Thinking Inside the Box

boxesThis Tuesday, July 14,  will be the second of three keynotes I will be presenting for the New Jersey Education Association (NJEA). As I mentioned in my post about the first keynote , I’ve set aside a section on my wiki for the slide decks and resources I’ll be sharing and I will be embedding the UStreams there as well. I’ve established #NJEA as the Twitter hashtag already and on 7/5/09 Tweeters in the Twitterverse began using the hashtag in any conversation related to these Technology Institutes.

Please consider joining the UStream one or both of the remaining Institutes. They begin on Tuesday mornings at 9:15AM EST. I truly feel these New Jersey educators would benefit from your input on how you use portable devices in the classroom.  Tweet a link using the #NJEA hashtag, leave a comment here, join us in the UStream.

Thanks for your support. –Lisa

We’ll be trying:

Poll Everwhere
http://chacha.com/

We’ll be watching:

Did You Know 3.0
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cL9Wu2kWwSY

Abbott and Costello Video
http://teachertube.com/members/viewVideo.php?video_id=3963&title=Abbot_and_Costello_Maths_Problem

Intel Commercial
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ypEo7uCUXA8

We’ll be talking about:

How to use the wealth of material available to educators and students in iTunesU, on sites like Teachertube.com, and many others. We’ll also be taking a look at boxes like the iPodTouch and netbooks.

Professional Development Meme 2009

Clif's Avatar 2008
Clif's Avatar 2008

My first face-to-face meeting with Clif was as the Bogger’s Cafe at NECC08. He was easy to spot. I saw the skin on his laptop and immediately recognized the person that I had been communicating with for many months on Twitter with. I rather enjoyed those first few minutes — connecting a voice with the written word — attaching facial expressions with observations longer than 140 characters.

Clif happened also to be the last person that I saw at the Austin airport before I caught my flight back to New Jersey last June. I’ve since shared some time with one of his graduate classes, shared bookmarks, Tweets and perhaps even some Plurks with him. But I have not seen him face-to face since last June and I am very much looking forward to chatting with him at NECC09.

About a month ago, Clif tagged me in this PD Meme and I promised him that though I didn’t have time to write about it then, I would eventually have a chance to write out my summer goals and tag others to do so as well. I certainly don’t want to arrive in our Nation’s Capitol without having fulfilled my promise to my friend Clif.

Directions:

Summer can be a great time for professional development. It is an opportunity to learn more about a topic, read a particular work or the works of a particular author, beef up an existing unit of instruction, advance one’s technical skills, work on that advanced degree or certification, pick up a new hobby, and finish many of the other items on our ever-growing To Do Lists. Let’s make Summer 2009 a time when we actually get to accomplish a few of those things and enjoy the thrill of marking them off our lists.

Rules: (NOTE: You do NOT have to wait to be tagged to participate in this meme.)

1. Pick 1-3 professional development goals and commit to achieving them this summer.
2. For the purposes of this activity the end of summer will be Labor Day (09/07/09).
3. Post the above directions along with your 1-3 goals on your blog.
4. Title your post Professional Development Meme 2009 and link back/trackback to http://clifmims.com/blog/archives/2447.
5. Use the following tag/ keyword/ category on your post: pdmeme09
6. Tag 5-8 others to participate in the meme.
7. Achieve your goals and “develop professionally.”
8. Commit to sharing your results on your blog during early or mid-September.

My Goals:

1. Complete the last two video podcasts for the grant project I have remaining and submit them to the funding partners.
2. Record audio and or video of summer PD and upload to the CMSCE Rutgers iTunes U account for archiving.
3. Continue building the UDL4ALL Ning – add resources, build community, cultivate conversations.
4. Add to my iTouch the Future series of posts.

I tag:

Lucy Gray
David Truss
John Pederson
Liz Davis
Christy Tvarok Green

Coping with Distractions

I’ll be honest. As I’m writing this, I’m completely distracted as my youngest daughter keeps coming in to tell me she has a stomach ache. This post itself is a distraction from the prep work I should be doing for the Google Learning Institute tomorrow at the Center at Rutgers. The GLI is a distraction from all the other PD I need to prep for and follow-up on.

priorities

I’ve been asking myself lately what distracts me from work. I’ve also been working at prioritizing my workload. My family and I just moved to a new house. (Packing up the house we had been in for eleven years was more of a project than I had anticipated.) I wanted to make sure that during the move, I would not misplace any of the materials I would need for the professional development I would be teaching before the end of the school year. I was kind of successful. I’ve only misplaced the AC adapter for my Blackberry and my patience.

Another distraction. My eldest daughter feels it’s necessary to remind me a dozen or so times that she MIGHT be going somewhere this weekend IF a friend’s mother says it’s okay.

First priority – my family
Second priority – Well…this is were it gets fuzzy. I’d like to say it’s my job. But at this point, my job is so connected to so many things.

Another distraction. The eldest daughter is back again. More information about the possibility of plans. Perhaps a phone call tomorrow will help. (There is always time in the day for my girls.)

So, how do you prioritize what you need to do for work when everything you do is connected and you are connected through your personal learning network? Here are some of my priorities for work:

  • Prep work for PD
  • Twitter
  • Google Reader
  • Diigo/Delicious
  • E-mail – Phone calls
  • Maintaining blogs/wikis/other resources

Which should be at the top of the list? Which should be considered a distraction? A priority?

How do YOU manage all of this? Does anyone have the magic answer? I know I don’t. I’ve been asked many times before how I manage to keep up with it all. I usually respond that I rely on my PLN for support. You get what you give and I try to give what I can. Help me out here.

Rumors Confirmed – Google Teacher Academy #7 in August

Google Teacher Academy

Boulder, Colorado

August 5, 2009

cert_teacher1

Just over 300 educators in the United States have been certified through the Google Teacher Academy and they are gearing up for the 7th cohort this summer on August 5. In order to apply for the Academy you must complete an application including a one-minute video. Both are reviewed by a panel of educators from across the U.S. (Please read some excellent suggestions for your application at Kevin Jarrett’s blog.)

Should you not be prepared to travel to Colorado and you are in the New Jersey area you have another option this July. The CMSCE at Rutgers University has had to pleasure of hosting the Google Learning Institute in partnership with Cue along with fellow GCTs Erica Hartman, Kern Kelley and Jesse Spevack this past March for 40 NJ Educators ranging from 2nd grade through higher ed. We had such an overwhelming response, that we scheduled a second GLI for May 28 (coming up in just a few short weeks) where we will be joined by GCTs Erica Hartman, Andrew Gallagher and Jerry Crisci. But, we still had a waiting list of area educators looking to learn about all the Google Apps and how they can be used to improve teaching and learning.

GWE

Piscataway, New Jersey

July 15 and 16, 2009

On July 15 and July 16, Kevin Jarrett, Kern Kelley and several middle school students from Maine and New Jersey will join me to host a two-day Google Workshop for Educators. This two-day event will take you beyond the one-day fast-paced introduction to Google Apps and end in a proof of concept project. For more information and to register for this event, please visit the Center’s website.

Reaching New Interactive Levels – The SMART Table

The new SMART Tables are slowly making their way into schools across the country. At a price tag of about $8000, you may or may not being seeing one in your school, but I had the pleasure of being able to experience one on April 3 and showcase it to about 15 school districts in New Jersey.

SMART Table Dimensions 35 7/8" W × 25 1/2" H × 28 7/8" D
SMART Table Dimensions 35 7/8" W × 25 1/2" H × 28 7/8" D

As for reaching new levels – it’s a short level. This SMART Table is designed for preschool through sixth grade students. Though if you ask me, at the rate adolescents are growing these days, I can’t think of a ten or eleven year old who could comfortably sit at this table. I see this portable table (it’s on wheels) easily and effectively used in preschool through fourth grade classes. I’d love to see it used with special ed students as well.

Before we began our 2 hour Showcase of how you could use the SmartBoard to improve teaching and learning in your classroom (I’ll get to that in a little bit) I took a video tour of the SMART Table.

What do you think? How can you see this interactive table used in your classroom or a classroom in your building or district? The SMART Technologies literature boasts, no calibration, multitouch and portability, all things I feel make a big difference in a classroom over portable interactive whiteboards (IWB) of the past). But the SMART Table is surely not a replacement for the IWB mounted on the wall. It’s meant to compliment the SMART Board. (You can read all about the FAQs and Features here.)

Kristine Scharldi presented an amazing array of activities across all content areas from the primary level through the high school level during the first 45 minutes of the Showcase.  I was impressed with the selection of tools and techniques that she chose to engage the educators in the event and she managed to bring Showcase attendees to the Smart Board throughout the 45 minutes.

One of the questions that came up during Kristine’s presentation was how some people smartboard-showcase-027(including students and adults) have trouble moving things on a SMARTBoard. So Kristine mentioned that she uses her fingernail rather than the tip of her finger. Wayne Copeland, from Keyboard Consultants, suggested using a tennis ball to move objects. Then @tomgrissom who was following my Tweets mentioned that he has students use a hand pointer with a little glove on. Well, I laughed when Wayne pulled this little surprise out of his bag (see picture on right).

I had planned to show our attendees some of the wonderful interactive websites that are just more powerful and engaging on an IWB. Why are they more engaging? Well, my suggestion is always to use the IWB as a station in your room. Allow your students to collaborate at the SMARTBoard on an activity related to your content while you work somewhere else in your classroom on another task with another group.

These are the sites that I demonstrated of course asking for volunteers to come to the Board.

  1. http://www.quia.com/rr/11505.html
  2. http://www.sheppardsoftware.com/periodictable_0_click_all.html
  3. http://www.thinkingblocks.com/mathplayground/TB_AS/tb_as4.html
  4. http://www.bgfl.org/bgfl/custom/resources_ftp/client_ftp/ks2/music/piano/

I also shared my wiki which leads to an eBoard which is loaded with resources on SMARTBoard Notebook in almost every subject and grade level. (I also showed them the Virtual Bubble Wrap site that I use just before the lunch break on a professional development day.)

Lastly, Wayne Copeland spoke about the SMART Technologies product line. He also went over all the grants that are available to help with the acquisition of this equipment. I was quite impressed. I wasn’t aware that there were so many options.

What’s your favorite site to use on the IWB?

Does your district fund it’s acquisition of this type of hardware through your budget? Or does it rely on its Education Foundation, PTO or other outside association?

I’d love to hear your response to the video tour of the SMART Table as well.