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Archive for July, 2012

eBeam- One of the Best Ed-Tech Products for Schools

Hooray eBeam!  You have done it again!  eBeam was named one of the best ed-tech products for schools by eSchool News in their 2012-13 Readers’ Choice Awards.  Check them out below!  I only included the write-up for eBeam because it was a rather lengthy article, but check out the other winners at http://www.eschoolnews.com/2012/07/23/fifty-of-the-best-ed-tech-products-for-schools/.

Fifty of the best ed-tech products for schools

These 50 educational technology products and services are the winners of our 2012-13 Readers’ Choice Awards

From eSchool News staff reports.

Here are the results of our 2012-13 Readers’ Choice Awards, which recognize the educational technology products and services that have had the greatest impact in our readers’ schools.

This past spring, we asked readers to give us their top picks for school hardware, software, websites, and services. Nearly 1,300 readers responded via one of our three websites: eSchoolNews.com, eCampusNews.com, and eClassroomNews.com.

In nominating their favorite ed-tech products, we asked readers to tell us how they’re using these products to improve teaching, learning, or school administration—and to what effect. We then chose the 50 best responses, which appear alphabetically by product name and grouped into two categories: K-12 and higher education.

The result is a list of educational technology products and services that have proven to be effective, as noted by our readers—your colleagues—in schools and colleges nationwide.

We hope you’ll find this information useful as you consider how technology can help transform education in your own schools. And watch for our call for nominations for the 2013-14 Readers’ Choice Awards in print and online early next year.

eBeam (Luidia)

eBeam is a portable device that transforms any flat surface into a dynamic, digital workspace, allowing users to interact with whiteboard notes and projected content.

“I’m in charge of delivering technologies to my teachers that can truly make a difference in the classroom,” said Danielle Kazoroski, network/technology associate for Brevard County Schools in Florida. “After conducting thorough research, my principal and I decided to purchase 30 eBeam Edge devices because of [their] open software approach, which allows us to make the most out of the tools we already have [and] provides a path to maximize our technology investment for years to come. Our teachers and students love the technology, because it is incredibly easy to install and use. Every classroom in grades two through six has a device, and many teachers use the eBeam technology to capture lessons and upload content to the class website for continued at-home learning. … Aside from being fun for the students, teachers share that the eBeam technology has measurably improved student interactivity and engagement.”

ZDNet Praises eBeam, Again

So, I read Chris Dawson’s blog posts at ZDNet on a regular basis, because he really seems to know his stuff when it comes to educational technology.  And well he should, Chris Dawson is a freelance writer and consultant with years of experience in educational technology and web-based systems. In 2011, he became the Vice President of Marketing for WizIQ, Inc., a virtual classroom and learning network SaaS provider.  Of course, I also like what he writes because he’s praised eBeam and their interactive whiteboard technology a few times now.  Take a look!

Go mobile or go home

By Christopher Dawson for ZDNet Education | July 16, 2012 — Updated 13:56 GMT (06:56 PDT)

Last week, I spent a day at the Blackboard World Developers’ Conference (BBWorld DevCon). There was plenty of attention paid to Blackboard’s purchase of Moodlerooms and Netspot and the possible implications for developers. There was lots of talk about LTI (more on that later). But more than anything, developers were talking mobile. This isn’t unique to BBWorld, either – like consumer and enterprise customers, educators and students are going mobile in big ways, and companies need to keep up.

Blackboard has their Mobile Learn product which, beginning this fall, will allow students to purchase the app on iOS or Android, even if their institution chooses not to support Blackboard’s full-blown Mobile Central platform. Developers were particularly giving kudos at DevCon for Blackboard’s augmented reality component in Mobile Central, which allows schools to create interactive, 3D overlays for school campuses that students and visitors can access via their iPhones (the app works on iPads and the company is looking at Android support, but Blackboard focused on the iPhone for a standardized device to explore this very new technology).

gomobilegohome1

But Blackboard is hardly the only company going mobile. As a consultant for WizIQ, I’ve had the chance to use beta versions of their mobile Virtual Classroom app. The app came out of beta today for iPad and is available on the iTunes App Store. The iPad app is one of those great tools for actually putting student iPads to use; it’s ideal for increasing student interactivity. Whether in a physical classroom or a fully online class conducted anywhere, students have instructional materials in the palms of their hands and can engage with an interactive virtual whiteboard with a simple touch. That’s 20 students, 30 students, or, in fact, any number of students who can contribute using a virtual whiteboard instead of just 1 or 2 on a standard IWB in a classroom. I have beta versions of the virtual classroom app on my Android phone and tablets, too, which should become more widely available soon.

I’ve talked glowingly about Luidia’s own interactive whiteboard technology in this blog before and they’ve been doing great things with mobile as well.

MentorMob, one of my favorite tools for content curation, has taken a different approach, with a site and tools that use HTML5 to render brilliantly across devices.

At the same time, the market for interactive textbooks is taking off (Kno, one of the biggest publishers of e-textbooks, has compiled enough data from extensive use of its platform to publish data on student effectiveness), iPads are everywhere, the Kindle Fire is seeing significant adoption, and Google’s Nexus 7 already has solid retail and pre-order traction outside of the technorati who usually represent Google early adopters.

Guess what? The time is right for mobile education. The message to companies looking to get into the ed tech game, which is experiencing an unprecendented boom, is to develop, if not first for mobile, then with the expectation that your application, site, or platform will be accessed on mobile devices more than any other. If a big company like Blackboard is ramping mobile faster than anything else, including its core applications (which is how it appears from the outside; I can’t speak to what’s happening behind the scenes), then this is a clear message to startups: mobile is the name of the game.

This article was found at http://www.zdnet.com/go-mobile-or-go-home-7000000961/.

What’s Your School’s Technology Strategy?

 

I have been doing all kinds of research on technology in the classroom since I’ve started this blog, and then today, I came across the graph below, and it made me a little sad.  The benefits of technology for both teachers and students are overwhelming.  So, the fact that 53% of the readers surveyed said that their school districts basically don’t have a strategy in place for technology just seems so unfathomable to me.  I guess I should be happy that the other 49% (why don’t these numbers add up to 100?), are making progress!

This graph was found at http://www.techlearning.com/article/52696

 

eBeam- Affordable Technology for the Classroom (Plus an Additional 10% discount!)

eBeam makes interactivity easy for educators.

Around the world, eBeam interactive technology is transforming classrooms into dynamic learning environments where everyone participates. Our portable devices and powerful software help teachers plan, prepare and deliver compelling lessons, while keeping students involved and motivated.  And while our technology is transformative, it’s also practical: eBeam products are designed to be exceptionally easy to buy, install and use.

Interactive, inexpensive and intuitive.

Unlike costly digital whiteboards, eBeam offers educators a truly accessible path to interactivity. Our technology translates your movements into digital content, making any flat surface interactive—your existing whiteboard or your classroom wall. Our products are designed to work with the projectors and computers you already own. You can install an eBeam solution and be up and running in minutes, no technical knowledge needed.

Lower total cost of ownership: built in.

eBeam solutions lower costs every step of the way. Our purchase price is much lower than that of other interactive systems. Our small form factor means you’ll save on shipping. Our retrofittable, intuitive products reduce installation and training expenses, and our technology lowers costs by leveraging your existing equipment.

SALE!!!!

Check out our website at http://www.ebeamrocks.com/ to see all of our awesome eBeam products, and then email us at info@ebeamrocks.com, and we’ll send you a discount code for 10% off of your total purchase!  Be sure to Hurry!  There’s no telling how long my boss will let me run this promotion!

The Wonders Created by Using Technology in Education

I came across this amazing article, and I just had to share it.  It’s written by Dr Termit Kaur Ranjit Singh, a senior lecturer at the School of Educational Studies in Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM).  She really seems to understand the overall need for technology in the classroom.  Her explanations of the benefits of technology for both students and teachers goes on and on, and I believe she’s really got an amazing grasp on just how educators should use technology in  the classroom.  Anyway, I think it’s very well-written and informative, and I hope you’ll take a look!

Turn on the light

By DR TERMIT KAUR RANJIT SINGH

Like flipping on a switch in a dark room, the right use of technology in education can do wonders to produce great minds and holistic individuals.

OBSERVING a trainee teacher teaching during her practicum one day, got me thinking again on how schools and teaching have hardly changed. From the time I was in school many decades ago, till this day and age where everything is going “e”, teaching has yet to embark on real change.

When my trainee teacher took out her laptop, connected it to the projector, and started her PowerPoint presentation, I was glad to see how she used a simple application and made it “powerful” from the very start of her class.

Her induction set incorporated music, attracted her students and got them all interested. She then went online to explain a concept for her lesson that day. “Wow!” I thought, “Now that’s something!”

The students were engaged in the lesson which was conducted in a more interesting manner than the usual chalk and talk method.

Active engagement

Effective technology integration must happen across the curriculum in ways that research shows can deepen and enhance the learning process.

In particular, it must support four key components of learning: active engagement, participation in groups, frequent interaction and feedback, and connection to real-world experts.

Effective technology integration is achieved when the use of technology is routine and transparent and when technology supports curricular goals.

Technology changes the way teachers teach, offering educators effective ways to reach different types of learners and assess student understanding through multiple means. It also enhances the relationship between teacher and student.

When technology is effectively integrated into subject areas, teachers grow into roles of adviser, content expert, and coach.

Technology helps make teaching and learning more meaningful and fun.

The myriad resources of the online world also provide classrooms with more interesting, diverse, and current learning materials.

The Web connects students to experts in the real world and provides numerous opportunities for expressing understanding through images, sound, and text.

New tech tools for visualising and modelling, especially in the sciences, offer students ways to experiment and observe phenomenon and view results in graphic ways that aid in understanding.

As an added benefit, with technology tools and a project-learning approach, students are more likely to stay engaged and on task, reducing behavioural problems in the classroom.

Intellectual challenge

Technology is ubiquitous, touching almost every part of our lives, our communities, our homes. Yet most schools lag far behind when it comes to integrating technology into classroom learning.

Many are just beginning to explore the true potential technology offers for teaching and learning.

Properly used, technology will help students acquire the skills they need to survive in a complex, highly technological, knowledge-based economy.

Integrating technology into classroom instruction means more than teaching basic computer skills and software programs in a separate computer class.

Technology-enabled project learning is the new plus ultra of classroom instruction.

Learning through projects that are equipped with technology tools allows students to be challenged intellectually, while giving them a realistic snapshot of what the modern office looks like.

Through projects, students acquire and refine their analysis and problem-solving skills as they work individually and in teams to find, process, and synthesise information they have found online.

New role for teachers

Technology use in teaching and learning may also make some assessment methods redundant. Low level (factual) knowledge for example, has been traditionally tested by the use of multiple choice questions.

In an ICT environment, online tests can easily be used, which instantly provide the teacher with a wide range of information associated with the learner’s score.

There are various technological tools that are available in assisting teachers with this task.

Comparisons of previous scores and dates of assessment, for example, will indicate a student’s progress, and each student can be allocated an individual report database stored in electronic format into which each successive test’s results can be entered automatically.

This means we can make do without reports and put all information online instead.

Teachers can also pick up on the creative use of Internet technology and put the blog to work in the classroom.

The education blog can be a powerful and effective technology tool for students and teachers alike.

The role of the teacher must change because using technology in teaching will cause certain teaching resources to become obsolete.

For example, the use of overhead projectors and chalkboards may no longer be necessary if all learners have access to the same networked resource on which the teacher is presenting information.

The role of the teacher must change in the sense that it is no longer sufficient for teachers merely to impart content knowledge.

Instead, it is crucial for teachers to encourage critical thinking skills, promote information literacy, and nurture collaborative working practices to prepare students for a new world in which no job is guaranteed for life, and where people switch careers several times.

It is our responsibility as teachers to produce holistic individuals who are ready to face the real world, a world full of challenges.

Aladdin’s lamp

Teachers must begin to reappraise the methods by which they meet children’s learning needs and match curriculum to the requirements of human thought.

The Internet can be an excellent way to adapt information to meet the characteristics of human information processing.

Traditional methods of imparting knowledge, such as lectures, books and this conference paper, are characterised by a linear progression of information.

Human minds are more adaptable than this, using non-linear strategies for problem-solving, representation and the storage and retrieval of information.

Technology encourages teachers to take on new and expanded roles, both inside and outside of the classroom.

The teacher assumes the role of coach or facilitator while students work.

Outside of the classroom, technology supports teacher collaboration.

Instead of working in isolation, teachers can work together on school wide programmes.

They can help find solutions to problems and act as peer advisors to provide information and feedback.

Technology if harnessed properly can play the role of “Aladdin’s lamp” in teaching.

For children with special needs, like hearing impairment, I believe you cannot proceed much in providing meaningful education without the use of technology.

As for other cases also, I believe a good teacher cannot materialise his or her brilliant ideas for creating learning experiences without technology.

For example, with a digital camera and the Internet it is possible to cover a wide spectrum of experiences at the global level, something which cannot be done via verbal and routine non-verbal methods and through textbooks within the walls of a classroom.

The bottom line

One may argue that you need to have your own ideas before using technology. Though this is true to some extent, by using the Internet you can find ideas to teach certain topics and thus supplement the planning process.

Thus technology can be a good servant in the planning and execution of teaching. Just have a clear vision and information on what prevalent technology can do, and its limitations.

Technology as an enhancement is as important as light is to a dark room.

Technology integration is not education in itself. However, technology is the light for our current times. Applied in the right way it will help in the education process to produce great minds and holistic individuals.

The writer is a senior lecturer at the School of Educational Studies in Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM). Her main interest in research is in the area of ICT in Education and the use of Peer Coaching in technology integration in teaching and learning. Her most recent achievement is a Gold Medal in the Malaysian Technology Expo 2011 for creating a courseware using the SmartBoard. She is currently working on the development of an Interactive Teaching and Learning Lab in USM.

This article was found at http://thestar.com.my/education/story.asp?file=/2012/7/8/education/11458494&sec=education.

Teacher Creates Awesome Whiteboard Art

OK- so this post is a little bit different from my normal posts, but I came across these really cool drawings that this teacher had created on his whiteboard, and I just wanted to share them.  Good, talented artists really impress me, and the fact that this guy did his artwork on his whiteboard (and later just erased them!) is mind-blowing to me.  Also, he completed each piece on his lunch break of only 25 minutes.  Anyway, take a look…

Teacher creates amazing 25-minute whiteboard art – pictures

Published Wednesday, Jul 4 2012, 6:01pm EDT | By Charlotte Grant-West

A teacher in the US has unveiled his amazing collection of whiteboard artwork.

Gregory Euclide originally started to draw on the board at his school in Minnesota River Valley to relieve stress during his 25-minute lunch break.

Gregory Euclide whiteboard artwork

© Gregory Euclide

Euclide’s paintings are made from things lying around the classroom, such as whiteboard erasers, paper towels, brushes, spray bottles and Japanese Sumi ink, which is made from soot, water and glue.

He said of his artwork and the student’s reaction to it: “In our culture, there is a strong emphasis on reproduction and the original seems less important.

“My students were shocked when I would erase the original, because they saw it firsthand, and they were disturbed that it was destroyed.

“People who do not see the original have no problem only looking at it on a screen or as a print, but once you see the original it is hard to let it go or believe that it could be destroyed.”

Gregory Euclide whiteboard artwork

© Gregory Euclide

Euclide’s artwork is also on the front cover of Bon Iver’s 2012 Grammy Award-winning album.

The teacher is putting together a permanent version of his artwork in a special edition of ten portfolios called Laid Down & Wiped Away.

This article was found at http://www.digitalspy.com/odd/news/a391596/teacher-creates-amazing-25-minute-whiteboard-art-pictures.html

As always, if you’re looking for great eBeam prices or would just like to check out some awesome eBeam products, please check out our website, http://www.ebeamrocks.com/.  Mention my blog, and receive an extra discount!

Schools Save Green by Going Green with Technology

So, Luidia did this survey of educational professionals to find what challenges schools encounter the most when wanting to invest in new technology for their students.  Obviously, cost was considered one of the biggest issues, with 91% of school leaders in the survey naming cost as a “significant challenge”.  The following article highlights various schools and the eco-friendly measures that they took to save money for their schools, and the technology that assisted them in their accomplishments.  Cool article.  Take a look!

Go Green To Save Green

June 28, 2012

By Sascha Zuger

Most schools wants to do their part to save resources — both for the environment and for shrinking budgets. A recent survey of education professionals conducted by Luidia, Inc. revealed that 91% of school leaders cite cost as a significant challenge to bringing in the new technology kids want. However, these schools not only found eco-friendly ways to save some green, they used technology to achieve it.
See what Brown(OUTS)
Can Do for You
Recent years have shown how brownouts and blackouts can severely cripple a metropolitan area when entire populations crank up their ACs at the same time. Being responsible about energy consumption during these high-risk times is a good lesson for students; getting paid for it is even better. Knox County Schools in Knoxville, TN would agree, as they worked together to decide how to spend their annual $70,000 paycheck for joining the TVAEnerNOC Demand Response Program.
Global Worming
 
Students “feed” their worm bins after lunch.
 
Coastal Ridge fourthgraders in the editing room.

“When I started in 2007, energy was the largest expense after personnel,” said Knox County Schools Energy Manager Zane Foraker. “We were facing unsustainable cost increases.”

EnerNOC engineers installed free, customized interval metering and monitoring equipment, giving each school access to real-time intelligence on energy use. This not only allowed schools to accurately gauge use and cut back on costs throughout the year, but it also entered them into a program to reduce stress on the regional power grid during peak usage periods. Using this newfound data, Foraker has reduced his district’s annual energy bill by more than $2 million a year.

Dispatches are sent to the schools to alert them to adjust cooling set points or reduce unnecessary lighting for an average of four to six hours. With the earliest dispatch time set at 1pm, with a 30-minute response time, the school day is often winding down. Key personnel can log onto the DemandSMART application via their laptops, customizing the response based on current use of facilities (e.g., if a school play or assembly is underway).

“We’ve found that most of our schools only rise about 1.5 degrees an hour even on the hottest days,” said Foraker. “If you don’t tell people, they don’t notice the changes.”

After a four-school pilot, Knox signed 20 more schools into the program. The annual $70,000 paycheck of unbudgeted revenue will continue to rise as they increase participation to an end goal of 72 schools.

Ditching PC’s = SavingsCubed

Woodland Joint Unified School District in Northern California slashed 90% off the cost of powering their student computer labs by ditching 300 ageing PCs for tiny, noiseless Pano Logic cubes.

   
Renewable Energy PSAs 2012 Renewable Energy PSAs 2011
   
Video Explaining our Project and the Shift in Thinking Maine Recycles Commercial Contest PSAs

“It’s gratifying to see the savings adding up and to know they will continue to add up in the long term,” said Todd Freer, information technology specialist at Woodland. “Adopting cloud computing was a major accomplishment in our technology program.”

Teachers no longer have to share just one PC that scans multiple electronic Scantron answer sheets. They can now access centrally hosted scanning software through the VMware View Client installed on every teacher computer. The cubes also do not store data locally, fully eliminating endpoint security liabilities for sensitive student information.

“We needed a solution that required less maintenance, consumed less energy, and improved productivity for our IT staff,” said Joshua Koch, director of technology at Woodland. “We were able to set up in less than three weeks, and we’ve cut down the number of hours each month devoted to device support and maintenance.”

The zero-client desktop virtualization system saves both financial and natural resources. It lowers the amount of energy processed, alleviates the need for IT personnel to drive from school to school to handle maintenance issues, and reduces AC needs in labs sans PC’s hot processors and whirring fans. (In the sun bowl of California, that’s pretty cool!)

Some projects really do start from the ground up. Fourth graders at Coastal Ridge Elementary School in York, Maine, inspired by their school’s eco-friendly programs like worm bins to break down fruit and vegetable waste, wanted to produce public service announcements about renewable energies and recycling for the greater community.

“This is authentic learning at its best,” says Eric Lawson, technology integration specialist. “I taught mini-lessons using Flipcam shooting and iMovie editing. Classroom teachers prepared storyboards, scripts, and parameters for the project. [These projects] qualify for service learning within our community.”

What ’s Your SPF?
(Savings Potential Factor )
 
Jennifer Casey, Hirsch Elementary Principal
 
Jim Petersen evaluates Hirsch needs.
 
Petersen at ribbon cutting.

The videos are published to the Web, aired on York’s local access television station, and are broadcast during monthly student live news programs within the school. The success and community involvement encouraged the school to broaden its environmental message (and the circle it went out to) by scrapping its paper newsletter and other handouts in favor of online documents. These efforts, combined with cutting out color printing, have saved an estimated annual $36,000 for the school while greatly reducing its carbon footprint.

 
Some Hirsch students helped with solar panel installation.

A generous donation of a complete solar system from the Petersen Dean Roofing Company made Hirsch Elementary the first 100% solar-powered school in Fremont, California. Though the school likely enjoyed the nod from Jim Petersen (Petersen Dean’s president) due to his status as former school board member and current parent, state grant programs and system payoffs may make this a valuable prospect for other schools.“We have been 100% solar powered since November without a glitch or a hiccup,” says Jennifer Casey, Hirsch Elementary principal. “We integrated discussion of solar energy into science lessons and labs. We also used the topic as a jump-off to explore alternate energies. It was pretty exciting for them to look out their classroom window and see the panels.”

When asked what Hirsch’s plans were for the estimated $12,000 annual savings (more than a quarter of a million dollars over 20 years), Casey confirmed that the funds were earmarked for “increasing technology and bringing more computers into the classrooms. “