Well the new Techsteps is up and running. This year, it offers a greater opportunity for personalization and communication with your class. Because of this, the students need a much more secure interface. This requires individual passwords for all students K-12. 6th grade and up must change the password after the first login. The new Techsteps is also an LMS platform. LMS stands for learning management system. You can add comments and communicate with your class within the Techsteps site. You can also add any links and files available there too. This is a much more powerful site now. Several projects remain the same but some have been moved up or down a grade level. Also additional content has been added to some projects. Check it out at www.educatewv.me! Remember to login with your entire email address as your username. Passwords must have 1 capital letter, 1 lower case letter, 2 numbers and one special character such as # or$. Keep those passwords organized!
As I finish my initial year of being a TIS, I look back and see some successes and some failures. I feel like most of the teachers benefited from my services. I like to think they are all doing a little more with the support that I try to give them. I also feel that I am spread too thin. I enjoy working with the teachers and the classes I get to work with, but I feel I don't get to spend as much time as I would like to with the students. I know the point is to teach the teachers, but I feel more successful sometimes teaching the students. I know many teachers would rather I just teach it for them, but I like for them to learn with me instead of just walking away from doing it. I am proud of my schools. Let's keep trying to get better. See you this summer at training and ready to go in the fall.
WV Statewide Technology Conference Registration has begun. If you are interested in attending. Check out the website at http://conference.wvnet.edu/index.php. The conference will be real this year and be held July 30, 31, and August 1 at Waterfront Place in Morgantown. Registration is $130 with a discounted rate of $65 if you present. Rooms are filling fast. This is an excellent staff development and a chance to meet with fellow teachers. Sign up soon if you are planning on attending. I hope to see you all there. Maybe you can even come to one of my sessions. Check it out today.
Easter is over. Spring Break is flying by, but did you know there is now less than 10 weeks until Memorial Day. Just 10 short weeks until swimsuit season.
If you are like me, you probably put on a few pounds over the winter. I'm afraid I put in a couple stone as they would say in England. I thought I would try the Couch to 5K training podcast and see if I could do it. I have never ever ever ever been running. I do walk. I even lost over 100 pounds walking and eating healthy a few years ago. But I have let myself get out of shape and out of the habit of exercising.
I have been through week 1 training all week and am about ready to start week 2. I can tell a difference already. Hope my knees hold up. I hope to run a 5K this spring after I finish the training. This is an 8 week program that is supposed to get you running 30 minutes straight by the time you finish. You also can follow the Facebook page,the group is called Running Mate
Well once again, Google is announcing "Spring Cleaning" and is killing off Google Reader. Google reader is not only the rss feed that lots of people use, it is also relied heavily upon by other third party rss services. I don't understand Google sometimes. Instead of promoting apps that they have, they will let them languish and then remove them because they don't have enough users. I find it hard to believe that Google Reader doesn't have widespread use. It is how I keep up with all my blogs. They are blaming Flipboard and other multitasking apps, but my Flipboard uses Google Reader. I would like Google to know that every time it kills off another thing I depended on it makes me less likely to try their new stuff. Google is great but if you can't depend on them someone else will still their users. Google Reader ends its run July 1, 2013. Farewell to my favorite reader.
Well it isn't very often that I find a new app out there that really impresses me. As many of you know, I have an Apple iPad(4th gen) and a Samsung Galaxy Tab 2. I consider Google and Apple to be good friends of mine and I don't like to take sides, but Apple is really the standout Tablet. My apologies to Mark Moore and all you Android people out there. The apps aren't as good. But today's App I want to talk about it is available for both Apple and Android. It is called Flipboard.
With Flipboard, you can consolidate all your social media sites including Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Linkedin, YouTube, Flickr, and there are also other news and information you can follow. Each thing you add, makes a little square which when you touch it, it opens to a newspaper-like format that you can flip pages back and forth with. You can also tap them to see complete articles. I am happy to say this works just as well for Android as Apple. It is also available for Kindle Fire and your SmartPhone. I give it a huge thumbs up. It really is a one stop shop to keep up with current news and social media. Highly impressed!
The Pomeroy SMART Technology Conference in Charleston was a spectacular day of learning. This conference was sponsored by Pomeroy and SMART. They had a SMART showcase room where you could see the SMART products in action. They also provided breakfast and lunch. Not to mention they also had real quality presentations. This was a well-organized event.They had so many choices. There were four different 50 minute sessions. They were all hosted by SEE trainers. I had never heard of a SEE before. This stands for SMART Exemplary Educator. The reason I had never heard of this before is that WV only has 1 SEE. Sometimes I think it is embarrassing to find out we have been missing out on a lot of stuff in WV. Most of the trainers were from Virginia. They have many SEE educators. Obe Hostetter was the keynote speaker. He was very dynamic and engaging.
At the end of the day, they had prize giveaways. They gave out a SMART board, projector, responders, ELMO, math tools, iTunes gift cards, laptop bags, and flash drives. They even offered a drawing if you brought a friend to the event and onsite registered them. I won that, thanks to bringing my best friend Linda. Now I have my own set of responders to carry around and do training with. Well at least I will have them in 8-10 weeks. Really, it was a great way to spend your rainy Saturday. #Pomeroy
picture from www.learnselfesteem.com
Well another weekend is about over. During this time, I have spent many hours working on little administrative tasks that I can't get done during the school week. For example, I have been working on email addresses for Beale and Ashton. The students who already have emails, forget what their username and password is. I have to go to the 1026 site and look them up. Then I have to reset them and then login as the student with the new password, and then reset the password again to the pattern we use. Then to help the teachers out, I made a spreadsheet for each teacher with their information. Name, class, username, and password. With this spreadsheet, I can see who still needs to fill out forms and then help the teachers get those students started with email. It is quite time consuming. I also have been trying to get students promoted in Sumdog. This is tedious work, when you are working with lots of classes. I figured between my 3 schools, I work with about 85 teachers give or take and also in that load are over 1,000 students. I may not directly teach all day but I have plenty to do. The teachers just want everything to magically work. That makes me the "magic maker". I keep trying to be that. Maybe eventually things will slow down a bit. But I still have a lot of "magic" to perform before then. Well back to work. TTFN.
Another exhausting week is done. You'd think a 4 day week would be better, but it throws the students schedule off and that causes disruption, add to that the 1 hour delay on Wednesday for PLC. That day seemed to last for 12 hours. I don't know who thought an hour delay was better than an early dismissal but I would disagree with them. I didn't get to Hannan at all this week. I really need at least 2 days at each of my schools, but I am not advocating for a 6 day work week, so Hannan just has to miss out. They have a few teachers there that help carry the load. So that is good. Beale is really in fine shape. They had Elaine Matheny last year and she really laid some good ground work. Ashton is coming along. They need some new technology. The worst thing that happened this week was that the internet was wholly unreliable. It was down for most of the morning for several days and was so slow in the afternoon it was pitiful. This is the enemy to my position. Everyone just wants to go get a textbook and forget about technology when this happens. I hate to see hard won efforts lost like this. I hope this issue is resolved quickly. Reliable, fast internet is so important to technology integration. Now to a little well earned relaxation.
This week was about connecting with the teachers and classrooms. I am working on convincing all my elementary teachers to adopt Scootpad to their computer curriculum. So what is so great about Scootpad? Well,it is a free program that is now available to grades K-5. It uses the Common Core Standards to create Math and Reading Lessons that are age appropriate and fun.
For those of you that are Schoology fans, the Scootpad app is now available there for free. There is also a Scootpad community you can follow on Edmodo. Plus there is an iPad/iPod app. Finally, it is a downloadable app for Google Chrome. All this in addition to being a regular website www.scootpad.com.
As if this isn't enough, the reporting tools are an awesome resource for teachers. As well as checking your dashboard for information, scootpad will email you a daily report of how your students are doing.
Scootpad does all this and then goes one step further, it also allows limited social interaction between the students. They can be friends and then send pre-scripted messages to each other. They also can post on the class wall to promote discussion and dialog. What an awesome site. What is not to love! Thanks Scootpad for all your efforts. I am a true fan.
I am a Technology Integration Specialist with the Mason County School System in WV. I work in 5 schools to provide embedded professional development and help teachers integrate technology into their teaching effectively.