Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Turn your blog into a podcast


I just read about this tool and have attached the widget to the postings on this site. I am using it experimentally here first before I try it with my students. Try it out and let's talk about it.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Let your ideas be heard!!!


Follow the above link to put your two cents into the National Technology Plan.

Also, this blog has great ideas to use in your classroom.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Hey Team,
I just wanted to say it was an honor to work with such a great team. It was like working with people that you had always worked with. I had fun and we accomplished so much and I am so thankful for the training. I'll see you all tomorrow and I am so excited for the new equipment.
Thanks again,
Joyce Horbas


Do I just hit publish to post?


Your team is meeting in 117 Wilber Hall on campus. I will be there and look forward to seeing you! I have been lurking-- reading your entries and rushing off to stuff! Sounds like you have a lot to share--- we have had our tech challenges/discoveries all week here too....

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

One number off. One number! Sitting at the SMART exibit this afternoon I eagerly waited with my two tickets. These tickets would award some lucky crowd members various SMART technologies. As numbers were called, I continued to will my number, 230. And then, ticket number 231 was announced. I let out a disappointed grunt as I felt that SMARTBOARD slip through my fingers.

Vendors, Vendors, Vendors!

Yesterday I ran into soooo many vendors with so many very neat (and expensive) products. One that was very neat was a company called Plato who is selling PS2s (NIntendo like hand helds). These are meant for use in a center to reinforce math and reading skills.

SMART is giving away many prizes including a classroom makeover with all SMART products. No need to apply though for the rest of the world. Today the prize is mine!

I also had a great conversation with a company called YesGen. It is a company that has a training program for students about computers/programs/applications, etc. Those students then become a "helpdesk" for teachers. It is not like our helpdesk (in Fulton) where our techs come in and deal with big problems, but a helpdesk that helps teachers learn to use various programs. For example, let's say Mrs. Smith needs to locate and use some US Govt clip art in her next lesson. She would seek the help of this student helper. I thought this is a wonderful way to bridge the knowledge our students have to what we need to learn. I also am excited about the learning opportunity for our students. Leadership skills!!! Empowerment!!! This will be something I will definitely look up upon my return to NY.
So here is a funny story. I am exhausted and just spent a great deal of time reflecting on my day on my be inspired blog… Then I hit submit and the screen seemed to jump up and smack me. Error, Error, Error. All lost. AHHH! I told my husband that that type of experience is why so many educators do not trust technology. I say, “Not only should we trust it, but we must be smarter than it”. I am typing this blog entry in Word now and will cut and paste. A lesson I learned a long time ago. (And sometimes forget!)

The blog entry was all about today at the conference. Mostly it was my reflection of my presentation. I was excited to show up and show off the very neat work my students have done with my guidance. And similar to what I wrote yesterday and in the above paragraph, we must be ready and on our toes when using technology because it is not fool proof. I tried to show the movies my students created, but could not due to a security restriction on my tablet pc. I didn’t have permission to hook up a foreign projector to the computer. This was nothing I could have planned for. It was just something I had to react to. I did a bit of sorting and resorting and was able to show other projects like their podcasts. I won’t pretend to be all heroic about this bump I hit. I was and am still truly bummed about travelling all the way to Washington to share our work and not being able to. However, on the bright side, I will know for next time. I will know and make next time better. That always seems to be how to make technology work in the classroom or even in regular life. Try and try again. Build character!

I was excited about the amount of people that stopped by to read our poster and talk about our grant process and project. I learned about other schools that have done similar work and even spoke with teachers of older students who encouraged me to dig deeper in regards to invasive species in Lake Ontario. Actually, I am teaching fifth grade this year and am looking forward to looking further into it.

The two hours went by very fast. I talked to so many people about our podcasts, the tablet, movie maker and the grant. I loved it. I love talking with people about following their passion.
The rest of my day was a whirlwind…………..more to come.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Hey! I found the previous post I thought I lost.

I was so nervous last night that I didn't sleep very well. I just kept going over my presentation in my head. I kept thinking about it and thinking and thinking. I really didn't know what to expect.

I woke up, prepared to face the world (well DC at least) and left the Marriott in plenty of time to walk to the convention center. It was gorgeous outside, but hot. I came prepared with 3 laptops, speakers, pictures, etc. I trucked a lot over 4 blocks. (good thing my husband was there to help too)

I walked into the convention center and was met with a wall of people and let's say this... I should have taken the shuttle service. I was HOT!!! And underpressure with the people...

I went to my table, lucky #29. I quickly set up, hooked up to the ethernet cord, plugged into the power chords and turned up the speakers. I was ready to show my students' work (well what I could scrape up last night). Funny thing was... technology is always a character builder. Always.

I couldn't get my tablet to connect to the projector which was some sort of very neat white board by Prometheyn which I made note to check out later. Very cool stuff. The tablet was not allowed to be connected due to district securities, so like I wrote about last night I had to troubleshoot right then and there, quick on my feet and with a bright smile on my face because that wall of people I ran into when I first arrived at the center where circling the presenter booths.

Bottom line is that I was proud to talk about the growth my students have made as digital people and how proud I am to be an educator that will not accept status quo when it comes to creating digital people (including myself).

I wasn't able to showcase my students as much as I wanted to. Their Lake Ontario movies could not be shown which is a big bummer for me since that was the "awarded" grant project. Plus, I know how much time that was spent creating their movies. However, I was able to play their podcasts and show some of their other work on my Dell laptop.

Many people stopped and where interested in the actual information we found out in our study of Lake Ontario. As I stood sharing scientific data (as basic as it was) I couldn't believe that my students pulled off this type of science research. Science has not been a strong point for me and it is a place where I definitely need to grow. Really I couldn't believe I pulled off such a cool scientific project!!!

The two hours went by quickly. Before I knew it......

Sunday, June 28, 2009

First Impressions of Conference

Wow! I am completely overwhelmed by the size of this conference. It spans two giant building with multiple floors each. I searched around today to become aware of the space, but I feel as if I didn't even search. (Too tired, I suppose.) It will all come back to me after a good nights sleep.

AS for my presentation tomorrow... it wouldn't be right if I wasn't experiencing some sort of tech difficulty. I am not able to access files that would showcase my students' learning (and mine) for some reason. I have been doing some major trouble shooting, but to no avail. YET!!!

Flashback to Friday: I had to run into school Friday before it closed to save my students' work. Some of the reason was for the conference, but mostly I couldn't see them losing all the wonderful work they have done. (The home directories are being cleaned out next week.) I tried so hard to save, but... as I am figuring out--I must not have done something right! Needless to say, I will be emailing the helpdesk to plead with them to save these directories until my return.

Two points I guess: One--next year, my students will have their own pin drives to save their learning on and two---keep trucking (or in computer terms, typing). Over the past year and a half, I have continuously ran into snags. Over and over and over. The snags are not to do with underpreparation or lack of motivation... these snags are sent my way on purpose. Everytime one pops up, I learn more. I can't tell you how much I have learned just by trying, getting snagged and trying again. I have had great prof devt and good support from my district, but mostly it is that "I am going to share this program/video/podcast/application, etc with my students" attitude. In order to be an effective educator that uses technology to teach... you must be willing to learn, fall down, try, try again.

Tomorrow will be a great day and I will show the wonderful learning my students have done. I will pass on my passion for this journey I signed up for!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

NECC! Here I Come!

It is 8:59 on Saturday night. I am busy getting ready for my trip tomorrow to the National Educators Computing Conference. I will be presenting at a poster session where I will be setting up a display that demonstrates the learning that my students and I did this year. My plan is to have three laptops to show the many projects that my students completed. These include still picture videos and Podcasts on Windows Movie Maker, various reports on Power Point, Inspiration, and poetry and math using Excel.

I will be able to see the presentation area tomorrow when I arrive, so until then I am not too sure of my set up, etc. What I do know is that I would love to show everything that my students have done, from the lowest acheiving to the highest acheiving student. I have found that with using technology to teach... all children succeed at their own level. Differentiation occurs naturally. I definitely look forward to the upcoming school year to see how this idea works with 5th graders.

I will report back tomorrow night with any updates I have. (Both with final ideas for presenting, the presenting area and other insights I gain in my first few hours in DC.)