Trackpad vs IWB or Trackpad + IWB

I’ve had the Apple Trackpad in my classroom for two days now and already I can see a change in my teaching!

  • For a start I can wander around the classroom and refer back to what’s showing on the screen without moving back to my laptop – that keeps me in contact with the student or students I’m working with.
  • It takes me away from the “front” of the classroom. (I don’t have a desk but I do have a seat beside my laptop which is connected to the data projector.)
  • It puts the mouse control into the students’ hands especially when using interactive websites.
  • If I’m working with a small group and want to refer to something on our class, maths or literacy wiki I will be able to do that and not lose continuity with the work we’re doing.

But does it do away with the IWB?

I don’t think so – I think students will use the trackpad to manipulate IWB notebooks (as well as interactive websites) but I doubt they’ll be able to write using the trackpad or use the popout keyboard. (I haven’t tested it on my students BUT I can’t write with the trackpad!)

I’m also not sure if it’s compatible with PCs. Sad for PC using teachers but good news for Apple using teachers. I wonder if any other teachers are using the trackpad?

I have a Mimio in my classroom – it works alongside my traditional whiteboard and is on the cheaper end of IWB products. I like it because there’s not a lot for kids to damage (I heard one teacher say at a conference that his kids had to stay at least 1 meter away from their IWB in case they damage it!) and it’s easy to set up and use.

Do you know?

Do you know anything about Fire Poi and how to use them?

If you want to know come ask my class because they know!

My daughter Emma has visited my class to show them how to do poi and they were excited to hear that she has now bought fire poi. Unfortunately they are not something she can bring to school and demonstrate for several reasons – one being her university schedule and the other being that the best effect is at night time. So how is it that my class knows all about them?

I took photos of her preparation of the poi and her in action (and some video). Then I opened up a mimio notebook and started to put together a picture story.

Screen shot 2010-03-10 at 7.53.29 PM

I put one photo per page and included one of the videos towards the end.

Then in the morning during literacy time I threw this up on the screen for the class to see. As we viewed each page the students talked about what the picture showed and I wrote the steps on the page.

Screen shot 2010-03-10 at 7.54.11 PM

Screen shot 2010-03-10 at 7.54.20 PM

Once we had gone through all the pages I went back to the equipment page and the students went off to write their own versions.

While I think that some of the students would have written quite an adequate report if they’d just heard about fire poi, it was obvious that being able to show the graphics in this format and being able to brainstorm class answers helped all the students to come up with their own versions. Most students added in information that we hadn’t explicitly talked about. One boy even added a touch of humour to his instructions – his last instruction said “when the poi have cooled down put them on the deck and give your arms a rest” a clear reflection on comments made while watching the video. Other students used words like ‘flammable’ and ‘fuel’ which clearly showed they’d grasped some important facts and figured out the technical words to use.

While I could have shown the photos using iPhoto and the video using VLC it was a lot easier to do it with them embedded into a single mimio notebook.

Visual Roll

Here’s a movie I’ve just uploaded to Youtube

Mimio day two

I don’t think I will post every day but will probably post things as I’m learning about the Mimio. My one disadvantage (or several) is that (1) the mac software is lagging behind the windows software and some of the things that we saw at #lats09 in the breakout I can’t do with the mac software – yet; (2) I don’t have a wireless kit – so my computer has to be close to the board/projector; (3) the projector is on a trolley which means it gets knocked about as kids move around the classroom – meaning I have to recalibrate more often than if it was ceiling mounted – the positive to that is that calibration is quick.

Yesterday I created my visual roll. I fired it up this morning and showed it to the first student into the classroom and then had to leave the room. When I got back (30 mins later) about 15 students had successfully pulled their faces over their names but someone had missed with the Mimio mouse and pulled the grid out of alignment. (There were also about 5 parents watching with fascination at what the kids were doing – hardly any room for me to move!)

At lunch time I had a bit of a search (thanks google) and finally figured out how to get the grid as a background object (most of the available documentation was for the windows version 6 software and not applicable for me) and therefore unmoveable.

I will see how it goes tomorrow morning.

One of the very cool things you can do is duplicate a page which is ideal for something you do daily or even weekly.

Today the activities we did were (not in the order we did them):


Picture 18

WAD – Word A Day

Picture 17

SODA – Start Of Day Activity
Picture 16

Maths – fact families

Picture 15

Word chunking

Picture 14

Mimio Mania

Yesterday I got my new Mimio for my classroom (along with a new data projector). Since I had classroom release time I was able to have a wee play in our CRT room and then after school got it all set up in my classroom.

Last night I created some resources to use today. The kids and their parents were fascinated with it – I got the kids (and some parents and some of last years kids who wandered in) to write their names on the board – they would write on the board and then wander to watch the letters magically appear on my laptop screen.

I decided to create a visual roll to use in the mornings – well – depending on how well it goes tomorrow morning that is.


What I have is a small photo of each child’s face (and my own) in the left hand grid and their names (and mine) in the right hand grid. As they come in they find their face and drag it onto their name. When it’s time to take the roll (or when the bell goes) it will be easy to see who hasn’t arrived at school yet.

I used an automator script (first time ever I’ve used automator – thanks @Miraz) to resize all the face photos in one go. It worked brilliantly – who needs fancy software when you have a mac?