Sunday, December 23, 2007

Technology Shopping Cart

I subscribe to Google Alerts, one of which is under the ambiguous topic "K-12" Educational Technology.Very rarely do I get anything of note; however I did stumble across this blog "Technology Shopping Cart" which seems to be a promising place to stop by once in awhile. It is even in a podcast (I'll have to check out iTunes).

Have a Joyeux Noel!

Friday, November 9, 2007

Grade 5 and Six Skyped with Students in Illinois!

I spent most of my Thursday afterschool trying to set up the Dell laptop connected to the data projector working with Skype. Hmmm....after 3 hours (or so after skyping Donna numerous times interrupting her while she worked on her master's project and ate supper) we seemed to get it to work. It seems that the Dell I have has a built-in microphone and the headset just didn't want to work with skype. My MacBook worked PERFECTLY but I don't have a connection cord to the data projector.

The next morning, I was able to skype the teacher, Mr. Bill Theobald, in Waterloo Illinois. THEY start classes at 8:00 AM! All my grade five and sixes piled into the library at 9:05 (I had warned them that I didn't know what to expect) and promptly the pre-setup Dell had somehow unset itself up. We had no luck with we went back to my tiny Mac...and it WORKED. The kids had a blast. They did get to talk to some of their epals; as well after the classes changed there they talked to some 6th graders.


We definitely want to do this again.
By the way, we connected with the Waterloo Illinois class via Epals A teacher can get 35 free email accounts with this service and access to classes all over the world. I've been doing Epals with my social studies classes for about three years now with mixed results. If the class writes back on a regular basis it is a wonderful experience; if not the kids get frustrated. This year, I've agreed to exchange with pretty much any class that's written to us. Waterloo Illinois has been the most faithful correspondants. Check out the city site at

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

We have wireless at HCS (and other mildly exciting news).

I took my MacBook to school the other day as I hadn't yet finished an exam. As I sat in the staffroom I noticed the Airport icon all lit up! I danced and sang (well I made a scene anyway). My principal tried to tell me that the connection was unpredictable but I DON"T CARE. We have wireless internet - sometimes - at Hafford!!!! WAHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

Also, I've learned how to use Google Reader to help keep current on these blogs. Keep writing...I know you are out there.....

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Commuting and Web 2.0

As many people know, in my "new" life as a teacher (now 7 or 8 years old) I commute by vehicle to and from work. During these long hours (driving to Hafford is one hour there and then one hour home) I have discovered the joys of listening to podcasts. I've even done some "professional development" in the comfort of my car (while trying to avoid deer and errant motorists).

One of my continuously favourite podcasts is "Tech Chick Tips"
I Like it because these women work with elementary kids as well as adults in academia. They review what's new in online applications in a free-flowing conversational manner. I've picked up some good tips from them - even if I only store them at the back of the filing cabinet called my head. Tech Chick Tips is available free for download on the website or iTunes.

I should have stayed in Hafford to try the Wiziq conference today. I thought that the Red Bull's advertisement of WI-FI meant that it worked. It didn't- but the coffee and muffin I ate while trying to connect were good brain fuel. I wanted to be able to use my MacBook which has a camera and microphone built in (I have nothing to connect it to in Hafford). No luck - but I did manage to get the last 5 minutes at home tonight. I wish I'd been there for the whole thing!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

My attempts at Web 2.0 in my classes....

I've been using as part of Social Studies. If we are lucky, we get a class who answers us with regularity. This is the year we study the Grade 6 Social Studies, "Canada's Atlantic Neighbours" and I've attempted to establish contacts with several "Atlantic Country" classrooms. Some of my students get next to no replies no matter how many classes we contact, while some get gobs of emails. Go figure! is an online photo editor. I've allowed my Grade 7/8 technology class to experiment with it....with the proviso each one who uses it can teach me one thing about it. (I've put student photos in the public directory so they can play with their mugshots.) I myself haven't used it yet, but the kids seem to be having a blast.

I learned about FlauntR through Kathy Shrock's "Sites of the School Days" email that I subscribe to. She sends out an email weekly during the school year. It is worth subscribing.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007


We live in a visual culture. We need to learn how to see and see critically. One way we can take command of the visual process is by creating images.

One of my passions as a technology teacher is teaching kids to use graphics software. I've usually started out with OpenOffice Draw which I have found to be an extremely useful tool as an introduction to this instruction. What I miss is the layers and the ability to stack them behind and infront of each other. Learning layers in GIMP and Photosphop etc. is difficult enough and I thought this was a gentle introduction. Paint has no layers and one has to create a new document if one wishes to restack a selection.
This year I've been having Grade Seven and Eight start with Microsoft Paint. What I like about Paint is we can select parts of objects and then glue them together. Whatever graphics program we use, we learn about pixels, vectors, bitmaps, resolution....etc. etc......
My next plan is to move onto Microsoft Publisher before I go onto GIMP, Flash, Fireworks and Dreamweaver.

Friday, September 28, 2007

First Assignment: Create a Blog.....

Last night I couldn't for the life of me remember the usernames and passwords I'd created for Wikispaces. I emailed Donna in desperation...and went to bed.

This morning after a cup of coffee I thought to check my saved emails and ...VOILA ....a username. Could it be I have really have some organizational skills?

Today we Haffordonian K - 6 teachers are off to the 4 Blocks learning conference. I am hoping that not only I'll learn some useful things about teaching ELA, but I'll get some ideas on infusing technology as a vehicle for instruction. I only have one "computers class" at HCS this year so I should have a lot more time to explore teaching with technology with grade 5 and 6 ELA and Social Studies.