Thursday, January 29, 2009

Sharing is Caring

Yesterday I added 5 SMART Notebook files to the Texas folder in the Downloads section of the SMART Exchange to the splendid ones already uploaded by others in attendance at the Dallas Area Users Group conference. If you haven't joined the conversation yet, please do. Otherwise you won't be able to download files or participate in the forum discussions.
Several people have requested the Keynote Address and Users' Group Notebook files. However, due to copyright infringement questions, I've chosen not to post these for public use. I know you'll understand.
However, I was able to post five other elementary Notebook files. They are Molly's Pilgrim, A World Class Adventure, Solar System - Who Am I, Notebook 10 and Lesson Activity Toolkit examples shown during my Keynote. If you've been reading my blog posts, you'll know which cool technique I used in each of the files. Thanks, James Hollis, for your inspiration.
And in turn, I hope these files inspire you to add creativity, sparkle, and interactivity to your own Notebook lesson files. Happy creating!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Another BIG Learning Opportunity - Texas Style

Here comes another road trip. In just 10 days I'll be headed to Austin for TCEA. Texas Computer Educators Association annual conference is an experience not to be missed. Some 13 to 15 thousand educators from Texas and other states are expected to descend on Austin for a week-long convention. Topics ranging from integration to implementation to infrastructure and twitter will rule the conference, plus a host of other topics. The Exhibit Hall itself is a beauty to behold. Covering a multitude of football fields, it takes a good day just to see everything. If you're coming to TCEA, my best advice is to wear comfortable walking shoes. You'll not want to miss a thing!
This week I've been reading live blogging, twitter posts, and viewing live streams from FETC in Florida. I'll admit. I'm jealous. I wish I was in Florida. However, TCEA is the first week in February. On Wednesday, I'll be presenting one of the concurrent sessions, SMART Best Practices. Once again, Trade Show Teacher status has been bestowed on yours truly as a teacher presenter in the SMART Booth.
As a classroom teacher, there were 3 weeks of lesson plans and preparations to complete as well as writing the presentation itself, loading up my SMART key, and packing my bags. No, I've not packed yet. But I've thought about it!
Ready or not, here I come!

Texas STARS Shine Brighter

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

SMART 21.0 Reflections

Reflections from the Dallas SMART Users Conference produce a myriad of images. Images range from seeing learners, leaders, and listeners switch roles constantly to a well organized, seamlessly run conference from the Texas SMART ECs. Knowing they couldn't adequately facilitate monster breakout sessions, they called on many SMART power users and SMART Exemplary Educators to facilitate the numerous learning sessions throughout the day. A big shout out to Heather Lamb, for her amazing leadership and planning.With a focus on training and building users groups, the day began with high expectations and ended with everyone knowing it had been a great day of training. As for myself, I was experiencing a brain overload by late Saturday afternoon after delivering the keynote address and facilitating 3 different sessions. Yes, I prepared adequately for my address and it was very well received. Comments ranged from inspirational to incredible, with credibility and validity adjectives thrown in as well. One of the high school students videoed it, so when it's transferred to a better user format, perhaps it will be available for those wishing to view it.

I see a great need for these type of conferences held more often in more parts of the country. By mainly focusing on SMART integration ideas and building a community of SMART users in our local area, many of the day's objectives were accomplished. Networking among teachers was encouraged and sharing of ideas was promoted. The SMART Exchange will be a good storehouse of shared files for all of us wishing to extend and share the learning. Check out the Texas folder once in a while.

If the other attendee/teachers are like me, I'm just now catching my breath and getting back on track with time to spare. Two days of classes are behind me, the laundry is caught up, and my routine is back to normal. Now I can reflect. How often do we get so busy that we have no time to reflect, just push forward day after day? It is in reflecting on our day, our work, and our SMART practices that we can separate the chaff from the wheat. Let the wind blow away the chaff, leaving only the good things behind.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

SMART 21.0

This weekend I'll be the keynote speaker for the Dallas SMART User Conference. Big honor, huge responsibility, and a little pressure. A little pressure is good. It keeps us motivated, at least it does me.
My multimedia presentation will be about 21st century teachers, hallways, and classrooms. Of course, it's built in SMART Notebook and SMART Ideas. It nearly has to be :) I'll begin with my own story and end with a humorous look at teachers today, lest we take ourselves too seriously. If you're reading this post and are at the event, please say hi. I look forward to meeting my readers.
Here goes!