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!

http://www.imageafter.com/
http://www.morguefile.com/
http://www.sxc.hu/
http://www.flickr.com/creativecommons
http://www.everystockphoto.com/

Tag Galaxy – a new way to look at Flickr pictures

You have to check out Tag Galaxy a 3D Flickr image search engine!  First enter a tag, and a related galaxy will appear on your screen. Each planet contains the pictures of a certain tag, and when you click on them, the images are placed on a globe.  Your can rotate the orbe until a picture catches your eye.  Click the pictue and it will expand – click it again and it grows larger and will give reference to the Flickr site the picture comes from.  Sure, you can go to Flickr.com and search the traditional way – but exploring this way is just more fun!

World Wide Telescope – Microsoft’s answer to google earth?

Microsoft Research recently released its free World Wide Telescope application. The WorldWide Telescope draws on more than 12 terabytes of imagery from several orbiting and land-based telescopes.  The desktop application downloads the images on demand and stitches them together to form an interactive, browsable universe supplemented with information from top astronomical databases.

It also allows the user to take “Guided Tours” that astronomers and others have put together.   I thought it was pretty cool!

You can check it out at: http://www.worldwidetelescope.org/