Thursday, December 1, 2011

Top 100 Learning Tools

Check out Jane Hart's (2011) presentation on the top 100 learning tools. She has posted these survey results for the past 5 years. I thought I would share her work and provide a link to her blog out of respect for her work.  I always like learning about a few new learning tools. 

Monday, November 28, 2011

Weblog Thoughts

Regardless of your preferred word choice, blogs have the potential to globalize education. It offers students the freedom to learn, which is at the heart of life-long learning. Ask students (and yourselves) "What is important to you? Search the blogs and engage in the discussion online." This is what students should be encouraged.

social mediaWeblog or Blog? You can decide, which term you prefer. I kind of like the original term. The "OT" if you dare.

Without blogs I wouldn't have found this inspirational Prezi on 21st Century learning. I wouldn't have found "techy" suggestions for the classroom like 11 Techy Things for Teachers to Try This Year or the 30-Day Challenge. Both inspired me to implement Web 2.0 tools within the classroom. In addition, I offered students the option to create projects online. Blogging is truly a game changer, and places learning into the student's hands. Blogging can be intimidating; yet, it is more accessible than many teachers would think. I encourage all teachers to attempt their own blog. Then, try to include your students in the blog. Again, creating a blog can be scary, but like Nike says, "Just Do It!"
nike swoosh

Blog List

Here's a list of various Blogs I have been reading and I found worth some attention. Hopefully, you find them educationally inspiring or just interesting.
At the end of the day, I really enjoyed writing and learning with this blog. It has been an eye-opening experience. From writing my posts and reading others, I have been synthesizing my own learning materials to share with other teachers. Engaging in higher order forms of cognition has left me addicted to the free information floating within other professionals' blogs. I can now relate to tall haired Team-Edward fans or a Justin Beiber fans. I don't have Beiber-fever; I have blogger-fever. We'll see how long it lasts, but momentarily it is engages my once idle mind.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Interactive WhiteBoard: Mostly SMART Board

chalkNo, I didn't just eat a powdered donut. That's chalk dust all over my clothes. I have always disliked even touching chalk. Some people will argue in favor for chalk because it creates less waste for the environment. I say Bah-Humbug (I'm Mr. Scrooge when it comes to chalk). It is not my favorite method for visually engaging students.  Put down the chalk and pick up the digital markers.  The following information was compiled to provide teachers with a basic SMART start.

More Dynamic

Interactive Whiteboards engage students visually and kinesthetically. Interactive Whiteboard technologies allow teachers and students (with the right software) to upload Flash Videos, Sound files, Picture, Graphics, Web information, and interactive whiteboard lessons.

My School has used SMART boards for the past five years. SMART lessons can easily be acquired from the SMART Board lesson exchange. Teachers are able to utilize presentation software like SMART Board Notebook, Keynote, PowerPoint, and Prezi on a regular basis. Basically, SMART Boards make it easy to incorporate new and old technology into the classroom. Power Point is an old piece of software that should be used more frequently. SMART Boards take this software and make it more interactive with the SMART Notebook.

eInstruction offers similar products for the interactive whiteboard market. Mobiview is cool piece of ed-tech. Check out the videos displaying the products capabilities within the Mobiview link. With this tool, students can have their own interactive whiteboard, which can be used to respond within class. Being a quiet student, I never wanted to respond in class; so, this would allow all students to engage in the lesson.

Still more interesting is the Epson BrightLink, which is an interactive projector. With Epson's BrightLink, any surface can become interactive. The projected image becomes interactive. On the Epson website, there are pictures of students manipulating the image projected on a regular tabletop. All of these interactive technologies promise a brighter future for learning.

Setting up The SMART Board Tutorial

Here is a video demonstrating how to setup the SMART Board in your classroom.

Basic Tutorial

Here is a tutorial to demonstrate some basic SMART Board features.

Designing Lessons Tutorial

This clip demonstrates cool functions within the SMART Notebook software. It provides some basics for providing students with dynamic lessons.

Engaging and Creative Activities

The following video demonstrates a creative way to engage students with the interactive whiteboards.

This was an interesting video to demonstrate an erasing assessment to provide students with instant feedback.

SMART board Lessons and Activities

Training for Teachers

When learning some new tech, always use YouTube (SchoolTube or TeacherTube) to search for tutorials. It is an overlooked learning tool, which provides ample opportunities for learning.

If you take the time to learn how to effectively utilize a SMART Board or other interactive whiteboard, then you will learn there are many instructional and management-type benefits. Unless I am visited by three ghosts and convinced to return to chalk, I will remain an interactive whiteboard user.