Epson 1400Wi whiteboard projector

Epson Tools I have had a good chance now to use the new Epson board in my classroom. I really like it. I like how you can use the whiteboard function without having to have the laptop connected. I like how it is quick and efficient to connect to the Apple TV and so I have a reliable wifi option for board connection. The tools/utilities are basic but are what most teachers would want and use. I downloaded another set of Epson Tools from the website and they run on my computer. I can run them in French. I think they look a bit classier than the ones supplied and the layout is better. It means I can preprepare material if I want to. I find the downloaded tools are better displayed and have some good options. The pen is effective but the writing is a bit too big for my liking. Students don’t seem to mind a bit. It forces me to think out my classroom delivery better and know very clearly how I shall present the material in steps. All of this can be saved to a USB or my laptop. I can connect a tablet or phone via USB connection to access files so that offers me more options. One of the best features is that I can split the board. I can run a video, my laptop desktop, a doc, an image or a slide presentation on one side and write on the other. This creates a very effective and optimum teaching /learning experience. I can put materials on one side of the board which will help the “live” thinking on the other half of the board. Scaffolding lessons this way has been really appreciated by students and it also means I can teach materials more effectively. Switching from desktop to whiteboard is also very easy whether I am at the board or at my desk. The Epson board has been good at supporting interactive learning. The sound quality is excellent no matter if I run a wired or Apple TV connection and students have valued that. Students also like presenting on the board. The images from their iPads or laptops are very clear, it has encouraged them to use sound more because they can hear how good the sound is and connecting them is easy. I run a VGA lead with adaptors for iPad 2 or 5 and then an HDMI connection to my laptop. Students can then choose iPad or laptop for their presentations. That makes them happy because they like choices and they can prepare presentations according to the devices and options they feel most comfortable with. What I also like about Epson is there is plenty of YouTube and on site support. Not as much as with the Promethean board but Epson is well represented online and that is important. What I now want is a very cool , cutting edge electronic pointer stick for the board – there is a lot of screen real estate there. A hand held electronic pointer would be good but not as fun.

Apple TV in the classroom

Apple TV Image : Apple TV

I have had Apple TV in my classroom for about a month now. I lock the device in my filing cabinet because it is very small. Great for classroom design to have such a powerful gadget in such a small package but easily misplaced because it is small. I simply select my room and then am on the Apple TV on the whiteboard screen which mirrors my MacBook or my iPad. The  MacBook picture is much smaller than my IBW but it hasn’t really been a problem if I can think ahead as to what I am going to do. I still want a wired connection so I can use the interactive part of my board and then a bigger picture if I need it. In time the picture size will be resolved and given iPads have a lot of good whiteboard equivalent apps I probably won’t need my IBW – just a decent screen or wall space. I use a stylus on my iPad and the students really love that so I can’t see shifting boards/display areas as a problem to be overcome once the screen size is rectified. The Apple TV picture has stronger and clearer colours and better definition so there are plenty of things you can display on this smaller size. It came into its own when my big year 9 class had to do their presentations. Normally we go through the process of around 30 students getting up from their seats and connecting to the board and then sitting down again. That is all time. With the Apple TV they could connect from their desks and show their presentations and it created quite a happy buzz as the students showed each other how to connect and then could see their own presentation as they presented. It is usually behind them and we can see it but they are looking at their laptop. It meant the next time we presented we had even more spectacular and carefully created presentations. The visual feedback had helped their learning and it was noticeable. The second time the Apple TV was worth its weight in gold was when my year 12 had to do their 5 minute French orals for the final assessment. This is a nerve wracking event. Students are running on adrenalin and have prepared themselves so well it means anything which can help is a bonus. The Apple TV turned out to be the fairy Godmother of the event. The students could sit at their desks surrounded by their little coaching team who were going to ask the questions at the end. It also meant they had something routine to do to take the nerves away – they had to organise their presentations on the Apple TV because they had never done it before. The wonder in their eyes when they saw their presentations was priceless. They instantly got rewarded for hours of careful preparation which was going to support the oral presentation. I can also use the Apple TV to get some of my younger students to show how they are gathering their information for learning. I can choose students and ask them if they would mind if we looked at what they were doing. They love going on the Apple TV so then I have their work on my board and we are all learning from each other. If students have an Apple device then it means you can create a far more interactive, connected approach via the Apple TV. I have not had any of the issues reported like poor connection but I have had sound issues on some files and that might be more to do with the speakers I have rather than the device. Some sound is very distorted and in a language classroom that is not good. Doesn’t happen a lot , thankfully. One thing which is better and ought not to be is my connection to the web is better. I can get onto the websites faster than if I have my Macbook connected to my board via a hard wired connection. Doesn’t make sense but it works!  Two sites which can give you some more teacher experience of Apple TV are:

Teachinglikeits2999

Ryan Orilio

Four teachers and a curriculum document

acara learning areas Image: ACARA Learning Areas
There were four of us – me, a teacher of 40 years, an enthusiastic, competent student teacher, a dedicated contract teacher and a teacher of less than 5 years with some awesome art skills. The other members of our faculty had to be elsewhere for various reasons.The four of us were charged with critical unpacking of the national curriculum for our faculty. Four subject areas – History, English, Maths and Science are already implementing the national curriculum. Ours is in the final stages of writing . The challenge we had between recess and lunch today was quite a sizeable one. Thank heavens for technology! I hooked up the Apple TV so we could use it to screen share when necessary but it also meant those who had not seen the Apple TV set up could orientate themselves to it. Our first task was to find the current curriculum document for our area. That was hard. We searched and searched and at the point we were going to give up, the student teacher won and brought us the document via email. I printed copies and she learned how to better use the photocopier. Our our art talent had the job of creating a visual mock up of the elements, key processes and key concepts. All along the way we were negotiating and our dedicated contract teacher was great at keeping tabs on the links and what we had decided were the important things. He recorded everything so we could use it later. My job was to keep the eye on the ball and make sure we were always headed in the right direction no matter what.The advantage of the laptops was we could easily show each other what we were doing, what we thought, what we wanted permission to continue with and what was cool. The visual mock up looked really impressive by the time we had finished with it. We had wondered for a while which graphic organiser to use and settled, in the end, on Comic Life. Completely suited our purposes and will offer some good advantages when we next unpack all the descriptors for the elements under their year levels. ICT was there to support our problem solving, inquiry learning, discovery learning , differentiating the curriculum and the sharing and feedback. We had applied the tried and true internet concept of creating content, sharing it and getting feedback. In an hour and a half we did not waste a single minute because we could smooth over all the communication processes with our laptops. In the end we had a great sense of accomplishment because we had something to show after all the frustration of trying to find what we were looking for! The next part will be so much easier because we have a plan, a process and some great group skills.

Josefine Grimm-Blenk

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