The Diary of a Technology Supporter

Technology being used in an elementary school

11.24.08 November 25, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — msmithpds @ 1:00 am

The Internet Safety parent meeting is creeping up on my calendar. Just a few weeks ago it was to be in January. Now, it is on the administration’s team calendar for the first full week in December, early that week. So here I am procrastinating with the clock ticking. Which way do I take this meeting? The parents will have heard from a shrink about the horrors online, the pornography, the predators, all the gruesome stuff. My local independent schools got together 2 weeks ago to house an Internet Safety night open to anyone interested. About 110 people came, 20 were techies from the different schools. I was fascinated by what I heard. I love the new cell phone safety feature that parents can get now…though I can’t think of the name. It works by having a list of preapproved numbers that are allowed to send and receive calls, send things to, and text. If a number has not be approved what is being sent or texted is sent to the parent’s phone for approval. Kind of like a moderator for the cell phone. How awesome! My husband just started teaching middle school this year and was blown away during inservice. There was a huge 2 hour lecture on cyber bullying and what teachers are to watch for. This new bullying is or is close to the number one cause of teen suicide. How sad. But knowing what I heard, said, saw and all as a kid I could see how this form of harrassment would crush a kid’s heart. Kids are kids. They don’t know how these little actions can hurt someone over time. – Getting back on track – So this speech / presentation that I have to give…which route do I go? I want to show them tools that their kids are using. Teach them some of the cyber world. My problem? I’m not that swift in that world. I can travel it, leave my mark in it, but think and do as a kid? No. I guess to start off I am going to poll for opions and research. What tools are kids and teens using? Maybe show parents how to find out where to look on pages for content managing. We’ll see.


Woices November 12, 2008

Filed under: mapskip,tombarrett,woices,writing garageband — msmithpds @ 12:09 am

I finally got to work with the new English teacher.

At my school we (the technology specialists) are to meet with our teachers every 6th day for about 15 minutes to touch base. Last year was my first year at this school and I failed to make these meetings a routine, but found every day to be very busy. This year I am staying more on track. Now I can’t even manage my time and projects because of so many of these tech meetings last for about an hour and with all the great ideas out there I get swamped with “ah-ha’s” that I want to do. Now I don’t have a class of my own so to use these great web things I have to sucker a teacher in to believing that it is fun and easy. It is so weird, but I get all jazzed up and LOVE interacting with the students. Then I become completely ADHD and creating the end result is so difficult! 🙂 If only the web and all of its developments would slow down.

So back to the English teacher: She had her students rewrite an Urban Legend for a Halloween-y activity. Spooky story telling always catches a boy’s attention. (note: I work at an all boy’s school.) I had just heard of Woices and MapSkip from Tom Barrett, who is a genius at his job. This story project could work by giving a location of the legend. I have only tried it out with one boy, and am not 100% finished, but someone commented and I ran to the writer and teacher to share the news.

The Project:
I chose Woices vs Mapskip, because these were pieces of fiction. I felt that MapSkip was wanting more real information on their site. The student and I surfed over to Woices and looked around the map to find where our story took place. Then we read the story, identified the parts that the setting would changed, found where on the map we wanted it to occur, then jotted the area down on a paper. We used a highlighter to separate the story in these new settings portions. Then the student used Garageband to create audio recordings of his story. One recording per setting. He shared them as an MP3. Back to Woices! We went back, found our locations, uploaded the MP3, gave the echo (that is what woices calls 1 recording). We gave all the echos associated with the story the same title but with a number so that we knew the order. Since this was the first set of echos I have ever done, it was easy to group these together to form what they call a walk.

It was SOOO easy! The woices part of the task took about 20 minutes – recording, uploading, and posting each echo. After the excitment of the project set in I ran back to the teacher and grabbed 6 boys to draw me an illustration. Since these echos can have a picture this will dress up the “walk” some. Now I have to acquire the illustrations, scan, and upload them. I hope I can focus to finish this part.

And the coolest part! Ninja user commented that he or she liked the walk! I shared it with the boy – he and I were beaming. And his 62 peers – are envious! yessss ~ hooked ’em!

Next idea: MapSkip with descriptive writing topic: Beach or Mountains?


Persuasive Writing Lesson November 6, 2008

Filed under: english,PersuasiveWriting,webspiration,woices,writing — msmithpds @ 4:01 pm

This lesson will use Webspiration and

Using the WPPOnline writing prompts the 6th grade English students will write a persuassive essay on Beaches vs Mountains. The students will pick different beaches and mountain ranges as their main point. They will use the internet, encyclopedias, etc to gather information about the particular beach or mountain. They will use Webspiration as a place to brainstorm their thoughts and ideas. The students will share their webs with one another to give feedback and advice. The students will use a word document to write their essay. The students will then post their writings on


About Me November 4, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — msmithpds @ 4:12 pm

I have been in education since 1996. My first classroom had 6 iMacs, one of which was hooked up to a television that also had a laser disc player, and a VCR. I have never taught without technology. The next cool toy that I received was a flex camera! I thought that I had died and gone to heaven! This first classroom was an interim position and I was told to obtain the classroom for good I would have to have some technology training. That is when I got hooked. After teaching in the classroom for 6 years (grades 1 -3) I left it all behind to become a Curriculum Techology Specialist for the same school system. I was to support 2 schools, grades K – 6. Instead of working on the curriculum side I, along with all the other CTS (as we were called) were fixing printers, setting up servers and airports, imaging computers, and teaching TOC sessions (which I can’t remember what those letters stood for) to teachers required to attend 6 hours of technology training. (Needless to say, we were the messenger that was getting all the grumpy attitudes.) Two years in that job the district cut funds and I was sent back to the classroom. So I quit the public school system and entered the world of private schools. I taught at one private school for 2 years in a computer lab servicing PK (3 year olds – 21 of them at a time!) through 3rd grade. My other hat at that school was that of a troubleshooter and technical trainer. This was my first job that I actually worked during the school’s summer vacation. This fact and the fact that I didn’t really love working with 3 year olds on the computer led me to my current position. I am now an Elementary Division Technology Specialist. I work at an all boy’s school, grades 4th through 6th. For these grades the students have a one to one laptop program, with the 6th grade actually taking their computers home. I was able to attend Will Richardson’s and Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach PLP consortium professional development and was blown away! WHOA!!! This introduction to Web 2.0 has made me miss the classroom. To be a classroom teacher, to play with all of these tools with the students and their education – how exciting! Now I am trying to calm myself and spark the same fire that I have with the 16 teachers that I support. This blog is going to be my sound board, my focus as to what I want to try, and a place to hopefully showcase what I have inspired others to do.