Saturday, February 24, 2007

IWB BOARDs- Things I Picked up Recently

This is a bit of a mammoth post, but hopefully there's something useful in here for my avid readers ( all 6 of you)

Promethean Presenta Boards

This is old news, but for those of you who use an Activ PX board from Promethean. There is the opportunity to upgrade to Activ Primary 3, which provides a much more of a child- friendly interface. It also means that user can gain a much greater bank of resources for their board. In order to upgrade users need to purchase the Activ-Primary 3 software which comes with a plug in dongle. I had previously upgraded an old PX board in my old school and it was costly and involved some fiddling with the back of the board, it seems this is no longer the case.

I`d much rather my IWB looked like the image below rather than a bland white space that PX gives.

You can get a myriad of Activ-Primary resources and support in the forums @ the Promethean planet website- well worth a visit.

IWB and Literacy Course

Louise from the ITLE came to Redbridge this week to lead a session on the use of the SMART board in Literacy. It was a very good course that covered a lot in a short space of time. What struck me was that her message was very much it is not the board, (and what fancy things you can do with it) but it is how you as an educator are interacting with your class.

Louise has made some excellent basics videos for Camden LA and their portal also contains a raft of very good links for the IWB.

What did I learn?

  1. I was reminded about the power of the layering and colouring text- Simon pointed out how valuable this could be in his blog entry last week, and both Louise and Simon took this beyond the level of the trick and gave it a practical application.
  2. That annotations can be dragged from one page to another by making use of the page sorter tab
  3. That the spotlight tool is an extremely powerful tool for questioning- I knew this but I had been a bit lacking in the vocabulary
  4. How film trailers from the Disney website could be used - just as we use BFI or strategy films as a stimulus for writing
  5. How to build a lesson from a single familiar image e.g. a school trip or classroom picture to something less familiar- where the children could then apply the brainstorm/ ideas made on the familiar to the more abstract
  6. I learned to make greater use of navigating between slides, rather than trying to see each slide in isolation
  7. I was reminded that interaction can be:

The class / child answering a question

The class/ child performing an action in response to the teacher

The class/ child signalling understanding by means of AFL traffic light cards / number fans or dry wipe boards

The class child could be working in teams to complete an area of a mind map on the IWB or to answer questions on a maths game

A far cry from the one child bursting bubble multiples on screen

Stills from video clips on Windows Media Player

During the course I was asked how to obtain a still from a movie playing in Windows Media Player. There may be other ways but this seemed to work for the clips we were watching from Teachers TV , though I have yet to be cheeky enough to try it with my Torchwood DVD.

Anyway here is the method- please comment if you have a better way:

1 Find the toolbar at the top of the media player and choose Tools
2. Go to the performance TAB
3. Choose Advanced
4. Uncheck use overlays
5. Now change the background colour to white
6. Click ok and apply
7. Play your video clip until the point you need then press print screen or prtscr at the top of the page

8. Go to SMART notebook and press the paste button or right click on the screen and choose paste

Languages and Accents on the SMART Board

An MFL colleague asked me about using the SMART Board in her French lessons and commented that she wanted to change the language settings. I dutifully went to control panel and changed the board to French which then made the menus the appropriate language. But I could not seem to generate accents when entering text. If anyone knows how or of anywhere where MFL SMART Notebooks can be found, then do let me know.

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