Ohio eTech Conference 2012 (Day One)

So, I just came home from the eTech Ohio Conference in Columbus, Ohio.  It ran from 2/13 – 2/15, Below is a re-cap of Monday’s events.

I  must say, I think I learned more from the vendors in the exhibit hall, than from the presentations.  I will write about a  few of the vendors in a post later…But there were a few presentations that were a stand-out!






On the first day, I attended an 8:00 am session on how to “ditch the OS and go straight to the browser” by Anthony A. Luscre.  I attached a link to his presentation.  Pretty good stuff.  But I noticed that I was having an extremely difficult time with the wifi in the building.  I tried to tweet about it, but all my tweets were saved as drafts and I started to go through Twitter Withdrawal as I called Verizon to secure my own personal hotspot!

It was over in time to for me to see the keynote speaker,   Dr. Michio Kaku only to run out 20 minutes into it to attend another presentation about using QR codes in the classroom by Michael Roush.  This session proved to be more interesting than the first, but I was totally intriqued with what Dr. Kaku was speaking about.

So…note to conference schedulers…try not to schedule any presentations during a keynote speaker!

By this time, it seemed that the wifi was working, but I also had my own Personal Hotspot in case it failed again.

Note to conference people:  Wifi would have helped in the Exhibit Hall too!  Could have tweeted and emailed like crazy.  I did not want to use the “email stations”.

I had some time before my One o’clock session and I jumped into an “Advanced Registration” event.  I had tried to register in advance for it, but I guess so many people jumped on the website during the first hour it was “emailed” to me and I was locked out.  I am probably going to get in trouble for this, but no one was guarding the door to the event and I just walked in, took an empty seat and got ready to be amazed at how to “Create free websites with Google Sites.  The presenter  was a “google certified instructor”, but the session was geared for all levels of tech–from newbies to pros, and it moved so slowly.   Anyway, the presentation was more geared for secondary or post-secondary instruction rather than elementary.  Why?  Because Google does not block inappropriate materials and the gadgets are questionable.  I won’t even post a link to the site, but if you want to check it out, go right ahead.

Anyway, I left after spending more than an hour in the room and the presenter said something rude as I walked out.  Something about “Go ahead and leave…”  I didn’t reply.  I just walked out.

I ran over to the next session…Students+WiFi+School Bus=Mobile Learning Success!  How a school district put wifi in 3 school buses and purchased iPods for the students to use.  It was a cool presentation by Catherine Holewinski, Buckeye Valley Local Schools.  The title of their project was called:  Project Boost (Building Outstanding Online Student Technologies) So much better than the boring Google session.

If you are interested in looking at the eTech Ohio 2012 Guidebook (link to the online version for laptop/desktop)

I was unable to attend any more sessions as I was inspired and fascinated by all of the new technology available to schools and teachers in the Exhibit Hall.


Day Two…To be continued



iTALC is so cool!

After 10 years of teaching computers, I finally have a management software installed where I can control the computer from my desk!  I have never been able to “take over” screens before, but now I can!

And this is due to Mr. Steve Lee Ignacio at K5 Computer Lab !  Steve posted a link to iTALC and I fell for it, hook, line, and sinker!  So I installed it on the teacher desk, went around the room and gathered the IP addresses of each lab computer, and then installed it on all of the lab computers, too!

It is wonderful!  Today, I tried it for the first time and my student’s freaked!  They had never seen anything like it before!  I took control of their computers to show them how to save a document in Windows 7 (which is new to a lot of my students) and they were in awe.

Thanks Steve!  Thanks sourceforge! Thank YOU!

I am so happy right now, I am jumping for joy!




No Substitute Needed!

This school year, my principal has decreed that “special” teachers  will not be using substitute teachers, unless they will be out for more than 2 days.  (Specials are Art, Computer, Music, and Phys. Ed.)  I very rarely call in sick and in the past 7 years, I took 3 sick days.  But, my partner teacher suggested that I create a folder that could be retrieved if ever I had an emergency.

Cool!  I thought, because having a substitute takes up so much of my energy.  I have to actually write out what is in my head, giving them strict guidelines of what to do, making sure to fill the whole hour so that the students don’t veer off and start “exploring” the computer lab and the land of the Internet. (Even though I have everything locked up that is important and our firewall is really protective, I still worry about downloads and viruses.)

But then, I was told that I would need some sort of “worksheet” that supports what I teach in computer class to give to the homeroom teacher.  (Normally, the homeroom teachers have a planning period whenever their students are in specials)

Now, most of the worksheets that I have, I personally created based on what software/application I am teaching at the time.  Every single one of those worksheets require the student to read the instructions and complete the work using a computer and specific software.  (Obviously, my definition of a worksheet is different from what others deem a “worksheet”) I use these worksheets for students who finish the assignment in record time.  I need to keep them busy.

So I started searching online for something that my students could do without a computer and I remembered CyberSmart Curriculum!

I have used CyberSmart in the past to support what I teach in computer class about “ownership”, “online safety”, “citations”, etc.  It is an excellent resource especially if you are teaching K-8 students.  What is so great, is that CyberSmart breaks down the activities by grade level and creates .pdfs for the students.  CyberSmart Lessons are written using a standard outline supported by National Standards, Goals, and Objectives.

Here’s an example of a lesson  CyberSmart created  for K-1 students.  It helps K-1 students understand that the “library houses many forms of media for both research and leisure activities” (CyberSmart, 2011) You can find the Library Lesson here:  The Library K-1
















Here’s another lesson created for students in grades 6-8.

This lesson explains spam and malware.

You can find the Lesson here:

Smart-Safe-and Secure gr. 6-8














Let me know if CyberSmart  helps you!


If you find or create any Computer Class worksheets that I could use in the classroom…I would love to hear from you!

When the Lab is not ready…go to the homeroom!

I teach in a K-8 private school.  I am the computer teacher, technology coordinator, “tech” teacher, go to person for anything and everything that has to do with technology.  I even fix the cable, connections to televisions, and I know the ins and outs of LOTS of software!

So, with all of the problems of my new lab (LAB A)…I decided to teach in the Student Lab (LAB B) this year…but only grades 3-8.  For grades K-2…I went their homerooms and taught computer class via the IWB or Interactive WhiteBoard. We have SmartBoards.

The funny thing is that these teachers very rarely use their SmartBoards! So, I googled a few sites that have lessons created primarily for the SmartBoard and I found:

TES iBoard which is perfect for PK-3 and I also found Smartboard lessons from the Longwood Central SD in New York that are perfect for K-3!

But I went further, I downloaded the lessons directly to the teacher’s desktops and placed them in a folder for future use.  I also hung around a few minutes after the homeroom teacher returned to demonstrate how the students used the SmartBoard!  This way, I was able to show them how easy it is to use, how it integrates technology into the curriculum, how it is meant for the students to use, how adaptable their students are, and…best of all how it emphasizes areas of their curriculum.  The students are engaged!  YES, ENGAGED!  They can’t wait for their turn.

Since students in grades K-3 often place their hands in their mouths and other places, I had the students use a plastic hand pointer to touch the SmartBoard, it allows them to reach all areas of the board and keep it clean at the same time.  If I hold one of the SmartBoard pens, the hand pointer will allow them to write on the board!

Next week, I plan on teaching them how to write with the SmartBoard pens!

It’s all about demonstration!  That’s how you get the “not so techie” teachers to use technology!

Now…I am on the hunt for lessons that allow small groups to use the board at the same time, instead of one student at a time.