Archive for June, 2010

More cuts across the UK school sector are on their way, what does this mean for the classroom?

June 28, 2010

The BBC announced yesterday that more cuts are on their way, with education cuts reaching as much as a 25% in the next 4 years. The demise of BECTA was the first major decision made by the new coalition, and it seems drastic action didn’t stop there. This article from The Times Education Supplement advises teachers on how they can best stop these cuts affecting their teaching in the classroom, it seems that class sizes will rise and redundancies are likely, but what’s in store for ICT?  The article touches upon the fact that there is a debate as to whether head teachers should wait to buy new technology, or just buy while they can, as budgets will be much smaller in the next few years. However there is no mention as to how teachers are being trained to use, either the existing, or the newly bought technology, which is something I feel strongly about and have mentioned before in previous posts

Other elements of the cuts include less free school meals for children in poverty  and a further £50 million taken out of the ICT

I do agree, in this hard hitting recession we have to be more careful with our money, but I think this dramatic cost cutting over the education sector can only spell bad times for a lot of schools to come. Technology isn’t the most important element to school, innovative teachers can make an impact with little more than themselves in front of a classroom. However in a time where most school children have phones, all businesses have computers and in the technologically advanced world we live in, surely we would want our children to be stimulated by such tools as IWB’s.

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Get a Spare Projector Lamp just in case your projector goes down!

June 22, 2010

Most classrooms with a SMART Board typically have a digital projector in the classroom (very few use rear-projection or overlays).  It is therefore very important to ensure a spare projector lamp is always available to prevent disruption to your lessons.  Speak with your IT department to ensure they have lamp back-ups on site!

I recently did some onsite SMART Board training at a local school and found that the projector they were using had the lamp warning light on.  Half-way through my training the projector lamp blew, and it resulted in us having to stop the training (until we found another classroom that was free with a  working projector!).    Unfortunately the school did not have a spare projector lamp on hand – if they did we could have almost seamlessly carried on with the training.

After this frustrating experience I did a bit of research and found some good articles on projector lamps that I’d like to share with everyone.  The articles on projector lamps came from www.projectorlampexperts.com and www.projectorlampexperts.ca.  This webpage gives some tips on how to increase your projector lamps life .  This page contains projector lamp and projector bulb installation tips to save you time.

The moral of the story is… if you use a SMART Board in your lessons, make sure you have a back-up lamp!

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SMARTBoard training… a benefit for the whole school!

June 16, 2010

On a recent trip to Broadoak Mathematics and Computing Specialist College I got talking to Joe Hofgartner, the head of ICT and he explained that the benefits of an online training course go much further than just helping the teachers and students.

Joe explains “As part of a demanding ICT support team for a Mathematics and Computing Specialist College we provide in-house training on many new software packages, devices and other technologies. Mrs. Blossom provides whiteboard training that is specific to teaching and learning, demonstrating to the teaching staff how SMARTBoards can be used in a classroom environment. The rapid adoption of Interactive Whiteboards in classrooms presented quite a challenge to our ICT support team to provide in-house training to all staff. With other ongoing developments such as our Virtual Learning Environment and media portals the time we have available to provide the whole staff base with quality and relevant SMARTBoard training is increasingly limited. Mrs. Blossom SMARTBoard training fills this gap, allowing teaching staff to learn at their own pace and discover for themselves how this technology can be utilised in the classroom.“

As I have often expressed, the benefits for training teachers is incredible and yet still we know that many IWB’s are left to gather dust and are not used. It amazes me that teachers, the forefront of our children’s education can be stuck in the dark ages….often through no fault of their own. Other teachers I’ve spoken often wish they had the funds and means to be trained, the IWB’s are installed and ready to use, but it’s a bit like having a lovely new car and not knowing how to drive it. Without this valuable knowledge the IWB’s are obsolete and the benefits of being able to convert your classroom into an interactive learning environment are often overlooked.

Mrs. Blossom Smart Board quiz June 14th 2010

June 14, 2010

June has been very busy with shipping pink bags to new friends and finding new Smart Board resources. Well now its time for the smartboard quiz. If you’ve played before great! Now give it another try with these 3 new questions.  You could win a free Blossom Learning Online Applied SMARTboard Course.

1. The _____ Tab provides access to many types of resources that include pictures, interactive and multimedia, notebook files and pages and backgrounds and themes.

2. The My Content folder allows users to save external images from the web as well as those found in gallery essentials. True/False

3. Gallery Essentials is a collection of more than 6000 images, interactive resources and page templates. True/False

Happy Learning,

Mrs. Blossom

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The future of the IWB

June 2, 2010

Ever since I read that BECTA will no longer exist, I’ve been concerned with what will happen to those who are still not trained to use their IWB. As Hilary Truss, senior assistant head teacher at Broadoak Mathematics and Computing College states, “We have found training difficult to source at a reasonable price that would meet the needs of staff. For all schools that have SMART Boards, it is essential that training is received as training means that a teacher is able to have full use from the board effectively. Interactive training is an effective way of ensuring that training at any level of skill is always available.” As the news broke at the BECTA agency, research had just started into how effectively IWBs are being used in the UK and now it seems nobody knows how many of the IWBs installed in classrooms are being used to their full ability. I have also found ICT departments see the barrier to using these IWBs is lack of training, the majority of these IWBs are not being used or not being used to their full potential. In the wake of BECTAs demise, I feel I am not alone in urging schools and teachers to look into affordable and accessible ways to train their staff on the new technology in the classroom.

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Mrs. Blossom Smart Board quiz June 1st 2010

June 1, 2010

It’s been a very busy month of May with shipping out pink bags, finding new friends
online and finding great content on Smart Boards. Well now its time for the smartboard quiz. If you’ve played before great! Now give it another try with these 3 new questions.  You could win a free Blossom Learning Online Applied
SMARTboard Course.

Grouping objects allows you to combine text with images.  TRUE/FALSE

Any object can be customized after it has been created by choosing the
properties option. True/False

The Locking features allow objects to:
a. Free float on the page.
b. Be locked into a specific position on the page.
c. Move on the page without the ability to rotate and be re-sized.
d. b and c
e. a and c

Happy Learning,

Mrs. Blossom

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