Wednesday, March 30, 2011

How Many Applications Do You Have Open?

As you read this, look at your computer DOCK at the bottom of your screen (or on the side, if you chose to place it there.)  Do you see the little lights under some of the applications?  Those lights indicate that the program is open.  You may have closed the window, but the program is still open.  If you have several applications open, it is draining your resources and, possibly, the school's resources (if the application goes out to the server).

To close the application properly, you will need to click on the icon and either hit Command-Q, or go to the toolbar at the top of your screen, select the programs name and select Quit from the drop-down menu.  When the program is closed properly, you will no longer see the light under the icon in the DOCK.

So, the tip of the week is.....try to limit the number of programs that are open at one time.  You will find that your system will run faster!  An added benefit will be that as more resources are available building-wide, you will notice your students being able to log on to the laptops faster.  That's a great goal!

Friday, March 25, 2011

What is Streaming?

At times you may find you are having difficulty getting your computer online at school. All the data has to run through our pipe. That pipe is only so big. Certain things take up more than their share of the pipe. For example, if one person is "streaming" it can bring the entire building to a snail's pace. If two people are streaming, well, you get the idea!

Audio Streaming is things like "Pandora Radio", "NPR Radio", or any online or iTunes radio for that matter.  Video Streaming is similar, but involves the video portion as well as the audio. An example would be viewing a video clip from a news site, such as CNN or Yahoo News. Have you notice how sometimes it stops and re-starts? Or, how it may be jittery?  It’s having trouble getting all the resources it needs to send it to you smoothly.

On some sites you can save the video onto your hard drive at home, and then play it back at school. That way the video is not coming off the internet and through our pipe and slowing down the server. You are streaming it at home, not at school.

So, several classrooms streaming video or audio at the same time will slow down the network.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

SmartBoard Tips

Below are some notes/resources compiled by teachers, from the Caesar Rodney School District, who attended the Tatnall Smartboard conference on March 5th, 2011. The feedback was great!
Tatnall SMART board notes:
1. Use the plastic finger pointers!  It’s so much easier for the kids to reach up high and move things!
2. In the Gallery: lesson activity toolkit:
  1. Anagrams: use as a center for vocab or spelling words.
  2. Sentence Arrange: use to sequence story events
  3. Fridge magnets: word center
  4. Text splitter! Allows to you type up a list and insert it into a notebook files as separate words.
  5. Fraction Maker.  Use a pen to write the numerator and denominator.  Once the text is recognized, click the arrow to display the editable fraction as an object on your Notebook page.
Web Resources for Notebook Files

Harvey’s Homepage –Smart Board Lessons in All Content Areas- this presentation was a Tatnall hit! To save notebook files to your documents, right click “Save Target As,” change the file name to whateveryouwant.notebook,(actually type in .notebook into the file name field).  Also change the “save as file type” to “all.

Rockingham School District Smart Board Database- Lessons for each Virginia Standard and two search engines to find Smart Lessons

Obe’s Smart Conference Presentations- Spice Up your Smart Notebook Files. Great Resources on his presentation!

Smart Board Ning- ask questions and share resources.  This is like a Facebook for Teachers who use SMART boards.  Post a question and you will receive many responses. 

Teq Smart Free Resources

Other Web Resources
Animation Library- Free Animations for your Smart Notebook Files

Screencast- Make a Screen Cast- USB headset required
(Screen casts are short videos that feature what is going on on your computer screen with your voice and directions. Great for tutorials!)

Any Video Converter- add United Streaming Videos into your Smart Board file.
If you insert the video directly into your notebook file it must be in .flv form
If you link in a video it must be in .avi form

Many presentations were about adding video and sound to notebook files.  When MP3’s are inserted, you can click the speaker icon to pause and then click again to play beginning right where it was paused.  In iTunes you can convert .wav files to .mp3’s.  In Audacity, you can record sound and convert to MP3’s.