Smart Board Training

I had an opportunity to go to a SmartBoard training session. While it was Level 1 (ie for beginners), I did meet some other people in the province doing fun things with this technology, and I did pick up some useful tips and tricks.

Here are some useful links we looked at:

The Smart Tech Newsletter

Browse lessons by IRP standards

Smart Tech Training Centre

There are a number of tutorials on this site, including:
Some Mac specific FAQs/files.

Some printable documentation for Mac users:

Here's a Manual for Notebook on the Mac that I found on-line.
(I think it is simply a compilation of the docs on the Smart Tech site.)

WorldBook and EBSCO with Steves staff

I met with members of Steves Elementary staff to look at the new Worldbook on-line (3 different versions: kids, Middle school and advanced) as well as some of the EBSCO host magazine databases the district is subscribed to (in particular Novelist). These are services that all Richmond District students and teachers have access to, providing a reliable source of web-based information. While it is important to teach kids how to Google effectively, it is also a good idea to point out the many fact-checked databases they have at their finger-tips. (As an aside, students can also access this information from home with a school code and password, or via RPL with their card number.)

Here's a link to the handout I brought to the session. It explains some of the features of WB on-line.

Novelist and Novelist K-8, are databases accessible using EBSCO. They give reviews of novels, provide suggested reading lists and in some cases teacher activities. Worth checking out to build your reading program. Here's the description from the service:
NoveList K-8 allows you to discover the fiction titles that are popular with young readers as well as titles to use in your classroom. The NoveList Learning Center provides a complete introduction to the product and shows you how to use NoveList to meet the reading needs of your students. NoveList K-8 contains materials for all K-8 grade levels and includes picture books, children's "chapter" books and young adult titles. Updated monthly, NoveList K-8 is your starting place for learning about the books that you and your students need and will want to read!

Students and teachers can get to WB and EBSCO via the eLibrary link that can be found on the District Library directory page. (Follow the links to "databases".) You can also look under the "Visual " tab on your local Destiny library catalog. (Go to your own library, click on "Visual" and then "eResources".) Your teacher-librarians can be a great help in brainstorming ways to incorporate these resources into instruction.

ESL Podcasting Production - McRoberts

I met with Ruth and Christina to work on setting up some demo ESL podcasts. They both wanted to create mp3s that ESL level 1 and 2 students could use to practice their English skills and speed their mastery of vocabulary and common phrases.

We looked at the variety of ESL audio resources on the internet: there are many! However, some use regional accents or expressions that aren't used here in BC. Ruth and Christina wanted a homemade solution.

I proposed two options: 1) easy but plain, 2) harder but more professional

Method 1 uses the podcast feature built into FirstClass. One of the "new page" options in the "WebPage Folder" on the FirstClass desktop is "Podcast". Users can record their voice with the built in Mac microphone, give the podcast a name, and in seconds it is on the internet for downloading. (This method doesn't allow for editing or sweetening - but it's fast!)

Method 2 uses GarageBand. (PC users could do the same thing with Audacity.) We we planned to record 3 samples: vocab, simple phrases, a listening exercise. After a few trial recordings, we used the following steps:

  1. First, we opened a GB file (New Podcast) and added an extra voice track, and an extra jingle track. (We simply copied existing tracks.)
  2. Then we recorded the first voice, all the way through, reading English vocab words, and leaving an "empty" pause to allow for the Chinese equivalent.
  3. With earbuds plugged in to prevent audio interference, the second voice was recorded onto the second voice track, responding to the English prompts in Mandarin.
  4. We then added a short spoken intro, and some "theme" music (from the GB jingles section.) and then tweaked the timing and volume levels.
Once we were happy with the final version, we chose "Share" from the GB menu, and then "Export Song to disk". We uploaded the resulting mp3 to a webpage for downloading by students. (Here are the samples)

Ruth and Christina are excited about the prospect of creating vocab podcasts grouped around themes. They hope to do the same for additional common classroom phrases. The third sample was a listening exercice: both teachers see lots of potential for this kind of activity.


More Pointers on using Garage Band can be found here.
Garage Band 3 Steps Garage Band 3 Steps powell.gordon