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Archive for February, 2012

Learning in the 21st Century

As I’ve been researching the awesome eBeam and all the benefits that it can provide, I’ve truly had my eyes opened to the extreme importance of technology in the classroom today.  I believe that interactive whiteboards, specifically the eBeam, are amazing tools for all classrooms, but providing a variety of technological tools just encourages more students to be involved and intrigued in different ways.  With all of the teaching tools available today, I believe that we are really creating a challenge for teachers to take advantage of some of the new technology, and to “blow our students’ minds”.  That being said, I found the following video on youtube and thought it was pretty cool.  Take a look!

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Cool Interactive Whiteboard Lessons, Designed and Tested by Teachers

As more and more teachers are getting interactive whiteboards in their classrooms, they have the challenge of finding good lessons and resources to use with their whiteboards, with the hopes that they won’t have to spend countless hours finding them.  I came across a new line of lessons created by Carson-Dellosa Publishing, LLC in my research, and I’m impressed, so I thought I would share my findings.  They currently only have units available for K-2, but grades 3-5 are coming soon.  They also offer a free unit at their website, so it might be worth a look!  I found the original article at http://www.timesunion.com/business/press-releases/article/Inspiring-Content-for-Classroom-Technology-Drives-3345898.php

Inspiring Content for Classroom Technology Drives Student Engagement

Greensboro, NC (PRWEB) February 21, 2012

Teachers are under great pressure to integrate new technology in the classroom, but struggle to find quality digital content and lesson plans. Today, Carson-Dellosa Publishing, LLC introduced the newest, comprehensive solution—Learning Spot™ Lessons—a line of teacher-designed and teacher-tested lessons for interactive whiteboards.

Educators have the opportunity to experience Learning Spot™ Lessons by downloading a free unit at CDLearningSpot.com/PR. Learning Spot™ Lessons bring the interactive whiteboard to life with standards-based, curriculum-focused content that encourages student interaction. The units allow teachers to plan lessons faster; a unit downloads in seconds and saves hours of prep time.

“For 35 years, Carson-Dellosa has listened to teachers and we know they share a common goal: to be a great teacher. We know it isn’t easy. We’ve served teachers through all of the changes and challenges in education,” said Judy L. Harris, Carson-Dellosa CEO. “Teachers told us how difficult it is to find effective digital lessons they can easily integrate into their lesson plans and about the hours they typically spend making their own. So we set out to create truly comprehensive interactive whiteboard lessons with all of this in mind.”

As part of their practice of developing products with their customers, Carson-Dellosa conducted a rigorous pilot program with nearly 200 classroom teachers nationwide. The participants provided direct feedback on all aspects of Learning Spot™ Lessons and the company received an overwhelmingly positive response.

“Learning Spot™ Lessons not only provide challenging interactive lessons for my students, they save me hours of preparation time,” said Carrie James-Hundley, a first-grade teacher in Atlanta. “With these [lessons], I’m a more effective teacher, my students are much more engaged…they are learning more quickly and retaining what they learn.”

Featuring thirty-five units for K–Grade 2, including math, language arts, and science titles, Carson-Dellosa Learning Spot™ Lessons are:
Comprehensive units featuring: lesson plans, printable pages, teacher notes, extension activities, classroom management tools, and more
Aligned to Common Core Standards
Downloadable from the web—no CDs needed
Compatible with all interactive whiteboards including SMART™, Promethean, and Mimio®, as well as Mac and other PCs
Easily adaptable for whole-group, small-group, and individualized instruction
Engaging to students and easily enables differentiated learning
Multilingual, featuring ELL support, and English, French, and Spanish audio directions

Carson-Dellosa Learning Spot™ Lessons will be available on the company’s website and through select retail partners. To learn more about Carson-Dellosa, visit carsondellosa.com.

To download a free unit and find out more about Learning Spot™ Lessons, visit CDLearningSpot.com/PR.

About Carson-Dellosa
Carson-Dellosa Publishing, LLC, based in Greensboro, North Carolina, is a leading supplemental curriculum solutions provider for both educators and parents around the world. Founded by two teachers, the company boasts a 35-year history of enhancing a child’s learning potential and environment through quality curriculum, supplemental learning materials, and classroom resources.

Carson-Dellosa proudly provides teachers, parents, and children around the world with the best possible educational materials produced by the industry’s most recognized and respected award-winning brands including: Summer Bridge Activities™, Mark Twain Publishing, Key Education, HighReach Learning®, Frank Schaffer®, Spectrum®, Judy® Instructo, American Education Publishing™, and Brighter Child®.

Yet Another Happy eBeam Customer!

This is yet another email that my boss has received from an educator letting us know how much she and other teachers in her elementary school in Southeast Missouri are loving their eBeams.  It really is a wonderful classroom tool that is reasonably priced!  Check out our website to see our great prices, and to get all kinds of great information about eBeam! http://www.shop.ebeamrocks.com/

Dear Matthew,

Anne and Teri are loving their ebeams. It is having the desired effect. Now the other teachers are interested and checking out their ebeams. We even have found that our new Math program came with a software program for interactive white boards. They are using this and the students are loving the activities. We are happy in Kindergarten. We will have them up and rolling during our Enrollment Open House. This is a great tool and format to show off to potential parents.  I appreciate all your help and look forward to buying more ebeams soon.

Sincerely,

Elaine

Free Interactive Whiteboard Resources

The following link is an awesome resource for teachers looking for new ways to use their interactive whiteboard in their classroom.  All of the resources are free, and they provide some great ideas for interactive classroom lessons!

http://www.teachhub.com/free-interactive-whiteboard-resources

This link also comes from an awesome website for teachers, http://www.teachhub.com/.  It has all kinds of lessons and teaching tools, as well as teacher recommendations, and education news.  Definitely worth taking a look at!

eBeam in the Classroom

The following is a quick and informative video touching on all of the wonders that eBeam can provide in the classroom.  The benefits of eBeam are truly amazing; check it out!

Students Say Technology Helps In Classroom

The following link is to a story that I found about a student and teacher who are testifying in Columbus, Ohio, about the need for better technology in their classrooms.  Both teachers and students alike, are finding that technology incorporated into class lessons, makes for more interactive and exciting learning.  Take a look!

Students Say Technology Helps In Classroom – Education News Story – WLWT Cincinnati.

Technology Trends in Education for 2012

The following articles came from www.educationworld.com, an awesome website for educators.  As the article states, EducationWorld, when wanting to provide technology predictions for teachers for 2012, went “straight to an industry insider”, namely Jody Forehand, Vice President of Product Planning for Luidia.  It’s exciting to see how technology is evolving in the classroom, but I’m also excited to see that Jody Forehand is the expert that’s sharing her knowledge.

The actual links for the articles are: http://www.educationworld.com/a_tech/tech-trends-for-2012-part-1.shtml and http://www.educationworld.com/a_tech/tech-trends-for-2012-part-2.shtml

Ed Tech Trends for 2012: Part 1

Tech firms keep their secrets better than most governments, so predicting tech innovations for the coming year can be tricky. EducationWorld went straight to an industry insider to see exactly what educators should expect from the world of technology in 2012.

Jody Forehand currently serves as the Vice President of Product Planning for education tech firm Luidia. Luidia is known for developing the eBeam technology featured in many interactive whiteboard products. In addition to working with partners such as Sony and HP, Luidia also produces its own educational whiteboard product, dubbed the Engage. Forehand has spent years in the educational tech sector, and she has put that experience to use for EdWorld readers as she predicts what schools will look like, technologically speaking, in the coming year.

Tablet Use Will Grow

Tablets and mobile devices started getting a foothold in classrooms in 2011, and this trend is expected to continue, according to Forehand.

“Tablets, especially iPads, will be a major factor in 2012,” she said. “When we talk to our dealers, they see it not only continuing, but accelerating as well.”

Forehand believes that last year’s influx of tablets was based on a number of grant-related pilot programs and that 2012’s expected expansion will fall under more traditional programs.

“What was interesting to me is that it sounds like schools are mostly getting them for the teachers to use,” Forehand said. “I’m going to be curious to see if that shifts in the coming year to where more and more students will have them. As prices come down and more students bring in their own iPads to use, we expect to see more and more classroom embracing this technology.”

While some have argued that the Kindle Fire’s $199 price tag would make it enticing to the education market, Forehand said she isn’t seeing Amazon’s tablet gaining any ground.

“In terms of being in the classroom, we’re just not seeing much evidence that the Kindle Fire is gaining a lot of traction,” Forehand said. “That is based on our dealers, and I was careful to ask about that specifically because we need to know for planning eBeam features for the coming year. They said that by far, the iPad outpaces anything out there.”

Open Source Will Bring Costs Down

Forehand said the move to open source software is predominantly found abroad, but she said she expects this trend to appear stateside in the near future.

“It’s an extremely strong trend in Latin America and Europe,” Forehand said. “The U.S. market for tech tends to be handled on a school-to-school or district-to-district basis, where in other countries the purchasing decisions are made on the state or federal level. In many cases, these large bids for these countries require Linux, and only Linux. I think that it is interesting that these countries are using this type of technology as a cost-containment measure.”

While there is often pushback with regard to change in schools, the cost savings may be too great for U.S. schools to pass up in 2012, she explained.

“This is why I’m thinking there could be a window this year,” Forehand said. “I’m going to be curious to see if it does make some traction. I think the primary hurdle may be the IT folks here may not have a very high comfort level with Linux. It may be that teachers may not be comfortable with it, but in these other countries they have a top-down approach. Whether teachers are comfortable with Linux or not, they’re going to do whatever makes the most sense dollar-wise for them.”

Existing infrastructure could also be a stumbling block for a move to Linux.

“I think that is part of it,” Forehand said. “You’ve got legacy systems, and I’m sure you have teachers concerned about using documents they’ve spent years creating in Word or Excel. But frankly, we’ve got a Linux box at my home, and I routinely open Word docs in a Linux reader or Excel spreadsheets, and it works fine.”

Even if Linux doesn’t make huge gains in the U.S. this year, Forehand expects open source programs such as Google Docs to gain traction.

“Anecdotally, I am hearing about some districts experimenting with that,” Forehand said. “If they can’t get another Microsoft license, they’re going in and using Google Docs. Taking that one step further, we’re seeing teachers who have access to Word, but are using Google Docs instead because of the collaboration features. It is very easy to use in classrooms and allows students to share their work.”

Ed Tech Trends for 2012: Part 2

Schools Will Still Not Know What To Do With Social Media

“This is going to be something that schools continue to wrestle with in the coming year,” Forehand said. “It reminds me of the issue schools have with Internet access and how they managed that even 10 years ago. The filters were often clumsy, leading to the famous story of students not being able to do research on breast cancer.”

Forehand did say that schools can eventually get to a place where social media has a role in the curriculum; however, that is still a few years away.

“It’s going to take some time,” Forehand said. “They’re going to have to give up some control and find where their comfort level is and then come to a happy medium.”

One area where schools can address social media directly is teaching students to be responsible users.

“It’s messy,” Forehand said. “There is a real concern there about bullying or just kids not using good judgment in terms of the kind of content they share. This is the type of thing that can be woven into social studies lessons or English lessons, so schools can address it without having to create an entirely new class.”

Interactive Whiteboards Will Evolve

“It’s going to come down to being able to integrate with other resources in the classroom,” Forehand said. “It will no longer be the case that you have an interactive whiteboard and a projector in the classroom. Teachers want to be able to connect whatever document camera they have, or maybe take a picture with their iPhone and make it easily accessible. So it’s become more important than ever for interactive whiteboards to accommodate this.”

Forehand predicts that the future of these whiteboards will come down to compatibility with other devices.

“We’re seeing a lot of companies that have built themselves around what I call ‘closed systems,’” Forehand said. “They try to give you the complete solution and encourage you to use all of their hardware and software. They have very nice solutions and their products are quite good, but we at Luidia have taken the approach of allowing teachers to work with the hardware and software that they’re comfortable with, and we’re going to try and make it easier for them to integrate those to our boards. We don’t want to force a particular workflow on educators.”

Forehand reports that a growing number of teachers in the field are saying they want to use more and more types of tools, whether hardware or software, in the classroom.

“So interactive whiteboard companies are going to have to look at how they work with those other tools effectively and easily for teachers,” Forehand said.

HD Will Explode in Classrooms

Plummeting prices are going to allow schools to invest in more HD displays and projectors, Forehand predicts.

“Projector prices are going down; flat-panel prices are going down,” Forehand said. “In years past, the model was, you had one huge display in the front of the classroom, and that is what everyone was focused on. Now pico projectors are becoming more popular and less expensive—I mean, for a few hundred dollars you can get a 32” HD display. I think this is going to lead to schools having more displays in the classroom.”

While classroom applications are logical, Forehand said the displays, when purchased en masse, can be used for a myriad of practical purposes.

“Again, they are just so cheap now,” Forehand said. “You can use them for announcements. This is more common in higher ed, but I can see K through 12 schools using them for security purposes such as alerting the classrooms and the community outside.”