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Russo's Ramblings

If All Goes As Planned…

Our technology plan for the next 5 years, titled (appropriately) Heim 2010, is in place. In the first phase, next year we will be replacing classroom instructional computers. We have not replaced computers in a number of years, so this is the focus for next year. In addition to that, we will begin 2 other parts of the plan – mounting computer projectors in classrooms, and starting a video studio. Both of these initiatives have some awesome possibilities for learning, and we are looking forward to implementing them.

If all goes as planned, next year is year one of a 5-year plan that will see Heim Middle leading the way in technology integration!

Categories
TTT

Error Messages

Tuesday’s Technology Tip…
(little bits of information to hopefully make your computing life easier)

The following was sent to me recently – while I cannot verify if these are actually error messages as stated, there are some pretty good ones. Enjoy!

Here are 14 actual error messages seen on the computer screens in Japan, where some are written in Haiku. Aren

Categories
Conferences Learning

Worldwide Conferences at Your Computer

I had the opportunity to participate in a web seminar (web-inar) today regarding 1 to 1 computing. There are a number of schools and states that are starting a program to equip every student with some form of computing device (laptop, PDA, tablet) in order to promote better learning. I hope this concept is one we can bring to Williamsville before too long. This webinar included some high level college researchers, K-12 Administrators, and upper level managment from Gateway and Microsoft. The coolest part is that it took place while I sat right in the computer lab. Using a website called WebEx and a telephone, I was able to listen to the presentors and see their presentation appear on the computer screen. Polls, Q&A, and chat are all handled right at the desktop.

This is a perfect example of how technology brings opportunity that otherwise would be hard to take advantage of. Rather than having the expense of traveling to see such a presentation, the presentation (and all participants) came together virtually, and the same end product was achieved.

Categories
TTT

Library Catalog Tip

Tuesday’s Technology Tip…
(little bits of information to hopefully make your computing life easier)

Why walk all the way to the library to search the catalog? We have made a connection to the library database that allows you to access the catalog from any computer in the building. Here’s how to find it:

In WITS, click the blue Links tab at the top of the window
Click the Library Online Catalog and Databaseslink
Click the Heim Middle Library Online Catalog link
Happy searching!

All staff and students have access to this through WITS. Currently this only works while in school – if you try from home, the link to the catalog will not work. We are hoping to have home access to the catalog at some point in the future.

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Content Area Focus

Read a good poem lately?

If you have not (and I’m the first to admit I have not read poetry in a while…), you should! Check out the following links for some great poetry. Or…maybe better…turn off the computer, go to the library, and get a good book of poetry 🙂

Poetry 180 – A Poem a Day for America’s High Schools (so we are a middle school but noone should mind if we read them…)

poetry180.gif

And be sure to check out the Library of Congress Poetry Page for many great links on poetry.

Categories
Content Area Focus

Supporting ELA with Technology

We had a fun time tonight with our ELA inservice, Supporting ELA with Technology. We spent some time at ReadWriteThink, a great site for lessons and online activities for ELA. Next we went on to Brainpop to check out the movies there for ELA.

We finished the night with a discussion about blogs. After visiting this site and Xanga, we looked at Blogmeister, a place to create educational blogs. Next week we will look a bit more at Blogmeister, then move on to some other tools.

Categories
Learning

Printed Directions?

Hey kids,

How do you figure out how to do things on the computer? Do you prefer printed step-by-step directions, or do you just keep trying until you get it (and ask for help along the way)? Post a comment here with your thoughts – thanks!

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Content Area Focus

The Writing Project

I was just in a cool online forum where I learned about the Writing Project, a national program that focuses on helping teachers improve their own (and their students) writing though summer professional development. WNY has its own chapter of the Writing Project, based at Canisius College. An english teacher from the district, Margie Herberger, was a fellow last summer at the Project.

To learn more and see a schedule of events, check out:
Western New York Writing Project

Categories
Content Area Focus

Brainpop

We have a computer lab license for brainpop.com, an awesome website for short animated videos on just about any topic in the curriculum. If you are looking for material to introduce, reinforce, or review a topic, Brainpop may be just what you need. Check it out at:

www.brainpop.com

See someone in the computer lab for the school username and password.

Categories
TTT

Purchasing Tip

Tuesday’s Technology Tip…
(little bits of information to hopefully make your computing life easier)

If you are in the market for a new computer at home, you have access to educator’s prices for being affiliated with a school. For Dell computers, the district has a special code (and website) with the employee purchase program. See someone in the computer lab for the necessary info. For Apple computers, simply identify yourself as an educator at the Apple Store (online or in the mall) to get the discounted prices.