Midomi – find song titles by humming?

Are you looking for a song but only know some of the notes to it and the title simply escapes you?  Then you might want to check out Midomi.com Just sing, hum, or whistle into your computer’s microphone Midomi will find your music for you.  It’s not perfect, but is a cool way to find that song you don’t know the title of. You will have to give permission for the site to use your microphones!  It is the coolest Web 2.0 tool I have seen in a while!

Technology Visioning – 2012

I feel our district is in a pretty good place when it comes to educational technology.  We are completely wireless in our schools and all of our teachers and administrators have mobile laptops.  We are near the end of a 3 year high tech multimedia classroom integration plan that includes installing SMART Boards, projectors, classroom amplification systems, DVD/VCR, etc.  Our high school is currently investigating online learning and we have integrated our first high def video conference classroom so that we could offer our students mandarin Chinese.  We also recently adopted the Project Lead the Way curriculum so that we could begin offering pre-engineering courses for our students.

Four years in the technology world is a very long time and somewhat unpredictable.  However, I think it is important to imagine where we should be moving as a district in technology.  I have posted some key questions that we will be discussing with our District Technology Committee in October.   Your feedback is also appreciated!

  • What is the next hot ticket technology/web innovations our district should be addressing?
  • What does the learning environment of the future look like?
  • What technologies can help our district become more efficient and effective in our work/learning processes?
  • What technologies will prepare our students be successful in a global economy? (higher education and/or workforce)
  • What other questions should I be asking?

e-Learning from NASA

The Space Agency is making available a free Web-based educational product to learners of all ages across the country. NASA eClips consists of more than 55 short, 5-10 minute video segments, which are available on-demand via the Internet.  NASA eClips features many of the agency’s missions and engages learners in the excitement of science and engineering. Check it out at: http://www.nasa.gov/education/nasaeclips

Downloading videos from youtube

This year our district teachers and administrators received new laptops and with the new laptops, came a new version of Firefox.   Many of your had an extension called “unplug” so that you could download youtube or teachertube videos on to your computers.  Unfortunately this plugin is no longer compatible with the new version of Firefox so we needed another alternative.  The one I have found is called Video DownloadHelper 3.2.2 and it works just as unplug did.  I have created a screencast for you if you would that shows the step by step process!

Welcome Back – Games wanted

Welcome back teachers and students!  I hope to utilize this blog a bit more regular this year to let you in on some happenings in our school and out on the web!  One of my goals is to get feedback on games you would like to see utilized in your classrooms or labs.  I am open to suggestions as long as they do not entail blood, guts, and blowing people up.  If you can tell me the educational value – I am for it.  Simply reply to this blog or send me an email!

Library of Congress visits Byron Public Schools!

Yesterday we had the Library of Congress present a workshop during our Bears Professional Growth Academy!  Judy Graves did a great job in the morning showing us around the LOC’s website and then in the afternoon she showed us how to analyze primary sources from LOC’s American Memory website .  (THIS WAS FUN!!!)  She posted all her resources on our wiki – located here.  Did I mention she came to us via our new video conferencing room?  It is unbelievable the connections a school can make when the technology is available.    Library of Congress in Byron – WOW! 

1 down 4 to go

Today was the start of our Bears Professional Growth AcademyDoug Johnson, Blue Skunk blogger, kicked of the academy with an excellent keynote on Schools and Libraries for the Net generation.  The presentation helped our district leaders (school board, administrators, teachers, staff) understand the characteristics of the millenial generation and gave us ideas/suggestions on how to adjust our learning environments.  I hope the conversations do not stop here!  We also had AIMSweb training, Advanced SMART Board training, Technology orientation for New Teachers, Intro to PowerPoint 2007, Office 2007, Designing Research Projects that Kids (and Teachers) Love, and Getting What You Ask For: Creating Effective Assessment Tools for Projects, People and Programs.  What do you plan on doing to keep the momentum going?

Resource mentioned in Doug’s presentation – http://www.educause.edu/educatingthenetgen/5989

I LOVE my new laptop!

I am going to have to guess that I am not alone when I say that I LOVE my new laptop.  Its performance is awesome in comparison to my 3 year old Thinkpad R51.  This Thinkpad T61 has Core2 Duo processor, 160 Gb Hard drive, and 2 Gb of memory.  I (along with the 120 other teachers, admin, and media/tech support) am thankful that I did not have to go another year with the old Thinkpad R51!

Summer Happenings 2008

Memories of Summer - by Micky (Flickr)

While most staff in k12 are out enjoying their summer off… At Byron Public Schools, summer is the perfect time to get work done that is near impossible to do during the regular school day. Here are the projects we will be working on!

  • Teacher Laptop Deployment – our district’s teachers will be receiving their 2nd refresh of laptops in 6 years. The laptops will come with built in web cams, 2 Gb memory, 160 gb HD’s, and DVD burners.
  • Prep room for Hybrid Chinese course from District 287. We will be running our first virtual classroom next year that utilizes video conferencing as well as an online learning lab.
  • Continue district’s 3 year SMART Board integration plan. We will be installing 8 SMART Boards classrooms in the elementary school and 8 in the middle school. All classrooms are retrofitted with SB’s, 4 ceiling/wall mounted speakers, projectors, DVD/VCR, and voice amplification systems.
  • Install 2 new labs at the high school. One mobile science cart and a new Industrial Arts lab for Project Lead the Way curriculum.
  • Reimage all labs (11) and upgrade district to Office 2007.
  • Install district storage (9tb) system as well as new disk to disk backup system.
  • Gear up for Bears Professional Growth Academy (Aug 4-8)
  • Work with online learning committee to look at how we can begin to develop/deliver online coursework at BPS.
  • Begin the implementation process (6 mos) of integrating Infinite Campus into our school.

Being a Minnesotan and looking at the list above, all I can say is UFTA! Enjoy your summer… September is right around the corner.

Presentation Zen

I have decided to do a little reading this summer and picked up a book called Presentation Zen.  It is a fabulous read that describes how to take the PowerPoint presentation to the next level.   Imagery is extremely important and the author, Garr Reynolds, lists a couple of resources for some sites that offer free (and good quality) images.  I decided to share some of those links!  I hope to use some of the books resources and concepts in my digital imagery class I am teaching this summer during our academy.   Happy surfing!