Today's class was spent discovering SmartBoards!  How exciting!  I used a SmartBoard at my school when I was taking Ed 2500 last semester, and although it was fun, my first obstacle was not being able to reach the top where I had to tap to start my presentation.  Lucky for me, many of my students were taller than me and had LOTS of fun teasing me about my height.  But I digress...

Other than a few lessons that I taught during Ed 2500, I have rarely used a SmartBoard.  And even with those lessons I used Powerpoint and just plugged in a USB key.  I feel like a "real teacher" now that I have the technology on my own personal laptop! 

It was fun to watch as we saw all the tricks and smoke and mirrors that the SmartBoard technology is capable! I feel like it will take me months to go through it all and figure out how to use it. 
This class is proving to be challenging, yet so useful and applicable.  I used to think of myself as fairly technological literate, but even in the past 3 weeks I feel like I have advanced.  I'm excited to continue learning about what my computer is capable of!
As teachers, we should realize that everything we do in front of a classroom is a type of presentation.  Whether we have an intricate powerpoint slideshow happening behind us or are reading an excerpt from a book we are essentially presenting.  The purpose of this blog, however, is to discuss the use of visual presentations in teaching - what makes them effective and when we should go down another road!

Visual presentations are a great way to stimulate interest from our students.  It helps those learners who need to see things to learn feel like they are being included and still getting everything out of the lesson.  It helps generate attention to the teacher and the material being presented.  Good, effective presentations are those that are aesthetically pleasing, not too complex, and with no unnecessary distractions.  Often as we learn to make presentations we get excited about what our computer programs can do and go overboard!  The use of special effects and visuals is effective when used to emphasize points should be somehow related to the material being presented.  

Too much dialogue on each slide is a distractor for students, especially when the teacher chooses to read the material aloud while the students are trying to read it silently.  This creates a conflict of modalities and students will end up not being able to "get" the message at all, since their brains are too busy trying to focus on reading while being spoken to or vice versa.  Chunking information into shorter sentences or key words is an effective way to emphasize your point without providing and overwhelming information of written information.

The overall theme for visual presentations is to be effective they mus
Blogging in Education

What is a blog?  A blog is an informational site or discussion posted on someone's website.  It is usually written by one person but is transitioning into multi-person writing.  A blog is like a journal, except anyone can read it and write responses - comments, questions, tips, advice, etc.

You may ask, "why is there a blog on a teacher's website"?  Well, the answer is simple.  The purpose of having an educational blog is so that teachers and students have an easy and effective way to communicate with each other.  Now teachers can post news or lessons or assignments on their blog, and students have access to them.  Gone are the days when students can use the excuse of not being in class and therefore missed an assignment.  Students now have the opportunity to and responsibility of checking a teacher's blog to communicate and stay informed.  

Teachers can also post samples of other students' work on their blogs so students have a constant reference point when completing assignments.  Students can post questions along the way and the teacher can respond in a manner that will be visible to the entire class. 

Overall, an educational blog is an excellent tool that will become more and more commonplace in the classroom.  As technology continues to advance, teachers and students will have more effective and efficient ways to stay connected and informed.