Lynda Hall: Phys. Ed, Social Studies, English and Technology!

Who are you and what do you do?

My name is Lynda Hall and I am a secondary classroom teacher from Kamloops, BC, CANADA.  I have been teaching Physical Education, Social Studies and English for 17 years and along with my classroom duties, I am currently the Technology Coordinator for my school.  As Technology Coordinator, my main responsibility is to encourage the educational use of technology among colleagues through collaboration and mentoring.  I am also working towards a Masters degree in Educational Technology and Design from the University of Saskatchewan.  I am very passionate about integrating technology into my teaching practice and I love to share what I have learned with other educators. To assist my colleagues from around the globe, I started “The De-tech-tive 4 Teachers” technology blog 5 months ago – http://thede-tech-tive4teachers.blogspot.ca/. In it, educators will find a wide range of teacher tested technologies that are ready for classroom use.

What hardware are you using?

My absolute must have hardware device is my Android smartphone, the Samsung Galaxy SII. There is nothing I do not do on this phone – texting, tweeting, checking email, printing, Skyping, creating videos, editing photos and so much more! My most popular use recently is reading my Master’s textbook from the Amazon Kindle app. Interestingly, I rarely sit down to specifically read anymore as there are so many times throughout the day that I can steal 10 minutes to read a section. It has been an absolute time-saver! 

My school also provided me with an Asus Eee Pad Transformer tablet last year. Many of the apps I use on my phone have also been downloaded onto the tablet. Because I am so attached to my smartphone, I am still trying to incorporate the tablet’s use into my daily activities. However, the primary use of the tablet is to test apps, etc. because included in last year’s tablet purchase was an additional 50 tablets for school-wide use. As a result, much of my time is searching and testing apps for the students and teachers in my school.

The last device I heavily rely on is my Toshiba Notebook with a Windows 7 operating system. Pretty much all my personal or school-related material is accessed or saved on to my laptop – and yes it is backed up every day! To increase my productivity, I also have a Samsung SyncMaster monitor which allows me to view two screens simultaneously. The amount of time I save using the dual monitors is immeasurable. If feasible, I highly recommend my colleagues purchasing a second monitor as I guarantee, you will not regret it.

And what software?

I use a wide variety of Web 2.0 tools – Glogster, Weebly, Voki, Evernote, Socrative, StoryCreator2, InstaGrok, Animoto, and the list goes on. There is not a day goes by in my classroom that the students and I are not using a Web 2.0 tool of some sort.

Remind101 is my most recent go to app, however, as it allows teachers to safely and securely text their students reminders such as homework, upcoming school events, rehearsals, practices and more. The best part of this service is that it is so easy to use and it is free.

The power of cloud computing is another area I am starting to maximize. I have always had Evernote, Dropbox and Google accounts but it is not until recently that other software developers are starting to associate their service to the cloud as well. The best example of this is WeVideo and Google Drive. Because of this additional service, my classes will be able to easily share their work with a more global audience.

What would your dream set up be?

My dream set up would be a 1:1 program with a variety of devices that range from tablets, to laptops to desktop computers that are seamlessly integrated into the learning environment. The furniture would be such that one could easily move about the room with their device. Also, numerous ports would be available to plug in devices when need be. I would also include wireless accessibility with technology support at a moment’s notice. Lastly, I would want a SmartBoard for small group or whole class collaboration. You did ask for my dream set up, right?

Diana Potts: Science & Social Studies Teacher, Edtech Advocate

Who are you and what do you do?

Diana Potts, I teach 4-6th graders, science and social studies, with a 6th grade homeroom. I also provide edtech support to teachers. In my spare time I lurk on twitter, blog, and participate in edchats. My professional interests include edtech, successful PD, classroom design and PBL. 

What hardware are you using?

It depends on the task at hand. My weapon of choice is my MacBook Pro. I went all Mac about a year ago and haven’t looked back. When I want to create in Google Earth or Sketchup, I use my Pro as it can keep up with my squirrel-like attention span to pull from various sources. On the go I use my iPad2 and iPhone.  At work I use a MacBook laptop (with a split OS, using mostly Windows). Working in both Windows and Mac on a daily basis is a plus as it allows me to see pros and cons to both.

When I’m in full work mode, I’ll have my Pro and Work computer open and bounce back and forth using one for research and one for creation.

And what software?

Again, depending on the task at hand.  If I’m at home I use mostly Mac products.  On my “work” computer I use Windows 7 products, I mostly stick to Word and Publisher.  Lately I’ve been using Google Apps more and more as well as Evernote because of their ease of mobile access across devices.  When I want to create a movie or presentation, I go to the Mac products; I find Keynote and iMovie intuitive for my thought process and just cleaner looking in final product.
For work I use SMARTnotebook for visual support for lessons. Our student notebooks have SMARTnotebook on them, giving students a choice to use it for their end product..

What would your dream set up be?

Technologically speaking, my ideal would be to have a cart of MacBook Pros for student use and then 1:1 iPads. I would have Apple TV and a high quality projector.  The iPads would act as my Document camera and connect through the Apple TV for projection (I like to dream rich.)  The wireless would allow for BYOD for student use of personal devices, such as phones.  My students would each have a Google Apps account for collaboration and creation. My classroom would look like a cross between a science lab and a Google thinking/collaboration space.