Not so bad.

The first day of school is more hype than anything. I've found comfort in reading Dan Meyer and a comment from my friend Todd. The first day was a blur to the students, and my main goal was to engage my students and show them that I put my best forward today. I'm trying to communicate more this year that I am a guide and helper for my students. We'll see how much they take me up on it.


Welcome to Math

School Eve

The beginning of a new year begins tomorrow in my school district, and I am excited for a new year. After learning so much over the summer, the discussions that I keep coming back to are, "Should I use a wiki in pre-calc?", "How about a blog in Geometry?", or "maybe Blackboard will not have a monopoly on the market, and it will be working and functional by the end of next week." Indecision turns to inefficiency, and nothing is complete. So, this year, I will look to the students for inspiration, try new things, and will hopefully have a solution(s) by the year's end. Or, I may be even more indecisive. Pull the Teacher Edition off the shelf, blow off the dust, and crack it open. Welcome, Fall 2007.


DUMB boards

I've been researching the effectiveness of interactive whiteboards in the classroom, and I have been taken by the SMART Board, not just for the functionality, but also because of SMART Technologies, Inc., and their commitment to staff development. I have been to workshops and heard teachers talk about how they will never go back to a DUMB board as my brother likes to call them. I can see how effective they can be and I am looking forward to using one in the fall. The key, as with any piece of technology, is making sure that it is utilized most effectively. I plan on attending workshops with SMART in the fall, as well as visiting their office during the summer. What is fantastic is that any demonstration the lasts under three hours is free, which would even include coming to our school. The ultimate goal is implementation across our department, then the school, and then it might be 2010.


An Educational Need

Today in class, I evaluated some educational needs that exist in my own school. In spite of the many areas in which my school excels, I thought of a few needs which I can have a part in "fixing." Since my colleague and I are getting a SMARTboard next fall, I would like to focus in on the SMARTboard. However, one of the serious issues that I would like to address is that we would like to implement SMARTboards school-wide, and have a part in developing the plan for the school. I would like to tackle this issue because I feel that it's a bigger picture of what's going on in my school. But, my colleague Jason suggested that I keep the focus small. I heeded his wisdom, and so my focus will be on an educational need inside my classroom. I find that Geometry students have a difficult time visualizing the concepts that we cover in class, and I as a teacher have a hard time supplementing my teaching with good visual aids. I hope to find a tool that integrates technology to help remedy this issue. In addition, I hope to increase student engagement with whatever visual aids that I find. In order to best evaluate my solution, I will focus on the 8th chapter of our Geometry book, which deals with triangles and Trigonometry. This chapter is very visual, and I want to increase my students' Trigonometry abilities so that they are better prepared for their next class.


MacBook up to 1.21 JIGA-watts!

I upgraded my MacBook today to 2 GB of memory. I felt that it was running a little slow. After making a StAIR project on PowerPoint and having PowerPoint close unexpectedly, I decided for more memory. I found the memory myself at Fry's.com for only $45, but for some reason, I was unable to install the memory myself. I ended up buying into AppleCare, but it took over 60 minutes to convince tech support that I received a discount because I am a teacher. The store that I took it to only charged me $30 for all 7 minutes that it took them to install my memory! I guess at $75 total, it's worth it.


Where's the balance?

I’m in the process of getting my Master’s Degree in Educational Technology, and I’m becoming more aware of blogging, moodling, and cajoodling in the classroom. (There’s a strong possibility that I made the last one up. And by strong possibility, I mean 100 percent). I feel like I’m on the back end of the curve when it comes to these web 2.0 technologies, even though I graduated from college only recently. By the way, would someone please explain what web 2.0 means? I never got my 90-day free trial of web 2.0 in the mail, like when AOL 13.0 came out. Boy, was I glad to get those in the mail, it was like a new kind of ninja star after a couple of good throws at my older brothers. Anyway, I teach math and I would like to start blogging in the classroom, but I’m worried about webfilters at my school blocking most blogs. We do have blackboard, and that could be a starting block, but I want to be on the front end of the technology right now. And yet, I would also like to have free time…where’s the balance?