April 11, 2012
Out 6th annual workshop for K-12 teachers using technology in the classroom will be held June 20. We are a bit earlier this year, since the mild winter left many of us with no snow days to make up so an earlier end to the school year!
This year we are changing the format to a one-day conference style. There will be a keynote speaker in the morning and smaller break-out sessions in the afternoon. The computer labs will be open and monitored in the afternoon for those that want some time to play and explore. We have some interesting new workshops this year that we are really excited about, and some great new FREE tools to use in your classrooms. We are always interested in what you would like to see and learn about–and always looking for volunteers to run workshops.
Looking forward to seeing you on the 20th of June. And if you would like to share this invite with colleagues, that would be great. And don’t forget, breakfast and lunch, and other goodies, as well as 8 continuing education hours are yours:)
April 19, 2010
Out 4th annual TECS workshop will be held June 23-24. We realize that some of you still have snow days to make up and won’t be able to join us this year. We hope that next year we will have a larger turn-out, but still felt that we wanted to keep the momentum going forward.
We have some interesting new workshops this year that we are really excited about, inlcuding GIS applications for science and social studies , and some great new FREE tools to use in your classrooms.
Looking forward to seeing you on the 23rd. And if you can only make it for 1 day, that would be great.
May 29, 2009
The summer is a great time for teachers to focus on new skills. There are many different workshops offered, in-person and online, and for very little cost. At Bucks County CC, we are offering a two-day workshop for K-12 teachers of all disciplines. This is our third year, and we are excited about the opportunity to continue making connections with our K-12 teachers in the region. If you are not nearby, I’ve provided a link to the CSTA website so you can find something close to you. I encourage you to learn something new, have some fun, and meet new people this summer.
The “biggie” for K-12 educators is the 30th annual NECC2009 http://center.uoregon.edu/ISTE/NECC2009/ in Washington DC, June 28-July 1st, but at $345 (plus extra for other workshops) and three days, it’s a bit out of reach for some. If you can find a way to go, I highly recommend it. You can also choose to go for just one day ($175).
There are podcamps in Houston, Ohio, and Boston this summer http://podcamp.pbworks.com/, although not specifically for educators, you will find lots of useful stuff- I promise.
Want to stay at home (or on the beach, or wherever you may be)? Be sure to join Classroom 2.0 http://www.classroom20.com/ They have Weekly Classroom 2.0 LIVE! Shows and a community of teachers that share ideas.
If you live in the Bucks County/ Philadelphia region, why not drop by and join us for our third annual TECS- Teacher Enrichment in Computer Science workshop?
Are you asked to integrate technology into your classroom? Do you struggle find creative ways to do so? Do you find the tools expansive and confusing? Are you comfortable with the 4 Cs of Technology Integration? (Communication, Computing, Critical Thinking, and Creativity) Join us at our Third Annual TECS Workshop. Meet with Faculty members from Bucks County Community College and colleagues from K-12 schools in the region. Learn about engaging ideas and projects, network with other teachers, enrich yourself and earn 12 ACT 48 hours. Sessions include: Virtual Worlds, Free Stuff, Robotics, Security, Social Networking, SmartBoards/Smart Ideas, Information Literacy, Kidspiration, PhotoStory, Adaptive Technology, and more. This workshop is approved by CSTA (Computer Science Teachers Association) http://www.csta.acm.org/.
Please visit our Google Group at http://groups.google.com/group/tecsbucks
More information and registration at http://www.bucks.edu/academics/coned/profdevel.php
To find a workshop near you http://www.csta.acm.org/ProfessionalDevelopment/sub/TeacherWorkshops.html
If you have any workshop information you’d like to share- please do!
October 15, 2008
There is plenty of research about the different ways that people learn, and visual learning is just one of those ways. As teachers, you know that not all students process information the same way, but most of our students are visual learners to some degree. They learn better when they can see, not just hear, what they are learning. Using concept mapping is a great way to help all of your students learn. In fact, in business today, idea mapping is a used as a collaborative way of brainstorming. Why not use it in your classroom?
How do you get started? You may already have the software in your school. If your school has SmartBoards, then you may also have Smart Ideas software (although a SmartBoard is not required to use Smart Ideas.) Also, many schools have licenses for Kidspiration or Inspiration. These programs aren’t that expensive, and both companies offer free trails for you to give them a test run, but you know I’m all about free alternatives. So I did some research to find free programs to try.
The Visual Understanding Environment (VUE) is an Open Source project based at Tufts University. This project was specifically designed to support teaching and learning, so you may feel comfortable here. Vue has many features, including concept mapping, and is designed to organize digital information. They have a video you can watch at http://vue.tufts.edu/screencast/QT_hiRes.cfm to give you an idea of how it works.
IHMC (Institute for Human and Machine Cognition) CmapTools is a free program that has no restrictions and teachers and students are encouraged to download and use it. This is concept mapping software without all of the other features of some of the other products mentioned here, but it does create great concept maps. Personally, if that was all I was looking for, I would prefer this program to a more complicated package.
FreeMind is an open-source mind mapping application that is licensed under the GPL, and it is really free, with no use restrictions. It doesn’t include concept mapping, though.
Personal Brain- http://www.thebrain.com is a free tool (there are also paid versions for business) that is not specifically designed for education, but for visual information management, and although it includes many other features that you wouldn’t use in the classroom, it does have the ability to create mind maps.
And finally, there’s a lot to be said for just using a big piece of paper and bright colored markers (especially for simple maps and lower grades). Just because you can do it with technology, doesn’t necessarily mean you have to.
Do you use idea/mind/concept mapping in your classroom? Do you have a favorite tool? Please share.
September 30, 2008
Over the past few years, I’ve discovered some really cool tools for creating presentations. While PowerPoint is very popular, it can be cumbersome and expensive. I’m all about free, so the tools I’ll talk about won’t cost you a thing.
For creating a presentation that follows your screen, my favorite tool is screencast-o-matic. This online tool uses Java, so you don’t need to install anything else on your machine. That also makes it cross-platform. So you can create your presentation on your Mac, and watch it on your PC with no compatibility issues. If you want to voice-over, you’ll need a mic. That’s it. You can add notes to the recording, and organize your screencasts into channels. You can find my channel by searching for BCCC. Screencast-o-matic.com will even host your presentation. You can download it in .mov format if you want to edit and distribute it yourself. Screencast-o-matic is currently in Beta, but I have been using it for several months and found it to be very stable.
A similar tool that runs locally, is Jing from TechSmtih. Jing, available for both Mac and Windows platforms, is a screen-capture tool that captures video as well as images. You can add voice-over and upload your capture to be shared. Jing can be found at http://www.jingproject.com/ The free version includes 2GB of storage on screencast.com.
An open-sourse alternative is CamStudio. Similar to Jing, but with a few more features, particularly the ability to annotate. CamStudio is able to record all screen activity on your computer and create AVI video files (and convert them to SWF files to embed in your website.) There is no hosting option with CamStudio.
For PowerPoint-like presentations, I’ve recently discovered SlideRocket. Also in Beta, with more cool features on the way, I like how easy it is to get started. You can even import an existing PowerPoint presentation. Again, cross-platform is no problem, since it runs in your browser. You don’t need PowerPoint on the computer to view the presentation. No worry about how big it is, or carrying around a CD or flash drive. But you can download and play locally using their player, for times when you don’t have an internet connection. Check out their comparison to PowerPoint.
Convert existing PowerPoints into flash to put on your website. Students can view them right in their browsers, without having PowerPoint installed. Many schools use Impatica to do this, but iSpring offers free program that works great. This runs as an add-on to PowerPoint, so you still need to use PowerPoint for the conversion.
Do you have any other products you use? Please share!
September 17, 2008
Most teachers I know would love have more technology resources in their classrooms, but have no money to spend. After-all, with textbooks costs throught the roof, schools limited funds just go so far. So what’s a teacher to do?
Seek out donations. BUT- you don’t really want the old, spyware infested computer that your student’s parent wants to give you. Odds are, you don’t want the 5 computers the business down the road wants to donate, either. If they are replacing them, they probably are so slow and outdated, they wouldn’t be worth having. A big problem with accepting donated hardware is disposing of it. Computers, especailly monitors, cannot be thrown in the regular trash. It generally costs $5-10 per machine to have them hauled away (why do you think the business wants to give them to you instead:)?
So how can you get “good” donations? First of all, it helps to have an expert evaluate any potentail donations (from parents, businesses, or the community at large). They can determine whether the donation will be worthwhile, and also, whether there might be other concerns (such as security, compatibilty, or disposal costs). Ideally, this is a technology support person in your school or district. My son’s school has a technology committee made up of parents that work in technology. We meet occasionaly, and are “on call” to help with these kinds of decisions. A standard checklist form can be developed and given to the potential donor to fill out before any donations are accepted.
Try DonorsChoose.org if you are in a public school. This project was started in 2000 by public school teachers, and has already matched nearly $24 million with teacher requests. If you have a project in mind, submit a proposal.
Get listed at SharetheTechnology.org, which matches people wishing to donate old computers, with schools and other organizations that need them.
Apply for Grants. There is a free course on grant writing at FoundationCenter.org. Many technology companies ahve grant programs for education. Check out HP, IMB, Microsoft, BestBuy, K-mart, and Toshiba, to name just a few. A quick Google serach for grants will lead you to many others.
And finally, read Tech&Learning Magazine’s July 2008 issue- The Money Issue.
There really is money out there, if you are really committed to finding it.
Do you have any tips to share? How have you funded your technology needs? Please share your tips here.
September 11, 2008
Coming up October 3, 2008 is the 14th annual Technology and Learning Conference at Montgomery County Community College in Blue Bell PA. This year looks to be a good one. The keynote speaker, Carie Windham-Page, the Program Coordinator for the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative and author of “Father Google and Mother IM: Confessions of a Net Gen Learner” in the EDUCAUSE Review and a white paper on info literacy, entitled, “Getting Past Google: Perspectives on Information Literacy from the Millennial Mind.” will speak on “A Net Generation Learner’s Perspective”.
All level teachers will likely find many useful sessions. In fact, the Call for Proposals is still open until Monday, Spetmeber 15th, so why not consider presenting? I’m submitting one or two proposals, so I’ll keep you posted.
September 8, 2008
I just spent two days at PodCamp Philly. My 16 year old son told me about when he asked if he could attend. When I looked into it, I realized it would be a great place for me to go, too. Wish you could have been there. It was one of the best tech (un)conferences I’ve been to. Check out the website, they will be posting recordings of the sessions. And plan to attend next year. If you’re not in Philly, then go to Boston, or DC, or Ontario… but GO! And if there isn’t one near you, then start one.
While not an Education conference per se (you go to plenty of those already) what is so cool is the people- all ages, all fileds, all intereseted in sharing, collaborating, conversing…
You’ll learn so much and hopefully, like I am, get excited about using these new media forms in your classrooms. Case in point- you’re reading this!