Tina Sauder, Savanna School
I love PD days and see them as a way to continue to network with my “people” (other science teachers) and I always leave sessions having at least one ah-ha moment that jump-starts the creativity in my classroom. This year, my PD role has changed from teacher as learner to teacher as facilitator. I have been working with junior and senior science high teachers to show them how SMART Boards can be used in their classrooms as part of their everyday practice.
We began our sessions by using a web polling application (polleverywhere.com) to see where everyone was in terms of availability to SMART Boards and their experience using the Notebook software. Most had boards, but fewer were using the software. I was glad to know I really did have something to offer (I truly had my doubts when I first said I would do this!) and we got to work. The material covered was basically the same for the junior high group as it was for the senior high group, but the thing that had the most impact was learning how to import Flash animations (those that end in .swf) from the web into SMART Notebook. For science teachers, there is a bonanza of Flash objects on the web that make teaching topics like diffusion, osmosis, the circulatory system and titration so easy. We spend so much time mining the net to find these animations it is very discouraging find that when we go back to them again the next year using a saved web-link, the link is often dead. By bringing the Flash object into Notebook, once the file is saved, it will always be there …no more dead links to deal with!
I made a video showing the steps for saving Flash objects into Notebook from Internet Explorer. There are other ways to do the same thing in Firefox and Safari that are much easier, but most of us have Explorer as our default at school. I am certain that teachers of other subjects will have as much use for this how-to as science teachers do.