Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Video Resources for Students and Teachers

I've been wanting to put out a post that tells all of the video resources available for students and Teachers in our district. It seems many students get frustrated when trying to access video for projects or learning because much of it is blocked by our districts filtering system (including http://youtube.com). However, there ARE many resources that ARE available to teachers, including youtube videos, you just need to know where to look!
en wanting to put out a post that tells all of the video resources available for students and Teachers in our district. It seems many students get frustrated when trying to access video for projects or learning because much of it is blocked by our districts filtering system (including http://youtube.com). However, there ARE many resources that ARE available to teachers, including youtube videos, you just need to know where to look!



#2 EDVIDEOS -- Here, teachers can login (your district Login) and submit video links from Youtube that fit into their curriculum, then students can go to edvideos and view the youtube video!!

DE Streaming -- You need to get the username and password from your Teacher-Librarian.






Brainpop -- You need to get a username and password for this one, but students can get it from the teacher librarian.


Khan Academy - Mission is to provide anywhere anytime user-paced learning. These are all Youtube videos, so refer back to #2


Ted.com -- This one is great for getting students to react to some "outside the box" thinking!

Learn 360 -- You need to get a username and password for this one, but students can get it from the teacher librarian.





PREZI - You need to sign up for this one, but get on the education version and you still get lots of features for FREE!

Edu.Glogster.com -- This is a great one for student projects.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Voki in the Classroom

A Voki is a speaking avatar that students can create on Voki.com. Use these avatars to re-create characters in a story, give a short speech or explanation, or even for ESL students. For many other classroom uses as well as a tutorial on how to create a Voki, CLICK HERE.

Friday, October 8, 2010

My Mini-Conference Presentation

The goal here is the share in the 50 minutes we have together, 50 different websites that you could use in your classrooms for integrating technology with your students learning. Here we go:

Picnik is a site that provides students with some really fun and powerful image editing tools for pictures. You can use pictures that you take with a digital camera, or even a document camera, and do some fun editing, or you can have students downloading pictures and do some creative stuff there. Ideas might be pictures of a place, landmark, monuments, pictures from a field trip, or a way to get students to write about something they did (you can add captions to pictures with picnik)

Picasa is another site that is centered around photos. There is also a download on the site for doing some simple editing, but the powerful classroom application here is creating slideshows. Students LOVE to create slideshows of photos that relate to something they have learned. Using Picasa for creation of a picture collage, computer background or a screensaver. Another fun way to differentiate instruction with students using technology.

This is one that I haven't used that much, but it has six different tools all on one site. There is a bird theme here so stick with me:
Phoenix: this is the free photo editor. It's cool, but I like picnik better
Roc: This is the audio editor. You can do some cool stuff with music here, like mix your own ringtones (kids love that stuff!)
Talon: this is cool and easy, it's a screen capture tool. So if you have a picture of something on the web or your desktop, you can capture the screen as an image and send it off, or edit it with picnik.
Myna: another audio editor built into the website.
There are more tools here, but more advanced and we don't have time today.

Maybe you have all used google maps for getting directions to get to places or to find out how far it is from point a to point b. However, there are TONS of features here that you may not know exist. Use the My Maps button to build your own maps or have students build maps. You have to have a google account to do it. I first thought of how my daughter could do a walking map of what "used to be" for her Sioux City History project. There are also layers here for wikipedia, photo and real estate. Also check out Mapjack.com Cool stuff.

web-based timeline software for creating and sharing history and project planning. There is tons of potential for creation here with the ability to put in events as you go. Map your entire curriculum if you want, or you could have students creating timelines of their lives so far.

There are many sites that let you create photo collections. Mixbook is simple and lets you embed directly into your own website or wiki.

This one is more for the secondary folks, but it has an amazing amount of resources and content built into it for several subjects. Our district and the AEA teamed up to purchase a subscription a year ago and many teachers are using it in creative ways. The content is correlated to several different textbooks, not just standards. So this is a tool that you can supplement your textbook material with.

Jeopardy labs allows you to create a customized jeopardy template without PowerPoint. The games you make can be played online from anywhere in the world. Building your own jeopardy template is a piece of cake. They have a simple editor on their site and you can be up and playing very quickly. Let students create the games with your content and try to stump their peers. You'll trick them into learning!!
A great site that will let you type text and turn it into spoken word. You can make the person say what you need and also have it shared out on facebook. For example, you could make it say the assignments, and post it to your fan page then kids can listen to it instead of reading it.

An even more powerful text to speech tool. Teachers or students can create their avatar and use your own voice to make it speak. Check out Dr. McGrath on his Irving Wiki. http://irvinghawks.wikispaces.com/

This is a fun site especially if you have an interactive whiteboard or a mobi for your classroom. You could use as team building exercise for group work or even an anticipatory set.

This site bills itself as a new way to stay organized. But I like to think of it as a way for students to create little books. Do you storyboards with students and then go to PocketMod to have them build a little book that you can print and share with others.

This is one of the more cool sites I've seen in a while. It allows you to upload photos and then stitches them together to create a really cool view of how the pictures fit together. There are several locations around the world listed, so it would be great for learning during the Rocks unit in third grade or in middle school geography when learning about a specific place in the world.

I haven't found a more simple, efficient and effective way for teachers to build websites than wikispaces. The interface is simple, it's great for communicating with parents and students alike. You can bring in videos, links, upload powerpoints, have student discussion threads. ALL FOR FREE! Amazing!

I love the name of this site more than anything. My kids have been reading biographies of some great American heros. A fun thing for them to do is go on this site and try to make a wii dude that looks like that figure. You can also save them and make them your avatar for a wiki or facebook, twitter if you are not comfortable using your own picture. Also http://www.myavatareditor.com/

Many of you have already used Wordle. This is such a fun way for students to look at how they use words. The more I use it the more I learn. Check out this post for some creative ways to use wordle http://techlearning.com/blogs/24518

Tagxedo takes wordle to the next level, allowing you to create visually fun word and tag clouds that look like images. We'll do one with this presentation if we have time.

I love showing people this because it really brings home how powerful the data we collect really is.

So many of you know about skype. It's a popular site tool among millions of people everyday. However, do you know that you can use skype to get help on your computer? There is a feature in skype called "share your screen" and you can skype your friend who is good with computers and ask them how to do stuff you can't figure out. (I know this because I have to show my mom about once a week how to attach a photo to an email). Also, the new version (5) of skype lets you video conf. with more than one person at a time.

Everybody should have a delicious account. Delicious allows you to save your favorite websites to the web and then tag them for their subjects. In this current world we all go between 2 or more computers daily. If i didn't have delicious, I would never be able to find that very important site that I need!

Alice is an innovative 3D programming environment that makes it easy to create an animation for telling a story, playing an interactive game, or a video to share on the web. Alice is a teaching tool for introductory computing. If you want to motivate kids to do storytelling in a creative and fun way, this tool is for you!

Another great web tool for sharing slide presentations and letting students create for differentiating your instruction. Create and account and away you go. You can share to almost anything on the web.

Amazing, deep thinking games here for kids. There is problem solving here and the content really makes you think. There's links for lesson plans for teachers here too.

Another great tool for allowing students to create online. In school you have to use http://edu.glogster.com so you can use the education version. It's basically a web 2.0 tool that allows you to create an interactive poster. - with text, photos, videos, graphics, sounds, drawings, data attachments and more.

Ofcourse you have heard of youtube, but have you seen teachertube? All videos centered around educational content, so it keeps things safer for you and for your students. It used to be slow and not very exciting, but more and more content seems to be showing up and adding to the value of this site. Not to mention the connection now with Pearson and Teachervision.com

Tons and tons of classroom ready resources here, just waiting for teachers and students to dig deep into for more and more learning!!

Finally, Finally! I looked for years for a free alternative to Inspiration software. Gliffy IS the answer! Of course it is not as robust, but it does what you want it to do for idea diagramming, venn diagrams, flowcharts! Teachers, have fun with this one!!

Google Sketchup
No, i didn't just spell ketchup wrong. It's google's free drawing tool and it is MEGA powerful. It is a free download. If you go to the gallery, you will be blown away but what can be created in this simple tool.

Have you got a HUGE file that won't go through email. Use this simple service to get it there. Send up to 2gb files. But make sure the other person is ready to receive it, because it gets deleted after 7 days.

If you are a book lover or just an avid reader, you NEED to know about google books. Create your own bookshelf, find reviews of books you want to read and browse by subject. Take your students to this site and help them find books they might be interested in, great for unmotivated readers!

It is photo editing meets paint and it allows for tons of creativity and artistry coupled with extreme ease of use. Let your students run wild with it. Give them each a picture from a story and let them transform it into their own artistic genre, or have them create their own original work. Be creative. Have a blast!

Great gift idea for that person who never downloads the pictures off of their digital camera. It's a memory card with wifi built in. You don't have to clumsily mess with wires, just use a wireless connection and post your pictures to picasa, flickr, or whatever.

I love blogger because it is so simple and integrated with google gives it tons of features. There new template creator is WAY cool. If you want students creating blogs, they will catch onto this quick and you can make them completely private from the rest of the WWW.

How much do i love this site! change any multimedia file you find into the format you want with zamzar. completely free and so simple. They email you the link when finished. Want the song from the background of the video? Just pump it into zamzar and change the format to MP3. SWEET!

Super cool site that allows you to annotate on a video while watching it. Powerful if you have a Interactive whiteboard or a Mobi.

Simple and EASY way to make really cool video from pictures. My kids are young and it took them almost no time to figure out how to create and then post these to a website.

You cannot deny the coolness of this tool A VoiceThread is a collaborative, multimedia slide show that holds images, documents, and videos and allows people to navigate slides and leave comments in 5 ways - using voice (with a mic or telephone), text, audio file, or video (via a webcam). Share a VoiceThread with friends, students, and colleagues for them to record comments too.

If you have students creating video or slideshows, you know there is always a need for background music. At http://freeplaymusic.com/ you will find TONS of loops and styles. Really motivate kids by letting them know that they can create their own ringtones from these loops too!

this one is a download, but I don't think any computer should be without it. It plays everything and it's fast! I used to get really tired of wanting to hear a song and having to wait for itunes to open or windows media. Now, with vlc, I don't wait and it always works, video and audio!

Einstruction Workspace
Another download, but the tool in workspace for recording your screen is incredible. Very simple and you can have students explaining to other students with a video recording how to create a blog, or wiki or voicethread. This is a great way to differentiate for students. my tutorial

Let's say you are really getting into the technology thing and you have your student's start blogging. However, you don't want to visit each of the students blogs and read every post. You can use google reader and have all the blog posts come to one place where you can read them all at once. Cool, huh?

If you are not on twitter, you should start today. Not because you are so interesting to follow. Because there is SO VERY MUCH information out there. It's a great place to get ideas, throw out questions and get feedback from others around the world. Twitter is a place where there really IS no such thing as a dumb question!! Also check out http://search.twitter.com. Better than google for up to the second news!!

Who doesn't love this fat cat and his crazy personality. Engage students with this game to help them learn about parts of speech, conversation building and all kinds of word games. Have students create a conversation between the characters about how to stay safe online.

Another fun comic strip creator that can be a VERY engaging way for students to have conversations about subjects you want them to discuss. They love to create and create with a purpose. This is a great tool for doing just that!

Curriculum based content in a fun and animated form. This is not normally a completely free site but our district subscribes so we get to use it for our students! It's a great resource for all ages and it has some really great content that is well organized. There are even standards associated with many of the videos available.

Create visually engaging presentations or have students using prezi to build presentations that cut the fluff and puts information in a different look than what powerpoint can provide.

Have you ever struggled to put a youtube video into your powerpoint. Check out the youtube addin for powerpoint. You have to have an internet connection for this to work. Makes adding video very simple for ppt.

Want current events? Check out this site sharing front pages of over 800 newspapers from over 80 countries! Amazing conversation starters here.

Set up posterous account and they give you an email address. You send your blogposts with picture attachments, files, whatever to that email and they make it appear on your blog. Almost magical!

i can't wait to show you this one. This is strictly for amusement, but I love it. Who doesn't?

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Technology Mini-Conference is HERE!!

I have been working feverishly over the last few weeks preparing for our technology focused Professional Development day. Doug Johnson will be our keynote and there are 15 different sessions for teachers to attend. We will truly be "differentiating" our professional development by allowing teachers to choose how they will learn for half of the day!
Check out http://scteachwithtech.wordpress.com for the list of sessions, downloads of peoples presentations and the schedules for the day!

Post comments here if you need more information. It WILL be a great learning experience for all of us!


Friday, September 10, 2010

A New School Year Begins With Facebook & Twitter

I haven't contributed to our blog since the end of the school year last year. Although our Microsoft Settlement is progressing much more slowly than we had hoped or even planned, I'd say it is a blessing in disguise. We have had a chance to start a partial install of our projectors, DualBoards, responders, Mobis, and document cameras, which has enabled us to work out some technical issues as well as touch base and work with those classrooms. (And, I would have to say that E-Instruction has been quite helpful in working out some of our technical issues this week).

Another exciting step our district has taken is to open up Facebook and Twitter on our network so teachers can work on their class pages. In fact, I have experimented with my own Coaching Fan Page. I have it so I can post updates via phone texts which also feeds into my Twitter Account. AND...this blog feeds directly to the Facebook Page.

To take it a step further, I have opened up my Google Bookmarks and Google Reader and linked them to my Fanpage. So, it is like one stop shopping.

-Jo Dee

Monday, June 14, 2010

Tech Training

We are in our second full week of training elementary teachers starting today.  We are getting some really good feedback.  I think the best part of having this training is to see the teachers become more comfortable with the tools and really start to see the benefits to them in the classroom.  In this short amount of time, our goal is to have teachers not only learn the tools, but to create a comfort level with our tech coaches, build relationships within their buildings for support and also see the benefits of integrating the technology into their teaching.

Some of the best feedback that we've gotten is that teachers love the time we give them to play and they love the book we created for them.

Starting Wed and Thurs.  I'm going to video the training (using 2 different cameras).  This will allow us to post the training sessions on line using Creation Station from SAFARI-MONTAGE.

The fun continues.


Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Leadership Academy Presentation

Technology is Good, but people are better!!

  1. Technology does not make students learn better!
  • What we (teachers and students) DO with the technology is more important than the technology we use!

  • The hope is that teachers will harness the technology to do things in the classroom that better connect them to their student's learning!
  • Story of Rich Wilmesherr: 8th Grade Science Teacher at West Middle School. Rich was selected by his principal to participate in Differentiated Instruction with Technology added to his classroom. After 2 weeks, Rich was determined to try at least 1 piece of technology with the differentiated strategies he had learned. Several weeks after school started, I was in WMS to work with some teachers in the 8th Grade pod. I saw Rich in the hallway. He grabbed me by the arm and looked me square in the eye and proceeded to tell me that I was dead meat if I ever made him go back to teaching without the equipment we put in his classroom.

{Sorry, I had to remove student videos}


Story of Tina Mulvihill:
Mrs. Mulvihill teaches math at East Middle School. She was not a user of technology nor a proponent of using technology with her students. She had the same training that Rich received. Tina walked cautiously into using Diff and the use of technology. Throughout the year, Tina walked carefully into differentiating her instruction by taking 1 section of pre-algebra and adding student choice. She eventually used all of the technology available to her in different ways and the students did as well. Tina wrote on the ning to share what her year was like:

{Sorry, I had to remove student videos}

Think-Pair-Share: What have you experienced in your classrooms when trying to do things with technology that you couldn't do before?

Gwen Brewster:
Project Based learning with same training as the Rich and Tina:
Gwen Teaches Language Arts -

{Sorry, I had to remove student videos}

Forester's students after 30 minutes with the board...
{Sorry, I had to remove student videos}

Jayse talking about why he likes Mrs. Foresters class!
{Sorry, I had to remove student videos}

Jane Warren Story:
Mrs. Warren taught the gauntlet last year, from English 1 (every student in one section had their own computer) to English 4 and AP English.
A VERY stressful year, but some of the work students did was INCREDIBLE!

Metamorphosis Video
The PingNguyens sing "Take AP!"TAke AP english video

  • How will students having email effect your teaching? students learning?
  • Would you use social media to connect your classroom more effectively with students?
  • Using Pinnacle Analytics INSIGHT - How will you use this REAL-TIME data to direct your instruction?
  • What one piece of classroom technology would push you into differentiating instruction more effectively?

The Internet

Garrison Sites

food fight video

Brain Pop


Friday, May 7, 2010

What do I do on here??

I must apologize first and foremost. I haven't blogged on here in so long that I really had think about what my password was to log on. That is not a good sign. I haven't been lazy, stop laughing, I have just been so caught up in the preparation of training for this summer and the training we are doing in the month of may that everything else gets put aside.

Currently in the month of June, we have about 280 teachers signed up to take our training on the 21st Century Classroom tools that will be rolled out this summer to their classrooms. I couldn't be more pleased. 280 represents about 70% of our Elementary Staff. I think that is an amazing number considering everything that goes on during the summer.

Before we train the teachers, we have decided to train all Administrators and Instructional Coaches. If those 2 groups are not on board with what we are doing. We should stop now. Principal feedback so far has been wonderful.. They need to relay to their staffs the importance of what we are doing. If that message doesn't get relayed, some teachers will struggle to see the value in what we are doing.

I have a very positive feeling about what we are currently doing and also our plan as we go forward. We will always have a few bumps in the road, but it's how we respond that will make our venture a success.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Random is Good

I have found myself in quite a random mood today. I have jumped from CPS-Interwrite installs on laptops (for our training next week), to dealing with CSP equipment issues, to tweaking our Presentation, to visiting the student I mentor, to Tagxedo, to creating a Blog Help Video, and now to my blog...

I supposed that is why I have been so fascinated with Tagxedo today. Similar to Wordle, and Word It Out, it takes chunks of texts and randomizes the words according to the # of times it appears in the text. Except this allow you to change the shape of the text. (I've blogged about the possibilites of using this technology in classrooms earlier this year.) You do need to have the free download of Microsoft Silverlight, though.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Quick Post

Met with the installers for the technology for our FIRST school this am.  We gotta get this school installed because all of our training is happening here.  There are so many little nuances to think about for each room.  From cabling to mounting to screen size on the wall, how it mounts over a regular whiteboard, where is the doc. camera going to sit and be convenient for teachers, should they run their cable TV through the projector? What cables do running cable TV through the projector?  How do I get installers access to the buildings, is there power in the ceilings?

Thursday, April 15, 2010

an educational conversation

Today, Glenn Beck had a conversation with Stephen Dubner (author of Freakonomics) regarding the idea of getting rid of the U.S. Department of Education. Below is a portion of the conversation:

BECK: How do you mean? What needs to change?

DUBNER: Well, you could argue a lot of things need to change. There's a program in New York City right now. So same school system that brings you the rubber rooms, New York City, public school system — where I live, in New York City — also brings a pilot program called the School of One, which I think we'll be hearing a lot more about in future. It's a very small pilot program right now.

What it does is it takes all the students in a classroom and instead of having one teacher up there individually trying to teach 30 kids
— now, kids learn differently at different paces in different ways.

What this does is it uses technology to figure out what each kid is learning every day. They take a test at the end of every day. It goes in the computer. There is an algorithm that essentially determines a playlist for each kid.

Instead of the iPod playlist, you have a workstation playlist. Every kid is being taught every day in a variety of modalities — meaning, sometimes it's a teacher with a large group. Sometimes, it's a small group of kids. Sometimes it's one kid with the computer.

We're in the 21st Century. We're surrounded by wonderful technology. And it's time that teaching and the art of teaching and the science of teaching are kind of brought up to that.

We really need to rethink who that person is in the classroom.

View the whole article HERE:
I thought this was VERY interesting in light of the recent conversations I've been having at the Iowa 1:1 conference and also working with teachers.
Leave your reactions in the comments. I'd be interested to see what people think regarding the 21st Century learner!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Tech PR

We had the pleasure today to share a little of our tech PR to a group of retired citizens during a luncheon. First, I am humbled by the amount of knowledge and wisdom congregated in that room. The questions we were asked were insightful and at times, quite direct. I'm glad Layne was there to handle some of them.

We were able to model the use of the responder system by presenting a quiz and demonstrating how teachers can use that information to focus their instruction. We used the Mobi and Workspace software as well.

Just by a show of hands, nearly everyone in that group used a cell phone--which always just amazes me, because in their lifetime, technology has changed so drastically, and yet they are so willing to embrace it. One gentleman, probably in his late 70's & a former physician, shared how he loved his Kindle and how it allows him access to so many texts. Another asked about SecondLife and how we can use that for instruction. Wow...it made me realize that even this generation "get's it" and how important it is that we continue our effort to put this in the hands of our students and structure our teaching accordingly.

Go Time!!

With the Microsoft Settlement finally signed off on and orders being pushed through. It is an exciting time in Sioux City Comm. Schools. We have been working very hard to organize and finalize our training for this summer. We have a very ambitious goal, 450 + teachers, trained just in the month of June alone. Sound like a fun challenge?

There is so much excitement around here it's awesome!! have we had our issues, oh yeah. Will we continue to have issues? Yes. But our vision is so bold and exciting it is easy to look past out struggles.

It will be a very interesting summer and even next school year for that matter. Getting teachers to buy in. To believe that what we are doing is for the betterment of kids. To look past the initial work it might be to set up this technology. they need to see the broad picture.

Check us out on Twitter!!! sccsdtechjamie

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Whiteboards-Waste of $$$...What do you think?

In an acticle titled "Why I Hate Interactive Whiteboards" by Bill Ferriter he writes that they are "basically useless" and an "underinformed & irresponsible purchase." (Even with time and training.) He argues that "they do little more than reinforce a teacher-centric model of learning" and "are nothing more than vain attempts to buy change-& rarely paired with a clear vision..."

Hmm...he does have some valid points. In fact, when I was adjucting at a local college, I was involved in an effort to put IWBs in each classroom. (It was actually a similiar product run from a podium rather than a mounted board). The sales rep showed us both the mounted board and podium version, and I noticed that as soon as he stood at that "interactive" podium, he lost his connection with us--the audience. Considering that, along with the typical lecture delivery of instruction, I just couldn't support that huge expenditure.

Whenever I look at new technologies, I take a cue from Clifford Stoll and ask "What is the problem to which this is the answer?" And, when I asked that at our local college, I didn't hear the response I would have liked...Enrollment, PR, and Updating were among the answers. Pedagogy wasn't even in the sites. A fancy way to lecture.

So now, once again, I am involved in an initiative to place these IWBs in our school district. And once again I ask myself the question "What is the problem to which this is the answer?" If you take a look at our SCCSD Technology Plan, you will find that our "goal is to empower teachers in new ways with technology tools that help more easily adapt curriculum to a wide variety of needs and student learning styles. They will have new resources and training that they may use to help manage differentiation or construct lessons in new ways. At a high level, this plan focuses on the concept of differentiated instruction, formative assessment, and data analysis used to help raise STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT."

Now, how are IWBs going to raise student acheievement? No tool alone is going to accomplish that goal. But it is a piece of the bigger picture...differentiated instruction. The IWBs our district has purchased allows for multi-users. Students are not interacting with them in isolation, especially combined with the portable tablet. These boards (and the software) allow for all three learning modalities. I was just commenting to my husband about my serious deficit in American History. Being a visual learner in a primarily auditory learning environment certainly had contributed to this.

Even Ferriter admits that students "think they are nifty." There has something to be said about students' level of engagement. This reminds me of a 2nd grade vocabulary lesson I recently observed. Students were using the IWB/Tablet to sort their words into 5 columns using a PowerPoint template that I created earlier in the year. The students had to analyze the word structure and place the word in the appropriate column. (Or should I say drag the word). All 18 students were engaged in the lesson, in fact, they were begging to be the next one to sort the word. (I sincerely doubt I would have seen the same level of engagement had this been done on a whiteboard with dry erase marker.) And, the teacher didn't have to spend prep time writing the words on the board...allowing for more efficient use of her time.

I suppose Ferriter has experienced schools in which stocking the classrooms with the lastest technology has been the goal. Technology should never be the goal. Technology is a means to a goal. Our district has the vision and plan to implement IWB (and the software) along with many other critical pieces to support Differentiated Instruction. Our district is committed to providing the training and support.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Great Week!

With all that is going on, I felt this last week was one of the best weeks that I've had in quite some time. On Monday afternoon, I did some training on document cameras at Leeds. I went over the use of the software and how you can use that during instruction, and the basics of setting up your document camera.

That was very easy. The thing that made the week great was that every day this week I have been at Leeds for a few hours every day, checking in, doing a little re training, going over uses in the classroom etc... Many times with training, you do the training and struggle to get back and check in and see how things were going. It was great to answer questions immediately and get people excited and interested in what we were doing.

As for the Microsoft Settlement, things seem to be progressing finally. I have said that before and bam!! Another road block. We have all the training sites secured and we are ready to start putting dates and groups together for training. About time!!! I'm excited about it!

Monday, March 1, 2010

This week in Instructional Tech.

Spring is a approaching and new life is in the air. We could actually make it to 35 degrees today! Happy to see frosty melting!
I am excited about this week because I get to meet with principals and tell them how we are going to outfit their school with the latest and greatest technology. Things that will engage students, allow teacher efficiencies and breathe new life into some subjects for students. It's really something that you dream about being able to do in my position, so finally being able to see it coming is very exciting! Last week, J&J knocked the summer training schedule out. It's all scheduled and teachers will be able to sign up through mylearningplan.com. I'll be writing purchase orders all week to get these elementary buildings outfitted by the end of summer!

I'll be in some classes at the high school and middle schools helping students with video projects this week. It's really fun to see how they take a online tool that I show them and build projects by mashing things together. Students have been using Picasa and movie maker together. They make picture collages in picasa and then add them to a movie in movie maker.
Stuff on the very near horizon...

  • Student email and student logins to computers... This is imperative to our newly improved Middle School Technology Curriculum

  • Additional video resources from Safari-Montage

  • Statewide Consortium for Online learning

  • New software for Family and Consumer Science in HS

  • Keyboarding software for the elementaries

  • Online discussion board for Library/Media website.

  • New fluency software in the elementary schools called Quickreads

  • New computer labs at Irving and at West Middle School.

  • Quarterly Teaching with Technology award....


Friday, February 26, 2010

Well, I will have to say that this week has certainly ended better than it began. Not to get into all of it, but all coaches were required to complete a task (aka "Log") to compile individual information from the beginning of the school year--which has shown to be a tedious use of time (7 hours for me). I guess I'll just deem that one another "hoop."

Speaking of hoops, it seems the Microsoft Hoops have been cleared and are well on their way to becoming a reality. We have our schedule set, and Jamie and I got to meet with Amanda (from AEA) to plot out our training strategy for all of the teachers this summer. It was encouraging to see that this is becoming a reality. I love working with both Amanda and Jamie--it seems like we complete each others' thoughts. With Layne involved, we are an awesome team!

And...next Monday is MARCH 1st...what more could I ask for??

Friday, February 19, 2010

Flying High

It's been an excellent week, and here are a few examples why:

I met with MS Science teachers about CPS Responders & had some nice feedback about using them in the classrooms.

I've enrolled another elementary teacher with the CPS Responders & she is soooo excited and motivated.

I've passed my new CPS software upgrade woes off to e-instruction.

Fourth grade Tag students and I have successfully experimented with Google Sites.

All my Standards, Benchmarks, and Core Indicators for the Middle School Technology classes have successfully been added to Pinnacle Global Scholar.

Learning.com has re-surfaced & has been a wonderful way to enroll more teachers...I just need to get a little more "solid" with it. (Weekend plans)

And finally, the State Accreditation team stated that the Technology Instructional Coaches were highlighted as a district area of success! Wow! What a great ending to the week.

Feeling Good!!

It always feels good when people recognize what you do. I'm not in this gig to seek out pats on the back, but when you applauded, it feels good. My posts over the last few weeks haven't been the most positive.
This week our school district had state accreditation visits. Through interviewing teachers and administrators, technology in curriculum was highlighted as a district area of success. What does this mean?? It means that teachers see and appreciate the help we can offer to implement technology in to their classroom instruction.
We are only going to grow from here. With more technology being pushed out soon, more and more teachers will have access to the tools some teachers are enjoying right now. This is a great end to our week!!

Online learning at it's finest

Seeing this story is what makes our jobs so exciting.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Good News...Bad News...Good News

Okay...good news first:

Just within the past 24 hours I received two really nice compliments about our Tech Coaching. The first came from a principal who said he has been hearing some very positive things about what we are doing. The second came from a teacher this morning who called me a life saver--not that I actually fit that description, but she told me that she trusted me because I was a teacher and not just a tech--otherwise she would have been turned off. I loved hearing that because when Layne and Neil opened this position, that was one specific requirement---had to have classroom experience.

Now these two compliments couldn't have come at a better time because, well, here is the bad news:

Our 21st Century Classroom roll-out has now been pushed back for at LEAST a month. Microsoft red tape is the issue, but this endeavor is one of the main reasons why we were hired as a Technology Coach. I've certainly been busy--even swamped--with many other issues, but it is so frustrating knowing what is coming, what is possible, and just barely out of reach. The look on some teachers/principals faces when we have to say "it will be a little longer"--sometimes I think they think I'm joking around. I wished I was... I'd love to take our extra set of equipment and model in some of the classrooms that lack technology, but it reminds me of that Ally Bank commercial where the little girl is given a bike, but told she has to ride it within the 3-foot rectangle. We could use the equipment for an hour or even a day, but to have any sort of impact, it needs to be a part of the classroom...and that's going to take a while.

So, what's the good news embedded in all of this?

I would say that the time I have spent so far this year has been great in helping me learn the ropes of this new position. I feel solid in the software/hardware. (I couldn't have said that last fall) I feel I've made some wonderful teacher contacts. I've written middle school S&B for next fall--which will be a great change for our MS tech program. I now know my way around every elementary, middle, and high school. I've found my way around our new administrative building. And I've learned that change is not something that happens automatically or quickly.

Where do I begin....

Well, it's been another crazy couple of weeks. We are trying desperately to get this Microsoft settlement figured out. We think we have it and they change the rules on us. We keep getting pushed back further and further. I know eventually it will happen, but I am tired of telling teachers and principals, "soon". "It's still full go, we just have to be patient." I don't know how many more times I can go out and get excited about the technology roll out before teachers tell me to leave.
I know we are doing everything in our power to get this going. It's not our fault we keep getting pushed back. It's just frustrating. I keep coming back to a few blogs I have done in the past. We find it very difficult to get in to classrooms and co-teach and model, when the teachers can't use what we have shown them. It's a tease. It's like teaching your 15 year old kid to drive, but you never let them get behind the wheel to use what you have talked about and shown them.
We'll get to where we need to be soon enough.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Interactive Pictorial History of the World

A couple of months ago, I blogged about the benefits of RSS feeds, and well, today one of them really came through for me. I've found this really interesting technology blog which sends me 10-20 feeds a week--and oftentimes have little gems...like this one by Mr. Byrne at http://www.freetech4teachers.com/2010/02/explore-history-of-world-through.html

"The BBC and the British Museum have partnered to create an interactive timeline called A History of the World. A History of the World presents images of artifacts from various eras in world history. The objects are displayed in rings arranged to match each era. Click on any object in the ring to see a larger image and to read about the significance of each artifact. You can browse the collection by clicking through the rings of images or you can browse by location, by historical theme, or by dates."

I've created a video that shows you this site.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Another Snowy Monday

I haven't blogged in a while, but just a quick update.
Things are rolling along quite quickly now and with Microsoft settlement.
We will have one school up to speed quickly to test how quickly reimbursement comes and then roll the plans out for the other schools accordingly.
Excited about getting out in the buildings today.
I'm setting up a skype communication first thing today for a girl who is traveling to Kenya and will be working with her teacher to keep up while she is gone.
Also, will be working with a mass-comm class at WHS to get some video posted online.
Online learning is progressing nicely and I will have 12 more teachers in tomorrow writing curriculum all day.

I can't let that snow get me down!!

Thursday, January 28, 2010


Well once again I have not been very good about my blog. Imagine that. I have been busy over the last week or so working on different aspects of the Microsoft Settlement. I have been going around to all the Elementary Schools with our rep showing him the classrooms and creating a more concrete list of what we need to order. I have also been working with Jo Dee and Neil on our plan for the use of technology so we can get that approved by the state. I need to get out in to classrooms more. It's very hard.

I find it very hard to get our in to classrooms to discuss technology and to model lessons with technology when the teacher doesn't have the technology. I know I have blogged about this before. I feel bad I haven't been out as much as I should, but that will be changing. Once the roll out officially begins, I will be out all the time. i have so many good things to share, but it's not worth my time to share unless a teacher has the technology to try what I am sharing.

Aside from working on the Microsoft plan, Jo Dee and I have gotten our fair share of PR this last week or so. In these tough times, PR is great. We have presented some ideas and what we do to a couple of committees. Jo Dee also presented at a board meeting. The more exposure, the better off we are as Technology Coaches. Gotta love it!!

Friday, January 22, 2010

To Mount or Not to Mount Projectors

It has been an active 3 weeks since I've last posted. Things are starting to pull together as our roll-out of the 21st Century Classroom equipment will begin in one of our buildings next month. It is an exciting yet frustrating time. This plan evolves and revolves, so something that I may have told a teacher last week is different this week. At least I always preface my statements with "this is not set in stone & could possibly change."

I totally understand the reasons why this changes...in fact, I really appreciate the vision we have to be flexible and not just stick to something because that was the original plan. That being said, one of the issues on this teeter-totter is whether to mount or not mount the projectors, and I just have to add my 2 cents worth...

I acknowledge that it will initially save money, but we just HAVE to mount those projectors. Without mounted projectors, I can totally see my coaching time being spent in the classrooms re-orienting boards that lose calibration due to a tiny bump to the projector cart. (By the way, we are not purchasing carts) I have talked to many teachers during my time in the buildings who are eagar, yet apprehensive for this technology to be in their classrooms. I often hear, "This will be so neat--but I don't know if I'll be able to learn to use it." (To which I reply, "I'll be by your side.") I personally know from having a non-mounted Smart Board and non-mounted projector in my classroom how frustrating the calibration issue is. One bump of the board or projector stopped my lesson in its tracks. We waste precious class time re-orienting the board...or we just quit using the board. Lose-lose situation in either case.