Thursday, August 26, 2010

A Busy Summer and the New Year Ahead

I was just looking at my last post date. I realized a whole month has passed. What a busy summer it's been. I'd like to briefly share some highlights.

A School Email Account
I was able to sign up for a Diigo educator's account this week. In order to (easily) get one, a school email id is required. Over the summer, I was assigned a email address. I won't use it for much besides signing up for education accounts to use in class. Diigo was something I wanted to start using with the students. I have a Delicious account with links for school that I've been using for at least three years now. I originally thought I would teach the students to use Delicious to save bookmarks, but it was too involved with email addresses. 

The benefits of a Diigo educator account can be found on the link. I am most happy to be able to create accounts without the need for email addresses for each student AND student accounts are kept private from other users, ads are education only, and we can bookmark and annotate webpages in groups.

Promethean Board Training
I have had eight hours of training with the teachers to use the Activboards. There will be six in the school this year. Previously only the computer lab had a board. The training went exceedingly well. 

I found a great training resource online for Windows. I updated the Creative Commons licensed flipcharts for the Mac operating system. I put many links for ActivInspire on this Google Site. The specific Mac training flipcharts are on this page.

We have only worked on the first five training flipcharts. It gives the teachers enough material to feel comfortable with the board. We learned how to navigate the Download and My Flipchart folders on the dock. The teachers signed up for Promethean Planet accounts and learned how to open old .flp and new .flipchart files and save them. This led to an interesting discussion about File Save vs. File Save As. 

As part of the training, I was requested to create some screencasts. As a result, I decided to get a one year subscription to Jing Pro. 

Jing Pro
I have used Jing's free version. It works well. The downside is that the files are saved in Flash format. With the pro version, I can save the files (without ads) to the MPEG-4 .m4v
format. This is so useful. I was able to create three little screencasts and stitch them into a longer movie in iMovie. Feel free to use these screencasts:

Finding a Flipchart on Promethean Planet
Mac Folders
Playing Back a Vimeo Video in a Larger Size
Opening, Reviewing, and Saving a Flipchart

K12 Online Conference 2010
I submitted a proposal to the K12 Online Conference for 2010. The topic is Free Learning and Inspiration Online. It is based on the session I led at New Teachers Camp (ntcamp) in July. Hopefully it will be accepted.

Global Education Conference 2010
I am on the Educator Advisory Core Group for the new for 2010 Global Education Conference. It is scheduled for November 15-19 and will run around the clock. It is intended to get more educators comfortable with global collaborations. I will be writing more as a I learn about the conference. There is currently a call for proposals for sessions to run in Elluminate. If you've been participating in global online projects, consider offering a session. The timing for the sessions is 20 to 60 minutes including discussion/ Q&A time among the participants. There is an intent to get mentor partnerships established to help new teachers gain a comfort with global collaborations.

EdCamp NYC
I am a co-organizer for EdCamp NYC. It will be on Saturday, December 4th at The School at Columbia University in New York City. I've spent the summer working on the website for the group. If you are in the NY, NJ, PA, CT area, consider stopping by the website to request your free ticket to the event. It promises to be outstanding based on my experience with EdCamp Philly and ntcamp. Keep you eye out for more information as I get closer to December fourth.

Back in the Saddle Again
After a restful summer, I'm looking forward to the new school year ahead. Old projects and new projects with the students are at the top of my mind right now!

Photo Credits:
Ann Oro.