Sunday, July 31, 2011

EDIM Alum -- Cary Harrod

[I want to figure out how to add pages to this blog without losing access to all the posts that are already there!!! If anyone can help, please let me know.]

I think it might be cool to feature some of the EDIM alums and let others know what they're up to now. For example, Cary Harrod is one of the people I used to meet in my courses. Her discussion threads were always insightful and I looked forward to trading ideas and perspectives whenever we landed in the same course. This morning I came across a webinar that she's hosting in Learn Central on Aug. 9.

"What happens to learning when 353 seventh graders walk into class with their own laptop, netbook or tablet? After five months of intensive planning, we launched our BYOL in January 2011, forever changing the story of what it means to teach and learn in our district. Join us for this informative session where administrators, teachers and students from our district will share their personal journey through a BYOL. We'll save some time to hear the stories of other districts who have taken or are thinking of taking the BYOL path and of course we'll leave time for questions from the community. Together, we can re-imagine learning."

Unfortunately, I may be in a math and technology bootcamp for higher ed educators talking to them about using SmartBoards, but if I decide to save the $$ and stay home, I'll be tuning in.

And ... hey Cary, if you see this post, your project sounds crazy wonderful!!!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Fast entry today: Inpaint (24 hour free download)

[I'm off to take images and make videos that stimulate math questioning in about an hour, but this post is time sensitive because it's from Giveaway of the Day.]Inpaint is a small utility that will replace undesirable objects in an image with an approximation of what might have actually been there. You use the eraser to delete the unwanted object and it infills the selected area for you by gathering information from the existing background. This is one of the few tools I've seen on GOTD that has received such rave reviews.


1) find this link on the Giveaway of the Day web page to download the program file.

2) download and install before the offer expires in your time zone. If you wait, you'll get a trial or lesser free version only.
3) open the 'readme' file and follow the installation instructions to register.
4) this is supposed to be portable, but I'm not sure how ... ???

Learnable Moment
(questions you can work through with your students)

Why is it not ethical to erase watermarks or publishing information from other people's online images? If the only 'perfect' image for a project said "All Rights Reserved" or "NOT for reuse without permission", how might you proceed? Where can you find images that do not have copyright restrictions? How can you give credit to the owner of the image? Why would you want to take the time to do this?

Thinkable Moment
What's in your project rubrics that addresses the issue of 'theft' of online resources such as images? If a student had used using copyright protected images in a project, would you:
  • ignore it because they're kids, who will know, or everything goes if it's for education?
  • accept that project under the fair use provisions (do these apply in your country)?
  • make them cite the source (what if they didn't bookmark and can't find it)?
  • accept but deduct marks?
  • make him/her replace the images?

Friday, July 15, 2011

Discovery Education's new Science TECHBOOK

(Linked image)

Those of you in the EDIM program at Wilkes are so fortunate to be given free subscriptions to DE Streaming, Science and Health so you can use Discovery's assets to enhance the learning experiences you're creating for your students. Canadian students also have access to the DE's Canadian collection. (It's a separate subscription, so if you haven't been given this information, email your advisor and ask her for the details.)

But you may not be aware of DE's newest product -- their Science TECHBOOK.

(Scott Kinney introduces the product)

(Patti Duncan's 60 minute webinar demonstration)

Ask yourself what's missing in a traditional textbook:
  • does it keep pace with scientific discoveries and current events?
  • is it designed around big ideas and essential questions?
  • does it facilitate connections across standards?
  • does it help students connect their learning to their own experiences?
  • does it stimulate their curiosity and make it easy for them to pursue their interests?
  • does it bring science alive for your kids?
I know that when I taught Earth Science 11, the book I used said Jupiter had 16 moons, Pluto was a planet, and there were no other Earth-like planets in the universe. Every year new discoveries made those facts obsolete (is that an oxymoron?), but there wasn't always time for me to research all the topics I wanted to cover to ensure my kids would have accurate information.

That's one of the big problems that DE's new Science Techbook solves. They've taken on the job of making it easy for you to deliver up-to-date content to your kids. They've also made it easy for teachers to be sure they're covering all the standards without having to carve up and dole out science content into isolated, decontextualised portions. The DE Science Techbook is all about the connections, the relevance, and the fascination of science that makes learning about science a way to learn more about ourselves, our world, and our universe and what can be more exciting than that!

So -- sign up for one of the Science Techook webinars and get a sense of what science teaching can be. Better yet, see if one of your instructors can arrange for a Wilkes webinar and request that Patti Duncan lead it. When I did my training with Discovery last year, Patti led the day on science making what could have been a stuffy training-for-trainers session fun and memorable. She teaches by example and models what she believes is possible in every science classroom.

The DE webinar schedule can be found near the bottom right of web page linked from the image at the top of this post. Enjoy!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Another webinar series: Mini-Geek Fest monthly online conversation

(Image linked.)

If you like webinars or if you haven't ever attended one and would like to try out the technology, this could be an option. This is a series is a 'show and tell' for educators who enjoy talking to others with similar interests in technology. It's a time to listen, share, and discuss. LiveBinders is being used to store/share the links from each session. Professional development credits are available (1 per hour/session), and you can either attend live or listen to the archived event to qualify.

If you haven't used Elluminate (now Blackboard) before, it works best with a USB headset -- especially if you like to talk. Your desktop or laptop mike will cause a lot of feedback. Got to the session about 15 minutes ahead and go through the audio wizard set-up.

Chris Smith, aka Samblesguru, has done an introductory 'how to' video for the Saturday Classroom 2.0 web event series. Clicking on the image above will take you to the LearnCentral page where you'll find the URL to join the meeting.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

SMART technologies app to access SmartBoard remotely

Smart Technologies has the solution to the "how to access a SMART Board from an iPad" question. They offer an iPad app called SMART Bridgit Conferencing which solves the problem and makes your Board remotely accessible. Multiple users can write on the same display. Features include: wifi connection, intuitive toolbar to access tools, seamless integration with Notebook software, all the benefits of online meeting software so it works in an e-learning environment. I'm wondering if it's time to but a used iPad to test this.

Good news: the app is free so any of your students can download it.
The catch: " Access to a SMART Bridgit Server version 4.2 or later is required to use this app. For more information on SMART Bridgit conferencing software, or to learn more about SMART Bridgit server software," so you'll have to contact your reseller for a price.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Access SMART Notebook files from your ipad/iphone?

A while ago I was showing 2 Notebook files that I'd created to accompany JUMP math lessons to a group of educators out at UBC. The question came up of whether the SMART people were working on an app version of Notebook software. The flash files wouldn't work, but it's possible to create lessons without using those kinds of gallery items.

Today I came across this response from a guy who calls himself Rabsmo in the MacRumors forum:
"I think that I have discovered the best solution based on the software available so far. I use an iPad app called LogMeIn which allows me to log in to the classroom computer and control it using my iPad. This allows me to walk around the classroom and do everything I would normally do with the smartboard using a copy of the computer screen on my Ipad. You do need a wireless connection (WIFI) between your IPad and the classroom computer to do this but it allows all of the functionality of the smartboard from your Ipad. With regard to using the VGA dongle there are Ipad apps available that allow you to display PDF files and web sites but you will have to be physically wired in to the Smartboard which I think limits the mobility that the Ipad was made for. If you are interested in these apps go to the app store and type in VGA as a search keyword."
Feedback on the website indicates that this might be an expensive solution $30 fee for the app gives you only a month's trial. But it might be possible to use the app version of Join.Me which is a free screen sharing program which I think allows you to pass off the control from one participant to another. You might be able to share with yourself and with other students and all access the same screen (i.e. the Notebook file hooked directly from the school computer to the SMARTBoard) from individual tablets and phones.

I haven't tried either solution yet because I don't have a SMARTBoard at home to practice with, but if you get it working, please send some feedback via the blog response or Facebook.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Marilyn Weston's Technology Tips for Classroom Teachers

(click the pic)

I'm working on a PowerPoint version of Maria Anderson's Trinomial Traverse game. She and a partner have created this to get students to both practice multiplication of simple trinomials and also do some higher order game strategy thinking. It's a nice combination that can easily be adapted to other math skills when you want to avoid 'drill and kill'. I'm also working on a Notebook version for the SMARTBoard which uses spinners instead of dice because it's easy to change the information in the slices of the spinner.

While searching for interactive powerpoint dice, I came across Marilyn Weston's "Technology Tips for Classroom Teachers." She's been building it since at least 2003 (when the visitor counter was installed) and seems to be keeping it up to date. Although the website has a decidedly homespun look, this is a highly professional effort. On the "Stuff Ya Gotta Try" page alone there are hundreds of entries in a variety of content areas -- Language Arts, Math, Science and so forth -- and she's added material on topics such as Internet Safety, Keyboarding, and even "Anti-Frustration with Technology."

No tools compendium can ever be complete, and it's likely that when you scan her lists, one or two of your favourites may be missing, but this is a great place to look when you want to come up with a new tool for the Differentiation course or even to use with your kids.

My favourites:
  • PicassoHead --if you have a few minutes to waste in creative fun. The gallery is fabulous.
  • TerraClues for Schools -- "the ultimate Google Maps scavenger hunt game" -- you can use the hunts on the website or create your own or have the kids do their own for review
  • Mailinator -- create an alternate email address to avoid using your own when you register at websites. This may be a workaround for younger students. You could create a class set and then let the students use them to login.

P.S. -- if you have a link to a PPT with dice or spinners that I can adapt for this math game, please post the link as a response here on in Facebook. THX!!!!!!!!!!