Apr 14, 2009

Come along for a meeting - why not, right?

I'll catch you up with yesterday's happenings later. For now, I am taking you on a live-blogging journey.

I am in a meeting with the State Technology Coordinators. As I type this, Promethean is presenting their website, prometheanplanet.com, which has lessons, resource kits and more.

Input on the board is done with a pen-shaped stylus. You can put your hand on the board without activating items. It's like a tablet-PC in that way. users can right-click on icons for context-sensitive help. I'm not sure how often that would be used, but there ya go. The protractor and rulers are pretty cool, as is the magnification feature.

Dr. Marzano (education "guru") did some studies with the use of boards with student improvement. I guess he only used the promethean board for his research, I have no idea. That's probably a paid deal (they paid him, I assume).

promethean certified learning academy - provide boards and devices to co-ops. Work in progress - 32 assessment devices, board; must host 8 workshops in the first year you have the board. These can be formal trainings or demos or other workshops in which the board is discussed.

Their software can be used on any white board. I don't know what the software costs, but maybe they'll tell us as we go along. If not, I'll ask. Software costs $295 per license for the academic version. There is a free personal version from prometheanplanet.com. A replacement pen costs $25. But, they will replace the plastic nibs in the pens for free. There is also a wand available for the physically challenged.

Search by state standards and use the lessons on any board. Lessons are not reviewed, but supposedly we can suggest a rating system and see if they will implement it. Promethean is creating an Arkansas-specific website for teacher resources. In my opinion, this is a waste of time and resources. If the promethean planet site is already geared for lessons, then why not just have Arkansas teachers post there?

Promethean lessons are saved as 'FlipCharts' with a .flp extension. So, you have to have the Promethean software to open them. Teachers can save individual pages from a flipchart, or save individual components, depending on how the page itself was set up. Ideally, students use the end products and have the students get up and teach each other - a goal all interactive white boards should be reaching for. After all, the idea of INTEGRATION is that the students are using it, not the teacher just standing there doing it for them.

At the beginning of the presentation, the presenter said "we only do boards." And then half way through the presentation, she showed up classroom response systems (Activestudio). So, i guess they don't do "JUST" boards.... Interesting.

After Promethean presented, Video Reality presented on Smart Board technology.

Piraino Consulting contracts with Video Reality to do installs of Smart Technology. They are an Arkansas company that contracts with VR in Oklahoma.

Smart has a program that gives co-ops equipment for training and demo purposes. The advantage is that as new equipment comes out, the co-ops get the new stuff on a rotation basis.

Smart is being installed in the Arkansas School Board Association building, so every supt going through there will see Smart tech. Three keys for Smart products: software, ability to touch the board, pens. Smart allows you to use ANYTHING in place of a Smart pen - not proprietary.

Heather Lamb has been hired to provide content-area training for teachers. She is also helping schools form groups of teachers to work on content and training. Smart is hosting content creation seminars - 100 teachers create lessons (3-days) that are correlated with state standards. All the lessons will be posted to a smart content web site. Free for teachers. 10 rooms needed for set-up. Lunch is provided. Every participant gets a wristband USB drive. Can be held at a school building with rooms/boards.

Smart Seed program gets products into the schools on a trial basis. After the trial, the schools can either keep the equipment at a reduced cost or can send the equipment back to Smart at no cost.

Smart Exchange web site: exchange.smarttech.com - ideas, lessons, etc. Free for sign-up and login. There is also a student side of things. There are standards-based lessons that are reviewed and approved (copyright tested), then there is a user group that can upload any lessons. People can rate the lessons. Teachers can customize the lessons as needed based on the lesson they downloaded.

Notebook SE (Student Edition) is on a flashdrive. Can be downloaded from their web site.

So, there ya go... Hope you learned something. :-)

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