This Week in ES Tech – Back in the Swing of Things Edition

What’s Happening:

  • Thanks for filling out the ES technology survey, we will be looking over the results and sharing them with the technology committee at our first meeting on September 5.
  • Tuesday – drop in ES 133 from 3:30-4:15 to have any Windows 7 or Office 10 questions answered.
  • Thursday – drop in ES 133 after-school for our first Tech Thursday!

BYOL (Bring Your Own Laptop)- Tech Thursdays Start This Week:

To promote tech in the ES we are happy to announce our first Tech Thursday. Tech Thursdays are an opportunity for you to learn more about topics that will help you better use technology in your classroom and/or get drop-in (1 on 1) help with tech issues you are encountering.

Our first Tech Thursday will focus on digital cameras in the classroom. Gary will give a brief overview on shooting digital media. Afterward Ruchira will run small group sessions on getting started editing photos using Photoshop Elements while Kavita will help you learn how to organize your photos using Picasa. In addition Phil, Ursula, Rajni and Hardayal will be available to individually answer any other tech questions you may have.

We hope to see many of you Thursday starting at 3:40PM in ES 133.

Windows 7 and Office 10 Learning Opportunities:

New laptop, new Operating System (Windows 7), new version of MS Office… new questions. To help you become more comfortable with these system changes we would like to offer three opportunities to learn with us.

1. Schedule a 10-15 minute session at your team meeting with one of us to give you a tour and highlight the key changes.

2. Drop in with your laptop to ES133 Tuesday after-school and work either 1-1 or in a small group with members of the ES Tech Team to answer your questions.

3. As part of Tech Thursdays after-school you can always drop in and have any of your questions answered 1-1.

Beware:
Did you know that your projector is an energy vampire?

If you flip the switch on your classroom technology hub when you leave at night you will save both energy and extend the life of our projectors!

Lights… Camera… Action:

We have finished inventorying our existing items and our new arrivals as well. With the increase in cameras this year we now have enough devices to provide a classroom set (20) of digital still cameras and also (3) Flip video cameras to each grade level! We will be dropping these off to lead teachers on Tuesday along with 5 battery chargers and 5 camera cables (if you need more chargers or cables just ask we have them). Please make certain that these items are locked up when not in use.

Besides the grade level sets we have additional classroom sets of 25 older digital cameras and 20 new Flip video cameras available for check-out from ES133.

Wireless Mice and Keyboards:

We now have a solution for using the old Logitech Keyboards and mice with you new laptops. If you have a keyboard and mouse you would like connected, just drop Gary an e-mail directly and he’ll take care of it for you.

Website of the Week:

Kerpoof is a multi-media creation site now owned by Disney. On it students can create original artwork, animated movies, stories, greeting cards and more. In addition there is support for use in a school setting and ideas for use organized by grade level. Check out this short video on what can be created here.

App of the Week:

If you’re like me and type with two fingers or can’t get the hang of the touch screen keyboard on the iPad you must try Dragon Dictation.  With this app you use your voice to create text which you can then insert almost anywhere you can paste text. The amazingly accurate voice recognition capabilities of Dragon really speed up the process. I’m sure students will love it. Best of all, it’s free!

Whew… all for now, as always, if you ever have any questions, comments or concerns please just ask.

Thanks for your support of technology in the ES!

This Week in ES Tech – Students Arrive Edition

What’s Happening:

  • Students arrive this week! Keys for laptop carts have been distributed and student laptops and log – ins are ready to go.
  • Grades 3-5 please schedule a time soon with Phil so we can come in and go over laptop procedures and the responsible user agreement with your students.
  • If you have not done so already, please help us provide you the best tech experience possible by filling out our electronic survey regarding technology at the ES.  The survey is open until Friday at the end of school.

Paper Jams:

Please remember to use only the heavy stock paper in the printers. This is available from CD. The lighter weight paper (which comes in the brown wrapper) does not feed properly and will cause you nothing but headaches.

First Class E-mail Lists

Please update any First Class e-mail lists that you have created to reflect any changes in staff. If you need help doing this just ask.

Digital Still and Video Cameras for Pods:

We are in the process of inventorying these items. We hope to deliver them to your pods Tuesday morning. Please contact us directly if you need more than your classroom camera prior to Tuesday.

Website of the Week:

As you get started in your classroom this week, one of the first tech tools you will use is probably your SMARTboard. This week’s site of the week is perhaps one of the least aesthetically pleasing (ugly) sites on the web, but has it really has something for everyone related to your SMARTboard. For those of you new to the SMARTboard check out the section titled Use a SMARTboard which has lots of tutorials to get you started, while more advanced users may want to scroll down to the Explore a Dozen Ideas section.

App of the Week:

Since there is not a native file system on the iPad one frustration many users have is how to move files from your laptop to your iPad without syncing the iPad. Dropbox is a simple and effective solution. The free version gives you 2GB of storage and accepts all common file types. It is very simple to install and use. For those of you that already use Dropbox check out this site for very cleaver uses beyond simply storing files.

Have a great first week with your students and thanks for your support of technology in the ES!

This Week in ES Tech – Welcome Back Edition

What’s Happening This Week:

•    If you have yet to pick up your laptop or bag of tech goodies from ES 133 you may do so at anytime from 8:30AM – 3:30PM.
•    If you need help getting your classroom technology set-up just let us know and we’ll be happy to help
•    Later this week, there will be an electronic survey regarding technology at the ES arriving in your inbox.  We would really appreciate your input in order to provide you the best tech experience possible.

Safety and Security:

Please make sure that you are securing your classroom and technology. We are aware that several of you do not have locks for your laptop. If this is the case please do two things. First, when you leave for the day either take your laptop home with you (teachers) or lock it away in a cabinet in your room. Second, please send Gary an e-mail directly requesting a laptop lock.

At the end of the day please have one of your IA’s make sure that all student machines are present in the laptop cart, that the cart is locked and that the keys for the cart are secured. In addition please make sure that all digital still and video cameras are accounted for and secure. In the unlikely event that something is missing please notify Gary ASAP.  If you have any questions or concerns regarding safety and security just ask.

Website of the Week:

File this site under food for thought.  The Horizon Report is a yearly summary of ongoing conversations among technology professionals, educators and technology corporations that attempts to identify emerging trends in technology and education. As we are planning for this school year and beyond, this document provides some interesting things to think about. If you don’t care to browse the print report here is a three minute video summary.

App of the Week:

As a number of you are iPad users and we are piloting 20 iPads this year, we would like to share with you some of the apps that we have found to be the most useful.

Evernote– Other than Plants vs Zombies this is my most used app. It allows me to take notes on my iPad (or any device with the app installed). Those notes are then automatically synced to the cloud and then can accessed from any of my other devices (laptop, desktop and most smartphones). This way I have access to all of my notes wherever I may be.

If you have suggestions of apps or websites to share send them to us and we’ll pass them on.

Have a great first week back and thanks for your support of technology in the ES!

New Year, New Ideas, New Job

Since I have a little time during winter break I thought I could get a head start on one of my New Years resolutions: to spend more time reading, reflecting and reporting on my thoughts regarding the integration of technology in the classroom. This revised blog will capture those musings and also serve as my professional portfolio.   This blog will also chronicle my professional transition from grade 7 humanities teacher to elementary school technology coordinator. Wish me luck… I have so much to learn!