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The Connected Classroom

Information on and from EducationPlus' Learning Division

Monthly Archives: August 2007

Trying to explain my job to people can be complicated. Somedays, I wish I could just say, “I’m a nurse” – people would nod, understand, and the conversation would move on. When I tell people about my work- “I’m videoconference coordinator, I bring educational programs into schools” I get sort of an eye squint or head tilt and then “oh” from people. There are two groups- those who know about v/c and have participated in one, or those who have no idea of what a v/c is and what it can bring (to classrooms). Then when I start talking about content providers, people either perk up or tune out- too much lingo!

My job as videoconference coordinator is to help teachers find content that will enrich their curriculum. I’ve connected to everything from knee replacement surgery for high school students to zoos and baby animals for kindergarteners. Math, history, current events- covered. Human anatomy, music education, test prep- been there, done that. Authors in St. Louis come to my office and connect to classrooms across the country- in our “backyard” or several states away.

It’s pretty neat to watch it all take place. It is also amusing to see a teacher quickly step out of camera shot (“bad hair day!”) and then see her first grade students immediately understand the the man in the TV can in fact see them, and is talking to them, even though he is not in the same place.

We’re always looking for other classrooms and experts to connect to for videoconferences! Members of New Links, you can contact me and ask me to find videoconferences for you on topics you’re covering in class. On Tuesday, I’m connecting some high school psychology classes to a chiropractor (content provider) in St. Louis to talk about the mind/body connection. It should be a really good presentation. Don’t be afraid to ask!

New Links is continuing its Mental Health videoconference series this year! Educators can learn about various mental health issues in students. Participants will learn about causes, treatment, and how to access mental health professionals if they spot children in their classrooms whom they feel need help. These presentations are interactive, and include question and answers sessions. Don’t be afraid to come to the videoconference with questions and scenarios! They have been very popular with St. Louis area teachers. Here are the descriptions. Interested? Contact me!

Meeting time for all sessions is 4-5 p.m. CT; free to New Links members; $50 for non-members.  Sept. 18: Factoring in Forgiveness:  This presentation will discuss teaching strategies that can encourage students and adults to interact with civility and ways to make discipline more effective.   Oct. 23: Suicide and Depression: This presentation will review depression and other mood disorders; discuss pharmacological and non-pharmacological interventions used to manage mood disorders; describe risk factors and protective factors for suicide; discuss warning signs and intervention strategies and identify suicide prevention resources.   Nov. 20: Teens and Prescription Drug Abuse description coming soon   Jan. 15: Teaching Emotional Literacy Through Empathy: Learn strategies for teaching empathy in your classroom and in handling disciplinary issues. Lessons in empathy can truly have a positive impact for learners of all ages.   Feb. 19: Recognizing Bullying Behaviors in Adults:  Learn to communicate in nonviolent ways, no matter what age you are or what grade you teach.

baseball card

Independence Elementary in Francis Howell School District is connecting to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum today for a videoconference on the economics of baseball.

According to the website, “You mean a hot dog only cost 10-cents in 1929, and a World Series ticket was just $5.50 in 1940?” The varying worth of money is the basis of this lesson for teaching students how baseball history reflects American economics since the early 20th century. Hands-on math applications and factors of trade and industry – such as labor, transportation, materials, energy and the concept of supply and demand – are illustrated through primary source documents from baseball’s olden days and modern age to help students analyze the ever-changing value of a dollar.”

I really like the BBHoF videoconferences- our schools, do, too. Their programs cover women’s history, communication arts, cultural diversity, character education, and many more. I’ve never seen this particular program. I will let you know how it goes!

Technology is a tool that excites and engages students to learn.

metc-120-logo.jpg 

Save the date: February 4-6, 2008 | Registration begins October 1, 2007

Student-Centered Focus! Below are a couple more tele classes offered by the VLC. These classes provide you with more ideas for classroom application using technology. Our focus is on student outcomes and developing 21st century skills. Our classes provide you with:
• Hands-on activities
• Focus on student outcomes
• Skill building time
• Time to create usable lesson plans with newly acquired technology skills
Find out how to use new technology tools and how to integrate them into your classroom and lesson plans at the same time!

Boundless Learning with Videoconferencing
Oct. 4 4-7pm $59 CSD member; $89 non-member
Find out how to take your students anywhere in the world, connect with experts, and collaborate with other students in different locations using this easy technology tool. Research has shown that videoconferencing can increase student motivation and learning by figuratively tearing down the walls of the classroom, providing students with experiences and relationships that they would otherwise never be able to have. In this workshop, you will have the opportunity of creating a lesson using videoconferencing that fits into your curriculum. Come learn how to design virtual field trips and collaborative projects for your students that promote higher order thinking skills and increase motivation. Participants will:
• Be introduced to the equipment and how it works
• Learn how to find videoconference content
• Create an inquiry-based lesson
• Design their own field trip or collaborative project

Online “Street Smarts:” Being Legal, Literate, and Secure
Nov.1 9am-3pm OR Feb. 26 & 27 4-7pm
$109 CSD member; $169 non-member
What dangers lurk online for our children? We teach them how to be safe within the physical community, but what about safety in the cyber community? Learn the Internet Safety concepts of:
• Cyber Security
• Personal Safety
• Cyber Bullying
• Cyber Predators
Do students know how to validate information found on the Web? Too often, information published on the Internet is viewed as truth, but is it really? Also, what about copyright? Do students have the legal right to copy and paste information from a website into their multi-media presentations and/or their own documents and websites? In addition to Internet Safety, learn the new grammar of the Web and how to:
• Read URL web addresses to find their hidden meaning
• Locate owners of websites
• Evaluate the validity of a website
• Investigate fair use as it applies to student-created digital documents
Participants will have the opportunity to learn about the iSAFE curriculum and the modules available to them in the classroom. They will create model lessons for their students that teach Internet Safety, Literacy, and Intellectual Property/Copyright.

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tele-logo.jpgAs I said, the VLC does more than videoconferencing… another popular tool in the classroom these days is the SMARTBoard (which, for those of you who do videoconference often, know is a valuable tool in distance learning presentations!) Here’s some info on CSD’s SMARTBoard professional development class~

tele class:
Transforming Learning with a SMARTBoard
$109 CSD member; $169 non-member / The SMARTBoard is an interactive whiteboard that improves the way you teach, train and present. It combines the look and feel of a regular whiteboard with the power of a computer so you can save and print notes, collaborate on electronic documents, share information and run multimedia materials.  When combined with an LCD panel or projector, the SMARTBoard becomes a large, touch-sensitive screen. St. Louis teachers, come learn how to use this new technology tool in your classroom.  Then, develop lesson plans that make use of this fabulous tool and motivate students  to learn.  After this tele class, walk away with a usable lesson on the SMARTBoard! For more information on any tele class, contact Joan Forrest at   314-692-1259. All Day Trainings from 9am to 3pm: Oct. 18,  Nov. 8,  Jan. 17,  Feb. 21,  March 20  / Evenings from 4-7pm: Sept. 25 & 26,  Jan. 7 & 9,  April 8 & 10

TLA

As you know, videoconferencing isn’t the only program offered by the Virtual Learning Center. Our aim is to integrate technology into the classroom- by several methods. One way to do this is through our academies- one is the Technology Leadership Academy. St. Louis area educators- (superintendents, assistant superintendents, principals, assistant principals, librarians, media specialists, tech coordinators, and teachers) are welcome to sign up for this year-long academy. TLA participants meet six times throughout the year- 5 times at CSD in the tele, and 1 time at the Midwest Education Technology Conference (METC). It’s a great way to improve classroom use of technology, assess strengths and needs of staff/students in the area of technology, and network with professionals in other school districts! If you or one of your colleagues is interested, contact Martha Bogart at 314-692-1258.

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