Hello people...A quick update from the land of SMART boards...The new SMART board has definitely been a source of excitement in the classroom (and a source of jealousy from other staff members; I am one of the "chosen few" or a "golden child" or whatever other classification that they give me as they walk back to their rooms with their simple chalkboards or completely boring dry erase boards). Everyday that I walk through my door, I am blinded by the heavenly glow of its greatness (are those angels I hear singing in the background?).
We did a short unit on latitude and and longitude. Can you just see a classroom of sixth graders jumping up and down with excitement when I introduced this unit? With the new board, I can project maps onto the board for practice, students can give the location of cities, and we can save to the computer what they have written on the board to be used the next day (I swear I am not receiving any money from SMART technologies). We could check precise measurements on Google Earth, which quickly replaced me as the coolest thing in the classroom, although most students wanted to use it to see their houses. A few students got a chance to write on it, and when I called for volunteers, every hand went up, which usually only happens when I ask, "Who Wants Ice Cream?"
Now the frustrating part: The district loans every teacher a laptop. The laptops are loaded with so much security software that it makes surfing the internet on a 1992 modem seem fast. In addition, you cannot download software from the internet, which is of course where you can find the tools needed to run the SMART board. We go to plan B, which is to install from disc, but no, the disc has mysteriously disappeared. Besides that, there is a "secret password", known only to our district's tech person (who will be referred to in all posts as "Yoda", because he is all knowing and much smarter than all of our teachers)
that is required to install from a disk. I sent an email to the great Yoda before the school year started asking him to install the software the next time he was on campus. He told me he was extremely busy and asked me to fill out the necessary "IT Request". Well, that was more than two weeks ago, so I have had to use my personal laptop, the precious Macbook, which will soon be knocked onto the floor by a clumsy middle school student. I predicted that the install would take a month, so I guess he is still ahead of schedule.
Anyways, looking forward to sharing what I have learned. Hopefully you are still awake as you reach the end of this post.
P.S. Fingers are still clean, no dry erase pens. Shirts have no chalk dust!!!