First Week

I just finished my first week as Technology Integration Specialist at Worcester Academy. My preliminary verdict? I’ve never been this happy at any job before. I have been working on SMART Board training and Wikispaces training for faculty, learning how to use Schoology (a great tool that is overshadowed by big competitors Moodle and Blackboard), building LEGO robots, and just generally becoming acclimated to the new environment.

I’m really excited about the role I will be playing in the school. In addition to my technology integration duties, I will also teach a middle school class on digital citizenship and a tenth grade English class, and I will co-sponsor the school’s LEGO Robotics club for middle schoolers. I am super excited about the LEGO Robotics club, especially after one of my new buddies from Carolina Day School reached out to me via Twitter to suggest a collaboration between our two schools.

Besides having colleagues who are excited about technology and are doing exciting things with technology integration in an environment that encourages and requires technology integration, I also have a variety of tools at my disposal. I have never been able to have access to all the tools—including professional development—that I need to do my job. That may sound like an astonishing statement, but most educators can completely relate to it. In fact, that’s the most overwhelming part: not knowing what to use.

I haven’t even taken time yet to process my first ISTE experience on this blog, but that will be forthcoming. I’m really excited about the year ahead. It wasn’t an easy decision to make, moving my family so far away, particularly when my children are on the autism spectrum and don’t like change. They had no memories of ever living in any other house than the one we lived in. They have adjusted surprisingly well, and I think once school starts, they will be happy. I like New England, too. Moving can be such a stressful event, and our move didn’t go as smoothly as we’d have liked. (Word of caution: Don’t hire Summit Van Lines to move your things. They gave us a low initial quote, but turned out not to be terribly cheap in the end, AND they took two weeks to deliver our stuff. I was not happy with them at all. They were almost impossible to communicate with, in addition to the other issues. Steer clear!)

In all, it’s looking like a very good change, and I’m really happy.

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My SMARTBoard is Currently Misused as a Glorifed Whiteboard

*Sigh*

I just realized how much I don’t know about using my SMARTBoard.  I essentially use it as the title indicates — a glorified whiteboard.  Oh, it’s great.  I save notes.  I can use them to help students supplement their own notes or download notes if they’re absent.  But I’m certainly not using it to its capacity.  I have to admit the reason is that I don’t know how.

I downloaded a SMARTBoard lesson from the SMARTBoard Lessons Podcast, and it was amazing — I think I can even use it as is in one of my classes.  But I couldn’t have figured out how to create what Ben and Joan created.  I feel frustrated by my lack of knowledge, but I’m going to try to rectify it.  One thing I did was download the SMARTBoard notebook software on my Mac, so I can play with it at home.  I also searched for tutorials, but the ones I found were fairly basic — I already know how to save notes, change my handwriting into text, and pull pictures into the notebook using the gallery or copy/paste.  I had tried to use the recorder without much success in the past, but I found this video that explains the process really well:

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Does anyone know of any other sources for SMARTBoard tutorials?  I am looking to learn how to use this tool to its fullest capacity.

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