Friday, October 29, 2010

Give and You Shall Receive

My job as an Educational Technologist has many rewards. First, I get to help teachers learn new ways to integrate technology into their lessons. Almost all are very appreciative that they received help with the technology. It can be confusing. I also get to meet many new people, from different schools and cities. The personal reward that I find beneficial to my role is that not only do I get to share my ideas, but teachers will share theirs. These experiences build my repertoire of tools as I continue to go from school to school. Even questions about how a piece of technology fits into a curricular goal can give me ideas to create new activities in SMART Notebook or other tools. For example, while visiting A.E. Bowers School in Airdrie, Alberta, I not only made new friends with fellow teachers, but a Grade 2 teacher asked me about the hundreds chart in Notebook. She wanted to use it for estimation, but the chart provided in the activity toolkit shows all the numbers, and she wanted them hidden. How can we create a hundreds chart that hides the numbers? Challenge to self. Using a table from Microsoft Word, I created a hundreds chart. I copied and pasted it into a SMART Notebook page. Then I right clicked on each numbered cell and added a screen shade. All of the numbers in the hundreds chart are now hidden. A teacher can ask a student to reveal a number, move in any direction a certain number of spaces, and ask for an estimate of what that number may be. A new idea that is now created and shared. The video below (watch on Youtube for clearer video)shows the process. Teachers need time to collaborate and share their ideas. An idea might not be created right from the start, but through conversation on curriculum and pedagogy, the light bulb might just turn on.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Need a Visual? Youtube It!

Hmm? How do I install my own sprinkler system? Is it possible to rip a YouTube video into just an mp3 file? Audacity doesn't allow my file to save as mp3. How do I convert sound? How do I embed video into my SMART Notebook lessons? The answers to these questions can be found on YouTube. I use to spend wasted time reading a manual over and over to make sure I followed the step by step instructions. Now I turn to YouTube. I find I learn faster visually, as do most learners, so to grasp a concept, or find answers to just about anything, YouTube is an avenue. How can YouTube help your PLN? Here are my top 10 reasons to use YouTube in the classroom.
1. Find visual answers to questions
2. Present an opinion on a topic
3. Show video on curriculum content
4. Create a database of "howto" videos for your students or PLN
5. Market yourself and talents Kelsey's Art
6. Celebrate class projects, themes and/or special events (MHHS halftime dance at Football game)
7. Bookmark your classroom videos into "favorites folder" for quick access
8. Convert video to Flash files from YouTube to embed into your Notebook lessons (a how-to) is shown below.
9. Share via email, twitter, blogger, etc. and collaborate with friends

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Are You looking for Answers?

In my field as an Educational Technologist, I find that research is easier to do and find, thanks to technology. Twitter made no sense to me when I first signed up. But once the Personal Learning Network (PLN)grew to suit my professional needs, research became easier. Many educators find resources and post links to twitter that can easily be explored. Twitter is not just about "What Shaq is doing at this minute." Through my PLN I also found a cool site called Wallwisher
Since personal owned devices are just around the corner in many school districts, I asked the question, "What is your position on allowing Personal owned devices in the classroom?" Particpants can link to the site and post their opinion on the wall. This has great potential in the classroom. Another site that I found through my PLN is Answer Garden. Again, the researcher can post a question and send the link to followers, students or whom they want to direct the question and respondants can post their answers to the site. Another innovative application for the classroom that students should enjoy. So if you are looking for answers . . .