Need a New Presentation Method? Try Some Vuvox

No, that’s not a medicine: it’s a website for making your own presentations. You can make an Express ( I’m trying all and made one from last week’s sports news by uploading Yahoo Sports News):

Or, you can make a collage (one of my trips to China):

Or, you can use “Studio” and pick different styles for your presentation:

I will be talking about this tomorrow at Tech Tuesday at 4:30. Interested? I can also arrange to show you 1:1 or in a small group–just let me know!

Vuvox Wiki
Example of a PBS project
Crazy Teaching Blog Post

Get the Students Activ and Ready for the New TEIs

Thanks for attending the workshop this morning on how to construct Technology Enhanced Items for the upcoming SOL tests. The handout can be found under “Workshops” and if you have any questions for me, or comments, feel free to leave a one below! If you want to heap loads of praise, or give nuggets of wisdom, suggestions, or an idea for a great Italian restaurant, do that too!

PowerPoints are Good to Use, BUT…..

PreziI remember the time my daughter was sharing, when she was in high school, that whenever a teacher would pull out a data projector and set up a PowerPoint, the class would moan. “Ohhhh nooooo!” they’d whisper, “not another PowerPoint!” My other daughter would bemoan the same sentiment with one education professor who loaded each PowerPoint screen with size three fonts (OK, I exaggerate, but you get the point) in Helvetica font, and r-e-a-d each SENTENCE on the screen. And, of course, the professor used the templates that came with PowerPoint. Her fellow education major peers would dread that class. However, it was technology, wasn’t it???? My point (ha ha ha ha! Note the pun there)? For information to be learned, the audience must be cognitively in tune with what you’re saying.

My solution? Do you Prezi? If you are a user of PowerPoint with your classes, I’d not only be happy to assist you with ways to make your PowerPoints more audience friendly, but would also suggest this free online presentation delivery. What makes it stand out is that it is not linear, but “horizontal” as well. If you want to see the Prezi that I made for my D.I. workshop this past summer, click here and you can get an idea of what I’m talking about. It’s fun, and students will enjoy it also! Also, Frederick County TRT’s have set up a website that gives a background of Prezi here. Interested? Email or stop by my “office” (CES: in the closet by Mrs. Fly’s room–seriously!; BES: IT office in the library; JTY: room 157) and we’ll begin the fun!

Bring on the Learning Revolution

Ever feel all alone in a learning jungle?

End-of-the-year paper work looms over teachers like a vulture, seeking to devour any vestiges of free time. As the clock turns in to an enemy and the hour hand speeds out of control around its circular course (“What? Two hours have gone by already and this is all I’ve been able to finish?!?!????”), it’s time to step back and remember to charge our batteries so that we do not fizzle and sputter out. Do you have a personal learning network (PLN)? Do you subscribe to blogs to touch base with educators around the country? Many ideas can be shared (that’s where I was able to get the idea for the COW sign up!) and realizing that there are other like minded people can buoy your spirits.

At this time, the reader may be saying, “Where is he going with this?”

TEACH Academy is quickly approaching and I will be leading a day long workshop on bringing technology into differentiated instruction. The class is quickly filling up and room is still left for you! The day will be spent on ideas on how to integrate non linear concepts with instruction and ideas that will capture learners’ attention, which, in turn, will help test scores skyrocket. I have an RSS feed to Langwitches, and she has posted a 17 minute lecture from TED that hits exactly on what I referred to above. And so, in this time of high stress paper work, take some time to sit back and reflect on what we do as teachers.

Want a whole day of a high powered, high interest, like-minded people? Sign up* for the class as well as others that are offered!

*Portsmouth employees only

Differentiated Instruction: Not Your Father’s Classroom

My foot wouldn’t quit tapping as I sat and listened to the instructor in a class last week. While my neighbor listened intently to the lesson, my mind was climbing in the tree outside the window. I could not focus for anything!

Tap went my foot. Tap. Taptap. Taptaptaptaptaptaptappppptap. “Stop it!” I told myself. Breathe in slowwwlllyyy.

Looking left and right, I noticed everyone was listening intently while I was wandering mentally all over the place. Remember Charlie Brown’s teacher who had the low trombone-like voice? That’s what I was hearing. Tap. Tap. taptapptapptptpaptpatppa….Arrggh!!!!!

Yawning was beginning. Not just simple yawning, but throwing-the-head-back-eyes-stretching-wide-mouth-gaping-can’t-stop-for-anything yawning! Sitting for an hour while being talked at, sitting lock-stock-barrel perfectly still, was driving me nuts. Occasionally I grabbed nuggests of wisdom floating about, but 75% of it was gone. Do boys go through this in school? Definitely. If I could just get up and MOVE! The pedagogy in that room was the same as it was in the 1960’s when I was in school (to my old time readers…remember Room 222?)

If I’m working on a Masters in Instruction at Tech and still was climbing the walls with hyperactivity, what do students go through? I got to wondering, are we teaching learning to pass the test, or are we teaching learning styles for life skills? As one student said last week, “I’ve not seen scientists at NASA filling out worksheets or bubbling in answer documents for projects they’re working on!”

Intrigued? We’ll carry this discussion further in my Differentiated Instruction workshop for TEACH Academy (see previous post two down from this one) and sit in “their” shoes to discover how to make learning sizzle. Here’s a video to whet your appetite:

Announcing Portsmouth’s T.E.A.C.H Academy 2010

(Open for Portsmouth folks only at this time)

Workshops offered:
–PowerPoint 2007 Tips and Tricks
–Using technology to make self correcting activities
–Virtual Field Trips
–Using technology to build student background knowledge
–Integrating technology into writing instruction
–Virtual Literature Circles
–Promethean Users Group
–Using technology to check for understanding
–Web 2.0 websites
–Quick and easy technology projects for students
–Digital storytelling
–Graphic Organizers for every content area
–Using technology for differentiation of instruction
–Technology for vocabulary instruction
–Inspiration 9 – What’s new
–Technology for Marzano’s insructional strategies
–Windows Movie Maker
–DE Streaming – a day of Discovery

Check your email for links and registration.

10 Tips for ITRTs/TRTs to Remember

Liz Davis of The Power of Educational Technology writes a post that is a goldmine for my colleagues across the city and state as we remember how to reach the classroom teachers with integrating technology:

1. It isn’t really about the tool it is about how you use it
2. Differentiate
3. Don’t be the only teacher
4. Ask lots of questions
5. Enlist your PLN
6. Remember there is great teaching without technology
7. Acknowledge your teachers’ anxiety and expertise
8. Start with the early adopters
9. Observe your colleagues
10. Don’t touch the mouse

Read the full post here

Ramblings: Who Needs an ITRT* Anyway?

Chalk this up as one of those days where you want to run and do anything that causes total mind rot as your lower jaw hangs open and you sit there, staring blankly ahead, and making weird noises with your mouth, “Uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh…” To whit:

a) This morning, while at work, I was asked to do all the work/teaching by a teacher, and I responded with, “I’ll be happy to assist you and show you how it’s done.” She stomped out.
b) Another one said, “I want to be a TRT and have it easy.”
c) This semester is 1000% harder than any class I’ve taken so far (Instructional Technology Masters) and my brain is flat lining.
d) A year ago I was in London seeing Big Ben ringing at midnight. This year, I’m mumbling through Instructional Design wishing for a breakthrough with cognitive enthusiasm.

How does one convince your staff the importance of technology integration? How do you encourage, coach, inspire, without being a glorified computer lab teacher? Thanks to Langwitches, a great post was written on (“Where education meets technology and they become good friends”), Technology graveyards: Why schools need instructional technology integrators. Take, for example, this passage: But on their own, the best teachers can’t possibly do a thorough or excellent job teaching and keep up with technological advances. This is not meant as an insult to the abilities of teachers to handle the complexities or additional demands; rather, it is an affirmation of their professional commitment to their career. Teaching — for those of you who are blissfully unaware — is an overwhelmingly demanding lifestyle that requires at least 50-60 hours a week when schools are in session to do well. To expect teachers also to keep up with emerging technologies is asking for superhuman accomplishment and sacrifices to other aspects of the teaching arena.

Ah, the bliss of NECC 09: we’re not alone!

*Instructional Technology Resource Teacher