Wednesday, January 23, 2008

"Out-of-the-Box" Training a Success!

Keystone High School's "Classrooms for the Future" teachers hosted our peers from Smethport and Sharon City for Apple's "out-of-the-box" training on Tuesday and Wednesday. The 19 of us, all novice Mac users, received top-quality instruction from Apple trainer Chris Lickteig from Austin, Texas. KHS teachers Matt Baker, Dave Everett, Dustin Kifer, Sandi McElravy, Kathy Rutkowski, Marlene Smith, and Brett Vaughn, and CFF coach Sharon Geary and I participated in the intensive training.

Chris first taught us the ins and outs of the Mac operating system and how to do the same things on a Mac that we've been doing for years on PCs. We discovered that using a Mac isn't difficult--it's just different (and very cool!)

We learned how to access, download, and store educational resources in iTunes software, the same software our students use to download and organize music for their Ipods. We used iPhoto software to organize pictures and then saw how we can use our photos, along with music, to create slideshows, movies, and books for the classroom.

We created copyright-free music using GarageBand, music that can be used in other multimedia projects. We also learned how to create podcasts ("portable on-demand broadcasts.") Podcasts are digital audio files that can be played in mp3 players or on computers. Students can create podcasts to share content after researching, and teachers sometimes use podcasts to record lessons that students can review anytime, anywhere.

We created a simple podcast using the fable "The Ant and the Grasshopper." Dustin Kifer's radio voice sounded very professional as he served as narrator for the podcast. Brett Vaughn filled the role of the grasshopper very well, and Kathy Rutkowski was an awesome ant!

Finally, we also took a look at the Polyvision whiteboard and discussed ways to integrate it into our curricula.

We certainly covered a lot of ground in two short days, and it will take some time and more practice to master our MacBooks, but we're well on our way. Now we're all anxious to get the laptop carts into the classrooms and the Macs into the hands of our students!

Carol Meier and her cafeteria staff served delicious coffeecake and fruit each morning. Penny Kinch and her Family and Consumer Sciences students prepared a scrumptious lunch for all of the workshop participants today. We enjoyed a choice of soups, salad, homemade rolls, and several desserts. The low-fat tiramisu was to die for!

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