Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Putting All the Pieces Together

I recently completed my SMART Certified Lesson Developer certification through SMART Learning Space.  I have been using SMART products for the past 8 years, and picked up lots of tips and tricks during that time.  However, it was until I completed the SMART Lesson Development Workshop (Intermediate and Advanced) courses, that I learned how to tie all of the pieces together to create a complete all inclusive lesson.  This course taught me how to use my SMART board for whole group instruction, small group instruction, and independent student learning.  I also learned how to include SMART Response questions for formative assessments during the lessons.  These formative assessments allow me to guide my instruction.  By using the SMART Response, I am also able to collect data, so that I can individualize my instruction to meet the needs of my students.

Now when I sit down to think about the lessons that I will develop for my classroom, I no longer just design whole group SMART board lessons to introduce topics to my students, I design a complete lesson to meet the needs of all my students.

Even though I've been using SMART products for years, it was the courses that I took through my SMART Certified Lesson Developer certification that helped tie all the pieces together for me.  Check out SMART's Training Course Catalog.  I highly recommend their courses.

You can find several of my lessons on the SMART Exchange.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Collaborative Learning a Changing World

After viewing the SMART's video Collaborative Learning a Changing World.  I am just in awe of where technology is taking education.  As technology continues to advance, today's students will no longer be confined to the four walls of the classroom.  Our students will need to be able to live and work in a global economy and I can't think of a better way to be prepared then through worldwide collaborative learning.

In order for this to become a reality it is important for teachers to do the following:
  1. Continue to learn--learning never ends and the more today's teacher can stay on top of technology advances the easier it will be to properly integrate it into the classroom.
  2. Develop a worldwide social network to begin to develop relationships so that when the opportunity to collaborate outside of your classroom arises you have the relationships already established.
  3. Fight for funding.  Let your district know how you integrate technology in your classroom and how you will be able to expand the learning opportunities for your students.  Check out any and all grant opportunities....where there is a will there is a way.
The world is changing and with technology teachers have a great opportunity to enhance and broaden the educational opportunities for their students.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Let the Fire Burn

In two days, the school year will begin. My position of K-12 Technology Integrator has been made permanent. As I begin year two, I reflect back on last year.

I didn’t know what to expect last year. The talk of technology integration across the district, had never been talked about by the administration. Technology use in the district was just a little spark.
I knew it would not be an easy task, but was eager to begin working with the teachers that I had met during my summer staff development workshop. They of course were the first to contact me for help, and were eager to learn how to integrate technology into their curriculum.

Housing my office in our K-1 building was also a great idea. The Kindergarten and first grade teachers were craving technology, but nobody had ever spent time with them. They really didn’t know what they didn’t know. Even the principal at that building began a blog to keep her parents informed of the happenings in the building.

Little by little, word began to spread and I began to meet and work with great teachers throughout the district. A spark had turned into a flame and the fire is now lit.

Fortunately the high school was a recipient of the Classrooms for the Future grant and appointed Aly as the CFF coach. Aly has become a big supporter and an ally. Aly helped add fuel to the fire. When things are not working, or not going the way they should be, I can always count her to help get things moving in the right direction.

Aly and I had the privilege of adding fuel to the fire this summer through technology staff development workshops. We had a great group of teachers coming in to learn about Moodle, wikis, digital cameras, Web 2.0, and podcasting. Many of our teachers are pumped and ready for the school year. They have a new understanding of what technology is out there, and how it can seamlessly be integrated into their curriculum.

I am also excited to begin year two of my journey through education with technology. I had the pleasure of attending the KTI Summit at Bucknell this summer. I learned some great new tools, met lots of great Pennsylvania teachers, and have made some great contacts with people who are willing to collaborate.

Hopefully by the end of the year we will have a blazing inferno that can’t be put out!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Yes! Kindergarten Students Can Use Technology!

There only in school for 1/2 a day and really not even a 1/2 day. With all they need to learn, is there room for technology? So many people believe that we should not waste time having Kindergarten students use technology. Well I totally disagree. This week I have had the opportunity to work with the youngest students in my district and they were so excited to be using the technology. First, a class of kindergarten students are writing a book about animals that they each selected. They wanted to find some simple facts about their animals to include in their writing. Their teacher brought them to the computer lab and they were able to use web sites that I had previously bookmarked to find and print facts about their animals. Yes, they weren't really doing the searching, but they were using literacy skills because they had to find their animals from lists of animals on the websites I provided. In addition, they will need to read the facts and incorporate them into their reports. In addition, they needed to use listening skills, and basic computer skills(click, double click, maximize windows, minimize windows and access the print command) in order to get the information they needed. While they waited for their information to print many of them spent time exploring other animals. They were truly engaged in the activity and I can't wait to read their book when they are finished.

The second activity involved the wedding of the Letter Q and U. Our Kindergarten teacher conducts a mock wedding, complete with food (UTZ potato chips and Queen of Heart Strawberry or Cherry Tarts), and dancing at the reception. I took our digital camera kit into the classroom and allowed the students to photograph the wedding and reception. Their eyes lit up when I gave them the cameras, and yes, I had to delete lots of shoes, floors and people missing heads, but they were able to capture the ceremony, reception and dancing. We are in the process of putting Mr. and Mrs. QU's wedding album together. Let's face it, this is the world these children, while they are only 5 have grown-up in and it is time that it becomes part of their daily school life.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The Kindergarten, Transition and First Grader's Voted!

I know it has been a while since I've posted, but this journey through technology has been a wild ride. Teachers within the district are slowly beginning to see how computers and technology can be a learning tool to enhance instruction and student learning. I feel the biggest building that I have had an impact on is our K-1 building. The teachers in this building are thirsty for technology and I love to sit and talk and share with them.

Because today was the primary election in Pennsylvania our principal decided it would be a great day to conduct an election in the building. Yesterday, she read five books to the students and handed out bookmarks with the five book covers on them. The students were to take the bookmarks home and discuss the books with their parents and then decide on their favorite book. To help tabulate the votes, and to give the students a more realistic way of voting, I created a Google form using a Google spreadsheet, and the students came to the computer lab to cast their votes. To assist the Kindergarten students, many of the first grade classes were partnered with a kindergarten student. After I led the first graders through the voting process, they cast their vote and traded places with the kindergarten student. The first graders were then responsible to help the kindergarten students complete the voting process.

What an experience: 1. To see the students participating in the democratic process by voting.
2. To see 1st grade students take on the serious role of making sure that the kindergarten students were able to cast their votes. 3. To see kindergarten students truly thankful for the help their 1st grade buddies provided.

After the students voted, I even gave them an "I VOTED" sticker complete with our school mascot on. The teachers were thrilled to participate in this exercise, it was short, simple, but tied technology and the computer classroom to the real world!

What a great day! Tomorrow, the teachers will share graphs of the voting results with their students, as they begin to analyze the results by school and by individual class.

Monday, November 26, 2007

From the Top Down

Today I received my monthly alumni newsletter from The University of Southern Mississippi. Because I am in PA, I enjoy reading about all of the things going on at Southern Miss (I really do hope to return one of these days). The University has a new president, a female and an alumna. The president’s message was available in the email I received, along with an invitation to read the president’s blog, ( and so I did. Each entry was a short update about what the president is doing, or what is happening at Southern Miss. You can check it out at http://www.usm.edu/blogs/president

I really began to think about how this blog was a great way to let the community know what is happening, and wouldn’t it be great if I could get our Superintendent to begin a blog about the York Suburban School District. So many “big” things are happening in the district--CELT group’s technology consultation, elementary housing project, budgeting, etc. This would provide Dr. Kate with a way to reach out to the community. If I can get her to start a blog, then maybe each of the Asst. Superintendents could start one, and then each building principal, and then the teachers, and then the students.

However, the key is getting it to work from the top down. If this is the kind of “technology integration” we want our teachers and students to be using, then it has to be important enough for our leaders to be doing it on a regular basis.

I’m going to meet with the Superintendent and bounce the idea off of her. Wish me luck…who knows, my next post could be the URL for Dr. Kate’s blog.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Join In

So much has happened in the past week, and I haven’t had time to put it all in writing, and I realize events will be out of order, but it is important that I get it down in writing.

On Tuesday, November 13, 2007, the 4th grade teachers at Indian Rock asked me to come and review the Solar System Unit with their students. I decided to take my JoinIn TurningPoint student response system and create a review game for the 4th graders.

The pressure was on, because it also happened to be Parent Visitation Day for American Education Week. In the first class I handed each student a “clicker” and immediately their eyes lit up. Right then and there they could tell that this was not going to be the usual paper/pencil review sheet.

I projected my questions onto the screen and the students quickly buzzed in their answers. After each question, we analyzed the percentages each answer got, and then revealed the correct answer. The students clapped and when 90% of them had voted for an answer, and then the room erupted with cheer when it was finally revealed that 100% of the students had voted for an answer…could it be…yes every student selected the proper answer. All students were actively engaged, actively participating, and in the end took much more away from the interactive review game then they would have with a paper/pencil worksheet.

Several parents, stopped to let me know how much they enjoyed the review game, and commented on how actively involved the students were in the class. It was even nice to have my assistant superintendent present for one of the sessions, as her son is a 4th grader. Afterwards, she told me that she is really beginning to get it. She sees how today’s students have come to depend on the technology, and we need to embrace it and use it on a daily basis.