Need technology for your classroom??

Extron's aggressive Classroom Technology Grant Programs are just one more example of our commitment to enhancing the K-12 learning environment. To date, Extron has granted more than $6 million worth of equipment to over 1,000 classrooms in U.S. school districts.

The Extron Classroom AV Grant Program provides increased visibility and expanded access for AV technology by supplying selected pilot classrooms with advanced audio video solutions at no cost to the district.

The Extron GlobalViewer® Enterprise Grant Program provides qualifying school districts with their server-based, AV system monitoring and resource management software.

Each grant award includes installation of Extron classroom system technology, along with complete training.

Find out more, and how to apply, here.
My heart goes out to every one today.  I am deeply saddened by the recent events at the Boston Marathon, and am sending out my thoughts to anyone who has been affected by this tragedy.  In times like these, I remember being in the classroom and having to talk to my students about devastating incidents in the news.  It was always difficult to find clips that were appropriate for the classroom.  I have included a video below from Channel One News, which is specifically designed for young students.  It gives a nice recap of yesterday's current events, including the tragedy at the Boston Marathon, and would be a great video to show your students today. 
Click here or more information on Channel One News InterActiv, daily kid-friendly news briefs with accompanying SMART Board resources, lessons, and activities.
So many schools that I work with are starting to implement iPads into their classrooms, but oftentimes they don't really know how to best use them with their students.  I just read this interesting article from Education Dive, which had some really great ways to put iPads to use in the classroom.  Here are the highlights of the article:

1.   Putting students in charge of the learning experience
2.   Replacing textbooks and transcribing letters
3.   Filling teacher shortages in rural communities
4.   Providing home internet access
5.   Improving math skills
6.   Establishing models for large iPad deployments
7.   Immersing children in better technology
8.   Attracting grant money
9.   Expanding on existing pilot programs
10. Helping students with disabilities
11. By students who bring their own iPads to class
12. Improving student engagement results
13. Closing the digital achievement gap
14. Gaining the trust of administrators
15. Expanding their higher ed presence
16. Making old school supplies obsolete
17. Re-imagining how newspapers are used in class

How are you using the iPad in your classroom??

CCS can provide you with customized iPad training, and we even have a training course where you receive an iPad by taking it (you can use professional development funds to purchase iPads!).  For iPad training from CCS, visit our iPad and Computer Training Page.

To view the entire article with more detail on each of the 17 ways, including case studies, visit the Education Dive page here.
I just wanted to share with you 6 Hot Trends in Educational Technology that were recently shown by Enterasys Secure Networks.  Some of the trends that stood out were Online Assessment (SMART Response XE is a great way to assess your students online), the flipped classroom (the Front Row Juno system can make capturing your lectures so simple), and the use of video content (what better way to show video content than a classroom projector or SMART Board system?).  Check out the image below for details on the Adoption Rates of New Styles of K-12 Technology.
SMART Notebook Gallery 2.0 Beta
For those of you who like testing new software, or software additions, I have a great one for you to check out.  SMART has released a beta version of the Notebook Software Gallery, which has a lot of great new features in it.  My absolute favorite feature of the Notebook Gallery 2.0 is the ability to add in your own talking, animated Avatar to a Notebook Page using the Voki website. If you've never used Voki before, it's great!  You select your character and background, and can record dialog or use their text to speech feature.  After you create your Voki Avatar, copy the embed code and paste it into the Voki Avatar in Notebook (you can find the Avatar by searching the Gallery 2.0, simply drag and drop it onto a Notebook page).  It's a lot of fun, and would be a really great add-on to a Notebook page.  Students could work independently through a lesson, clicking on the Avatar for information or directions.  If you are tech saavy and want to give it a try, download the Notebook Gallery 2.0 Beta here (make sure you have Notebook 11 installed).  Then, go to the Voki website here.  See my example below!  If you have questions, add a comment after this blog entry.

I have recently heard of a new term, and a new trend, in education.  Have you heard of a "flipped class?"  Basically, in a flipped class the teacher assigns a new topic to students to learn about BEFORE this topic is covered in class.  Think class lecture for homework, and then homework in class.  Students are using their computers or iPads at home to learn a new concept through teacher created videos, lectures, or other material...making classroom time an avenue for problem solving, discussion, and further development of knowledge for this new topic.  By flipping a class, the teacher becomes a coach or mentor rather than a lecturer.  This type of approach is said to help foster interactivity, discussion, and team work.  Students can even be asked to present concepts and help mentor others.

To me, this type of classroom seems like a perfect fit for our technologically saavy students.  I have observed how interactivity and technology can transform a classroom, and how effective it can be at reaching and motivating learners.  A flipped class gives each student a chance to really own their learning, and provides a great opportunity for students to work together and learn from one another.  When I was teaching, my favorite days were those I spent helping students deepen their knowledge through problem-solving projects...not those spent lecturing.  I am excited at this new avenue for teaching and learning...I hope to see some flipped classes in action!

Is anyone out there trying this in their classroom?  If so, let me know your experiences!
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Summer is upon us...which means it's a perfect time to learn more about the great technology you have in your classroom!  Need to learn how to use that new iPad, or how to find great lessons for your SMART Board?  Did you get inspired by attending ISTE 2012?  Come learn with CCS San Diego this summer at one of my SMART Board, SMART Response, or iPad training courses.  I will be teaching strategies to make the most of your technology, and to help get your students up and interacting during the next school year.  Use the Sign Up button to the left to find out more information about the courses we are holding, or to sign up for a session.  Hope to see you this summer!

Just in case you haven't received an email yet from SMART, the newest version of Notebook software has been released!  Download Notebook 11 for great new pen features (like the crayon and disappearing ink), a new section with an Activity Builder, sound recording, an easier look and feel, and more!  We are also offering a What's New in Notebook 11 training course down here in San Diego.  Check out our SMART Training page for more information on the course.
I was just reading an article about the use of iPads in the K-12 classroom in our local newspaper.  Several private schools and public school districts in San Diego county have already purchased thousands of iPads for student use.  I find the digital shift fascinating, and it makes me think how different teaching and learning are becoming in today's classroom.  I think the iPad is can provide curriculum tailored to the distinct needs of each student and has the ability to reach all types of learners and pique the interests of students in this digital age.  Information is so easy to access in the age of Googling and Wikipedia, we are able to put the power to learn and explore literally in the hands of each student.

My question for you all is how do you think this technology will effect the role of the teacher?  Do you think teachers will become more of a moderator in years to come...monitoring student's progress through an app-based classroom with little whole group instruction?  What are some things you are doing now in your classrooms to successfully integrate and monitor student use of the iPad, or other similar devices?
Hello folks and welcome to the new SMARTer Classrooms Site!  I am very excited about a new way to reach all of you and help you integrate technology into your classroom.  I am building this website from the ground up, so any feedback you have to make it a better site is much appreciated!  I look forward to sharing my ideas, tips, and stories with you.
Best, Jessica