Week of 2-24-14

· Tech Tips, Uncategorized

The fifth six-weeks begins.  We are well into the downward swing to the end of the school year, but it’s still quite a ways off.  As we begin our preparations for testing season, don’t forget the technology tools that can be used to benefit your classroom.  The SMART and Promethean Boards and student response clickers are easy methods to assess student readiness.  These simple tools can change the way your students respond to instruction.  There are many free lesson available from the SMART Exchange and Promethean Planet.  Download, modify, and make them your own.

At a Glance:

Student View of Interactive White Boardswebsite – Our district has a large number of interactive white boards (SMART and Promethean) deployed in the classrooms; approximately 85% of our classrooms have one.  The unfortunately reality, a large number them are not being used as they were intended and the students see it.  The article at the link above was written by a student at George Ranch High School.  The student is simply comparing an interactive white board (IWB) to a dry erase board.  Because of how teachers are using the board, the students don’t see the advantage of an IWB over a dry erase board.  Too often, the IWB is nothing more than a dry erase board.  What teachers are missing when working with an IWB is the “interactive” part.  Properly used, the students should be at the board a good amount of time.  Unfortunately, in a large number of the classrooms, the students never leave their seat and the teacher uses the board as a dry erase board.

The student states, “Interactive white boards may be technologically advanced; however, as a learning tool, it is not as good as the old fashioned dry erase boards.”  It’s unfortunate that this is the conclusion the student has come to, but as I float around campuses, I understand the student’s perspective.  Being in and out of classrooms throughout the district, I often times see nothing more happening with the IWB than a teacher running a PowerPoint presentation, writing notes on a blank page, or annotating a PDF that came from the textbook.  To truly utilize the boards interactivity, it’s time to create lessons that bring the student to the board.  An easy way to start is through an fun assessment feature of ActivInspire or SMART Notebook; Promethean has containers, SMART has Activity Builder.  Check out the iCafe for cheat sheets on these features (Promethean or  SMART).  Let’s change the way students view the importance of the IWB.  Need help, grab a CITS.

Skyward Help Desk – The Skyward Help Desk phone number has changed. Please update your information and pass this information on to your staff. This is the same number parents with Skyward issues should call if the campus cannot resolve the issue. Parents should ALWAYS contact the campus first though!

The Skyward Help Desk number is NOW 832.223.0236 or ext. 0236.

This number does have a voicemail tied to it, so please ask callers to leave a voicemail if they do not get someone on the phone.

It’s OK2Ask Professional Development Serieswebsite – Register now for March – May sessions from OK2Ask, the free, online professional development series.  Please be sure to READ the descriptions to be sure you have the prerequisites (if any) and/or technology comfort levels:  Choose your favorite “snack session(s)” and register NOW (all at 7:00 pm Eastern time).

  • Great Ideas: Exploring the Resources of TeachersFirst to Plan Effective, Technology-Infused Lessons; Thurs. Mar. 6
  • Google Series (Part 5): Google Earth and Maps Tues. Mar. 18
  • Common Core Math Ideas K-8; Mon. Mar. 24
  • Introduction to Writing with Common Core; Thurs. Mar. 27
  • Specialized for Special Needs: Ideas and Tools for Learning Support, Speech/language, Emotional Support, and more; Mon. Apr. 7
  • Google Series (Part 6): Cool Tools; Tues. Apr. 15
  • Gifted Resources Galore: Tips and Tools for Meeting the Needs of Your Gifted Students; Tues. Apr. 29
  • Ready… Set… Summer: Student Tools to Stay Fresh and Teacher Professional “Refreshments”; Thurs. May 8.

Entertainment – Fix Your Grammar – website.

Technology Staff Development Opportunities – Log into ASCEND to register


ASCEND Section#

Training Location
March 18 98016 App Smashing 101 iCafe
March 27 98009 Tips and Tricks for Office 2013 iCafe
April 8 98010 Become a Skydrive Pro iCafe
April 24 98005 Introduction to  Microsoft OneNote iCafe
March 3 98021 Webinar 5 – Real-World Problem-Solving and Innovation Online
March 17 98022 Webinar 6 – Self-Regulation Online
March 24 98023 Webinar 7 – Skilled Communication Online
March 31 98024 Webinar 8 – Certification Presentations Online