Thursday, January 28, 2010

Weekly Byte 2.1.10

Another great week in the world of technology!
I had the opportunity to attend Google Training on Jaunary 28-29. What a great experience. Every teacher should attend this training. We learned about efficient searches, google docs, maps, sites, calendar, reader and some advanced items. Many of these will benefit teachers and students in and out of the classroom. I will be sharing what I have learned with everyone in the near future at a workshop. For now you can log into the Franklin Regional Moodle site and find the link to my resource page, FR Technorati. There is a whole section on Google Tools. This is a work in progress and I will continue to update this section.

Websites of the Week
Does anyone have their students do outlines? Well here is a simple, online, free, collaborative option for your students that they would love. Students can register and then create their outlines using this tool. They can also collaborate with others on their outlines.
Profile Publisher
Ever use the Facebook mock up to have your students make a fake Facebook profile for a character in history or in a book? In case you didn't know it is illegal to use the Facebook layout in this manner. Profile Publisher has swooped in and saved the day! This tool works in the same fashion and does the same thing but without breaking any laws.

Here are some interesting questions from the Educon Conference.
1. What does an educated person look like today?
2. What is the purpose of school?
There were many more at this link but I would like to hear what some of your answers to these questions. Please reply to this post with your answers.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Weekly Byte 1.23.10

I am working diligently to make this truly a weekly byte. There has been some commentary on the fact that it is not always weekly so bear with me Mike and Melissa!
Technology is rolling along here at FR and in Westmoreland County. Last week we had the Science Technology collboration day at Derry Senior High School. Mark, Dottie and Teresa participated and found it to be helpful to see what others are doing in their content area in the county. Many valuable science tools and best practices were shared. Here are two links to wikis from the workshop:
Please feel free to access and use these tools.
The next content area Tech Day will take place at Burrell Senior High School on February 12th. This day will give Social Studies teachers the opportunity to share technology tools and best practices. Please email me if you would be interested in attending.
Teacher Highlights
The Ninth Grade Academy Tech Unit is in full swing! We have been working together on Moodle and Glogster in the Success 101 classes. So far things have been going well. There is now a NGA Moodle page with video tutorials on how to use these tools. Students and teachers have enjoyed the unit and are learning alot. Next week we will be using Google Docs and comic creation tools!
Teacher Highlights 2
This is really cool! Mr Earl and two senior students participated in a video conference call using Skype! The students and Mr. Earl spoke with an admissions person from the University of Georgia through Skype. Georgia performs these "interviews" online to make it easier for them to meet with prospective students.
Website of the Week
Dabbleboard is an online collaboration application that’s centered around the whiteboard. With a new type of drawing interface that's actually easy and fun to use, Dabbleboard gets out of your way and just lets you draw. This tool would be useful to allow students and teachers to collaborate in a free online environment. It works just like a promethean board but without the cost of the hardware. Students could work in groups to plan projects. Very cool!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Weekly Byte 1.15.10

Good day!

Many people make New Year's resolutions at this time of year, lose weight, stop drinking pop, cutting out sweets, whatever. Last year at this time I shared some of these technology resolutions with you. I thought this would be a good time to offer some things to think about as it pertains to resolutions in your classroom.

Technology Resolutions
1. Take a look at your class from the students' perspective--ask yourself just how engaging are they really finding it?
2. Recognize that technology tools change on a daily basis. Make an effort to find the tools that work for you.
3. You don't have to remake yourself as a teacher, but you do need to consider how incorporating some new tools and resources could make your classes better for the students. Show them that you're willing to make a move in their direction by adding a new dimension to one of your lessons.
4. Find someone you trust who has a tech tool they like and sit in on their class to see how they use it.
5. Start small. Think of one task or one assignment that could easily be given a 21st century makeover. Get help to find a tool that will work and that you can manage.
6. Suck it up and try it out--make the necessary arrangements and find a tech-savvy person who will co-teach the lesson if you can.
7. You are right to assume that things will go wrong--have a back-up plan ready--you may need it. Know that you have been teaching long enough to handle a quick change-up if you need to.
8. Trust the kids--they'll help you with the technology--that's what they're good at.

Know that I am here to help you!

Ed Tech Article of the Week
This is an interesting article on the impact of whiteboards on education.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Weekly Byte 1.10.10

Happy New Year!
Welcome back to school. We had an interesting first week with all the snow. Its always a good day when you get that 2hr delay. That rhymes! Anyways we have alot going on and a lot of technology coming up.
I will be working next week with the NGA on a technology unit. It kicks off Wednesday with a speaker on Technology Ethics! We will then be working with the 9th graders on Moodle and Google Docs! Good stuff.
I have also been approved to offer six technology sessions after school for Act 48 credits. Sessions on Using Moodle effectively, ActivInspire, Photostory, Google Docs, and advanced technologies will be offered. Watch your email for more info.
Teacher Highlight
I have been working with Melissa, Lisa and Samantha using Google Docs in the Social Studies Department. We had some issues with Google Docs so it was not a complete success but we learned alot about the product and will use this information to better use Google Docs in the future. Thank you ladies for having me in your classrooms!
In case you are wondering what Google Docs is:Tour of Google Docs
Website of the Week
This is a math resource that provides free online math tutorials that show how to solve different types of math problems in Algebra, Geometry, Trigonometry and Calculus. The tutorials are free but the SAT and ACT prep sections are a fee based service. This would be a good tool for remediation/enrichment on a variety of math concepts.
Advanced Technology Tool of the Week
Cacoo is a feature-rich collaborative diagram creation resource. Like similar diagram creation tools, Cacoo allows you to draw shapes, type, and drag and drop elements of your diagram. One of the unique aspects of Cacoo is that you can also upload images to include in your diagrams. The collaborative aspect of Cacoo is that you can invite other people to contribute to your diagrams. Cacoo allows you to chat with your collaborators in real-time while you work on your diagrams.
As always please contact me if you are interested in using any technologies in your classroom and we can discuss how I can help you.