Carol Mortensen has twenty-four years of educational experience. She began as a substitute teacher as she worked toward her degree. Upon graduation, Carol began teaching middle school Math and Algebra I and served as the technology liaison for her campus. She served as a teacher for 16 years and was lucky to have taught at Hillcrest Middle School, a 1:1 campus where every student was issued a laptop computer. She also worked as an Instructional Technology Trainer for her district providing training and technology integration support for campus and district staff, faculty and administrators.
Carol has served as the Campus Technology Integration Specialist at Fairmont Junior High and South High School in Deer Park Independent School District. In this position, Carol provided integration support and training to the students, staff, faculty, and administrators at the campus and district level. In addition, Carol is an online Math instructor for Aventa Learning and K12.
The Texas Computer Education Association (TCEA) named Carol the Classroom Teacher of the Year for her innovative and creative use of technology to create a 24/7 virtual classroom using her classroom website. Carol has presented at school districts throughout Texas as well as state and local conferences on a variety of technology integration topics. Her article on the use of websites as an instructional tool was recently published in the TechEdge Magazine. In February 2011, her article, Lessons Learning In a 1:1 Classroom, was published by TechEdge. The article will be republished in ISTE‘s Learning and Leading magazine. She was named Fairmont Junior High’s Teacher of the Year for the 2011-2012 school year.
Carol is passionate about the positive impact that technology has on student achievement. Her presentations are packed with real-life solutions, quality resources, and humor. She has an ability to connect with her audience and motivate them to take technology integration to a higher quality level.
":As an educator, when I am given a new tool my first thought is “how can I use this in the classroom? How will I roll this out?” However, I have learned over the years that I need to pause, step back, and think, “Okay, how is this tool going to make my life and job easier? How can I use iPad to make me a better teacher?” Before I rush ahead with how I am going to roll out this device in my classrooms, I need to effectively incorporate it into my life and figure out how to use iPads to make me a better teacher."
The face of a hero - The heart of HCM. Zak, age 10, is waiting for a new heart. Learn more how you can help and what this means to you, as an educator!
Carol Mortensen's insight:
Three upcoming heart transplants in this family! I’m just sitting here thinking about this and it really makes my head and my heart spin. I truly wish that we could bring about awareness of hypertrophy cardiomyopathy (HCM) through the sharing of our family story. Imagine the lives that could be saved because someone learned about this and got that priceless checkup that brought about awareness before it was too late.
Yes, it is so difficult but we are so very blessed that we know about this disease before it took the lives of these precious boys and their dad. Because we know, we can minimize risk. This disease is different for everybody for us, it is malignant and aggressive. If our story could make a difference to someone, even one person, who might have a fighting chance because they know, it would mean the world to each and every one of us.
I am a teacher, Zak’s Mom is a teacher, Zak’s aunt is a teacher….think about it…1 in 500 people have this. If you are an educator, how many students does that mean are in your school who have this disease and probably have no idea? We have to get this word out…to inform…to share….
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There are so many ways to help Zak realize his dream of running again and ensuring he has a second chance at life! Just reading this is one and we thank you for that!! First, please let me share what we are trying to accomplish.
Zak is 10 years old and was diagnosed with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) when he was 4. He and his older brother, then 8, were diagnosed on the same day. The doctor provided little hope to Zak’s family. They sought out the guidance of doctor’s at Texas Children’s Hospital where the discussed all options, including heart transplant. In order to provide the best care for Zak and his older brother, the family moved to Houston. Since the age of 4, Zak and his brother have not been able to run or do the things that little boys love to do! He dreams of running someday and we dream of watching him run.
The road has been bumpy and Zak’s disease is progressive and aggressive. The family had already lost Zak’s two aunts, one at the age of 16 and the other at the age of 33, and their paternal grandmother to this disease. Their father, originally diagnosed as mild, is now seriously ill from HCM and in 2013, was too ill for a heart transplant. He received an LVAD in hopes that he would improve enough to get a heart transplant. He is expected to be listed for his new heart in June, 2014. Zak’s older brother, also considered mild, was found to have heart scarring and the thickness of his heart doubled in a year’s time. He received an ICD/Pacemaker and will need a new heart in the future.
Today is Zak’s 396th day on the heart transplant list. In 2013, a month before he was listed for his heart transplant, Zak’s ICD saved his life. He struggles with shortness of breath and has been struggling lately with a junctional rhythm causing the top of his heart to beat out of sync with the bottom of his heart. The result is bouts of dizziness, nausea, vomiting, and weakness. Yet, our heart hero remains positive and never fails to smile. He’s mischievous, loving, and has an amazing sense of humor. Most of all, he is brave.
As a group of volunteers made up of family and friends, our primary goal is to raise $50,000 for transplant-related expenses. The truth is the financial burden is overwhelming, even with insurance. Therefore, donations to COTA in Honor of Zak M. are needed. The Children's Organ Transplant Association (COTA) is a national charity dedicated to organizing and guiding communities in raising funds for transplant-needy patients and donations are 100% tax deductible.
If you would like to hold a fundraiser for Zak, please contact Carol Mortensen, Community Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or, you can check out our current fundraisers and join in. We have one that is very easy called "Can You Spare A Dollar" going on right now and you can learn more by clicking here.
We are also selling this A Heart For Zak coffee mug and 100% of the proceeds are being sent directly to COTA in Honor of Zak M. Just click the mug to get yours.
Not everyone has the ability to donate and we sure do understand that. But, there is a very easy way to donate simply by connection to COTA in Honor of Zak M. when you make online purchases, search, or even play games online. Just go to http://www.goodsearch.com/ and sign up. Be sure to pick the Children's Organ Transplant Association (COTA) for Zak M. as your charity. Then, use Goodsearch to perform searches and use GoodShop when you purchase online. There are many other no-cost activities that will also result in a donation to COTA for Zak M. The companies associated have agreed to donate a % of the sales to the charity you selected. This costs nothing to you but helps so much! Last year, $150 dollars was donated to COTA in Honor of Zak M. and was raised just by people using Goodsearch to search and Goodshop when shopping.
We have a second goal of spreading awareness of Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM) in hopes that others will seek medical care. Because this disease is often undiagnosed, we hope that knowing about Zak and his family will encourage others to find out if they are affected. While the disease is not curable and is progressive, knowing that it is present can help them take precautions to minimize risk. Therefore, may we ask that you share Zak's story by encouraging others to like his page on Facebook at www.facebook.com/aheartforzak, following his journey at www.twitter.com/aheartforzak)">Twitter (www.twitter.com/aheartforzak), Instagram (www.instagram.com/aheartforzak), and here on this blog. Please share, share, and share again the posts, tweets, and blog entries.
And, most of all, please accept our thanks for the amazing outpouring of support for our brave boy!!! The journey has been difficult but you all have definitely made the road easier to bear.
Carol Mortensen Community Coordinator, COTA For Zak M.
Please allow me to tell my sad story with Symbaloo! As you all know, I was passionate about them and I poured hours upon hours into developing educational webmixes on specific content. I was with them through their growing pains and there were many. I remember when they first had a Pro account and I was the first one to purchase one. It was a nightmare and my webmixes were separated, mixed, and put under a different name. At the time, Daniella who worked with them, kept trying to help me with the large amount of problems it caused. I was using it so frequently and with large groups of people, the situation was nightmarish. The problem was that they were a company who had no real understanding of the education world and their role in it. They needed educators for that purpose and I was glad to help. If only I had a crystal ball to see the future....Click to read more!