Monday, September 04, 2006

I'm Ba-ack! What a great summer...and it's over all too soon. This is just a warning post to let those of you out there who actually look here once in a while know that there are postss in the works!


Sunday, April 23, 2006

I see that Bill Gates has the same dream that I do, namely that every student should have a Tablet PC / UMPC (tip of the hat to GottaBeMobile for catching the article in IfoWorld).

If you click on the “small” picture of a MindManager map below, you’ll see that I’ve put more than a little thought into the matter. This ability to post a “web” map is a pretty nice feature of MindManager in itself by the way! The only problem that I had with it was that the jpg file it created was over 8MB! I’m sure there’s a setting somewhere to lower the quality of the image, but until then I’ll just use Photoshop to do that (the full map is now just over 1MB in size and opens in the upper right corner so you'll have to scroll around ...and a big monitor helps!)

Anyway, back to what the map represents: the dream of a large district that is totally 1:1 with tablets. Even with all of the work that I’ve put into this map, it is still a rough draft. As a web only version, it lacks a lot of the supporting documentation I’ve gathered over the past year and a half. It also has a rather fast timeline, mostly because I like the idea of having a document that is ambitious and uses “2010.” I also hope that a tablet/UMPC manufacturer will have some kind of a deal on pricing to offer a district willing to purchase 45,000 or so units. The lessons shown are from an early brainstorming session that I had with some of my fellow faculty members. I really wish I could’ve been at WIPTE and seen the work being done, especially the presentations on tablets and geology, a subject I teach.

Most of all, I really want the idea to go forward and be successful. As always, feel free to share your thoughts.

PS: Major thanks to all the other tablet/UMPC sites out there (a complete list is in the map under (“Places to go to learn more about Tablet Pc’s”)

Monday, April 17, 2006

As a teacher with more than one classroom, I have to have everything I need on a cart. When I got my tablet (personal money) I managed to receive a small grant and I purchased a nice Mitsubishi XL5 projector and a cart. I quickly found that I needed a sound system (40 watt w/sub woofer…it rocks!). With the sound system, I found that I could use a dvd/vcr plaer and dispense with ever having to use a school TV again (yea!). Here’s a picture of my current setup (click for the "larger" version:

In the course of the year, I found that even being wired to my projector through the VGA cable was too confining. I wanted to be able to wander the room with my tablet as I ran through my demo’s, lectures, and whatever. I also wanted to be able to plop my tablet down in front of a student so they could do examples or show their insights “on the fly.” It also has the benefit of letting me work through some ideas of how I would teach a class if everyone had a tablet. Since I had been very frugal with my funds for the past several years (and my students had gone easy on the science glassware), my principal gave me the funds to buy a new projector that supports wireless connectivity (an Epson 755c). Of course, I think he was really going to get another projector anyway and that he like the one I had just fine ;-)

It just arrived and I’m going to start testing it out as this week – I’ll let you know how it goes!

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Long time no blog! I really should schedule these things ;-)

The other day I had to make a presentation for a grant in front of a group of people who would be donating serious money (more than $10). Normally, I have no problem doing this. However, I have been suffering many sleepless nights (a cold or West Nile) and I wasn't as prepared as I like to be. Not only that, but the speakers who were to go before me were mostly missing (late) so I got bumped up into the first group. As I start my presentation, the secretary starts banging away on her keyboard to take notes -- it was loud! Every time I spoke "klackety-klackety-klack!" Every time I stopped, silence. Very distracting.

Yet another reason for Tablet PC's: a return to shorthand!

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Happy Wednesday! It's been a while -- it's looking like I'll be posting at least once a week with "maybe more often" on occasion...

Anyway, I have a couple of new "broadcasts" for you: one on OneNote and one on Journal & PowerPoint. Surprisingly, I've managed to keep my usual chatty self limited to less than 10 minutes for each! I hope that you can understand me in spite of a rather severe cold that I had at the time...

The OneNote video starts by showing what I think is my best use of OneNote to date: how I keep tack of what my students are doing on a daily basis (besides the gradebook). Of course there's more, but I think that's my "best use."

I also find Journal useful when I need to take some "quick and dirty" notes (although I use OneNote more and more) and PowerPoint with ink is pretty nice too, allowing me to capture some class discussion as I go.
One thing that I'd like to experiment with before the year is up is capturing audio (in OneNote) of class discussions.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Well I know why I've never made a flash movie using Camtasia before: you can't import it back into Camtasia. Oops. That means that I'll have to remake the MindManager movie in order to make it downloadable for offline use. Look for it -- and at least one other movie -- by the middle of this week. Sorry for the delay.

-- after sleeping on it --

For those of you who can't wait for the nice small .wmv file (and a little polishing of the content), I've compressed the shockwave flash movie content into a .zip file. It's still about 28mb, but at least you can download it! I will still have the .wmv and some new content (OneNote) out by mid-week, plus some supporting files (including some mind-maps).

zipped shockwave movie (open the .html file to play)

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Shay asked a good question about sizing of ink topics in MindManager:

"I am just wondering, how do you increase the size of the ink input window when you write in a subject with your pen?"

I cheat....

In the Tools/options/tablet menu, you can set it up so that your input panel is large, while your finished map topic is reduced. I set mine to 70%...

Friday, February 24, 2006

As you can imagine by the long span between posts, things have been hectic at school lately. However, the rough first take of my first webcast, "How I use MindManager In My Classroom" is done and available for downloading (click here shockwave format, @27mb). Please let me know what you think! As "take one," it shows the basics of what I'm trying to get across to you -- it will be edited (and improved) later this weekend, I just had to get this out there.

After I finish with the MindManager production, I'll be showing you how I use OneNote, Windows Journal, STELLA (of course) and other programs (like Camtasia) with my tablet in my classroom and at work. I will even be videotaping so you can see it in actual use ("You Are There!").

Again, please comment!

Sunday, February 12, 2006

The enemy of an updated blog is a sunny weekend after 35 days (10") of rain. For those who were at NCCE, the powerpoint and other files are now in the links section.

I plan to add more files, links and demos of tablet programs as the weeks progress, so don't go away! (I'll get a lot done if we get snow this week).

Thanks for being a good audience.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Friday, I get to talk about how I use my Tablet PC to teach! I'm already sleepless...

Note that the links on this page are going to be constantly updated (and nested soon) as I update the site this weekend. I've included a few key links for now to hold you over (yes the powerpoint will show up Saturday)

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

The idea for this particular blog comes from my desire to no longer lurk (and occasionally contribute) on all the other tablet pc blogs out there. As a teacher, I find that there are many great tablet pc blogs out there (see the links), but I want to contribute my own voice now (and hear from others).

It's all about ideas for the classroom in a less than perfect world (1-1 tablets!). I hope to hear from many people and that you will find this blog useful.


PS: If any of you out there are elementary teachers and use a tablet in your classroom, drop me a line! I know that I'd use one if I taught say, first grade, but as a high school teacher, there's no way I can have any more than a remote idea of what you go through! I marvel at the creativity of K-8 (and pre-K)!