Thursday, December 31, 2009

Destination 2010

As I watched the morning news programs on this final day of the decade, one segment that caught my attention was New York Magazine's "Items Rendered Obsolete in the Last Ten Years." Among that list were answering machines, floppy discs, the Rolodex, phone books, cassette tapes, checks, and postage stamps.
Now that I think about it, I rarely write a check and my book of stamps now lasts for months. Google is my preferred choice when looking up a phone number, my cell phone carrier takes care of my voice mail, and I sold all of my cassette tapes on a rummage for a quarter a piece--(Yes, I even sold BonJovi). I haven't touched a 3.5" floppy for a couple years, except maybe to throw them out.
My personal techie life in this past decade has changed gradually, subtly, yet drastically. Skype is now my answer for long-distance calls, I cut my land-line cord in 2008, and I cannot remember the last time I actually dialed 411. My dial-up Internet connection lost out to broadband cable sometime in 2002, Google Maps & a Garmin replaced my Rand McNally atlas, and I'm quite certain I misplaced my PDA--either that or my Blackberry had an app to vaporize it.
What really strikes me, however, is how the tech in the classroom has changed since the year 2000. I remember absolutely begging my principal for a Gateway Destination system for my 1st grade classroom. He had ordered one for a 4th grade room, but couldn't see the lower elementary applications. Now, this baby had it all: MMX technology, 31" monitor, wireless keyboard, remote thumb mouse, 32 mb of RAM, 2.5 gig hard drive, and combined PC/TV for the shocking price of $2999. I could even hook my new-fangled laser disc player to it...even thought the AEA only had a small selection of titles. And, when my students weren't creating our class alphabet book using KidPix, they could use one of the Apple IIes with the 5.25" floppy disc to practice race-car math.
We didn't blog or wiki, and because YouTube wasn't around until 2005, we didn't post our alphabet book to the web. We did, however, e-mail "The Tree That Wouldn't Die." Surprisingly, it replied. The mind-set of the time was to use the Destination System as an instructional tool, but I tried at every turn to put it in the hands of my 6-7 year olds.
May of 2000 was the year I took my leave of absence, and no, the many "Y2K" meetings were not a catalyst for my leaving. I knew I'd miss the students as well as my co-workers, but as I closed my room for the final time that summer, I wondered how I'd ever convince another principal to get me my own Destination system. I couldn't possibly teach without it.
(On a humorous side-note, when I returned to teaching in 2005, my middle school classroom had a Destination System which accumulated mounds of dust thanks to the SmartBoard I had convinced my principal to let me permanently check out from the media center.)
In 2000, I didn't imagine streaming video for our students let alone publishing their works on the web. Receiving the e-mail from the "Tree That Wouldn't Die" was cool, but Skyping it would have been amazing. In my 2000 classroom, Responders were defined as the students who consistently raised their hands. Who would have ever imagined the formative assessment these little clickers could provide?
Now, on the verge of 2010, the mind set is not only focused on an instructional tool for teachers, but a learning tool for students--allowing them to be producers of their own learning. Just think in 10 short years how different our ed tech landscape looks...and what another 10 years has in store.

Friday, December 11, 2009

On the Move!!!

This week and next week are going to be absolutely crazy. We are in the middle of our pack and move to our new admin building. Boxes are a mile high and if I needed something I have no idea which box I put it in.
Besides the move we had a day and a half off because of snow. So in other words not a lot of coaching went this week. I spent some time on the phone with the wonderful people from e-instruction. I seem to spend a fair amount of time on the phone them for some reason. My Christmas wish is that someday I can just load a computer with the software from e-instruction and it works perfectly. That's all I want. Not a new car, not all the money in the world, just for the product to work like it is supposed to. That's not too much to ask.

This is going to be a very short post because we are under a deadline for our move to the new administrative building at Jackson Plaza & there is still a lot to pack!

Layne mentioned in an earlier post, but since I have been spending some time trouble-shooting our network issues with it, I thought I'd spotlight it. The picture above is our 6-8th grade Technology Standards and Benchmarks after it has been processed by Wordle. The more often a word is used in a text, the larger it appears. Think of how you can use this in a classroom. I know of one middle school teacher in our district who uses this for her current events in her social studies classes. Students type in the article and they analyze it for main idea, why certain words appear larger, etc.

Check out this slideshow on 43 ways to use Wordle in the classroom.

Now...not to be pessimistic, but our network is having some issues with this. It works fine for me. It works fine in the middle schools. It even works fine on ONE of the computers in an elementary lab...but not the other 26. It says something about our firewall not allowing JAR files, but if this was the case, I assume it wouldn't work for ANYONE. (Mamma always says not to assume anything though). So after trying every possible solution I can think of, I have dumped this into one of our tech's lap. But, give it a is well-worth it!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Give it a chance!!!!

Are we going about this the right way? Are people understanding what our intentions are??

You are always going to have people who question what you are doing and why. This job is no different. As more and more technology is rolled out, and being talked about, half are excited and half are really questioning why. What is the purpose of this technology? Who is going to make me use it? What's in it for me? I am not being negative, I'm just repeating the questions I always hear. I understand not all people are comfortable with technology, but I wish all would give it a chance before the negativity consumes them.

I received an email the other day from a 2nd grade teacher in our district who has come to really embrace the technology in her classroom. It has truly changed how she goes about her business. The email stated..."I created a class game using the CPS. My students love it! My students don’t even realize these are the same questions from worksheets we have recently done. You should see the smiles and hear the “yes” when their group gets the question right. They are so motivated to help each other and to solve the questions. This is truly awesome!! These are the moments the public, school district members, and other nah sayers should see!"

The engagement and learning that is going on in her classroom is amazing. The kids truly do love the technology. I understand being uncomfortable with technology. As a teacher whose job it is to make sure kids are succeeding and growing, I believe it to be a small price to pay to add some amazing tools to your tool box. Eventually you will be as comfortable with the technology as you are with brushing your teeth.

This email really reassures that we are doing the right thing. It's a good feeling to get an email like that from time to time explaining the positive impact that our job and the technology has delivered.I hope that most go in to this venture with an open mind. I am willing to do everything in my power to make sure teachers know how to use the technology and that they are as comfortable as can be.

Atomic Learning

This week I opened up some new software for data gathering & analyzing. (It's called InspireData.) We thought it would be neat to use for gathering data about our roll-out with our new equipment. Even more so, it would be a wonderful tool in the classroom. So as I was flipping through the manual, browsing through the .pdf, and just "jumping right into" the software, I just couldn't seem to find the answer to one of my questions. That's when Jamie said "Why don't you just check out Atomic Learning?"

Ahhhh....Atomic Learning. Have you ever checked it out? I don't know why that didn't occur to me in the first place. I used it in the classroom with my middle school students all the time. It was such a great resource for any software question we had. It was a tool to help students easily teach themselves the specific skill they needed. (No need for a whole-group lesson on how to insert a video into PowerPoint--the students who didn't know how could simply go to Atomic Learning.)

Here's how it works:
1. Go to
2. If you are using a SCCSD networked computer, it should recognize you. Otherwise you will have to use your AEA credentials to log in.
3. When you click on the Home button you will see a menu of choices. You can choose to find an answer to a tech. question or a particular product.
4. Each product has a tutorial broken into 1-2 minute clips.

So, as I logged into Atomic Learning, I was skeptical as to whether they would actually have any video tutorials on InspireData. But, to my pleasant surprise, 35 mini-clips were available for the watching. And sure enough, my question was answered within two minutes.

I think being able to teach yourself to learn is such a valuable skill that we all want our students to do, but as adults sometimes escapes us. Maybe it is the time constraints or simply the work overload that causes us to place new software programs on the back burner or simply throw our hands up. But, that is the beauty of Atomic Learning--you don't have to sit through a 30 minute video just to get to the part that concerns your issue.

If you haven't seen it, I highly recommend it.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Wow I think it has been 3 weeks!!!!

Alright..... Where do I begin. I forget to blog one week and it turns in to like 3 weeks of no blog. It's not to say nothing is going on, it's that too much is going on. I need to get out in the classrooms more and see what is happening. The days of teachers reporting to me all excited are not happening anymore. Our technology roll out is ever changing. This piece is being taken away, this piece is added, now this piece is back.... It is a very exciting time around the schools right now. We are in the process of moving to a new office building, the technology roll out is getting closer and closer, and all my stuff is packed in boxes.
With my position change this year, I truly am beginning to understand things in a different way. I think it would be great for all teachers at some point in their career to be able to go around to other buildings and see how things are done and truly understand why they are done that way. I have also learned that I have more patience than I ever thought I did.
OK. So I will try to be better about the blog. I promise I will have an update by the end of the week.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


As we approach this Thanksgiving Holiday and break, I thought I'd take some time to share what I am thankful for in our district.

Before I took this position, I really didn't realize the hard work that occurs behind the scenes. I've been able to witness first-hand what all of our techs do to make our classrooms connected yet safe. I am so very thankful we have such talent.

I am thankful for our teachers, especially our risk-takers who think outside of the box and who are so very patient with the frustrations that come along with taking those risks.

I am thankful for our "Laynes" & "Neils" out there with such a great vision for this district. The focus on technology in curriculum is beyond anything I've seen before.

I am thankful for being in this coaching position and for the great working relationship I share with my "co-coaches."

I am thankful for our eager students who so intrinsically embrace what we (adults) consider new and innovative.

I am thankful.

Friday, November 20, 2009

It's About Time

...there never seems to be enough of it, especially if you are a teacher. I often say, jokingly, that I want to work at Google. (My credentials wouldn't even get me in the door.) But one aspect of that company that intrigues me is what they call "Innovation Time Off"--or 20% Time. All Google engineers are encouraged to spend one day a week on a project that interests them. (G-Mail and Google News are a product of this time) Think of what a teacher could do with 20% time! In a recent interview with David Warlick, when questioned "What's stopping teachers, what are the challenges they are facing?" he replied

I think one of the biggest challenges facing them is the lack of time. Surgeons don't spend all of their time in surgery; lawyers don't spend all of their time in front of the jury. There's a lot more to teaching than just teaching. It's about collaboration, research, and materials development. There's a lot to teaching today that wasn't part of the job a few years ago. We have to understand that and somehow restructure the day. What we need is for teachers to work eight hours a day: four hours in instructional supervision, four hours in professional planning. Just think what a classroom could be like if every teacher had four hours of planning every day! Just think about the learning that could take place. Isn't that the kind of classroom that our children deserve?

Now I know the answer isn't simple or even something we all can agree upon. But I truly believe that what we are intending to do as a district--the responders, document cameras, projectors, 1 to 1 laptops, technology coaches, etc--can make a dent in that precious lack of time. I totally understand that the prospect of this equipment is exhilarating for some yet intimidating for others. Of course, the student use of technology, information, and learning is our ultimate goal, but if we can demonstrate how this "equipment" can ultimately save a teacher time, I think we will have everyone on board.

This time factor brings up a story I was sharing with Layne earlier. One night, during my first year in my leave of absence as a first grade teacher, my ten year-old son said "Wow, this is the first movie you ever watched with us." (It wasn't, of course) When I protested, he replied, "It's the first movie when you didn't have work on your lap." And, he was right.

Oh...if only I had a set of responders...

Digital textbooks and students with laptops

Hey all,
The article below was published in 2003, but has gotten recent attention due to California’s digital textbook initiative:

It took almost two years for success stories to start flowing.
Click the link to read the article and watch the video.
Excerpt from article: The laptops have spurred a host of projects that often cut across disciplines and allow students to go more deeply into subjects, in contrast to "mile-wide, inch-deep" instruction. Such projects, says Ship Bright, executive director of the Maine Lakes Conservancy Institute (MLCI), help answer the question: "How do we make these laptops more than a $2,000 pencil?"

What I take from this article is that it takes a huge, long-term commitment of more than a few people to make a project like this successful.
Another Digital textbook resource:
Comment below with your reactions!!!

Friday, November 13, 2009

The Beginning of Change

I recall last spring during my interview saying that I believe our district is at the tipping point when it comes to instructional technology, and the majority of my work this past week is the beginning of this "tipping."

If you recall from one of my previous posts that I had a "fire in my belly" about the new direction this district has committed to by requiring technology classes in the middle school, then you will see what a HUGE step this is. I'm a little jealous of the middle school technology teachers, because that was the position I left behind; but to be a direct part of this paradigm switch is the reward. So, my work this week consisted of reviewing our standards, benchmarks, and core indicators and updating them to reflect the 21st Century skills our students need, yet are currently lacking. Then...we had to take these core indicators to create our NCLB 8th grade technology assessment. With some awesome feedback and input from our very talented and knowledgeable middle school tech teachers, we have a nice draft to present in an upcoming meeting.

I was also able to land in a first grade classroom this week. My goal was to see how doable the CPS responders were with the little ones. I built a patterns activity/quiz using CPS for PowerPoint. For a lot of people, PowerPoint is a familiar application, and is kind of a natural starting place. It is a nice feature of CPS. I intentionally created this lesson with only two answers per question (A or B)...just to eliminate some of the confusion. I also set my lesson up to automatically send the answer, rather than having the student have to press"A" and then "send." (BTW...I am not a fan of the design of the new responders, the undo and send buttons can be confusing for some) But I eliminated this concern by bypassing that button.

The first graders did wonderful with this, and the reports that CPS generated provided nice feedback about each student's understanding of patterning. Working with these little ones was another reward for me, but perhaps the biggest reward of the week came when the teacher told me I had renewed her interest in using these devices.

This week was a big win...

Thursday, November 5, 2009

RSS Feeds

I have been working (in the evening) this week to ensure the information I am interested in reading searches me out rather than the other way around. Using Google Reader as a gadget in my iGoogle page, I have subscribed to my favorite sites and blogs (including this one).

What is so neat about this is that because I have set iGoogle as my home page, my information appears everytime I open my matter where I am in the world--as long as I have a computer with the Internet, I have all my "stuff." (Yes, I did subscribe to The Sioux City Journal's feed) but I also have Alan November, David Warlick, and ISTE's feeds. So...tonight when I opened my browser, Layne's latest blog about his T&L Conference stared me in the face. I didn't have to go out to the WWW and check to see if anything new was posted to this blog. Time saved...and admittedly I probably wouldn't have searched it out on my own tonight.

Think of what we could do in the classroom with this. Students could filter and direct information on any topic to come straight to them...and from many different sources with different perspectives. Just think of how differently our own network news programs can present an issue; how would the same compare to a more worldly view? Subscribing to these RSS feeds can pull in that information to compare and contrast. And we all know that a lack of information is not an issue in this age. How to sort, organize, evaluate, and validate is, however. Rather than reading/regurgitating information a textbook, students are required to use higher order thinking skills. And it's free!

Another article that so magically appeared on my iGoogle home page was a neat analogy of Differentiated Instruction to how the National Weather Service presents its online info. Check it out:

Jo Dee

T+L Conference Report

I recently attended the National School Board Associations Technology and Learning (T+L) conference in snowy Denver, CO. It was my first National Tech. Conference and it was an excellent experience. It was really the best of the best coming together for 4 days to network and share information about this mystery of efficiently and effectively infusing technology into teaching and learning. They setup the breakout sessions in tracks. This was helpful, because it provided continuity to the information I was taking in. I tried to stick to the track of "Digital-Age learning culture". However, I did stray some because there were some excellent sessions outside my chosen strand.
I heard about several things, but nothing "breakthrough" that I had never seen before. The biggest "buzz" topics, in my opinion were:

  1. online learning, using moodle/blackboard with the classroom instruction.

  2. 1:1 computing, giving every student netbooks or macbooks to use for school instead of textbooks.

  3. Google wave. Some people were saying that this is the next facebook. I was able to score myself an invite to wave, so I should be waving by the end of the day :)

  4. Finally, just using all the tools that are already there in a more effective and efficient way. The two Keynotes were exceptional, Frans Johannsen (book link) and Marc Antonio Torres [website]. Both spoke about being innovative and allowing students to be PRODUCERS of information instead of consumers of information.

Overall, I feel like we are in a very exciting place in Sioux City. The next 3- 4 years, implementing new technology, new buildings and differentiated instruction will prove to create huge learning opportunities for students and for adults!


Awesome Presentation Tool:

Amazing Timeline Creation Tool:

Impressive FREE photo editor:

Another Free Image editor:

Another cool Presentation/tutorial tool:

Easy YOUTUBE downloader:
This is the easiest Youtube converter ever! Now you can convert and embed Youtube videos by simply :1. Typing a word (Kick)Change this...

To this...

Left clicking on a word (Go) Upper right corner.

Right clicking on a word (Download) and it will save that video to your desktop! Sweet!

I also still use Zamzar, because it emails me and I like email. :)

Google Gadget called Motion Chart: [link]

Make Word Clouds from any document or spreadsheet:

Animate in videos while you watch them :

I love and I openly share my bookmarks this way: check me out!! This is an amazing networking tool and we just conducted an online meeting through the chat portion. Wasn't ideal, but it worked. and adobe connect now are two online meeting sites that are free. I think dimdim allows for 20 free and connect now is only 2 or 3.

Google Voice and Google Wave - look these up, they are cool!!

Google Books is an amazing tool that is just going to get better:

Okay, I better quit now. Gotta save some stuff for future posts!


Friday, October 30, 2009

Teacher Web Pages

I'd have to say that this has been the week of teacher web page training. I've thought long and hard of how to present this so it makes sense to everyone. While I was out sick a couple weeks ago, I was able to create a teacher handout with step by step instructions and screen shots. I also created a storyboard just so our teachers had a visual representation of all 27 of Socs "Teacher Page" templates. For the most part, I'd say things ran pretty smoothly. My biggest recommendation for teachers beginning a web page is to start out small and work into something more dynamic. The problem occurs when a teacher get students and parents hooked into their site, and then he/she doesn't have the time to keep up with it. It very quickly becomes outdated, and once users decide the information is not fresh, they will not return. So when you do have some time to update, you will no longer have an audience.

I'm not advocating that teachers create a static page, because that is exactly why we had to change our website format. I suggested to some of our very beginning website creators that they just maintain the "main" page for a while before hyperlinking other pages. While long, scrolling pages are not desirable, using just one page for information is a good first step.

I'd say the most confusing and frustrating thing our teachers are facing with this website creation is the fact that although the web-editing software looks like a word processor, it is still an html creater...which sometimes takes on a life of its own. The best solution to this is to create an "invisible table"--a table with the border set at zero--that way you do have some control of how your page will appear.

Speaking of confusing and frustrating...CPS--student paced--responders--WHS...not even going to get into it now because it has been blogged about before, but we need to have some serious conversations about this. This CANNOT happen when we roll this out, or we will have people shut down & turn away.

Week 12 Oct. 26- Oct. 30

The main thing I got out of this week....... Expect the unexpected. I will leave it at that.

This week was a very challenging week. So much going on and so little time. On Monday I went to Nodland and explained the new websites to their teachers. It was fun and challenging at the same time. Only one of me, but many teachers at different levels so it was hard to keep on track. Eventually I just threw the script and plan away and I ran around like a chicken with their head cut off. :) It will work out. It is a long process and we will get there, we need to be patient and work within the boundaries of what the website actually allows us to do.

The rest of the week was just training here and there, modeling the technology to teachers as I taught a class, plenty of troubleshooting, and putting out fires. We continue to have some issues with CPS even though we have installed the new CPS Pulse. Are the CPS responders working as seamlessly as we had envisioned, not even close. We are still having too many issues that shouldn't happen, and it's not user error.

I also continue to be bust going around to classrooms in our district recording teachers use of anchor activities. I do have to say we have some awesome things going on in our district. Keep up the hard work and more technology will be in your rooms before you know it.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

D. Warlick on Technology, Information, and Learning

This is a very insightful article...don't let the title turn you off, though. This is actually from an interview he did a few months back--he didn't choose the title. He even wrote about that choice of the title in his own blog 2cWorth.

Anyway, here is the article about using technology for information and learning:

Friday, October 23, 2009

Week 11 Oct. 19- Oct. 23

This week was loaded with meetings. On Monday, we started off learning about our ESC's move to a new building. It was quite interesting, I learned a great deal. It's an exciting time.
Tuesday and Wednesday we had Jeff from here. He showed us how works as well as we spent some time aligning our curriculum to their product.

As a district we are putting this program out first at Clark and Sunnyside. This is a great program because there are directed lessons in these units, as well as games and skill builders. It is easy to set up and easy to run and navigate through.

This week also had a bunch of the same stuff. Trouble shooting, going out and talking with teachers about technology, and also issues I have no control over :) This job continues to evolve. It gets more and more exciting all the time. I hope with all the budget concerns, they continue to see the value of this position and what we bring to the teachers in our buildings. We have definitely seen the shift in teaching styles with this technology integration. We are beginning to see the shift we have been looking for.

A Little of This and That

That just about describes this week of Instructional Coaching. Monday was my very first Professional Development that I personally planned for as an instructional coach. The topic was on the basics of using the Flip camera as well as classroom applications. Fortunately, I had to address the PowerPoint issue last week (see previous blog), so I was prepared for that. Some had the Flip Ultra, and others had the Flip Mino--which I would highly recommend purchasing the Mino because it can be charged through the USB, while the Ultra goes through batteries like candy. (Unless you buy the rechargeable batteries from Flip which cost $24.99) So, the cost is ultimately about equal. Layne did show me some of the features of the iPod Nano (which also records video) and stores music, pictures & records voice. I think I like that even better.

Tuesday and Wednesday was spent with Jeff from reviewing their products (which we have purchased) and how we can map this into our language arts & media curriculum. Compared to our current Plato product, I prefer this much better. It is more user-friendly and has so many different components in a web-based format. I recall thinking on Tuesday, if I was still in the classroom, I'd totally create all my plans in their "My Curriculum" section. The ability to differentiate with this is there as well.

I worked on a "lesson plan" for next Monday's Professional Development involving teacher web pages. My goal was to create a PD session that modeled everything we are asking for in our own teachers: infuse our technology, strong content knowledge, rounded out with differentiated instruction & sound pedagogy.

Friday brought me back into the classroom & I must say I love the engagement with those first graders. We worked on Plato Focus in the lab. Amazing how tech-savvy those little babes are! Even more amazing was watching them interact with Emma Reedwell (the teacher on their monitors). They were counting syllables, words in sentences, and engaging in lessons that reinforce basic phonemic awareness. Good stuff.

Friday, October 16, 2009

One Thing On My Mind

Well, I'm back after two days of ITEC conference & two days of illness and I have just one thing on my mind...David Warlick's Keynote Address. His main focus was on "Literacy & Learning in the 21st Century," and how lack of information is certainly not an issue any longer. Students need to know how to sort through the never-ending deluge of information to be smart consumers. They need to have the ability to "mine" the information fields and be able to search out and discern reputable information. He noted that WikiPedia often takes an educational hit because of the nature of a wiki---anyone can edit it. It often posts warnings that material may be biased or incomplete, yet how often do text books post that warning?

We are now in an age in education which we are preparing learners for a future we can hardly imagine. It is not like that of our "factory" past. As educators, we need to adjust our very pedagogy. What worked 25, 10, or even 5 years ago is in the past. Warlick states we should not teach from our pasts, but for the future of our learners. We are now in an era where if a child cannot figure how to advance to the next level in a video game, the answers are only a mouse click away. Warlick even cites a personal example where he was in the middle of our country, looking at an unmarked pyramid & was wondering what it he tweeted on Twitter. From across the globe, in Austrailia, an answer came back. The gal on the opposite side of the world saw his tweet, Googled the information, and tweeted him within a matter of minutes. Not only do we have this world of information at our fingertips, we can now harness it and direct it to come to us through things such as RSS feeds, iGoogle, Twitter, etc...

As we prepare the Sioux City Community School District with the 21st Century Classroom equipment, I think having David Warlick speak to our troops is vital to the success of this project. Equipment is just equipment. Just as overhead lighting is now ubiquitous, so must the "tech. stuff." This equipment is not the magic bullet...our wonderful educators are, and I am so very lucky to be able to work along side them in this endeavor.

Week 10 Oct. 12- Oct. 16

I'm back..... I didn't have the chance to blog last week because I wasn't at work. My wife gave birth to daughter number 3, so I figured it was a reasonable explanation as to why I wasn't at work. But man alive, coming back to work after taking a week off stinks. Emails to catch up on, appointments to move around, meetings that popped up, but most of all, just getting back in the swing of what is going on.
I spent some good time this week trying to figure out the elementary web sites. How can we improve them?? How can we make this easier to use?? Our solution..... looking at different companies. We need something that is more user friendly. Teachers time is valuable and don't need to be wasting it updating a website that takes 5 steps to complete a process that should take 2 steps.
Also this week, we received our new CPS Pulse response system. So far I like them a lot and are very easy to use. I hope they are more durable than the previous type we had.
Unfortunately at times this week I ran myself in 2 directions at once and had to bail on a couple of appointments. Teresa I will make it up I promise!!!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Where There's a Will...

...there's a way when you are dealing with technology--at least that has been my experience. While passing through my office, Layne mentioned that the Flip videos are not working with PowerPoint. Sure enough, dragging a Flip video into PowerPoint, or even going to Insert>Movie>From File, didn't work. Help files on indicated that if a video plays in Windows Media Player, it will work in PowerPoint. Unfortunately this wasn't the case when dealing with the Flip .avi files.
Of course, that was enough to pique my curiosity. After trying several ideas with no results, I was in the middle of writing a help ticket to the Flip Product Support site, when I remembered that Flip allows videos to be posted on FaceBook & MySpace--which means a different file conversion. Ah Ha! That was my last hope...but I didn't close that help ticket yet. Sure enough, it worked. I happily exited the help request and shared my triumph with Layne. Now Layne, being the creative thinker he is, used our Interwrite Workspace to record a tutorial on this whole process. I experimented with my own tutorial and posted it on YouTube...Click Here to Watch.

A main focus of this week, however, was training teachers on the new SOCS Teacher Pages. This is a really a user-friendly template system which allowes teachers to create their own site within our Sioux City Community School's site. After my first meeting, I realized we really needed a couple graphic organizers & handouts. So I created those--which were a big help. For the most part I am very pleased with this program, with one minor objection. Once a teacher logs into Socs and clicks on My Teacher Pages, it automatically creates 27 templates that are ready to go. The problem occurs when a teacher decides to edit their profile--maybe changing their name or fixing a typo. Socs then creates a duplicate set of templates under the new change. With 54 templates available, a teacher must be very careful to choose the correct name, or the Teacher Page will not appear. And sometimes when CAREFULLY choosing the correct name, it doesn't appear. I need to contact SOCS about this, but for right now, I'm clearing them out & re-adding them as a new user. Moral of that story...carefully type in the correct user name & don't change it.
Finally, I am heading off to the ITEC conference this weekend. I am so excited about this & will post what I learn next week!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Week 8 Sept. 28th-Oct. 2nd

Once again this week flew by. This week was a week in which no two days were the same. On Monday, I started off my week by walking through some classrooms and observing what technology was in use and how it was used. I find it really fun popping in to classes that I have helped in the past to see the growth with technology. Also on Monday, we had out first coaches meeting with Mary Jo. We discussed things that we have been doing so far and the importance of relationships, as well as discussed a way to document everything we are doing in the classroom.

On Tuesday, I had a very busy day out and about. I went to a first grade room at Nodland and discussed technology with the teacher, I went to East middle and helped trouble shoot CPS responders with a couple teachers, I stopped by Whittier and sat down with the principal to discuss technology in her building and where she wants to go with it, I went to Irving and trained Mr. Koch in SOCS, and finally I spent some time at Roosevelt working through some issues with Mrs. Bigbee. We got her squared away and her technology is good to go. Sorry for the run on sentence, I was busy!!!!

On Wednesday I went to Unity and trained a teacher in PLATO. We set up classes, assigned assignments and set up for me to come back on Friday during lab time to help out and teach the kids PLATO. I also had some training of my own in PLATO Focus, I need to buckle down and learn that....

This Thursday was my first ever CADRE. I am part of Sunnyside/Nodland. I had a good time meeting new faces and trying to help them out in anyway I could. I feel awkward giving them advice until I learn more about how they do business. Great connections though.

Finally on Friday, I started out my day going to Whittier to talk their principal and a BLT member about a NING that I built for them. They decided they wanted a way to share information, thoughts, and ideas on a NING. So I built one and showed them how to use it. I look forward to seeing how it is being used. I also spent some time Friday playing with equipment and learning more about why things happen the way they happen. I finished Friday co-teaching PLATO at Unity in Ms. Flewelling's room.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Meetings, Meetings, Meetings

I was almost giving up hope that I would actually get to go to my desk this week and answer some of the email that has been piling up in my inbox. However, I was redirected on an all day meeting Friday and I was able to spend some time meeting with Mrs. Weltz and Mr. Lang.
Early in the week, I met with the middle school technology teachers and we worked all viewed a presentation on a free tech-assessment that can be given to our students. We also heard about a net-safety curriculum and an online technology skills curriculum from the same company. Pretty spendy stuff, but very good! The website is if you are interested.
I also attended a meeting with J. Wibbels from the AEA and A. DenBeste, discussing how to really utilize the coaching model for bringing real-time help to teachers integrating technology in their classroom to support instructional practice. With a clear and consistent vision, we can make huge progress in this district. J and I also discussed the rollout of our initiative for online learning with a subscription to NROC. More to come on this topic! Later that day, an incredibly excellent meeting with teachers who have the complete 21st Century classroom package in their classrooms. This meetings are excellent because we get to work out issues, share celebrations and really refine the focus and goals of using technology in the classroom. This was just our 2nd meeting, but we are really getting good at using differentiated strategies, formative assessments and technology to make it all efficient and effective. The teachers all agreed that using the responders really changes how you can react to student learning quickly. Our next meeting isn't until October 20th and we'll get to introduce the Pulse responder, with full text answer capabilities!
The audio enhancement was another piece that was getting great praise!
I was able to address some issues out in classrooms on Wednesday and then I did a training with our Health Occupations teacher who received all of the 21st Century classroom tools through a grant. We both benefited from this!
The final touches on the week were mostly centered around planning for the full-scale rollout of 21st Century classroom tools in grades K-8. How it's going look, when it's going to start and what funding sources are going to be used for each piece. From software to hardware, up and down, the classroom of tomorrow is coming to Sioux City Schools in full force!! What an exciting time to be a student, teacher, parent in the Sioux City Schools!
Here's a few websites I'm curious about and wanting some teachers to try: - it's supposed to be a twitter-esque thing safe for education.
Also,, this has photo-editing potential!

Friday, September 25, 2009

It's All About the Memory...

Several of our issues this week were solved by a simple memory upgrade. At one of our schools, our board would not stay callibrated. In fact, at one point, I'd move my pen down the board & the cursor would move to the left. It was like watching a mirror image. I thought to myself, "Self, I would not have the patience to deal with this in my classroom on a daily basis." (Kudos to our very patient Mrs. V!) The software really wasn't the issue, & after brainstorming with L & L, we concluded it was the memory. Memory was installed; I checked it out today, and all is well.

Speaking of memory...a good tip with our CPS responder software is to remember NOT to delete your database. Everything you've ever done will be gone. (Sorry we couldn't recover it Mr. W!) :)

I worked on Skyping this week. We have two middle school and one elementary room that I am using Skype to communicate. The two middle school classes are social studies classes and are looking to contact classes in other countries. I got the audio to work perfectly, but tried to use our document cameras as the webcam. I know it is possible, but am just about ready to go out and buy a webcam--the doc cams aren't the greatest for Skyping anyway.

Heard a great story about responders this week. One of our teachers (Mr. W) was watching the results as the students took a quiz using the responders. He noticed one student who really didn't put much effort in--he was just pushing the same button for all his answers. Typically the teacher wouldn't have known this until later that evening or the next day when he checked the quizzes. But the responders allowed him to immediately redirect that student. He also noticed that as they finished the quiz, one student did not pass. Before that child ever left the room, he was able to show him his results and schedule a time later that day for reteaching. That student was awe-struck. That teacher said instead of always trying to "catch up" he was able to be proactive and make an immediate difference. He compared it to coaching on the field & how he is able to give immediate feedback and direction on the spot and have the player make the proper adjustment. What these responders are doing is allowing the teachers to teach, coach, & guide rather than checking & grading.
The one thing I've made my goal and tried to follow emphatically is when a teacher is needing assistance to get out to that classroom immediately, or at least as soon as possible. I just know that as a teacher who wants to try new things to enrich my teaching & student learning, if I had a technical issue, the waiting, waiting, waiting is the what would frustrate me the most. So I make it a priority to at the very least get some help if I cannot solve the issue. I want to make a difference for those teachers. I want them to feel supported.

Week 7 Sept. 21st-Sept. 25th

This week was truly a better week. On Monday I was out at Leed's and spoke with a teacher about using video in her classroom. I also was at Joy for PD on ITPDP. Some teachers discussed using technology in their plan. On Tuesday we had our monthly AEA coaches meeting. We had a great discussion and continue to outline our mission. Tuesday after school, we had our monthly Diff and Tech meeting. We discussed the highs and lows of our project as well as saw demonstrations with the equipment.

Wednesday was the best day of the week. Jo Dee and I finally finished up moving all the elementary websites. Some of the websites took just a few minutes, while some took a few hours. It was a great relief to finish this project. It was like a huge weight lifted off our shoulders. On Thursday, I went out to Longfellow and talked to some teachers about downloading an E-book they needed for PD on Monday. Solved some basic issues and went about my day. Finally on Friday, Brad from Office Elements, Jo Dee, and I went around to our buildings and met with teachers answered questions, and did some demo's. It was a well needed trip with Brad and reassured with many people our commitment to making this initiative a success.

As you can tell, I was very happy with his week. I know next week will be the same. Right......

Friday, September 18, 2009

Week 6 Sept. 14th-Sept. 18th

Wow this week went by fast. I guess that is a good thing. This week was trully a mixed bag of things to do. We had training from Joyce at SOCS to learn how to move the elementary websites over, Skills Iowa training, got back in the classroom and taught some math lessons using technology, met with Rick from Red Cat audio and took him around to different schools, and finally met with our group to discuss the importance of changing the middle school technology classes and curriculum.

Every week I learn so much more about not only technology itself, but the importance of my job position. Helping teachers one on one, fixing issues, discussing how to use this technology we now have to create differentiated assignments, and now looking in to the future of our middle schools and helping to create a curriculum to teach technology skills our students now lack.

I don't have alot to say this week, but it has been a great week. Maybe it's the new job, but I now enjoy my Monday's....

I'm Moving....

Well, I'm not actually moving, but I am in the process of merging the elementary sites into our district's main site. This small step will save our district quite a few dollars as well as streamline our elementary sites. My worry right now is that we have some "go-getter" teachers who have their objectives, word lists, etc... already posted for the month of Septemeber and once I transfer their pages, any updates they do before the end of the month will not show up. My plan is to e-mail each teacher who regularly updates a page to let them know. (As soon as I finish this blog post.)

I had a meeting earlier today which really put a fire in my belly. As a district, we did not do very well with our annual 8th grade technology assessment. One of the main reasons is that we do not have a technology course that each student is required to take. For one reason or another--specifically scheduling--only about 50-60% of the students have some sort of deliberate technology instruction. It is possible for a student to graduate without ever having a technology class. This HAS to change! We do know this--so that's not where the fire in my belly comes from. Today we discussed several ways to address this & my favorite way (by far) is to require keyboarding in 6th grade, a general tech. class in 7th, and then infuse the technology into the 8th grade core class with the help of a technology coach. We came up with some other alternatives, but I really favor the infusion of the technology into the classroom in 8th grade. That will allow us to use the technology tools in a sound, meaningful, & engaging curriculum. This is not to say it cannot be infused in 6th or 7th grade core clasess, but we will have a specific curriculum which ensures all students will have access to 21st Century Classroom instruction.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Week 5 Sept. 7th-Sept. 11th

HOLY COW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
It gets to be very frustrating when things begin to break down and you can't fix it. Ever called tech support and spent 2 hours on the phone and get no where.... Ever felt like you know more than the person you called for help??????? Yep. That sums up my week. This week was full of ups and downs.
I finally had the opportunity to get back in to the classroom, work with kids, and introduce topics all while using technology to do so. My first class Friday morning went very well. I was excited, the kids had a good time learning about stem and leaf plots and the technology worked wonderfully. Then...... the afternoon came. My rf receiver for my CPS response system quit working. Reboot.... Reset..... 4 times..... all the while my pen for my MOBI rolled off a kids desk and fell apart and broke... Well no more dual board today..... Put in a new rf receiver that worked OK after 45 minutes...... After that, I had a good time. I introduced some technology to some third and fourth graders and they seemed to love it. I know Murphy's Law won't creep up on me next time......

Friday, September 11, 2009

Back in the Saddle...

The highlight of my week was the ability to get back into the classroom. I spent some time in a 5th, a 3rd, and a 4/5 combination room. Although I've experiemented with our new equipment and software in the past, the ability to actually use it with a class has been an invaluable experience.

I took a statistics lesson that focused on data gathering/organizing, line plots, and bar graphs, and then infused our technology into appropriate places. I was able to use the CPS responders to check for background knowledge and to check for understanding. The data we gathered was # of letters in the students' first and last name. (We decided this as a group). As an anticipatory set, we discussed how we were named. The "Pick a Random Student" part of CPS was a wonderful tool in helping choose which students to tell their story.

The document camera proved useful while we compiled our data in cooperative groups. I used the Interwrite Workspace to create a class T-chart of what "Working Together" behavior looks and sounds like. (I had made the template earlier.)

When I instructed the fourth and fifth grade students to organize their data "any way they choose," a look of bewilderment appeared on their faces...until I showed them just one example I saved in Interwrite. What was really cool about this part of the activity, is that each group came up with a different way to compile and organize the data. We saw word-webs, tables, and a couple orignial graphic organizers. We were able to display these on the doc. camera so the entire class could see the different strategies for organizing the data. They then had to create a statement about what they noticed in their data. The Audio Enhancement microphone was a great way to allow the entire class to hear and stay attentive to each group as they presented their findings.

This led us into line plots and bar graphs, and how that is another way to organize the data. I like that CPS gives specific feedback to each question in the form or a bar graph, so that part was a very easy and natural part of this particular lesson.

We created a class line plot using the Mobi and an Interwite template I had previously created. It was really interesting to watch the hand-eye coordination with the Mobi, and students quickly found the "undo" button! Students then created either a line plot, a bar graph, or both on graph paper. It is my hope to return and be able to transfer their paper graphs into an Excel Spreadsheet...which would require a lab setting. And, now that they have complied this data, it opens the door for many future lessons--mean, median, mode, etc...

The biggest thing I noticed while teaching this lesson was that EVERYONE was engaged. No one was off task. Everyone worked together in their cooperative groups. And I absolutely loved the microphone. I didn't have to project my voice at all.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Frustration Begins...

This was the week where issues really started to pop up that challenged my frustration level. My administrative permissions temporarily didn't work...but I did learn how to force gpupdate. That worked on Wednesday, but by Thursday--I was denied. I found a way around it, but a simple software installation which should have taken 15 minutes ended up to be 45 minutes. To top it off, I fell into the baby blues on Tuesday night because I missed my students and having my own classroom. That minor depression prompted me to set up some half day classroom visits next week. I also got my West Middle kid "fix" by stopping by to install document camera software in four classrooms. Depression adverted.

On a positive note, we were able to meet with several principals this week & the excitement for our initiatiave is evident. It's going to be difficult to wait an entire year to roll this out. We also got to touch base with the Tech. Coaching Staff from the AEA and set some of our goals. Neil sent us a version of the Technology Strategic Plan; although not finalized, it is impressive. It affirms my excitement for this district's direction.

We also now have our username and password for Brain Pop which is a site that creates animated content to be used in whole group, small group, or one-on-one lessons. It would be a perfect way to introduce & teach a lesson using our whiteboards, mobis, and responders. There is also a section of lesson plans and video tutorials. Good Stuff...

Week 4 Aug. 31st-Sept. 4

WOW........ This has certainly been a week of firsts. I am really getting in to solving issues with the new equipment. I have had to do so many things I never thought I would ever no how to do. I am getting better at "letting go". Not letting the problems that aren't fixable right away get top me. The problems this week compared to last week seem much more complex. It is frustrating when I'm on the phone with tech support for 2 hours and they can't even fix it. All I can do is keep plugging away at the issues i know I can fix and keep making connections with people on the problems I need help with.

Tuesday was a great day. We had a meeting at AEA with Amanda Den Beste and Jon Wibbles. We met to discuss goals for tech in curriculum coaches so that we share the same goals when we are out in the classroom. we have decided to meet monthly to discuss what we are doing in the tech in curriculum field.

This week I also had the opportunity to talk with a few more principals about what I can do to help in their school. Great feedback, they are all on board so far. As the weeks go on, I will be int the classroom even more. Although this job is difficult at times, I really enjoy dealing with the issues that arise.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Week of 8-24-09

I actually have to look at my Outlook calendar to remember everything from this week. It has been so busy.

One of my main goals this week was to put some help files for CPS & Workspace on our webpage for our teachers who are piloting the 21st Century Classrooms. We have .pdf files and online video tutorials. Eventually I'd like to post videos of some of our brave teachers using the equipment.

Jamie and I were able to make several more connections/introductions & it seems the more we make, the busier we get. We had to troubleshoot quite a few different I am always learning new things. I can't even believe how much I've learned since a few weeks ago.

One highlight this week was my observation of Plato Focus at Bryant Elementary. I love how this program begins with explicit, direct instruction & then allows the students to reinforce their learning through the computer application. I am anxious to get this going with a couple new teachers, but I just need some brief training of how to enroll them as users. I plan to return to Bryant once the students are practicing independently on the computers.

Another highlight was a meeting I had with a teacher at Crescent Park Elementary. What enthusiasm! The idea of TSF came up. (TSF is a password protected folder system for students created by one of our own very ingenious MIS specialists. It is used primarily in our High Schools and Middle Schools.) Our elementary students really need to know how to manage files & this is a key component to this. Well...after talking to our TSF guy...he said it's a go! Woot! Woot!

And...I did read that article that I promised to last weekend. The main thing that I got out of it is that a turnaround in producing significant achievement gains requires dramatic changes in a short period of time (2 years) followed by a longer period of sustained improvement. The change needs to be "people focused." And one of the 9 elements is "Personalization of Instruction"--which is now where our school district is in hiring the instructional coaches and focusing our PD on differentiation. The personalization of instruction requires frequent formative assessment, immediate analysis/feedback, and instruction adapted quickly. Our initiative with the CPS/e-instruction responders is just the ticket for this. In short, I think we are on the right track.

Week 3 Aug. 24th-28th

This week was filled with all sorts of different tasks. Meetings with principals, PLATO training, CPS Responder training, trouble shooting technology, figuring out why "O" drives didn't work, visiting classrooms to check progress and comfort level with the new technology and also researching ideas and best practices for our new technology.
I have really enjoyed this week because it has been a week where I could really get out and start putting some of my understanding of technology to work. Being able to train people in different pieces of technology and then actually see them use it and enjoy the technology is awesome.
This job really gets you out in to the buildings, the way it should be, being there helping out right then and there and not responding with a fix after the fact. The only way this 21st Century classroom initiative is going to be successful is if we go out personally help and make sure each person is comfortable with what they are doing. Once they are comfortable, then we will see the magic with differentiation and technology. We need to have everyone understand that just because you have the technology, that isn't what is going to make the difference. It's how you use the technology to increase student engagement, differentiate your instruction, and you use it to allow students to be producers of work.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

New learning for everyone

This is my first post to our blog in a new place.
If you haven't noticed, This blog is replacing the former "Layne's Blog" on the Sioux City District Site. I hated to leave the SOCS page, but this gave us more leverage and the ability to train teachers on using blogspot for their classes.
I've dedicated my first few weeks of school to working with staff and students at West High School in getting a pilot project off the ground. The project has been a learning experience, not only for teachers and students, but for myself. 28 students in the freshman class were chosen to have mini-laptops for using in the classroom and OUTSIDE the classroom. The main thing I've learned is that we REALLY need to teach students computer skills to students. We spent alot of time with students in the first week just teaching some basic computer skills, like saving, opening, copying, pasting, and basic internet and searching skills. With a project like this, it seems to expose even more how much we need to be INTEGRATING the technology into all parts of a students learning and into our curriculum.
A cool site that was discovered out of this was something for the Biology students: It goes right along with the book and it has many great activities both online and offline for students. Check it out!
Also, our teachers are using Moodle, and hippocampus not to mention the blogs and wiki's they have created.
I'm brewing up another post about all the other new technologies we have implemented into the classrooms across the district!.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Students & Teachers Return This Week

Well, this week was a big implementation week! Each classroom at Roosevelt now has their Audio Enhancement up and running. Check this site (need speakers) for a tutorial & rationale of this device:

Several other K-12 classrooms in our district also have the system. I am excited to see how this one small piece of technology can make a difference. The research certainly supports the use of this.

I was able to touch base with my four 21st Century Classroom piloting teachers on the first day of school. We were able to get those responders out & put them to use on the first day. Jamie and I decided we definitely need to take some time Monday morning to put together a short manual on the CPS software/responders.

Speaking of software...uggh...had a few install issues--some took longer than others. Thanks to Ron we were able to bypass some of that "ugliness" and get the job done so it functions properly. My worry is that the next time our teachers log-on, we'll have an issue. Crossing my fingers on that.

A new question arose today... while at EMS we realized that the new software prefers laptops over the desktop computers. Does that mean new laptops for everyone next year??? Yikes!

This weekend I plan to read a very thick article on "The Turnaround Challenge--Why America's best opportunity to dramatically improve student achievement lies in our worst-performing schools." It was actually in my backpack to read last weekend, but it remained in their for the whole duration. I'll post what I learned next week. (Now I actually have to read it--public accountability).

Week 2 Aug 24-28

Wow!! Where to begin. This week has been a great week, yet sometimes frustrating. I go out to classroom get them set up, everything is great, works for a coulpe days, then boom. It's not working anymore. The best thing about this week is troubleshooting the equipment and learning why and how things happen. I feel much more comfortable with the E Instruction Boards. I do have to say it is a great feeling when I go out to a room and see everything in action. It validates in my mind what we are doing. The first day of school I watched a teacher totally rock the new equipment. The teacher had a CPS response quiz going, with her dual board and Mobi and Red Cat Mic all at the same time and they did an awesome job!
This week I have been doing some quick re teaching from what we learned this summer, getting the teachers more comfortable with the new technology. It is great to see the excitement on a teachers face with this new technology. On wednesday, we did a short presentation at Roosevelt on the Red Cat Audio Enhancement that is being implemented in their classrooms this year. I also enjoyed spending a few minutes with Ron. He showed us a few short cuts and tricks of the trade. It made some installation of software a little quicker.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Instructional Technology Resources

by Layne Henn
Here is a website with a wealth of resources for instructional technology. There is even a link to a podcast and to a blog where you can hear about and find even more ideas for your classroom students.
The Ohio Treasure Chest is put together by teachers and tech. support staff at North Canton City Schools in Canton, OH.
Blogging in the classroom
writing and critical thinking!

by Layne Henn

Here's an article posted last week on a blog I read regularly about starting blogs with students in your classroom. He has attached links on how to get started, and setting the purpose with your students. He's found that bloggers aren't just writers, they are critical thinkers and put their mind to reading what other bloggers have to say. The author also makes suggestions about having blog-read-alouds with your class.
wikis are another great way to get your students writing and responding critically to writing.
A blog is pretty easy to setup with the SOCS system we are currently using here in Sioux City. Free wiki's are available at

How do we stack up...evaluating our technology integration

by Layne Henn

I received some good feedback from the last article about not going to "gadget crazy" in our classrooms.
It raised a couple questions for me. What is good? How do we interpret if what teachers/kids are doing in the classroom with technology is really making a difference.?

Below are a couple of good articles that help to ask some simple questions about how and why are we integrating tech.

Here's a excerpt from the Jeff Utecht article on the TechLearning Blog:

I remembered a Marc Prensky article in Edutopia in which he talks about the typical process of technology adoption:

Dabbling with technology
Doing Old things in Old Ways
Doing Old things in New Ways
Doing New things in New Ways

What if we turned these stages of technology adoption into questions that an evaluator could use during the evaluation process?

Is the technology being used “Just because it’s there”?
Is the technology allowing the teacher/students to do Old things in Old ways?
Is the technology allowing the teacher/students to do Old things in New ways?
Is the technology creating new and different learning experiences for the students?
This could be a simple list that any evaluator can use to decipher how the technology is being used in a particular lesson.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

My First Week as a Technology in Curriculum Coach

Excited, nervous, eager...describes how I felt Monday morning as I drove to the ESC to begin this new position. I don't know if I've ever been so excited for the first day of school since my first teaching position.

First thing on Monday, Jamie (the other coach) and I divided our school assignments. I have the Westside feeder elementary buildings along with Clark & Bryant. We brainstormed how to effectively meet our building's BLT goals and will touch base with each principal to discuss how to proceed with this. I'm really excited about that, but am waiting a bit because I know it is such a busy time of year. We rounded out the day with a presentation from & how their web-based program can help our district in differentiating activities. I especially liked how the teacher lessons can be used with our new e-instruction interactive whiteboards, Mobis, and student responders.

On Tuesday I uploaded some of our .pdf files for the language arts curriculum to our website. When we went to West Middle to adjust the projectors, I was able to test my links to see if they worked. (They didn't) While troubleshooting, I discovered that my permissions didn't allow me to install Java, which is just a small hiccup, but noteworthy. I was also involved in a conference call about the upgrades to Pinnacle--which is an awesome step for our district. (BTW...I'm a big Pinnacle fan--it totally made my life easier when I was in the classroom & helped the students to keep track of their progress as well as missing assignments.)

Wednesday morning was an IT/MIS meeting...which I am very glad to have been a part of. I am amazed at the knowledge of these "techies." Jamie and I spent the rest of the afternoon in some of the elementary buildings. Getting out into the field and troubleshooting was HUGE for me! We were able to address several technical issues which are sure to arise as we roll out this 21st Century Classroom initiative.

Thursday brought us to West High School for the Netbook pilot. Kudos to the teachers for all their investment into this project. Moodle is an awesome tool, but definitely takes some effort to learn. I worked during the afternoon to create a Jeopardy PPT game for the North Middle Staff to use with the responders. I didn't realize how difficult it is and how creative you must be to "state your answer in the form of a question." I guess I'll still be working on that Friday morning before I head off to the new teachers' meeting.

Week 1 Aug. 10-14

This week was a good week. I have had a great deal thrown my way but I am learning every day. Spent a great deal of time on Monday learning about Seems to be a great piece of technology for our district. Tuesday we spent some time learning about the new pieces of Pinnacle we will be bringing on board. Awesome solution that is very needed for our district. i also spent some time building a remote quiz that will be used during the New Teacher Orientation. Also built a ppt. for the Red Cat presentation we will be doing at Roosevelt. On Wednesday we spent some time going out to buildings and setting up and trouble shooting some of the technology. We set up and played with the Red Cat Audio, and also the dual board. While we spent quite awhile at our first school, it allowed us to only spend 5-10 minutes at the following schools. Much needed time to figure out what was going on.On Thursday we spent time at West High to discuss the Netbooks, moodle, etc.