Reitz High School

Reitz High School
Evansville, IN

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Computer Labs vs. 1:1

I sure do hope to get some feedback on this post.  I have been told by two different people this morning that computer labs are all that our students and our schools need.  I was told that computer labs worked great before we started the 1:1 program that our schools have in grades 6 through 12.  Both individuals also believe that the devices that our students have are just a waste of money.

My question is, "How did computer labs work great?"  Teachers had to schedule a class to go to the computer lab.  If the lab was already signed out, then you had to alter your plans until a time could be found that the computer lab was not signed out.  Once you got in the computer lab, the project always took longer than expected and guess what?  You had to look on the schedule to find a day that you could come back.  By that time, the project your students started got deleted by another student that used the same computer or your students realized they forgot or didn't save it.  Does this sound familiar?  Again, "What worked with computer labs?"

I could continue writing more, but this week I really want to here from you.  How do you handle people that still have this anti-edtech attitude?  What kind of conversations have you had in your school district?  Please jump in and share your experiences with the naysayers.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Join Me at the eRevolution This Summer!

If you are looking for a great conference to go to this summer, then look no further.  The team I work with, the EVSC ICATS, is putting on its annual eRevolution Conference at Central High School in Evansville, Indiana.  The conference will be July 8, 9, and 10.  Tuesday, July 8 is a new preRev conference day.  It will be loaded with full day hands-on workshops.  Check out our session planner to see what will be offered throughout the conference.  The planning guide is a tool to organize your schedule.  It does not automatically sign you up.   

Angela Maiers
This year, our keynote speakers will be Angela Maiers and Adora SvitakAngela is at the forefront of Web 2.0 technologies.  She is an active blogger and social media evangelist.  She is deeply committed to helping learners of all ages understand the transformational power of literacy and the potential of technology.  Both can be used as a vehicle and platform for success in school and beyond.  Adora is 17 years old and began reading and typing at an early age.  She believes that everyone deserves the opportunity that comes with literacy and a good education. To this end, she has campaigned for literacy and a love of learning around the world.  She started classroom teaching when her first book was published at age seven.  I cannot wait to hear her exciting story!

Adora Svitak

This year we wanted to be more student centered with student voice.  As of now, we are offering 30 student presented sessions.  Come see what students are saying about what works best for them as learners!  Click here to see what student led sessions are already available.

We’ve just launched registration, and to kick things off with a bang, anyone who registers by April 18th and is willing to send us an EPIC Selfie via Twitter will be entered to win a limited edition eRevolution 2014 shirt! Here’s how you get entered:
  1. Complete your registration on our registration page.
  2. Take an amazing pic of yourself displaying your eRev pride.
  3. Tweet that picture out to #EVSCREV14.
It’s that simple! Don’t let this opportunity pass you by!

Lastly, we just released the video below through our YouTube Channel. If you would like to know more about our conference, please check out the video. And if you already love eRev, we hope you will share this video with your friends and colleagues.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Control Your Computer From Your Tablet or Smartphone

I wish I could take credit for this one, but one of my sixth grade teachers found this tool.  The app is called mobile mouse lite.  This works especially well if you have a SMART or Promethean board in your classroom.  It will give you some mobility around the classroom without having to purchase an expensive slate.  You can simply use your current android or iOS device.

Follow the Steps Below

Download the app from the Google Play Store here or the iTunes Store here
Download and install the server software on your Mac or Windows computer.  This will allow your device to connect.  Some great setup instructions can be found at this site:

Make sure that your device and computer are connected to the same network.  To setup the connection between your tablet or smartphone, you will need the IP address for your computer. After you have completed the server software installation on your computer, click the Mobile Mouse icon to display the IP address of your computer.

Picture by Jeff Thornton @ipadjeff

You should then see your IP address:

Picture by Jeff Thornton @ipadjeff

You can now launch the app.  You may be asked to get the pro version, but just choose to dismiss it.  That is one of those small annoyances that you have to put up with for a free product.  This is a great free product.

On your device that you are using to control your computer, click the gear at the top left. See below for where to enter the IP address from your computer, press done and your device should now be connected and able to control your computer.

This is very important and will reduce frustration if you know and understand this.  If your network automatically assigns IP addresses, it is possible that you will have to setup the IP each time you restart your computer.

Picture Taken By Jeff Thornton @ipadjeff

Click the gear to explore more options.  To make the digital keyboard appear and disappear, gently shake your device.  Enjoy!!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Connect Your Classroom with Skype

Hopefully everyone's weather is more spring like and we can officially say goodbye to this long winter.  I know that I am ready for some sunny days, short sleeves, and short pants.  Well, lets get down to business.  I have been promising that I would be sharing some things that I have learned at the last few conferences that I have attended.  This post will be one of those share-outs. 

Nicholas Provenzano

While at the MACUL conference in Grand Rapids a few weeks ago, I attended a session led by , Nicholas Provenzano.  His session was on digital tools to support reading and writing.  He had several great ideas for using Skype.  One use that I have shared before, is that it is a great way for a teacher to bring in an expert or professional for the topic of the unit or lesson being taught.  It could be a great way for a classroom of students to connect with and ask questions directly to someone that works with the lesson/unit topic on a daily basis.  This is great if the expert lives in another state or country and is not available to travel to the school.

This next idea is excellent and one that I hadn't thought of.  Picture this, my wife and I love movies.  Many times after we watch one, we will discuss it and debrief afterwards.  Many times we will find that each of us saw and interpreted things about the movie differently.  For the classroom, a teacher could coordinate with a teacher in another building or school district and have them read a novel or teach the same unit during the same period of time.  More than likely, the two teachers, as well as, the students in each of the classrooms will get different ideas about what they read and are taught.  Once a week, the two classes could Skype for a collaborative class discussion led by the two classroom teachers.  It would be really interesting to see the difference of perspectives for a classroom of students in the city versus a classroom of students in a rural area or better yet, a different state.

Tim Wilhelmus
I was super excited about these ideas.  If you need help setting up, signing up, or using Skype, here is a link to a webpage that my colleague , Tim Wilhemus share at our workshops and conference sessions.  It includes more ideas for using Skype, as well as, resources for getting started.  To go to the link, click here:  Skype Page