Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Monday, March 23, 2009
Sunday, March 22, 2009
Saturday, March 21, 2009
Friday, March 20, 2009
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Tip #9: Lock: Many of my carefully prepared Notebook lessons--"Notebook" is the software designed for the SMARTboard--were pounded to mush as students tried to drag words into the right category—a condition called “stuttering finger.” The student touches the text box; the finger slips and taps again. This double-click opens the text box for editing, whereupon, the next slip rearranges the order of the letters till the lesson is unintelligible. The cure: Lock. Select the text box, pressing on the downward-pointing triangle to choose “Lock.” If you prefer, use Command-l. In the case of a text box that needs to be placed somewhere else on the page during the lesson, choose “Allow move”--no keyboard shortcut for this. Now the words in the text box cannot be changed until you use the same pull-down menu to “unlock”--or Command-u.
Saturday, March 14, 2009
New to SMARTboard? These are my top ten tips for new users of Notebook, the software designed for the SMARTboard, starting with number 10.
Tip #10: I've just put up the instructions for the assignment on the SmartBoard. Just then I remember that there’s an important email to check. I used to just wait to use the computer for this or any other task till the SmartBoard wasn’t needed. Then I learned about “freezing.” There’s a button on the remote for the projector labeled “freeze.” It captures the picture and doesn’t allow it to change till you hit “freeze” again. So, check your email, print an extra set of instructions or another copy of the parent newsletter, then return to your presentation and hit “freeze” a second time. Seamless.
Thursday, March 12, 2009
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
After reading Rebecca Blood’s article about the two types of blogs, I realize that for education issues, I prefer the “filter” type rather than the “web log.” I subscribe to a number of blogs, using Google Reader to “aggregate” them. Like a morning newspaper written just for me, they appear on my start page. I doubt that I’d read any blogs at all without my Reader packaging them conveniently for me. The “filter” blog searches the web for obscure items of interest or links with “how to” lessons. These are more useful to me than blogs of personal sharing, rants, and the like. I admit however that I seldom make it through my Google Reader page before some of the items are weeks old. When I read a how-to or an experimental lesson, I like to try it out. This takes lots of that scarce commodity, time. Certain writers have proven that their contributions are worth the time.
One that's worth the time is called “The Teacher Teacher,” written by “dabigleap”-- a technical trainer from Columbia, Missouri. He often writes about SmartBoard use, which is of particular interest to me since I’ve had one in my classroom for a year. If you haven’t used SmartBoards, a year may seem like plenty of time to learn the tricks of the trade, but I’m just beginning to realize its potential. In a February 23, 2009, post he explains how to use lessons in other formats, ex., PowerPoint, and turn them into an interactive activities at the SmartBoard. He describes how to change the blanks of the worksheet to text boxes, and working with the “Ink Aware” toolbar, transform the working into a game, engaging all the students in the discovery process. Next, he explains how to import an existing PowerPoint lesson into Notebook—as the software for the SmartBoard is called—and not only keep the advantages of your work in PowerPoint, but add to the interactivity of Notebook. I had known about Ink Aware tools in the SmartBoard system, but I never understood the advantages of using them. He explains how to engage students in writing notes on the SmartBoard and how to savethem to be used as part of the lesson. “Dabigleap” writes in a casual style about technical tips for classroom teachers. He often links to other blogs or web pages with more information. His entries are sometimes very short, sometimes more in depth. He keeps his advice practical, without philosophy, politics, or unsupported predictions about Technology Utopia. I like that.