Monday, June 28, 2010

Welcome to the Future? Symbolic to Educators

"Welcome to the Future," by Brad Paisley has been my motto and inspiration in my first year of my position as Technology Leadership Coordinator.
Brad Paisley’s video illustrates the change in our world from history to present and through his music he provides examples of change for the better. An example he uses of how he use to get a ride down to the arcade to play Pacman, but now he has it on his phone is a strong statement that describes the change in technology. Mr. Paisley’s lyrics mention his grandfather fighting the Japanese in WWII and now Mr. Paisley has video chats to companies in Tokyo. What a powerful transformation of history. I believe his most inspirational message in his song is when he sings about how a running back on his football team had a cross burned on his front yard for asking out the homecoming queen. He relates this verse to being proud that we have our first black American President. He sings “Wake up Martin Luther, welcome to the future.”
Since writing and producing this song, Mr. Paisley was invited to the Whitehouse to perform this song in front of President Obama. Society has come very far in a relatively short period of time. Barriers have been broken for equal opportunity.
“Look around it’s all so clear, wherever we were going well we’re here,” is a
powerful representation moving from the past to the present.
“So many things I thought I would never see, are happening right in front of me,” is very true in my reflection of my teaching career. I am amazed at what our capabilities are with technology. Change is happening daily. Students have the world at their fingertips with the digital age we live in.
I feel that teachers are caught in the rapid technological change and are behind the students in their knowledge and use. I believe it is pivotal that educators embrace change and try to learn what kids are interested in. I am an advocate of 21st Century Learning and this video inspires me in my work. I am proud to know that I am up to speed with the wants and needs of children and the way they learn. My job is to teach leaders the importance of getting up to speed with the technological needs of the students. Modeling is proven an effective buy-in strategy and leaders need to model the use so their teachers will see the importance.
We as teachers, are our own worst enemies. We can sit in a meeting with a laptop in front of us, a cell phone ringing and still listen to PD speaker. But when we go back into the classroom we expect our students to sit straight, keep quiet and listen, and do the worksheets placed in front of them. How hypocritical. Today is the future. We need to change our practice now, not tomorrow, not after retirement, but now. We have to get use to doing things differently in the classroom. We are doing things in our own lives differently as learners, so let us help shape others.
The lyrics Mr. Paisley writes have symbolized the change in the shape of the world. Barriers that once were, are now removed, providing all of us with choices for our future. Are we giving our students these choices?
It takes time to change, but the future is now. “Welcome to the Future,” may inspire others to see how far we have come. It also might allow for some teachers to reflect on their professional growth. I know it did for me.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Ready for 1:1? Check this list before you answer

Ready for 1:1? Check this list before you answer

Are you or your district schools considering a one-to-one laptop approach to learning? Click on the above link to read a checklist of ideas about one-to-one mobile computing.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Using the Interactive Dice in SMART Notebook

Here is another "how to video" on using the interactive dice that are found in the Activity 2.0 Toolkit in SMART Notebook 10. With a good imagination, you can come up with a number of ways to use the dice. Please use comments box to share your successes with the interactive dice.
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Using Tiles in SMART Notebook

I have created a "how to" video that demonstrates how to add pictures to the tiles multimedia tool in Activity 2.0 toolkit. This toolkit is full of interactive multimedia games for teachers and students to use. It is found in the gallery of SMART Notebook 10. I will add more "how to" videos as my blog grows. If you have a technology question, just click on comments and I will try my best to help you out.
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Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Wordle and how to save your project as a picture file.

Wordle is a toy for generating “word clouds” from text that you provide. The clouds give greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in the source text. You can tweak your clouds with different fonts, layouts, and color schemes. The images you create with Wordle are yours to use however you like. You can print them out, or save them to the Wordle gallery to share with your friends. (from http://www.wordle.net/)

I like to save my wordles to my computer for future use. The how to video is one I made to show you how you can save your wordle creation as a jpeg file for using in other presentations.
video

Monday, June 7, 2010

Tap into the World of Comics Primary School version

Check out this SlideShare Presentation:

Collaboration, getting sick of that word yet?

“Collaboration is a recursive process where two or more people or organizations work together in an intersection of common goals — for example, an intellectual endeavor that is creative in nature by sharing knowledge, learning and building consensus.” (Wikepedia) When I first started my position as the TLC for Medicine Hat Public Schools, I did not know the impact of the word pertaining to my job. But, after one year as an Educational Technologist, the term collaboration is the essence of what I do.


In my mind the key to collaboration is sharing of information, which is so important in the 21st Century. The sharing of information with my ET friends has really helped me in my position. Everyone in my work is so willing to give. It makes our work easier, better and updated. I have been to a number of Tech. and AISI conferences this year and participated in a number of blogs to see the power of collaboration. I was able to learn from others and analyze information for my own purposes. And now I am able to give back. But,  time is needed and teachers and students need more time to collaborate. Given that time, all collaborators should experience the power.

With technology, collaboration is easier than ever. Experts are found at the click of a mouse. Student voice is at the end of their thumbs. Wikis, blogs, Skype, webinars, forums, and video conferences are some 21st Century methods for collaborating. For teachers, it is still the question of “how” that becomes the barrier. Not only the how, but the risks incurred. But if the risks are not taken, students will miss out on the opportunity for authentic learning, and so will teachers.
Are you getting tired of the word ‘collaboration’? I’m not.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

NOT HAPPY !! Xtranormal is beginning to charge a fee for users

Yesterday, June 2, 2010, I was planning to create another fun movie using Xtranormal. I spent a lot of time doing it and even had a chance to preview it. But when I went to publish it I was directed to a page that asked me to purchase points. What points? Where on the website does it say anything about an update and now charging users? Booo!  I really like Xtranormal, one reason it being a free Web 2.0 site for educators. It is a great way to present and takes the place of watching another PowerPoint presentation. I am going to email the developers with my displeasure and I would like all Xtranormal users to do the same. Maybe the ceators can get advertisers or something. With over 7,000,000 videos made, you would think that advertisers would see this as a good opportunity. I bet with the new fees, the number of movies made won't be rapidly increasing.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Xtranormal: TLC's Top 10 Ways to Use it in the Classroom

Xtranormal is an application that turns text into animated movie. Research has shown that most individuals are visual learners. Movie-making, short and long, online and on-screen, private and public, will be the most important communications process of the 21st century.

Xtranormal is very user-friendly.  You type something; they turn it into a movie. On the web and on the desktop. The following are my top 10 ways to use Xtranormal in the classroom.
1. Introduce yourself
2. To tell a story
3. To give directions
4. Kids can do Student led conferences using Xtranormal
5. Present a report
6. Tell Jokes
7. Explain a concept
8. Teach dialogue between two people
9. Edit a written document, through voice
10. To have fun with text to speech
(if you have other ideas, please reply to this blog and share the knowledge.