Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Even on a Rainy Day you can get a Ray of Sunshine

As I was walking through one of our schools today I went into a classroom and started talking with a teacher whom has one of our Interactive Classroom Solutions set up in her room. We discussed some things about her board that she could not get working and were able to quickly correct the issue and get her back into action.

As we talked before her students came back in from specials she told me that this was her first year in a classroom with an Interactive White Board(IWB), and that she had not really had any formalized training. As we discussed some quick things she could do to get acclimated to the software and to the board itself she started telling me of all the neat and fun websites she had found on her own to assist her with using the technology. I could tell that she was excited and proud that she had learned to use the product on her own and began to show me all of her resources.

After this I imposed on her to ask how long she had been with the school system as a teacher. She immediately said that she had been with the school system for 30 years and this was the start of her 31st year. I then proceeded to ask her what technology had she used in the previous years and her response was a Chalkboard and Whiteboard, nothing else. So it came down to the last part of our talk as her students were lining up to come back into the room I asked how she felt about using the technology and what would she do if she had to go back to a classroom that did not have an IWB in it.
Her response "...they would have to drag me out of here kicking and screaming. I don't know what I would do without it now." To see the look of excitement and energy in her eyes brought a ray of sunshine and a great feeling that our teachers are "Getting It." They are beginning to understand that the technology is there to help them not to hinder or hold them back. Kudos to this 30 year veteran teacher to completely step out of her comfort zone and take a chance on what can feel like a daunting task smelling like a rose.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Using Social Media to Brand Yourself?

So how do you best brand yourself using Social Media?

We have been discussing all day today ways to brand yourself through the use of Social Media. I sat in a room with a number of other professionals from different educational and business backgrounds and everyone agreed on the fact that in order to make yourself, your business or your products you need to increase your digital footprint. So the discussions then moved to the how aspect of branding.
Making yourself Stand out from the crowd, using different unconventional methods to get your point across. So what do you use to do this, Twitter, Blogs, Facebook and other forms of social media?
Be an expert at something. Choose something that you are working on or have a passion for and learn as much as you can about it and then get the word out. Use all of these forms of social media to get the information out to people and increase your base of knowledge while gathering in people to help you fill in the blanks.
Concentrate on the contacts you make. In business we always have heard about networking with others to meet and interact with other professionals from similar and different fields. In the past this was done in a face to face setting. Well lets come into the 21st century and start doing the same thing but on the web. Lets use Twitter to broadcast out and gather up information about topics you are interested in. Use Blogs to give your opinion about technologies, gadgets, ideas and information that others can comment on and could redistribute out to others. Other social media outlets like Facebook where you can create fan pages dedicated to what your interests are which allow others to see what you have to say and to send you information as well.

The biggest thing that I can say I have gotten so far is that the more you brand yourself through the use of social media the wider your base of knowledge to pull from and share out information.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Unplugging your Technology

While sitting in on a trouble shooting workshop with Promethean earlier this week, I received a lot of useful information that will help us out a lot with the ActivClassroom solutions we have in the district.

One piece of information that updates our Classroom Solutions training is that you do not have to plug in your ActivSlates every night to charge them. It was stated in the session that the ActivSlate with regular use need only be charged every 30 to 40 days. Now if you use it consistently in your classrooms everyday you may need to charge it sooner than 30 days.
So how do you know when the ActivSlate needs to be charged? You will notice a decrease in the reliability of the board to respond to your pen touches. As well there is a small LCD screen in the upper right corner of the board that has a small battery indicator icon. Just check that and when you get down to one block you are close to the point of needing to charge. Now how long to charge the ActiveSlate. If you just plug it in when you leave for the night you will be fully charged by the morning. If you are in a pinch and need the board to be fully charged for your afternoon class the ActivSlate really only needs about three to three and a half hours to get a full charge.