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.