Saturday, August 4, 2012

WebQuest definition and links


A WebQuest is an inquiry-oriented activity in which most or all of the information used by learners is drawn from the Web. WebQuests are designed to use learners' time well, to focus on using information rather than looking for it, and to support learners' thinking at the levels of analysis, synthesis and identify evaluation. The model was developed in early 1995 at San Diego State University by Bernie Dodge with Tom March, and was outlined then in Some Thoughts About WebQuests. You may visit Dr. Dodge's original WebQuest page at:

Children's Internet Protection Act

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

What is a SMART Board and How can it Help My teaching?

Years ago as an elementary school student, I was able to get a few extra-credit points for cleaning the blackboard erasers in my classrooms. 

One of my smarter teachers

Extra Credit and Fun


Nowadays, those same erasers, blackboards, and chalk, are going the way of music on 8-tracks, cameras which use 35 millimeter film, and Sony Walkmans. 

Welcome to the age of SMART Boards. 

In this review, the following Course Learning Outcomes are met:

1.      Demonstrate the understanding of how technologies can effectively promote student learning
2.     Evaluate and use a variety of current technologies to enhance content instruction and to advance student’s technological literacy
3.     Design meaningful and authentic digitally based learning experiences with multiple and varied assessments
4.     Reflect upon and demonstrate effective use of digital tools and resources
7.  Demonstrate an understanding of the use of adaptive technologies and other digital resources to personalize and differentiate learning activities for every student
8.  Evaluate, adapt, and reflect on emerging tools and trends by participating in local and global learning communities and by reviewing current research and professional literature

A simple definition of a SMART Board is an interactive board, which displays a projected image -- similar to one being viewed on a computer monitor.  Using the board as a touchscreen or using a type of “marker”, which the board’s computer recognizes, a teacher or student is able to stand at the board and control functions displayed to the audience.  The demonstration could consist of writing words, circling images, clicking on web links, etc.  Connection between the board and the computer can be wireless or through the use of a USB cable.

For those like myself who are just learning some of the basics of this technology, please check this out --

Once the user is a bit more comfortable with the operation of the board, now you can advance to “Smart Ways to Use the SMART Board” --

Since touching the board is required, I found an excellent suggestion that we might tend to overlook – during cold and flu season, alcohol free antiseptic wipes are a good cleaning choice.

SMART Boards Rock

          The above link refers to the first article I read for this review.  Also, it relates to a Common Core Standard in Science and Technology.

If a teacher is able to capture and hold a student’s attention, an important aspect of the education process has been accomplished.  One quote helps to identify this accomplishment – “their enthusiasm was obvious and their interest was evidenced by their rapt attention”.   In our own classroom, I have heard Ms. Sullivan use the phrase, “speak to three (other students) before you speak to me (the teacher)”.  The SMART board encourages this because it “invites collaboration through social interaction and communication”.

Although the advancement in technology is fascinating, the truly important fact here is the dramatic leap in learning that has been made possible.

How a SMART Board Changed My Teaching

          The above link refers to a music teacher describing her use of a SMART Board.  She describes the ability to “teach interactively a class that needs to work together constantly”.  It provides the students the ability to visually understand her verbal instructions.  In the instance of a student being absent from class on a certain day, each step (or slide) being presented can be saved and sent to his/her electronic folder.
          The importance of this article is how it gives a concrete example of technology assisting in areas outside of the core subjects of math and English.  The teacher then goes on to say how they (the non-core subject teachers) must “advocate that the technology in our classrooms is just as important as that in any other classroom throughout the school”.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012