Posted by dougbutchy on 13th February 2012
If you are like me and unable to attend the Pennsylvania Educational Technology Expo and Conference (PETE & C), then you are probably looking to keep up with what’s going on via the social networks. @misterlamb has a CoverItLive going on via his blog. Head over to http://misterlamb.blogspot.com to keep up in real time. Thanks Jimbo!!
Posted in Blogging, PETE&C, PLN, Social Networking, Technology | No Comments »
Posted by dougbutchy on 7th July 2011
Last week, I had the absolute pleasure of attending my first-ever International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) Conference in Philadelphia. Since I was a newbie, I attempted to gather as much information before arrival as possible. I read up on all the advice the “veterans” had posted on the Conference Ning and the ISTE Young Educators Network Ning, and the awesome Newbie Lounge put together by @BethStill. As I was gathering all of this information, I thought, “Hey, here is a good opportunity for me to really use Evernote!” I had been wanting to use it for some time, but had never really found myself in a situation where I needed to keep all kinds of information in one spot. So I started clipping and bookmarking all of the online resources I found and put them in Evernote. I added websites for information on social gatherings, Google Docs that people were sharing, websites for landmarks that we wanted to see, tweets from others going to the conference, my own packing list, and maps of places I wanted to see. Then, while at the conference, I used Evernote to take notes in sessions, add websites from presenters, add photos of things I liked, and keep everything in one place. It was pretty awesome, not to mention that it synched flawlessly between my iPhone and iPad, no matter which device I used.
As for the conference, I was amazed at just how large it was and how many people were there. I knew it was going to be big from what I’d read, but I was truly amazed by the size of the conference center, including the vendor exhibits. I did attend some sessions, and I was careful to make sure that I didn’t over-plan my days, as was suggested by many. I did make a mistake though. While I did see some excellent presentations, I wish that I had attended more sessions that were out of my “comfort zone.” I found that many of the presentations that I went to did not offer me any new insight or really that many new ideas (although I got some great ones from @DoReMiGirl and @michellek107), mainly because they were about things I already knew. Next time, I will attend sessions that include topics that I don’t really know anything about.
My really big takeaway from the conference was getting to meet so many great people face-to-face. Some of these folks I had literally been waiting years to meet, and it was awesome! Social media (and Twitter in particular) has been a huge life-changer for me in that it has allowed me to become far less shy than I used to be. I wrote about this some time back here. In years past at a conference like this, I probably would have kept to myself and not talked to many people, but at #iste11, I was more than eager to walk up to anyone that I recognized and say hello! The absolute best part of the conference for me was getting to meet these people and the great conversations that we engaged in. There were even many folks who recognized me! This was totally unexpected, and I am completely flattered that anyone would even remember seeing little old me on twitter. There is something truly special about meeting people in person that you have only ever known virtually. I don’t think I can eloquently put it into words. I even got to meet many people for the first time that I did not know before! It was an awesome experience, and I even felt a little sad at the end of the conference, knowing that I probably wouldn’t see many of those folks again in at least a year, or maybe even more! But, what’s great is that we are able to continue those conversations through our favorite social media outlets after the conference is over.
It was an awesome conference and I highly recommend it to anyone, if you are able to go! I hope to see many of you again at the next one!
Posted in Conferences, Discovery Education, PLN, Professional Development, Reflection, Social Networking, Technology | No Comments »
Posted by dougbutchy on 28th May 2011
After finally getting my own iPad this Spring, I have found that I am using it almost daily in some of the classes that I’m teaching. At my school, I’m still using a chalkboard, so I have no Interactive White Board. But, I have found some great apps in the last few months that give me some of the functionality of an IWB.
I should preface this post by mentioning that I have an original iPad, so no mirroring is possible to a projector or external display without jailbreaking the device. I’m not quite ready to take that step yet, so these apps will do all of this without having to jailbreak your device.
First, I went to the local Best Buy and picked up the Apple Dock-to-VGA adapter for $30. I knew that YouTube videos and videos that I had installed locally on the iPad would play through the VGA adapter to a projector, so that was my first plan. Then I started thinking about ways to project documents and/or websites from my iPad.
The first app I found was called AirSketch by Qrayon, LLC. As the description in the iTunes Store states, “Turn your iPad into a wireless whiteboard! Annotate PDF documents and images live.” There are several apps available that will do this, but what is unique about AirSketch is that it will do it wirelessly! All you need is a laptop or desktop connected to a projector on the same network as the iPad. All you need to do is type the server address given to you by the app in your browser address bar on the computer connected to the projector.
At my school, I don’t have a laptop or desktop connected to my projector so this wasn’t too useful for me. I also wished that I could mirror my iPad more and at least project web pages and maybe even word documents. That’s when I found 2Screens by Edwin Lam. I am really loving this app right now! It has the ability to project webpages (as it has its own built-in browser) and virtually any kind of documents. You can annotate them in real time, and even save screen shots from those annotations (which you could email to your students later). You can even annotate on web pages! And, one of my favorite features is the ability to import documents from your dropbox account easily. The app also includes the ability to turn the projection on or off at your choosing and a “laser pointer” to use for highlighting.
One final app to mention is Penultimate by Cocoa Box Design, LLC. It is essentially a free-hand note-taking app, but it will also do VGA output in real time. This is a great app for projecting notes that you might be taking in class.
One final thought…When using these apps, I have found that my handwriting is much more legible with the use of a stylus. While I don’t ever use one while using my iPad normally, I find it really helpful for these.
So, if you aren’t luck enough to have an Interactive White Board in your classroom, but you have an iPad, here are some ideas for you. If you have any other great apps, please mention them in the comments!
Posted in Discovery Education, Music Technology, STAR Educator, teaching techniques, Technology | 2 Comments »
Posted by dougbutchy on 7th April 2011
If you can’t make it to the PMEA Conference in person this year (like me), you are in luck! Undergraduate students from Grove City College will be live-blogging many of the sessions presented at the Conference next week. The students will be using Twitter and Cover It Live among other sources to live blog the event. Check out Joe Pisano’s post over at MusTech.net for all of the details!! A big thanks to Joe for doing this!
A Very Web 2.0 PMEA Music Conference At Hershey
Posted in Blogging, Conferences, PLN, PMEA, Professional Development, Social Networking, Technology | No Comments »
Posted by dougbutchy on 19th February 2011
This is a cross post I wrote for The Discovery Education Blog Network today. Enjoy!
With the arrival of President’s Day Weekend, many of us are looking to discuss our U.S. Presidents in class. Yesterday, on the official blog, Google announced the ability to Explore our US Presidents on a Map. The map is in Google Earth and shows the Presidents’ birthplaces as well as some information about their terms in office. The tour is posted in the Google Earth Showcase, but you can also download it for your local machine using Google Earth. From the Showcase:
- Explore all of the US presidents on the Google Earth map. View their birthplace and click on the number icon to learn more.
- See a progression of the states that voted during each president’s election (shaded in red).
- Download a Google Earth file (.kmz) to easily see a map of all the US presidents.
In addition, you can view a 3D model of the White House and other landmarks in Washington, D.C. Happy President’s Day weekend, and have fun using these in your classes!
Posted in Discovery Education, Fun, STAR Educator, Technology | No Comments »
Posted by dougbutchy on 20th November 2010
Below is my most recent post to the Discovery Education PA Blog. Enjoy!
For many years now, I have been an avid user of as much Google as possible. Google Maps, Images, Gmail, Places, Docs…I think I’ve tried just about everything. I recently gave a presentation to my school staff about using Google Docs in the classroom, and I shared the following links with them:
Google for educators – An overview of how Google Docs can be used in the classroom http://www.google.com/educators/p_docs.html
The Google Classroom – Site created by an educator showing the many uses of lots of Google products in the classroom.
GoogleFest 2010 – A prezi that shows visually some of the many uses of Google products, including Docs.
GoogleDoc Wikispaces - Wikispaces created by another school for their staff to use. Includes a few videos on Google Docs and links to other resources.
Google Docs & Spreadsheets in the Classroom – PDF file with a few ideas and resources for using Google Docs.
31 Interesting Ways to Use Google Docs in the Classroom – A Google Presentation that you can save to your Google Docs and edit!
I thought that I knew just about everything there was to do with Google and the classroom, and then I found this post from edudemic.com, shared on Twitter by @web20classroom. Special thanks goes out to Steven for posting the link! The post shares great ideas for using Google in the classroom that I did not even know about…enjoy!
15 Little-Known Ways Google Can Help Teachers and Students
Posted in Discovery Education, Technology | 1 Comment »
Posted by dougbutchy on 16th November 2010
As we go through our daily rehearsal routines with our groups, it is easy to become complacent with our critical listening skills. I think that both directors and the students in the ensemble become used to our daily sounds, and sometimes we don’t always listen with the most critical ear, especially when we are “in the moment” of cueing the right section, or playing the correct notes.
Zoom H2 Handy Recorder
I have been recording my rehearsals off and on for a few years now, and have found that it is extremely helpful not only to me but to my students as well. I used cassette tape recorders in past years, but now with digital audio recorders, the process has gotten even better. The quality of the recording is quite good, even with a small hand held device. I personally use a Zoom H2. There are a lot of memory-card based recorders like this one available, and we could discuss all of their merits in an entirely different post. Here are my observations of one of our most recent recording sessions.
1. Recording should be done on a regular basis. I think it’s important for students to have this regular feedback about what they really sound like. I don’t do this often enough, and I think for it to really be effective, you should constantly evaluate what you are doing.
2. Record and listen right away. During class, we listen to our recordings immediately, while the students’ performance is still fresh in their minds. Usually, I find that they students think they sound better than they actually do.
3. Focus the students’ listening. When listening to the recording, have the students make a list (either physically or mentally) about what the group is doing well, and what they are not doing so well. I also remind them that we are interested in things that we are doing as a group, so that no one is “attacking” any one person’s abilities (or lack thereof). As I tell the students, they should address their individual weaknesses at home on their own time…the purpose of our rehearsal is to take what they’ve worked on individually and to see how they fit together as a group.
4. Think about keeping past recordings. Sometimes, near the upcoming performance, I will play a recording of an early rehearsal of a piece. It gives the students great perspective, because they can hear how far they have come during the rehearsal process. This has definitely been a positive technique, as the students are able to see the fruits of their labors. This is especially helpful if we might be having a rough rehearsal, when we just can’t get seem to get something right.
Another observation – The recorder does not lie! It’s brutally honest, and sometimes students need to hear that! It also can really drive home some of the concepts that I have been repeatedly telling the students. Often, once the students can actually hear what I have been hearing and telling them, they finally understand what they need to do.
Finally, I have found that while listening to our rehearsal recordings, it makes me more aware of what I am doing in the classroom. Sometimes I think, “Wow, we wasted a lot of time on that!” Many times, I will even hear things on the recording that I never heard in the rehearsal room! Recording our rehearsals has not only improved the students’ awareness of their performance, but has also helped me to be a better and more effective teacher!
I encourage you to give it a try and share your experiences!
Posted in Concert Band, listening, Marching Band, Music Technology, Musicality, Performance, practicing, recordings, Reflection, Repertoire, Senior High, teaching techniques, Technology | 2 Comments »
Posted by dougbutchy on 15th July 2010
I have been an avid Twitter user for about two years now. When I first starting using it, I really wasn’t sure how it could benefit me in an educational way. In fact, I don’t think I was even considering using it as a vehicle for professional development. Nor did I envision that I would actually meet face-to-face with some of the folks I had met on Twitter! That was in May of 2008.
I don’t remember using it a lot in the first few months for anything productive at all. It was only after I went to a summer conference for our state music education association that I realized the potential of the medium. I don’t remember a specific point at which this happened, but around this same time I began to become more interested in educational technology. I also slowly began to realize that there were a lot of educators out there using Twitter as a personal professional development tool.
For me, Twitter has become one of the single most important professional development tools. Because I am not a “core subject” teacher, much of the professional development provided by my school district does not immediately relate to me. Twitter helps me to fill that gap and allows me to stay informed on the latest developments in educational technology and music education. Through Twitter, I have constant 24/7 contact with a wonderful group of educators from around the world who are always willing to share information and encouragement. It is like having a teachers lounge with you at all times where you can share ideas with your colleagues and get immediate feedback.
What I love about using Twitter is that I can use it any time, anywhere. I may have just tried something new in class that went really well. After class, I may tweet about it and share it with my Twitter PLN. Maybe the new concept didn’t go so well. So, I may tweet about it and get instant feedback from my PLN with suggestions and tips. Sometimes, I may just have a question about how other teachers present a given topic. I can tweet about that and instantly receive many ideas!
Aside from the outstanding professional resource that Twitter has been for me, it has also been a really wonderful personal social networking tool! I have made friends with several folks on Twitter, and we keep in touch regularly through the medium, even though we may live thousands of miles away. We talk about our families and children, work, vacations, frustrations, and successes! I have even been lucky enough to meet some of my Twitter friends in person at conferences and workshops. There is really something special about meeting someone in person that you have only known online first. When you meet them for them first time, it is like meeting up with an old friend!
Over the last few years, I have really fallen in love with Twitter. I use it every day, and have grown so much as a person and an educator because I have a wonderful network of professionals and friends that I can be in touch with constantly. For me, it truly is one of the best professional development tools I have ever used!
Posted in Blogging, Communication, PLN, Reflection, Social Networking, Technology, Wilkes Instructional Media | 1 Comment »
Posted by dougbutchy on 3rd June 2010
After checking my email today, I found out that I had been chosen as a 2010 DENny Award Winner! For the second year in a row, the Discovery Educator Network presented awards to 28 educators from around the country, and I am truly honored and humbled to be nominated for an award in the “community choice” category! Special thanks to Erin Misegadis for the extremely kind words and the nomination! I am so lucky to have such a great PLN that I can talk to every day and get inspired to do what I love! Thanks to you all!
Posted in Blogging, Discovery Education, PLN, Social Networking, STAR Educator, Technology | No Comments »
Posted by dougbutchy on 17th April 2010
The National Educational Technology Standards for Students (NETS-S) is a set of standards developed by ISTE, the International Society for Technology in Education. These standards help to outline guidelines for students’ use of technology in six major areas: 1. Creativity and Innovation, 2. Communication and Collaboration, 3. Research and Information Fluency, 4. Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making 5. Digital Citizenship, and 6. Technology Operations and Concepts.
Having students work on a PBL project can help to meet many of these standards. Perhaps one of the most obvious standards met include 2a. interact, collaborate, and publish with peers, experts, or others employing a variety of digital environments and media. A PBL project lends itself easily to this standard, as students will be working with their peers throughout the project, and may even have an opportunity to work with local professionals, depending on the nature of the project.
Also notable is standard 2c. develop cultural understanding and global awareness by engaging with learners of other cultures. Through a PBL-type project, students may have the opportunity to work with students from around the globe with something such as ePals, or another Web 2.0 communication project. These types of projects give students an opportunity to work not only with peers, but with peers outside of the classroom walls.
Standard 1a. (apply existing knowledge to generate new ideas, products, or processes) is met through publishing or documenting the PBL project by use of a Web 2.0 tool such as Wikispaces. When students are publishing their work for everyone to see, they are more apt to create a quality product.
Of course all types of these projects meet standard 4. Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making. Students will be doing a lot of their own thinking and work on these projects, as the teacher assumes a more supervisory role. The teacher becomes more of a guide, and asks more leading and guiding questions, than providing direct instruction. Students are then required to think on their own and come to their own conclusions. They may even need to ask themselves the appropriate guiding questions during the process.
Any type of PBL project can help students to achieve standard 5. Digital Citizenship. Most PBL projects will involve a significant technology piece that will encourage students to become more technologically literate and skilled.
PBL projects are a great vehicle for meeting the NETS-S standards. Nearly every standard is met during the course of a PBL project. When students communicate, collaborate, and publish their work according to these standards, they should be able to produce a great product.
Posted in Discovery Education, teaching techniques, Technology, Wilkes Instructional Media | 1 Comment »