Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Discovery Education: More than Just Video

Yesterday I facilitated a webinar on Discovery 101 with 22 of our district leaders. To say Discovery, which many still know as United Streaming, is all about showing videos means you are still living in the past. I joined Discovery about 6 or 7 years ago and was amazed at the videos I could use in my classroom. Now, not only can I download clips, but I can set up a classroom and assign content to my students. Teachers can grade assignments, know when they are turned in, and reassign if the project was not up to standards. Students can log in 24/7 and access video for their research, or assignments given by the teacher. Teachers can also embed video into SMART Notebook lessons. Many of the administrators were amazed at how much information was provided during the webinar presented by Karen Goldman. I am excited about the possibilities that teachers, and more importantly students have to use video in their learning. Now my job as an Educational Technologist is to support teachers in setting up accounts, creating folders, downloading video, and embedding video into their lessons. I am excited to be able to help teachers learn the benefits of digital resources in teaching and learning. I am happy that our district has a site liscense for Discovery Education. One last comment. Discovery Education provides a multitude of resources for teachers, including free webinars, to support teachers in learning more about how to use Discovery in their classroom.

Monday, September 20, 2010

SMART Board Progression: Experience Takes Time

In this blog post, I would like to discuss my history on using SMART Boards and SMART Notebook software. As well, this post will provide resources to teachers learning about new ways to use their SMART Board.
I recall back in 1998, I applied to SMARTerkids foundation (I don't think it exists anymore)for a grant for our first SMART Board at our school. We received one, along with a projector. Everything was on a cart, and the SMART Board was on wheels. I soon learned that using the SMART board was a pain, and sychronizing it was continuous. So I decided to use the projector more than the SMART Board. Showing lesson examples, videos and demonstrations using the projector was excellent. The students loved the visuals.
Eventually the SMART Board was placed on a wall in my classroom (to get it out of the library. The next step was to figure out how kids could use it. One of the first websites I remember using was for interactive games on the SMART Board. It isn't the best of the web material out there now, but maybe at teh time. Students were engaged and excited about interacting using the SMART Board. More websites came and the SMART Board became a centre for augmenting learning.
But there had to be more. SMART Notebook was in early development and until some training came along, there was not much use with Notebook. Enter Notebook 10.0. I began developing interative lessons and learning activities for my students. It became a great centre for learning.
Not until 2009 did I realize the potential of Notebook for student use. Since then I have been showing students how to create Notebook presentations that are filled with games from the Activity 2.0 toolkit, video, and links to external websites. The student creation is what it is all about.
To sum it up, the progression of SMART Board and Notebook use for me was:
1. Showing video
2. Finding Interactive sites for students
3. Creating interactive games and lessons for students
4. Having students use Notebook to create their own interactive presentaions.
So if you are new to a SMART Board, take your time, learn ways to use it, have fun with your students, and let them create. SMART Exchange Is a great link to find uploaded teacher lessons.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

New School Year: New Ideas and More Resources For Teachers

Welcome to a new school year. As I continue to increase my blogging abilities, I hope to provide educators with more ideas and resources to use technology in the classroom. I have added some new gadgets on the right. Teaching Books is a good resource to get students involved in literacy and learn more about authors. I am tweeting more, call me a twit, but find many great articles and links to educational resources. You can follow me on twitter by clicking the link on the right. I have links to some good SMART Notebook sites on the right. If you are looking for educational websites without wanting to do the Google search join my Delicious network. Also, if you have questions or ideas, post a comment and I can create a howto video or respond on the blog. Have a great year, teachers!!