Class site spices up Smart Board lessons

I recently presented a workshop on web-based insruction at a private school in Ohio.  Some of the teachers use Smart Boards, and they wanted to know how the class web site might augment their use of the Smart Board.

I leaped at this question like a hungry lion pouncing on its prey.  The web-based classroom is a perfect mate for the Smart Board, which links to your computer and allows you to put anything on a large computerized white board, through a projector.

You can  place anything on your classroom web site.  Hence, you can put anything that is on your site directly onto your  Smart Board to show to your class.  You might begin with clicking to your activities page and beaming the days agenda onto your Smart Board.  Next, you may have a PowerPoint presentation that you’ve uploaded to your site.  Rather than inserting a disk or a thumb drive or searching around your hard drive for your presentation, you simply click a link to it which is on your class site, which is already shining proudly onto your Smart Board.

The Smart Board and the Paperless Classroom are a match  made in cyberheaven!


International Learning Conference welcomes The Paperless Classroom

In early June, the prestigious International Learning Conference welcomed nearly 400 speakers from all over the world, including yours truly, discussing web-based instruction and The Paperless Classroom.

The beautiful University of Illinois at Chicago played host to this week-long conference, now 15 years old.  I must say it was exciting, if a bit daunting, to present to teachers, professors and other academics from all around the world.  However, I was excited by the realization that word about classroom web sites, student web pages, blogs and Internet-based instruction is spreading rapidly.

Wiki site is better than online grade book for class web site host

Our school uses the web-based grade and homework program, ProgressBook. This is an excellent program that gives parents and students the opportunity to view grades and activities in real time.

When an administrator asked me why I don’t just use ProgressBook for all of my assignments and Paperless Classroom work, my response was quick and easy.

My Wiki classroom site is just more user-friendly and offers more flexibility.

For example, I can’t create secure student websites with ProgressBook, and these student sites are the cornerstone of my virtual classroom and my web-based instruction.

My students post writing, quizzes, tests and even projects to their private websites. They love it; we use almost no paper, and I can’t see ever going back to the old pencil-and-paper world.

ProgressBook is okay, but for now it’s a distant second to my Paperless Classroom.

Class blog has many uses

I have found that the class weblog is fast becoming one of the most powerful tools for my everyday instruction.

Not only do I use the blog as an events calendar and tips page, it also serves as a place for excellent extension of models I’ve used in class.

For example, take a look at this post about proper research paper format. In class, after I had already done a lesson on both in-text citations and a Works Cited page, I put this on my Smart Board, as a follow-up to that lesson.
Not only does this serve as a nice reminder of the proper format for both the citation and the Works Cited page, but it is a nice opportunity for me to remind students about the blog. Believe it or not, sometimes they forget to read my stuff, and this is a nice chance to encourage them to check in daily.

Twenty-first century students learning in The Paperless Classroom

I’ve seen a lot of articles on the use of wikis and blogs in the k-12 classroom.  However, I have yet to see Teaching and learning in cyberspaceanything that puts it all together quite like my own virtual classroom.

This is not to pat myself on the back or say I’m a better teacher than anyone else.  I think there are plenty of excellent teachers who are integrating technology in creative ways.  I only want them and others to consider the methods I’m using — marrying wikis, blogs, message boards, chat rooms, private student web sites and more in my own web-based instruction in a middle school class.

So, I’m hoping you’ll join me periodically in sharing ideas and discoveries of bringing virtual learning to the k-12  class.  Hopefully, in the not-so-distant future, we’ll all be teaching in The Paperless Classroom.


K-12 Technology Carnival

Welcome to the April 7, 2008, first edition of the k-12 technology carnival.

The past year has been a remarkable evolution of web-based instruction and technology use in my classroom. It has led to the creation of the Notes from the Paperless Classroom blog and a new workshop called, The Paperless Classroom.

Additionally, it has encouraged me to troll the Internet incessantly, in search of other educators, hardware and software wizards, and wiki and web 2.0 users, with creative methods for implementing new-millennium technology into the classroom.

Throughout my travels, I’ve run into some really insightful people.

Dan Meyer, for example, is one of the brightest teachers I’ve “met;” (I only know Dan via his blog and e-mail exchanges). He is sort of the Jim Rome of the education blogosphere, presenting tremendous information and commentary and never worrying if his rapier keypad ruffles anyone’s virtual feathers. Don’t miss Dan’s entry, posted below under PowerPoint.

But we’ve got more than Dan’s dead-on content here.

Ever heard of a “flyover?” I hadn’t, until I read Garnett Gratton’s fascinating post, under Internet-based Instruction. Combine Dan’s and Garnett’s technique’s, and you might just create something truly unique.

How about visuospatial skills? Pascale Michelon will furrow your eyebrows with this one.

Okay, time for less of me and more of our ring leaders. Here’s the first K-12 Technology carnival. Enjoy!

Internet-based Instruction

Garnet Gratton presents linking intelligence posted at @edu, where he teaches about a cool way to use in-text links with “flyovers.” Very interesting stuff.

Mark Barnes presents Students Love the Virtual World posted at Notes from the Paperless Classroom. Based on his own experience, Barnes discusses how a virtual classroom works and just why it’s such a big draw for students.

Power Point

Dan Meyer presents So Happy Together #5 posted at dy/dan. This is the fifth in a cool series on getting the most from your digital projector. You may just want to catch them all, as Dan is truly the man, when it comes to these sorts of techno bells and whistles.


Mathew Needleman presents Mr. Winkle Goes to School: Movies for Professional Development posted at Creating Lifelong Learners. A neat film about the need for schools to integrate media into the 21st century classroom.

Other Technology Uses

Alvaro Fernandez presents Brain Teaser: Boost your visuospatial skills posted at SharpBrains, saying, “A teaser on how to exercise our visuospatial skills/ parietal lobes, by Pascale Michelon.” Want to fascinate your students? Grab this nifty visual and throw it up on your white board. I’m sure Michelon won’t mind, as long as you give her credit.

Tip Diva presents Tip Diva Top Ten Tips – Learning Computer Software posted at Tip Diva, saying, “Learning new software can be a daunting task, but you can master the program in no time. All it takes is a little patience and some tip following.”

That concludes this edition. Submit your blog article to the next edition of
k-12 technology using our carnival submission form.

Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.

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Will iPhone Shortage Lower Price?

I want an iPhone. Okay, I know this doesn’t immediately smack of an education blog topic, but there actually is a connection, if you’ll just bear with me.

Since it first hit the market, I have thought the iPhone is the coolest technology going. In fact, I can’t wait for it to hit laptops or handhelds, which I think is next.

So, when I read that there is an iPhone shortage, with speculation that it is because the company is preparing to launch a new model, I started thinking that maybe this will make the old model’s price plummet.

This may be a bit of a leap, but I’m hoping to see a sort of “dumbed down” version of the iPhone land in the classroom, in the near future. I envision a larger iPhone that is not so much a phone as it is a computer with all of the cool iPhone surface technology.

All it would need is Internet connectivity and Microsoft Office. Kids would love it, and it would be much more practical, in terms
of space.

So, Steve Jobs, if you’re reading, let’s make this happen.

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