, right. But they’re, they’re all a little bit different. And, you know, in the basics of things, you know, I started to join stuff like CABA, you know, California Association of Bilingual Educators. And I did attend, by the way, my first CUE in 1993. I went because my mentor teacher didn’t want to go, and they they’re, you know, they looked at the kid and like you like attending, you’d like learning Do you want to go. And that was the first time those two things men I went to because CABA and cue have always been similar together. So I went to CUE one week and I went to CABA the second week. And that’s where my both of my worlds really meshed together. So after that, fast forward to night to the late 90s, I am now building curriculum. I’m building a media literacy program for English language learners. I got the help of local university, the mayor, and then Al Roker came over and interviewed me and my students, no kidding. Oh, yeah. So that was pretty slick. But it was also the beginning of me doing presentations pretty much everywhere. I didn’t know this was a thing to do. Because at that point, I had, you know, talk all the way up to middle school. And then someone said to me, yo, you make a great principal. So I decided to get my master’s in my credential and try administration for two years and said, No, you can keep this wasn’t really my cup of tea. But a lot of people really enjoyed my presentations. And I number one, I became a ghost writer or a ghost writing presenter. I don’t know how to say that. I would build presentations for other people people will hire me to build the presentations

Brent Warner
Really? I didn’t even know that’s a thing.

Martin Cisneros
Oh Brent!

Brent Warner
Do you still do that?

Martin Cisneros
Oh yes, I do

Brent Warner
Really?

Martin Cisneros
Yes, I do.

Brent Warner
I had no idea that was a thing Wow.

Ixchell Reyes
I just imagined some of those keynotes can’t have had all that time to come up with something amazing.

Martin Cisneros
It’s so – It’s a very lucrative niche if you have the time.

Brent Warner
Huh! Okay. So sorry, keep going. That’s your you’ve already blown my mind.

Martin Cisneros
Yeah, no. So but for me, you know, I wasn’t I wasn’t teacher mode at that point. So all I The reason why I did that, that media literacy program is just I wanted more IMAX remember the big IMAX the colorful ones? Yeah, so that’s, that’s why I did it. I did it so I can get more tech in the classroom and the more tech I received in the The more I was able to engage my students, so I became the after school director because I had all these kids wanting to join my program and basically I was doing is I was teaching media literacy in 1998. So 99 you know, we got recognized I sold the curriculum to I believe was YMCA who bought it. But that was like literally the beginning of this journey in 1999. We had our first tech director, Mr. Tim landeck. And I was pulled out of the classroom, so I became a tech TOSA in 1999. Brent & Ixchell Where were you guys in 1999?

Brent Warner
I was in San… I was in college. I was in college in San Diego.

Ixchell Reyes
Just graduating High School.

Martin Cisneros
Yes, yeah. I always laugh because when I hear Yes, I’m a tech TOSA or this TOSA again, I was I was a tech TOSA in 1999.

Brent Warner
Was it called a TOSA back then?

Ixchell Reyes
I didn’t know, I thought that was a newer term.

Martin Cisneros
No, it’s been around, like this guy. (laughter) But that was literally in and then in, I learned how to write grants. And I got in, I started getting computers, because that was my next thing is how do I get computers in the hands of teachers. And that was my next goal. So and that’s really where I got my PD chops is I then, you know, after becoming a Tosa, I wasn’t brought up to the district, to lead training for technology. And that’s really where I started to dig into learning how to present I started to learn about, you know, the different models of learning for adult. And I really started thinking about what, you know, what are some instructional models for English language learners, then not just the ELL teachers can do, but that the global teacher can do, right? Because one of the problems I would always see is that, oh, you know, here’s the ELL, here’s the EL program. Oh, you must be a bilingual teacher. But the reality is, once again, we’re in the state of California, one and four are foreign born, right? And, of course, now, that’s pretty much you know, throughout all of all the states, but I started thinking is like, Okay, what are some modification ideas for modern lls, and that’s where my modern learning practice, because every time I would say the word technology, I would scare half the people away. So I would never, I would try not to use the word technology. And I was just saying, for modern learning, and that, you know, so if you ever see my presentations anywhere, it’s like, you know, what is the, you know, I don’t know, scaffolding for modern learners. And I laugh because like the stuff even though I still do consulting on the side, and districts, that’s what they hire me to hire me because they’re like, you’re the guy that can come in and teach all this stuff without telling them that you’re teaching.

Ixchell Reyes
I like that that word modern learners, because it doesn’t scare them or intimidate them.

Martin Cisneros
Exactly. So the best way I tell folks that go, you know, it’s just like with kids, right? If you’re a parent, you understand this is like, when I go to the store, I get the protein spaghetti, or I get the veggie spaghetti. My kid doesn’t understand because I cover it with a regular red sauce. So he just thinks it’s spaghetti, but it’s vegetables inside, folks.

Brent Warner
This is good for you…

Martin Cisneros
Yeah yeah yeah! So anyways, that was the whole thing and the email, and then that’s how I started y’know, I develop online courses, I became a professor at various universities. And like I said, the side hustle, you know, so like you Brent, you know, in the 90s, I learned how to code. So I started building websites for churches, you know, local businesses. And me, I would just geek out on this stuff. So my passion for technology also enhanced my passion for teaching and learning. Right. So in my head, I kept on thinking is how do we create modern knowledge? Because as you both know, is the tools come at us night and day, right. And, you know, once I got to, you know, 2006 2007. I am the Alpha class of the Google certified teacher program, which is now known as the Google innovator program. And I remember reading it this wonderful thing. And then I had no idea we had to choose a project. And all I remember is we’re sitting in these really cool chairs, because it’s the first time I was ever at Google. And I’m thinking, well, there’s places like this, you know, people eat this way. Like, I was so jealous of everyone who worked at Google at that moment. And then everybody’s going around, like, what project are you going to do a project are you going to do, and I’m speaking to my friend Tim right next to me. I’m like, I had no idea we had to choose a project. So that’s how that’s how you apply to do the video. I am sweating at this point. So by the time it gets to me, I’m like, Well, I’m currently working for the Monterey County Office of Education. We have 26 school districts, I’m going to bring cloud computing to all school districts in Monterey County. All I remember was everyone’s face, and they’re like, in my head, I’m like, why did I just but the way I got in on that, just so you move fast forward is because I was hired as the first lol, slash ad tech coordinator at that county office. Prior to that, I was part of the tablet conferencing logistics project. But my view has always been this how do we enhance the teaching and learning of English learners? Because no matter where you looked at, it wasn’t there. I mean, brightening. I thank you for saying that. Yeah, there’s very few of us who’s continue to do this at cue SD, you know, at all the other ones, but it’s what we need, and it’s you know, it’s the same time. I know when I throw the word lol I know which type of audience I’m going to get in front. So I try not to put ELL and everything. And once again, you know, now that the words out, it’s modern learners, just know you’re gonna get your vegetables inside, but eat You know, the way I break it down is just even thinking about like the beginning, right? So in the beginning is like, Well, how do we modify or simplify language? You know, those slang, you know, speak slower don’t ramble, right? How do we break assignments into segments? So I started thinking about what are some of the components? What are some of the hacks that we already know? Right? Check for comprehension too frequently. And then I started thinking, Okay, there’s why there’s, there’s web whiteboards, right? If you guys use all web, another web whiteboard, but now there’s jam board now there’s tons of stuff, but back then that’s what I would do. So stuff like samples, like, Okay, I’m gonna draw something, right. I’m gonna draw a number three fourths, I would draw on on on the, on the whiteboard. And then I would ask, you know, my audience, I’m like, you know, how many? How many of you know what this means? And of course, everyone does what? You know, they should do they shake their head, like, yes. I’m like, I don’t trust you. I don’t know. I go. I was a kid. Because when I was a kid, I was an English learner myself, right? So I learned how to play school. So what I did you know, in order to survive elementary school, I would look at the smart kids, whatever the smart kids did, I would do because I didn’t understand the language. So when I would see, you know, Joe, who’s the smart one, I’m like, Oh, hey, concert, head to the to the lab. And every time the teacher looks at her eyes, each girl always just shakes her head up and down, like I’m doing the same darn thing. And then every time the teacher pauses, I see everybody writing something. So I learned how to spell in a galaxy far, far away was one of my first phrases. Because I love Star Wars as a kid, I learned how to write my name. And then, you know, I learned lyrics. And that’s what I would write, but I would I learned how to play school. So anyways, going back to the whole web whiteboard, it’s like, how do you check for comprehension frequently throughout, right? And that’s what I started to do is like, okay, I would write three fourths, and then I would then give the link out to the students. And then I would say, give me a graphic representation of what that number means to you. And then on the web, whiteboard, you’re able to see it, and then automatically I know, because, yes, math is a universal language, right? Well, sometimes. Other times, it’s just the students have a hard time, you know, trying to figure out what you’re saying. But this, you know, this type of teacher strategies would allow me to see the inside of my kids heads no matter what level they were in. So then I continue on, like, okay, that’s one. And then how do we model expectations for finished products, right? And then, of course, I would develop something, whether it was on Google or Padlet, or what was the first one? … We can use Google drawing for now. Anyways, back in those times, I remember being in was either at Yahoo, or Google. But I remember the number the number was there was about 135. tech tools that come out every two weeks. And this was back in the day. Right?

Brent Warner
On a list, you mean? That coming out…

Martin Cisneros
yeah, it’s just like, you know, and it’s probably a lot more now. But this was me on now. I’m literally dating myself. This was like, 13, 14 years ago, right? So in my head, you know, when I became a tech TOSA in 1999, the first thing I told myself is like, Okay, my thing you have to know all the technology, it is now your job to know all the technology. I used to use tech Batman as my name back in the days. And I would say okay, learn how to use the tool and learn how to use it for teaching and learning. And then that’s what I would do. So when people would come up to me when I got in the the county office, or the statewide job was seated, people will say, How do you know so many tools I’m like, cuz I’ve been doing this for 10 years now. It’s like a genome. It’s almost like cooking, right? Like, you know, everyone starts off with peanut butter and jelly sandwich. And then you keep on adding the different layers in those, you know, it’s the same thing with teaching, same thing with learning. And I now say to folks at safety with Ed Tech as well, right? You then go to the next one. How do you modify grading, right? And then for me, and I always remember, this is like, you know, how do you separate language versus content? Because sometimes I would be graded on my language, but not the content that was producing. And it goes back to the old thing and say, you know, I always used to tell folks, it’s like, you know, being a bilingual person in our school system is you work four times as hard but only get a quarter of the credit. Yeah. In my head as an educator is like, how do I become the educator I wish I had in front of me when I was growing up. Now mind you, I had great educators where I grew up, but they did not know these methods. They try whatever they could, which I still think from for up until this day, but that was the whole component. That’s where I started off. It’s like, Okay, what are the instructional strategies? And then I started thinking about you know, language arts, right. And here’s a question for both of you. If you get this right, I might buy you a coffee each. You ready for this?

Brent Warner
Okay, let’s give it a try.

Martin Cisneros
Alright Brent, Ixchell: What are the language arts?

Brent Warner
Ixchell, you go first, the smart person goes first, right?

Ixchell Reyes
And the language learner. You knew English as your first language. You go first and I’ll do whatever you say. And

Brent Warner
Wait a second! We gotta we gotta break – We got a mental separation. Some sort of schism here

Ixchell Reyes
Language Arts? You mean like Reading?

Brent Warner
Reading, writing, listening, speaking, writing… grammar? Does grammar fall into there?

Martin Cisneros
Close… It’s like saying, Yeah, the enterprise is part of Star Wars,

Brent Warner
Hmmm..

Martin Cisneros
It’s in space, but it’s not part of the realm. Okay.

Ixchell Reyes
I’m not getting any coffee!

Brent Warner
Oh, yeah. Well, hmm… What did we miss?

Martin Cisneros
Okay. And this is really weird, right? viewing and visual representation. Visual representing. Those are the other two. I know, I see this everywhere I go. And don’t worry, no one ever gets it, right. Because it’s not something you think about and it’s so relevant in today

Brent Warner
That’s Martin’s safe bet on offering the coffee’s like nobody gets it. I’ve never given away a coffee of my life. (laughter)

Martin Cisneros
Why do you think I’m so wired all the time?

Brent Warner
Because you’re just drinking the ones you’re planning on giving away that you never had to give them out. (laughter)

Martin Cisneros
No, no, no, but you know, it’s, you know, when they think about this, it’s viewing requires a similar skill to reading comprehension for hillels. Right, and includes everything from images video presentation. So, you know, I’m, by the way, I did listen to a variety of your podcast before today’s session, and I was like, Oh, this is great. And it was interesting to hear a lot of your guests are right spot on, especially when we think about video, right? Video cuts in through so many different ways. And you know, but that was like my, my number one thing is, and we all remember this, right? Remember the wonderful rainy days when you heard the cart coming into the classroom. Even still today –

Ixchell Reyes
A giant one, you had to like, flip it over. Those are awesome days as a student, those were awesome days.

Martin Cisneros
But you know, that that always been a connecting with me, because, you know, I would figure out like different ways of using the screen, right. So even though I would create these different things, like you know, to get my students in two partners, and one of them have the ability to view the screen, the other person would view out. So the person who was viewing had to describe what he or she was viewing, and then the other person would try to write it out. And of course, if they didn’t understand that, we’ll try to draw it out, right. But it was a great way of connecting students and figuring it out. And then of course, at the very end, we would switch it around, and then the other person would view and there was still the same video. But sometimes I would use like these very, I always love to use Saturday Night Live shorts, because you never knew what the plan was going to be towards the end. And then at the end, of course, we would view them all together as a class, and then we would talk about, but it was always about, you know, trying to use as many of the language arts in one activity. And then with technology, of course, you know, I used to roll the cart. And of course, now we have, you know, all these wonderful programs that we can use for that type of stuff. But you know, that was my concept. My concept is how do we use technology to engage you know, all these students, because it’s not if they’re going to use technology is how they’re going to use technology, right. And as soon as I thought about that, and I started looking at even honestly, you guys both know, Marley, I think Mary Lee or Marley, I don’t know how to pronounce her name, I apologize, Springer. And I remember reading when Common Core came out where it said that researchers estimate that 85% of the achievement test scores are based on the vocabulary of certain parts of vocabulary. And she listed out like, here are the critical verbs here are the critical nouns. And she did it by grade level. And I remember teaching that to my staff, and just they were just amazed about in the how a lot of us just understanding those test questions. And they just made me you know, started to dig deeper into. I’m calling these hacks I’m calling these learning hacks, right? And how do we create these learning hacks? So over the years, you know, I started looking at stuff like the can do descriptors by WIDA. Right? And like, how do we get students like how do we understand no matter what level our students are on? What are they capable of doing? Because most people always go for Oh, they can’t do this. They can’t. And that’s, that, to me is like a negative approach. It’s like what?

Ixchell Reyes
That lacking mentality? Yeah,

Martin Cisneros
Yes! So that’s, you know, I started to to poke around in that area, and it was pretty much like the science of learning, right? But in the width, what’s the lens of an ELL is like, how would then I can modify that to use him here. So when I go back, you know, I no longer that’s why I no longer say you know, whatever the name of the title is in insert ELLs in here I just say modern learners because that’s what it is, you know, modern learning,

Brent Warner
Modern learning for Modern Learners? (laughter)

Martin Cisneros
Or my favorite title,

Brent Warner
the broad one, right? you just get everybody

Martin Cisneros
But my favorite title will always be these aren’t your old ELD strategies with a picture of an older woman doing handstands. So that was that was my favorite one. But when they when they started, you know, switching roles and you know, when I started working at the county office, and now that I work as technology director, there’s certain questions because, you know, we there’s, there’s literally tons of tools are out there, just like there are tons of strategies. So, you know, I always tell folks is like, what are some questions that leaders should consider when purchasing are looking at technology for your English learners? And the first one I think about is what role do you think technology should play in educating our ELS? What’s the role? Right, number two, what types of technology do you currently use with iOS in your school? And why? Because a lot of times we buy stuff, and then we’re, you know, the whole ELs, like, a second part is like, oh, it came with the program, right?

Ixchell Reyes
Like iPads going out in LA County. (laughter)

Brent Warner
That goes into the whole, like UDL thing too, right? Because if you’re building from the beginning with DLLs, in mind, and you know, like saying, Hey, we can start with these things. And we’re understanding that base of students as a primary, right, and then they can easily be put out to everybody, right? I mean, this is why I always promote Google Docs with my students and everything, because it’s like, it doesn’t matter that you’re a language learner. When you learn this skill you’re building, you’re building your language at the same time, but you’re building another skill that you will use once you’re not in our courses, you know, ESL student anymore, right? This is the road to your goal, the language learning is not your goal, your goal is in the college level, right? Take the college classes, get your degree, get a job, right, and you want to have the English for that. But I always do that same idea with like, you know, why I use Google as my base is because it’s so universal, and it doesn’t matter. It’s not built for language learning. It’s not that little side special project that you’re never gonna see, again, you’re gonna use that every single day.

Martin Cisneros
Yes, yes. Now, you’re, you’re you’re right on it. But that’s, you know, that’s been the journey. And then, you know, recently because, you know, I don’t know if you guys both heard that. There was this little thing called COVID. That happened globally.

Brent Warner
What’s that?

Martin Cisneros
And, and, of course, threw us all into different things. But one of the things, you know, like I said, I work with teachers I worked with, you know, students at different grade levels. But this past year, one, one of the things I’m most proud of, is working with parents and para educators, right, who make up you know, the other adults that support our students. And I cannot tell you about, you know, like I said, before, you know, I’ve learned to develop, you know, I used to call them toolkits, I just now call them learning hacks. So, I have learning hack toolboxes for students, I have learning hack toolboxes for teachers, learning hack toolboxes for principals, learning hack toolbox is for now para educators, and my latest ones learning hack toolbox is for parents, right? What should we be teaching our parents and then, you know, so when, when things broke out, I started to do these, these sessions for definitely for my teachers, but then I started doing these for my classified staff as well, the para educators, the other people who support our students. And then I did a, I started doing webinars for parents, which was my biggest surprise, because once they learn, okay, this is how you upload to, you know, Google Classroom or, or seesaw, whatever, you know, program that their teacher was using was like, Hey, can you know, he showed us some other things and there was a call from them, it’s like, this is pretty good. Like, okay, I’m

Ixchell Reyes
And parents are asking for it now.

Martin Cisneros
Yeah, so let’s talk about some strategies that you can use at home with your students, like, you know, and it could be like basic stuff. So, Brent, you say, you remember the do’s and don’ts, you know, those sessions, right? So I pretty much ended up doing a do’s and don’ts with with, with parents as well. It’s like, Okay, if you’re going to watch a video, and let’s just say, you know, what’s, what does your kid watch me? Oh, he watches YouTube, like, great. Does he understand and then we went through like playback right. So I, you know, I love podcasts, because I can tell you, I started listening to your guys’s podcast on iOS at one and a half speeds. So me listening to you right now. I’m like, why are they so slow?

Brent Warner
You guys been drinking today? (laughter)

Martin Cisneros
So, but and then I show them like, you can do this, not only with podcast, but you can also do this with YouTube. And here’s the difference, you know, sounding and their mouth just dropped. Like what? We can slow things down. I’m like, yeah, you don’t have to slow it down. So doing that doing, you know, the the closed captioning, right? And then oh, when does this come out?

Brent Warner
Monday,

Ixchell Reyes
Monday, June 21, because you’re going to..

Martin Cisneros
Okay, so two days after this. comes out, there’s gonna be some new enhancements to Google products, that’s going to help a lot of English learners. So that’s all I’m gonna say.

Ixchell Reyes
Oh! I know about this. I think I know about this…

Martin Cisneros
Yes! it’s going amazing. But it’s gonna be part of these hacks. And what I tell folks now is doesn’t matter whether you are an English learning teacher or educator you have been or you have not been or you don’t know, if you’re in California, and you don’t think you have English learners, they’re hiding! They are inside your classroom. And y’know so I tell folks is just, you know, I, I come scaffold hooks for everyone. Like, these are learning hacks. So how do you learn, right? So I tell people like, Hey, you know what, in my phone, when I listen to podcasts, if it’s a normal podcast, like the DIESOL podcast, it’s in my regular podcast in a component, but if I need to learn a subject, I download email was a stretcher. Stitcher, yeah, so I use Stitcher, and they just put the name of whatever the subject is, and then I get a list of all these different podcasts are talking about that same subject. And guess what, that becomes my PD in my car. I say this to parents, right? Like, what do you want to learn? Well, you know, my math skills are not as good as they used to be. And now my kid is getting up in the grade. I’m like, Okay, this is what you do. This is how you learn. These are the places that you go. And I’m showing the same thing that we show kids, right, use closed captionings. Right. You know, they’re like, well, I get, you know, there’s certain times that I there’s a lot of articles, I wish I can read them like great. podcasts. Yeah. So I’m like, hey, there’s tools like, you know, read and write. And I show him the tool where you can grab any text, and it turns it into an mp3, and then I show them how to upload that to their phone. And they’re like, what I’m like, yeah, now the whole internet is your audio book.

Brent Warner
There’s a new one, Martin. And then we these tools just show up all the time, but I’m super infatuated with it. It’s called Audi blogs, a u d i b l o g s. And it turns it does that it does that all automatically. And it puts it into an RSS feed custom for you that you can put right into stitcher or whatever one you want. So like, you’re just like, I want to read this article later, later, Later, it’ll all convert the whole thing into it’ll, it’ll read it. And the pretty good, you know, digital voice, like, those voices are pretty good now. And then it reads the whole thing for you, and you have your own custom subscription for yourself. So yeah, I’m starting to show people, those ones to like some of my students, I’m like, if you’re interested, but you don’t have the time, like, click click click!

Martin Cisneros
Yeah. Yeah, no. But that’s the fun part of this, right, folks is like, you know, I think each and every one of us can name off tools that have come and gone. And you’re like, no, but you know, the wonderful thing is that there’s new ones always to be seen, it’s in, you know, yeah, so that’s, you know, that’s, that’s the mode that I’m in now is like, how do we create these toolboxes to lead know how to learn in these modern times, and you know, if all things go the way they should, you know, we won’t go back to the old normal. And now we have this great blend of learning how to use these different tools, and in this new space, so that’s where my head’s at right now. And, you know, I continue to update my, my, how to read the internet. It’s another one that I know, I’m known for. And, you know, but it’s always like changing the tools up, right, of how to use these different things. And how do we make these hacks and, you know, come learning hacks, because of my age as well. Because, you know, as like me know, back when I was younger, you know, I was that geek that was literally read through the whole instruction booklet or website and learn how to use every specific thing. And now it’s just like, you know, I’m just gonna Google that that component. You know, watch it. And you know, in two minutes, you know, once again, it’s all about micro learning at this moment, or for myself and everyone else that I know.

Brent Warner
So Martin, we’re gonna have to wrap up in a few minutes. But I did want to get a couple. I want to pull a couple things from you. One, I wanted to jump into your favorite kind of, and I use this term loosely, but your favorite evergreen tool, something that you’re like, I’ve been using that forever, it doesn’t stop being good. And then also, and for, you know, with the idea of language learners for that. And then also, if you’ve got anything that you’re like, this is the brand the new hotness, this is the one that I want to I’m playing with, and I’m enjoying right now. And we know that it won’t last forever. But you can enjoy it while it is.

Martin Cisneros
Well, I gotta tell you the past few years, I have been so keen to just Adobe number one, you know, growing up, not too many of us could afford Adobe. So you would always find you know, these different other hacks, tools, but Adobe Spark for iels Oh, my goodness, right. And besides the video besides the graphics, you know, in my head, what I tell people is, Adobe Spark, especially Adobe Spark video allows you to go through seven different ways of telling stories. And one of the things that you know, for me for ELLs for everyone, whatever tool that you use is, if you can teach your students how to tell their story in multiple formats for multiple audiences, oh, they’re going to have a leg up. Because that’s what we need. Now think about everything that you guys do. If you don’t know how to tell your story, number one, someone’s going to show up for you and then might not be what you want, or you’re not really going to get as far as you would want to. So so that’s that’s my, my, my go through. Right now. And you know, once again, only because I can afford it now as an adult. Right, I got a job. Yeah, yeah. Yeah, they’re, you know, the job does help every now and then. But I love illustrator, Illustrator, and then animate.

Brent Warner
I did not expect that, ok cool. Tell me about those.

Martin Cisneros
Yes. So So illustrator is just like, you know, I’m, once again, “Dos Mujeres, Un Camino”, I started graphic designer, right. So, you know, if you ever look at my presentations, I spend days on those things, right. So now, it’s like, well, now that I have like, the cool stuff, it’s like, well, you know, Adobe, Adobe does some really cool stuff. So illustrator for graphics, premiere rush. Oh, yeah. We, I tell people it’s like iMovie, with artificial intelligence, you know, baked in. Right. So that’s the other one. And then what’s the other one that I said, the AI is animate, which I love, because that’s like the next iteration. And it’s all about storytelling, right? where kids can take, you know, just like we’re seeing each other now on cameras. And when it’ll do, it’ll morphew into a cartoon, but then you can then tell the story, you can then move it, and you learn how to code at the same time. So in my head is all these hacks right? Once again, modern knowledge, what are we doing? We’re teaching kids new language. We’re teaching kids how to tell stories, we teaching kids, the new technology. And not only that, but in a way, think about that. So you’re able to create these images with Adobe cloud, and then put them on products. You know, you can put your logo, your DIESOL logo on a can, what would you know, what would DIESOL fuel tastes like? Right? that kind of a deal?

Ixchell Reyes
Our new merch!

Brent Warner
Yeah, our new energy drink. Get it while it’s hot!

Martin Cisneros
So in my head is like, I’m always looking at how to tell stories, you know, building all the six different language arts that we now know. Right? And then, of course, is building modern knowledge for kids, because these are the tools that they’re going to create, we’re now living at a time where we’re no longer buying or I should say, downloading apps, where you have to do what it’s told my nine year old, who is bilingual, and on the spectrum, understands that every app he downloads he can modify to do whatever he wants it to do. Right. And that’s like my next projection. My next prediction is, how do we enhance you know, the teaching and learning of our special needs kids on the E Ll spectrum as well. So that’s, that’s my next chapter. So hopefully, you know, in the next few years, you’ll you’ll be seeing some more stuff for me coming from there.

Brent Warner
But you’re gonna come back and talk about that one.

Ixchell Reyes
Yeah. So that’s another area.

Martin Cisneros
Yeah, definitely. But, yeah, so thank you both this, this has been fun.

Ixchell Reyes
Yeah, you are a trailblazer of all sorts and I’m so happy to have you on, that we that you were able to get you on the show.

Martin Cisneros
Yeah, I know, you know, just because of time. And it’s been a it’s been really, really nuts. As far as timing goes, but yeah, thank you. And I just gotta say, the podcast I listened to you guys are rocking it. So thank you, because I wish I had heard your podcast as I was in the classroom, it would have made such a huge difference. So thank you.

Brent Warner
Thank you.

Ixchell Reyes
All right, it is time for our fun finds. And this time, I have this little app called charging play. And I like things like LED lights and just you know anything to make my phone look a little extra. And this charging play app adds animation when to your screen whenever you’re charging your phone. So I have this little this little unicorn with rainbows that plays until the battery is charged and I love stuff like that. So

Brent Warner
Won’t that thing suck awa the energy at the same time?

Ixchell Reyes
No!! But I love it and it there’s a free version and that’s good enough, but if you don’t like that little unicorn, you’ve got to pay to get the other stuff but I’m okay with the unicorn. I love it. I love the rainbows.

Brent Warner
All right. So mine is uh… we’re going into summer, so I’m going to go with kayaking. I went down to the Back Bay down the road from me a little bit and jumped on a kayak with my nephew last week. You can and it was good fun, like just, you know, cruising out around the harbor a little bit, getting some exercise. You know, it wasn’t too strenuous until some of the big boats came around. But it’s a it’s a nice relaxing summer activity. So kayaking for me, Martin, what do you got?

Martin Cisneros
Well, it’s probably it’s not new to me but you in and hopefully new to you, but it’s all about the mushroom coffee folks. I’m all about not only learning hacks, but also brain hacks. And you know, besides good sleep besides exercising more than they happen in a while. It’s also meditation, but you know, I switched my coffee up so I now use Laird’s coffee and superfood creamer so mushrooms so you have Lion’s Mane for concentration that allows you to concentrate five or six hours more than usual and it has the chocolates was like 1,000% of vitamin C you know great for your immune system and it has cortisol so like I say, you know I I didn’t go all peloton I went Exelon you know there’s there’s other things I wanted to buy sure, but it just allows you to go you know fast not faster, but it gives you that that stamina, right I feel it. Oh yeah, cuz I it’s only 15% of caffeine of a regular cup of coffee. But yeah, and I and then I add they also sell the superfood creamer and the superfood it just tastes yummy. And number two, it has you know these other mushrooms so and I know what you’re thinking is like, yeah, much is it my pizza or my salad? But no, it tastes like instant coffee. It tastes like you’re you’re obsolete us coffee. Right? caffeinated. Oh, yeah. So that’s my hack, and I love it. It’s like it’s been two years now. And you know that along with intermittent fasting you know, I now go and it’s literally people say well how can you go How can you do so much? Well, you you hack you make the time and you know, food is fuel. It’s also like vitamins it’s it’s you know, it’s it’s you know, the food is the drug of choice, eat good stuff, be good to your body, rest, exercise, and meditate and life becomes what you want it to be.

Brent Warner
Awesome.

Ixchell Reyes
Thank you so much for listening to the show, you could win a one of a kind DIESOL pin by leaving us a review on Apple podcasts. And if you’re giving us a shout out any other way, tag us on social media and Martin, you’re getting one we’re sending you one for being a guest on the show. So we’ll get that to you.

Martin Cisneros
Thank you!

Brent Warner
So we do have the Patreon we have $1 $3 $6 levels and Martin with this you’re going to be the first one first guest to do the little bonus, quick, quick interview episode for the Patreon as well so

Martin Cisneros
Awesome!

Brent Warner
So we’ll be jumping in there if you’re interested in that. We have show notes available at DIESOL.org/44 and you can also listen to us on voiceEd Canada vo i c e d.ca. You can find us on twitter The show is @DIESOLpod and I am @BrentGWarner

Ixchell Reyes
I’m Ixchell Reyes at Ixy underscore Pixy that’s I x y underscore p i x y and Martin, they can find you at

Martin Cisneros
@theTechProfe the Tech Profe

Ixchell Reyes
we’ll have that in the show notes

Brent Warner
Martin is there any anywhere else that you’d like people to find you or is Twitter your your go to?

Martin Cisneros
You can find me anywhere LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram the tech profe anywhere or at the techprofe.com if you want one location and see what I’m doing next. That’s a great place to go if you want to connect with me I also that’s the place you want to go because I’ll you know some people don’t like the socials they’d like something called email still. I still reply and if you want I can mail you something too. So there’s nothing wrong with the old Pony Express. (laughter)

Ixchell Reyes
Awesome. Well, I will be sure to link that in the show notes.

Martin Cisneros
In Espanol. Thank you Is Gracias. Gracias, or Mil Gracias for tuning into the DIESOL podcast.

Brent Warner
Thanks, everybody.

Martin Ricardo Cisneros (@TheTechProfe) is a Modern Learning Advisor, speaker, GeekDad, TechJedi, SuperMariachi, and a  Director of Technology from Silicon Valley!

At his current position, he provides strategic leadership in anticipating and developing appropriate and innovative systems to future needs and challenges regarding the District’s information technology program and blended learning in the workplace and classroom. Join Brent and Ixchell as Martin shares his journey as a trail-blazer in the EdTech world!

Fun Finds

  • Ixchell -Charging Play App
  • Brent –  Kayaking
  • Martin – Mushroom Coffee
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