Be SMART! Backup your content.

#cotlf #edtech #smartboard As the end of the year approaches and you’re starting to think about packing up and cleaning out your classrooms, set some time aside to back up the lessons and files on your computer as well. One area that can easily be overlooked is your SMART Notebook Content. When you add anything to the “My Content” folder in Notebook, it is saved locally on your computer; if your computer is reimaged over the summer, you will lose easy access to all those great resources if you haven’t backed them up! To save yourself future heartache and time, take a moment to export your content from Notebook.

To do so, open SMART Notebook and from the gallery file, click on the “My Content” folder, then on the pull down menu to the right of the folder name and select “Export as Collection File.”

You will be prompted to save the file; be sure to save it to your server or to a thumb drive in case your computer is reimaged.

When you return next year, simply double click on the exported file and it will launch SMART Notebook and add it to your “My Content” folder. You can also repeat the steps above but select “Add to My Content” instead of Export… All those goodies you’ve been saving all year in Notebook will be restored!

Computer Cart Organization

#cotlf #edtech #vitalcpd One of the challenges of a 1:1 learning environment is maintaining the equipment. If you have a netbook or laptop cart in your classroom, you have probably experienced the heartache of cart organization. Students seem to have little difficulty getting their computers, but putting them back is another matter! Cords become rearranged and dislodged, computers go back willy-nilly, and before you know it, the whole cart is in total disarray and computers are going uncharged! If you’ve been looking for a way to streamline this process, check out the tips below:

1. Select 2 students to be responsible for taking out and putting back the computers. You can make this a classroom job if you wish, but be sure to train your chosen students in how you want things done. Keep them on the job for at least a week to increase efficiency – they will become much faster at the task with some practice, and you won’t have to constantly retrain students.

2. Send students in small groups to the cart to get their computers from your new “Cart Masters” (or to return their computers). This will keep your helpers from becoming overwhelmed and will prevent lost work time for students just waiting around for their turn.

3. Label your cart as clearly as possible. Here’s an example that can be seen in Mary Barela’s class at Preston:

Notice that both the computers AND the cords are labeled with matching numbers to help students pair the proper cord and computer, thus preventing “missing” cords. The alternating colors allow you to easily see at a glance if any computers are missing or placed incorrectly.

If you have any additional ideas for maintaining computer carts or student routines for getting and returning computers, please share them in the comments!


#cotlf #engchat #edtech If your students have difficulty coming up with topics to write about, StoryStarters is the website for you! This simple website has a fun, Vegas-style “slot machine” that generates writing prompts for students. (Prompts vary by grade level selected.) Send students to this website during a free writing activity or for a warmup/sponge activity. You can also project the website at the beginning of class and invite a different student each day to spin the wheel and set the prompt for all. Some example prompts generated from this site include: Write a funny story about a sunburned screenwriter who wins the lottery. Write a brief biography of a million-year-old iguana who is always getting into trouble with her parents.

Students can continue through the site and write their piece online after choosing a format (letter, postcard, notebook, newspaper), or use Word/Google Docs, etc. Visit the teach section for more lesson ideas. Never again will you have to listen to, “But, I don’t know what to write about!!”