Monday, October 24, 2011

Online tools - Media Services can help.

Have you heard of Edmodo? It is a secure learning platform that gives students and teachers an easy way to  communicate and collaborate. SCSD has its own subdomain. If you are using Edmodo and don't enter through our subdomain, it is easy to change. Just contact me for the code. If you are interested in Edmodo, we have several active classrooms in the district. I can give you some basic training and connect you with a colleague.

E-pals is another safe online student communication tool that is managed by SCSD Media Services. Student email accounts can be moderated by the classroom teacher and filtered for spam and language. In addition, there are a host of global collaborations available through their network.

Have you ever thought about using Skype to connect with an expert or another classroom? I belong to a variety of online networks which are designed to foster collaboration across the globe. I can make inquiries on your behalf or help you set up your own accounts.

Last year, S.E.F. funded the purchase of a one year school subscription to PollEverywhere. I activated it at the end of October, so we only have a few days left. The benefit of the fee-based service was the ability to poll larger groups and manage users. PollEverywhere is still free for limited use.

If you have any questions about these or other resources, please let me know! I would be happy to help.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

When I go to other schools or look around our own buildings, I am fascinated by how teachers make technology work in their classrooms even though the facilities are not designed for it (not enough electrical outlets, for example) or funding is inadequate for the carts or furniture that makes the technology easier to use (like carts designed specifically to house/charge Apple laptops or iPads).

Recently, we added document cameras to the suite of tools available for classroom teachers. We did not purchase specialized carts for the doc cams, so we had to make the most of what we had. After attending a tech learning conference at Van Meter and seeing that this internationally known 1:1 school was doing pretty much the same thing, it was obvious - you don't have to have a perfect environment with state of the art design, equipment, sound, seating (etc.) for meaningful and exciting learning to take place (although it would be great...)

Here are some of the creative ways our staff has incorporated document cameras into their physical space: