Archive for July, 2007

Promethean or SMART???

Posted on July 31, 2007. Filed under: Interactive Whiteboards |

Is your district Promethean or SMART?
by Tim Van Heule

Interactive whiteboards are an exciting addition to many classrooms. These whiteboards capture student attention, can be a behavior modification tool, and increase the level of activity in the classroom.

How do I know this? Because I used the interactive whiteboard in my classroom and saw all of these results. My elementary students loved using the interactive whiteboard on the first day of school all the way through the last day of school. It wasn’t a novelty and they never tired of it…

Which board did I have? The SMART Board 580. Every classroom at my school, Varennes Elementary in Anderson District 5, had a SMART Board in the classroom. We were fortunate and I think our students benefitted tremendously…

But here I am in Greenville County now and we have just begun a district-wide initiative using Promethean Boards…

My favorite question is… “Which do you like better, Promethean or SMART?”

The answer is simple… it is personal preference. Comparing these two is like comparing Coke and Pepsi, Chevy and Ford, Clemson and… well, who can I compare Clemson with???

SMART uses resistive technology while Promethean uses electromagnetic technology. SMART allows the user to use their pen or their finger to manipulate objects while Promethean uses the pen. Both companies have powerful software loaded with activities and features.

When it comes down to it… both companies are out to accomplish the same goals… increasing the level of interactivity and changing the dynamics of the classroom.

So which do I like better? Ask me when you see me…

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Have you seen or used Google Docs?

Posted on July 28, 2007. Filed under: General |

by C. Arnold

I’ve been to NECC and BLC07 this year..(and let me say if you have never attended one of these conferences, you need to go!) and was surprised that so few people were using Google Docs, or had even heard of it.  I stumbled upon this about a year ago.  For those of you that are not familiar with Google Docs, it is apart of Google (of course)…but it allows you to upload Word Documents or Excel Spreadsheets into your Doc account.  At that time you can invite others to view your file or to edit your file (they are called collaborators).    I have to admit, the first time I used this was for a rather simple task.  Our office was having a get-together.  I listed the items that we needed for the meal, and then had my co-workers sign-up for what they could bring.  How cool… we did not have to send around a list on paper…each just went on line and signed up for what they could bring and could even add new items if needed.  Granted this was not a great instructional use, (hey our party was great though!), but it did start me thinking about how this could be used in the classroom. 

Many teachers are fearful of using online collaboration tools or blogs because they are either blocked by the district or are fearful of “who” the student may communicate with.  (Now, this is an entirely different topic that I could ramble on and on about…but will not at this time. )  Google Docs is great for online collaboration and solves most of the problems teachers have with other sites.  The site can be set up by the teacher (which makes her the owner) and he/she can invite the individual students he/she chooses to edit the document (each student will have to set up a google doc account before hand).  Only the collaborators the teacher invites can view the document.  The teacher can also add other teachers or students to be “viewers” only.  These viewers can see the document but cannot make any changes. 

One cool feature is the “Revisions” tab.  You can see when people actually contributed to the document or spreadsheet and what they contributed.  This feature really would help the teacher monitor access and participation of the group.  There is a chat feature…but you can only chat with the members of the allowed group ( of which remember the teacher is one of!)

I know we all think that Google is “taking over the world”  🙂  but this is one time that they have really gotten it right!  Please let me know if you have used this with any of your classes, how you used it, and how you assessed this collaboration.  I would love to share your ideas with other teachers here in Greenville County.        

(post from created by Cathy Arnold, Technology Facilitator)


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Diigo…possible use in the classroom

Posted on July 28, 2007. Filed under: General |

by C. Arnold 

At BLC07 I had the pleasure of being introduced to a Web 2.0 website called Diigo.  While this site was presented as a bookmarking site, I was wondering if this site could be used in a different way in the classroom.  At Diigo you are allowed to highlight and attach sticky notes.  How cool would it be in a one-to-one situation, that instead of a teacher putting notes up on a screen for students to copy or where the teacher is lecturing and students notetake, that the teacher puts his/her notes in a blog format.  The students would then go to the blog… highlight the important material and make personal notes about the information from the teachers presentation (click thumbnail above to see example).  I realize that taking notes isn’t the high level of critical thinking that we hope to attain, but by presenting the material in this way, no time is wasted.  In fact, it is then the teacher can take it to the next level and use it as a Learning-Focused ”ticket out the door” .  Each student could then comment on the lesson that day and/or possibly address open-ended questions that the teacher has pre-made in her blog.  This is just one idea as to how one can use Diigo in the classroom.  (post from created by Cathy Arnold, Technology Facilitator)

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Posted on July 23, 2007. Filed under: General |

Welcome to the blog of the Instructional Technology Department for The School District of Greenville County. Through this blog we will provide teachers with tips and tricks for seamless technology integration into the classroom. If you ever have any questions or comments, please do not hesitate to post them. Thanks and we are looking forward to the 2007-2008 school year.

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