I hated to leave, but I am now home from an unforgettable NECC and DEN experience! I am so impressed with the DEN that I am at a loss of words.I am just so proud to be a part of "the greatest network of educators!" The DEN display booth in the exhibit hall was extremely professional and enticing, the DEN members were all smiles, all the time, and the birthday bash was unbelievable! Fun, Fun, Fun!
On my final days at the NECC I attended several sessions on one-to-one learning using laptops. Since our school is acquiring laptops for our students in the fall, I was determined to find out the best tips for making this a smooth transition for our students and staff. The overall message the sessions had concerning the laptops was, to not feel that the laptops have to be used just for the sake of using them, they should be used when they are the best tool for the lesson. With this in perspective, and all the teachers working with the same programs (Word, PowerPoint, Movie Maker, etc..) the students will become so familiar with these programs that if given the freedom of integrating the technology, they will find new and creative ways to use technology in the lessons. It is sort of a natural acquisition. One session actually gave us the ten tips to make a 1-2-1 initiative work successfully: 1. Support from leadership 2. Maintain a stable and working infrastructure 3. Curriculum drives instruction 4. Technology as a tool 5. Time for collaborative planning 6. Easy access to Technology 7. Ongoing technology and curriculum support. 8. Ongoing and embedded professional development 9. Technology literate teachers 10. Flexibility and patience.
Some great ideas that I can’t wait to try are: 1. Digital Media Kits: put together a kit of sounds, pictures, video clips, etc.. on a CD, and distribute them to your students. Tell them that they have to create a presentation using all of this media. They spend less time searching and more time creating! 2. P.E. teachers create an excercise program for their students online. Students can get on the internet and view the proper way to stretch, excersise, etc… Change it weekly/monthly and have them keep a log of what they did! 3. Create "Dropboxes" on a shared folder that students have access to. At the beginning of a unit, students can go to the folder and copy the information into their files and they have all the "stuff" for the unit (notes, articles, videos, pictures, assignments, or whatever you want.)
Also, walking around the exhibit hall I found some really interesting new programs to enhance student learning using technology. Here are a few that really caught my attention:
Marcopolo:This site has free on-line education resources across the curriculum and very interactive student materials. This is a MUST to check out!! www.marcopolo-education.org
Spell Doctor: This seems fantastic for those language arts teachers out there. It is a program that intercepts words that the kids misspell and turn them into a lesson. For example, if a student is typing on Microsoft Word and they misspell a word, it records it and the teacher can use these words to set up a custom, web-based lesson for each student. I was really impressed!! You can check it out closer at http://www.spelldoctor.com
MoodleRooms: This seems like a great alternative to Blackboard. It is free if you don’t want someone else to host it, meaning…if you have a good tech person in you school that knows how to do that sort of thing, then your set! www.moodlerooms.com
Vernier: Need help writing a grant? This site had some good information and links to more help in grant writing. http://www.vernier.com/grants/index.html
Interactive PowerPoint: This is an assessment tool integrated into Microsoft PowerPoint. This is not a free service, but if you were interested in "clickers" that are so hot right now as instant feedback on student learning, and you use PowerPoint a lot, then this might be for you. I know I would love to have them. http://www.turningtechnologies.com/