Saturday, October 27, 2012

What I've Been Using Lately - ProPrompter

Awhile back, I wrote about a very handy web tool called CuePrompter that allowed you to type or paste text into a screen, and it would work just like a teleprompter on your computer screen, allowing the user to adjust the color, size, and speed of the text as it scrolled.  This handy tool transformed our classroom-produced videos and took us to a whole new level of "polished".

Last year, when we switched our 1:1 program to iPads, we would still use CuePrompter on the one spare laptop I had.  Students filmed with their iPads, but could still copy, paste, and read script from the laptop.  However, our laptops are getting pretty thin around these parts - the few spares we have are often in use elsewhere, and the fleet is not working too well.  But what we have coming out of our ears is iPads!  I have written before about how the iPads are posing new and interesting challenges to us to be able to find work-arounds to be able to do the same things we used to do on laptops.

The newest workaround is a great app we purchased called ProPrompter.  It works a lot like CuePrompter, but is NOT free.  ProPrompter is one of the more expensive apps we have purchased, but if you are at all like us, and create videos and multimedia frequently with your iPads, it is worth it! ProPrompter was developed by Bodelin Technologies, which is a professional teleprompter manufacturer.

ProPrompter is really simple to use.  In the Scripts menu, just push the plus button and paste in your script (one you wrote on the iPad, or one you emailed to yourself).  The settings button offers easy options for setting countdown, orientation, type of script, speed, colors, etc. It also has a handy remote feature - if someone nearby has a script in their ProPrompter app on their iPad, you can share scripts remotely.  This is handy if two students are working on a project together.

ProPrompter marks yet another successful workaround for our iPads - this time in the form of an app!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Running Low on Excuses - Discovering the Technology Integration Matrix

It's hard to believe, but at this late date in the year 2012, many of our schools still have a long way to go in terms of integrating technologies into our classrooms.  However, with the advent of new devices and web tools, along with a host of new research and publishing of best practices, the path is getting more obvious and accessible all the time.  Schools are running low on excuses for not taking the tech leap.

A new tool that really lays out a clear path is one I discovered last year, that I believe can become a really valuable resource to teachers, schools, and districts. It's called the Technology Integration Matrix. It was developed by the Florida Center for Instructional Technology, and the purpose of the matrix is to help teachers and schools of students in k-12 learn the stages of technology integration that seem to be most effective with student learning. I think that for teachers who struggle with technology - those who are tentative or fearful, a tool like this can be a real game changer.  In a sense, it is a tool that holds your hand through the process, and calms reservations and fears like, "am I doing this right?"

Even better is the interactive format in which the matrix is constructed.  Each cell in the matrix has at least one or more videos which illustrate the integration of technology in classrooms where only a few computers are available and/or classrooms where every student has access to a laptop computer. For schools or teachers who hesitate because of lack of access, this is a fantastic feature!

Besides just suggesting ideas, the matrix has built in models for teachers to explore specific ways technology can be integrated meaningfully into the classroom.

To date, this is one of the best resources I have found on the web for technology integration in education.  Please help get the word out to teachers and schools about this great resource!