Not a lot of in-school time left - quite a few days coming up here @ SPS. Nothing formally organised (who would at this time of year..) But just getting around the classrooms catching up on where everybody is up to. Teachers are requesting my time to help them with the nitty-gritty 'How To' stuff. From how do you log on to the classroom computer (i kid u not!) to how do you use this Panoramic software - wahoo.
Spent some time with Fiona this morning. She organised her time with me in the classroom really well so she could have the opportunity to pick my brains and still run a class at the same time! (5 year olds on independent Activity rotations) I wish more teachers would organise my time with them so well. It was a bit tricky trying to set her up on a classroom computer that is not networked and which the CD drive doesn't work & running Win98 - YUK. So we couldn't introduce anything new - luckily Kid Pix is already installed on this computer so that will be a big focus for this class of 5 year olds. Hopefully there will be some changes in 2006 to access to quality gear & the network to bring it in line with the other classrooms.
Worked with Lynn - reviewing her FrontPage skills so she can make some changes to the school Intranet. The existing content needs a overhaul to make it more relevant and useful. We are not really making any structural changes but stripping & replacing content. So all Lynn needs to know is how to make hyperlinks and to use the Microsoft tools that are common on all those programmes - oh yes not to forget file management (no. 1 webmaster skill)
The rest of my time today exploring new software. The new networked printers have scanning capabilities so they are being used quite extensively & scanned documents saved to file. A lot of the time though they are not very useful just as a picture file. So you need some OCR software (Optical Character Recognition) to convert scanned documents to word files. You can download free software called SimpleOCR It lives up to it's name & looks really easy to use - you can register & pay a few bucks for it to convert handwriting to text also.
The other software i played around with today was Panorama Composer from Firm Tools. It is only a 15 day trial but fully functional & again so easy to use. Sherrilyn wants to use it to get a panoramic shot of her kids celebrating as part of their Christmas production presentation. My brief from Sherrilyn was to investigate the software that could do this for her & then give her a 5min PD session with it :-) Teachers are too busy to do a lot of this stuff - when it comes to exploring new software, trialling & problem solving. They know what they want to do they just want someone to give them the right tool & show them how to do it. So i can do that - it's my job :-) Here are the results of my trial. A 360 degree view inside my office. It is a downloadable exe file - let me know if you can get it to run - i promise it is safe - no hidden viruses ;-)