This Week in ES Tech – iPad Edition

What’s Happening:

  • Tech Thursday in ES133 starting at 3:45
  • Students in the learning center are using math apps on the iPad to improve their skills.
  • Some ESL students are using grammar apps on the iPads.
  • Doug’s music students will be using the iPads as personal interactive whiteboards to begin learning how to write music.

Speed Dating With the iPad:

This week’s Tech Thursday starting at 3:45PM in ES 133, puts the spotlight on the iPad. To start there will be a short demo of how to use the iPads as a personal response (clicker) system in your classroom. Then the fun really begins! Spend the next 30 minutes getting exposed to whirlwind of apps and tricks from your AES colleagues in a fast paced speed dating like format. As always 1-1 tech support is available at this time also.

Student Book Reviewers on ES Library Blog

When you get a chance please check out the student book reviewers on the ES Library blog for a terrific example of how blogs can provide an authentic audience for your student’s writing.

Google Apps for Ed Reminder

AES has a full suite of Google Apps for Ed including Google Docs up and running right now. You can log into Google Apps for Ed using your First Class user name and password. Note: for your user name be sure to add for example my username is

Website of the Week:

IEAR or the I Educational Apps Review is a site by educators for educators that attempts to evaulate the usefulness of iPad and iPod touch apps in the classroom. These unbiased reviews come from teachers who have actually used these apps in a classroom setting.

App of the Week:

Puppet Pals is a super fun way for kids to create short puppet shows on the iPad that they can share. One of the features kids like most is being able to take photos of themselves or their friends and then use those photos as the basis for the puppets. Seems like a good match for a reading or language arts class at almost any grade level. Basic app is free with several in app upgrades that cost a little bit of money.

Student Blogging in 5Q

Gene is up and running with his classroom blog and his students have spent the past two days learning about and personalizing their own blogs. Each student blog is linked to Gene’s blog Wanderings and Wonderings – 5Q  so that students can access and respond to one another. Gary has been in on both days to lead the lessons the initial set up and  how to write a comment that meets AES values and focuses on the content in complete thoughts.

The students are very comfortable with the process and they have moved along very quickly. This will be a great platform for them to use to share their learning and to communicate with others.

What are some of your thoughts about students having their own blogs? How might the classroom set-up look different? How might the organization of time be managed differently?How might this help students invest in their learning and to blur the lines between home and school; letting learning be continuous?

This Week in ES Tech – Full Speed Ahead Edition

What’s Happening:

  • ES Tech Committee Meeting Monday at 3:45 in ES 132
  • Tech Thursday in ES133 starting at 3:45
  • Students in grades four and five continue to learn how a digital camera works and how to use one.
  • Students in 5Q  are setting up their own student blogs
  • Many teachers are starting to use blogs as classroom communication vehicles
  • Barbara  will be using the iPad as a drawing medium with her Kindergartners.
  • Students in Grade 1 are using shapes and Math Investigations software
  • Grade 2 students are improving reading fluency and comprehension with Raz kids and recording themselves with Audacity
  • Students in 4S are using Voicethread to collaborate with a Wisconsin elementary school
  • Some students in Indian Studies are continuing to work on video clips
  • Students in World Languages are learning to use some advanced features in MS Word for pieces they are producing

Protect Yourself

Unless you are backing up your local (C:) drive yourself, EVERYTHING on that drive (my pictures, my documents, my music) is unprotected. To avoid a potential disaster please save items to your G: drive which is backed up daily.

Getting Started with Google Apps for Education

This week’s Tech Thursday starting at 3:45PM in ES 133, features our own Director of Technology giving you an overview of Google Apps for education and demonstrating how these powerful tools can make life easier and more productive for you and your students. As always the ES Tech Team will be available for help with any of your tech needs on a 1-1 basis. Hope to see you there!


Have you heard the expression 21st century classroom?  Have you heard the terms blogs, wikis, twitter, RSS feed, podcasts, PLN and want to know how to use them in your classroom?  Are you interested in a hands-on, practical and forward-thinking educational technology certificate program hosted at AES?

Then the COETAIL program at AES is for you!

COETAIL is a 5-course (15-credit) Certificate of Educational Technology and Information Literacy  program designed for international school teachers interested in developing their technology skills in an authentic, project-based environment.  All courses include specific skills and concepts essential for the 21st century classroom – including blogging, understanding copyright and Creative Commons, digital storytelling, and building a personal learning network.  Each class includes time to develop technology-rich projects to implement in your classroom.

The full certificate program consists of  5 class (15 credit) accredited and ran through Buffalo State, SUNY.  If you are interested or would like to register please contact Scott White ASAP as classes start soon. If you have questions please contact myself or Dana.

Website of the Week:

SMARTnotebook express is an online solution that allows you to view and edit SMARTnotebook files on any computer with an internet connection. You can also download on the site a small version of SMARTnotebook for those times you do not have an internet connection or your teacher laptop handy.
If you’re a visual learner you may want to check out the SMARTclassrooms channel on Youtube. There are over 1,110 short and easy to understand tutorial videos covering a huge range of topics.

App of the Week:

Wunderlist with over one million users is an elegant way to keep track of ALL those things you need to do in and out of the classroom. Even more convenient is the way that you can sync your lists between your iPad, smartphone and computer. Best of all it is a freebie! For Google calendar users gTasks is an excellent list making app that integrates with your Google calendars and also allows you to set alerts when list items come due, to access all features $2.99.

Thanks for your support of technology in the ES!

This Week in ES Tech – BTSN Edition

What’s Happening:

  • Kindergarten classes are using digital cameras to create their own Knuffle Bunny books.
  • Some students in Indian Studies in grades 4-5 are working on creating video clips about Gandhi and peace or courage.
  • Grade 2 students took digital photos for their small moment writing project and printed them using Picasa.
  • Students in Grades 3-5 are starting to learn about how to be a responsible digital citizen.
  • Drop in session on blogging after-school Wednesday in ES133

BTSN – Set-up Assistance

If you need any help with tech set-up for Back to School Night just drop us an e-mail  and we can help.

ES Paper Jams – The Sequel

Apparently much of the paper from the CD is the wrong size or thickness for our ES printers and is causing frequent jams. Until we get this sorted out with CD please drop us a note  when printers need paper and we will load paper that won’t jam.

Drop in session: Blog Support Wednesday After-School

Due to BTSN, there is no Tech Thursday. However for those of you interested in learning more about how blogging can improve home-school communication or if you would like some 1-1 help with getting your blog off the ground just drop-in ES133 Wednesday after-school. The ES Tech Team will be available for help. Hope to see you there.

Projectors and AV Mute

The AV Mute button on your projectors is sort of like a pause button. It is meant to be used for short periods of time (10 minutes or less). When you press AV mute the projector and bulb are both still on and projecting black. Shutting off the projector when you don’t need it saves both the projector and electricity.

Website of the Week:

Teachers Love SMARTboards and SMARTexchange– according to the ES tech survey, one item that many ES teachers wanted more support with is using their SMARTboard more effectively. For those of you that have the basics down these two sites offer a plethora of lessons and SMARTnotebook files organized by grade level and content area.

App of the Week:

Speaking of interactive whiteboards, ScreenChomp and ShowMe Interactive Whiteboard are a pair of free apps that allow teachers and students to create, record and share screen casts using their iPad like an interactive white board. My son Benji spent a good chunk of the trip back from Neemrana entertaining himself making little animations using ScreenChomp. Hat tip to Mary Miller for sharing ScreenChomp!

Finally if you haven’t seen Louis CK’s take on technology today this funny four minute video is worth a look:


This Week in ES Tech – The Did You Know 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.
  • Thursday – drop in ES 133 after-school for Tech Thursday!

Did You Know?
Every teacher in the ES has a blog set-up and ready to go in their name on the AES domain. Whether you choose to use it or not is up to you, there is no expectation or pressure for you to do so.

Intrigued, curious, want to learn more? Come to this week’s Tech Thursday or schedule a 1-1 session with a member of the ES tech staff.

To Blog or Not to Blog that is the question…  BYOL (Bring Your Own Laptop)- Tech Thursday:
This week’s Tech Thursday will focus on blogging in the classroom. Gary will give a brief overview on how teachers can use a blog to streamline and enhance home-school communication. Did you know, afterward Ruchira and Phil will run small group sessions on getting started with your own blog, while Gary will work with teachers that have a blog but would like to do more advanced things like adding links for home learning and galleries of photos. In addition Ursula, Kavita 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 3:45PM in ES 133.

Pen Drives:
Did you know, we have 30 4 GB pen drives available for  short term use. If you have a classroom project and need to move data between computers these would work well. Contact ES133 if you need one.

Website of the Week:
Google Docs – many of you use this in your personal life but did you know AES has a full suite of Google Apps for Ed including Google Docs up and running right now? For those of you that aren’t sure what a Google Doc is check out this terrific three minute video. Ready to try, take this tour to give you a good overview. For those of you that are familiar log into Google using your First Class user name and password and check it out. Note: for your user name be sure to add for example my username is also for some reason, some of the IAs passwords are not correct if you are an IA and can’t log-in please send a message to tech support.

App of the Week:
In keeping with the Google theme this week, if you have not downloaded the Google app you really should. Did you know that there are two search features that are really amazing? First in the Google app you can search by voice, simply open the Google app, click the microphone icon and ask Google for whatever you are looking for. Perhaps more impressive is Google Goggles. Taking advantage of the camera on the iPad 2 and current generation iTouch, you can visually search. When you are out and about snap pictures of things (The Qutab Minar for example) and Goggles will show you other images and information about the item you snapped or take a picture of any barcode and Goggles will pull up info about the item, or even use Goggles to solve Sudoku. Cost=free.

Did you know, if you ever have any questions, comments or concerns please just ask.

Finally did you know we are grateful for your support of technology in the ES!

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.

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!

The Role of The Tech Facilitator

I recently had the pleasure to interview for several technology positions at our school. The preparation for the interviews gave me time to think about and refine my ideas regarding the role of technology facilitator in a school.

Below is the Prezi I created to highlight the key parts of the technology facilitator’s job. As you can see this position is one of the lynchpins in a school that embraces 21st century learning. This position fills so many needs and also liaises with so many other key members of the staff . What else should a tech facilitator be responsible for?

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!