Wow! What a great couple of weeks for videoconferencing. Independence Elementary connected to a videoconference featuring British author (Indian in the Cupboard) Lynne Reid Banks on Monday. Today, Central Elementary students participated in an interactive videoconference with Global-Leap, a content provider based in the UK. The students discussed world religions with the engaging Kathryn! She “teased” them with a warm good afternoon, then asked why she would say good afternoon. The kids at Central caught on right away- time difference! Kathryn connected to us just a bit before 3 o’clock for her, 9 o’clock for us. Tomorrow, Lafayette High students will also speak with Global-Leap. Wonderful!
We’re still waiting for word from GNG on the reschedule dates for the videoconferences with the school in Pakistan. Parkway North and Lafayette High are bothing keeping their fingers crossed the v/c will go on! In the meantime, Brittany Woods in University City has signed on to participate in the Uganda videoconference series offered by Global Nomads Group in late May.
Speaking of GNG (NY), they are one the top five content providers used by New Links to New Learning members this school year. Also included in that list are Adventures in Medicine and Science (AIMS- from Saint Louis University), Center for Puppetry Arts (Atlanta, GA), COSI Toledo (Ohio), and RoundTrips, based in St. Louis. Tell us who your favorite content provider from this group is by May 4!
Well, I’m back from the SMART Technologies Chicago Teacher Conference where I learned all sorts of wonderful things about the SMART Board™ and how to use it to create powerful interactive lessons for students. It was a packed 2 days in Chicago where we stayed at the Chicago Athletic Association on Michigan Ave. We walked back and forth to the SMART offices, which were about 5 long blocks away with our laptops each day–not to worry! It was great exercise! The teachers that attended were all superior. These were the cream of the crop and a joy to work with and learn from. They all very generously allowed everyone to download their best practices SMART Notebook lesson files, so I have lots to share in my next SMART Board™ class.In addition, SMART gave us a preview of their new “clicker” system, Senteo™. All I can say is, WOW! If you’ve ever used these types of assessment systems, you know that there can be a bit of a learning curve. Not with Senteo™. It is so easy to use, you won’t believe it. They also gave us a sneak preview of a brand new software (beta version) that adds capabilities to the Gallery that they are going to roll out at NECC in Atlanta in late June. You will be blown away by how great it is, so watch for a new SMART Notebook version 9.7 after the end of June plus this new software that works with it. We were sworn to secrecy about it, so that’s all I can reveal.Another fabulous resource is the NAG (Notebook Activity Guide) which is a pdf that is downloadable from the SMART Tech website. Great for workshops on SMARTBoard. We will definitely be using this in our tele classes this summer and any on-site workshops we do.I can’t say enough good things about the folks at SMART Tech and how willing and eager they were to take our suggestions and ideas. They are definitely pro-education, and they know that the bread and butter of their company is the software that runs the SMART Board™. The next traveling that the VLC does is to a tech conference in Omaha, Nebraska where Nancy George will be going on April 25th. We’ll look forward to your posting about it when you return, Nancy!
This week at CSD the focus seems to be on SMARTBoard. Our tele class, Using the SMARTBoard in the Classroom, is scheduled for Tuesday April 10th and Thursday, April12th from 4-7 pm here at our Craig Rd. location. This class is full, but we will be offering more SMARTBoard training during the summer: June 7th from 9:00am-4:00pm and July 30th (9-4). To register, go to http://csd.org/tele, and for more information, contact Joan Forrest at firstname.lastname@example.org or 314-692-1259.
In addition to classes held here at CSD, we can also come to you. This week, we are scheduled to do SMART Ideas trainings in Hillsboro on Tues. April 10 (3:4–5:45pm) and Friday, April 13th we will be at Ladue High School in the morning for SMARTBoard training with the math department. If you have special requests for trainings, we can customize. Charges are $180/hr. for one insturctor, and an additional $140/hr. for a second instructor. For groups of 16+ we recommend 2 instructors. For more information, or to schedule workshops on-site, contact Nancy George at email@example.com or 314-692-1251.
I am excited about my upcoming trip to Chicago to the Smart Tech offices to participate in a Teacher Conference to learn even more about SMARTBoards and how to implement them in the classroom. I’ll post more here after my return. Hopefully, I’ll learn more tips and tricks about using these interactive whiteboards to their fullest!
This month some of CSD’s New Links to New Learning members are participating in videoconferences from all over the world! Lafayette High is participating in two programs in two days next week- and traveling across the United States. From their St. Louis, MO classroom, they will connect to Alaska to learn about Mushers and the Iditarod race. The following day, classes from Lafayette will connect to the Museum of Television and Radio in New York to discuss how the Civil Rights Movement was portrayed on TV. Later this month, Lafayette will participate in conversations with Global-Leap in the United Kingdom.Wydown Middle students will continue their international connections with Global Nomads Group. This week, they participated in a series of 3 videoconferences in religion in Malaysia and I have received a report that they were awesome. Next week, Wydown students will also connect with GNG to talk to students across the country and also in Vietnam. In March, GNG connected Wydown classes to India! To learn more about the GNG programs, visit http://www.gng.orgThe Virtual Learning Center have worked hard to increase our international New Links to New Learning connections! I’m pleased to say that we’ve definitely raised those numbers- Independence Elementary connected to Australia earlier this year; Parkway North connected to previous GNG videoconferences and one of our own content providers, Bill Dallas Lewis, lives and presents from Puerto Vallarta, Mexico!