Being a school media specialist, my job is many things - books (obviously), teaching and technology are the big three. This past week I am doing some training on the last one - technology and actually I am attending these training sessions with the hope that maybe they will have some good tips/tricks/handouts so when I have to do some staff development on these subjects to my teachers I can borrow from them.
The first class I took this week was about using digital cameras in the classroom. We looked at Picasa (a free download, part of the Google family) which I had used one time before, but realized through the class that it has a lot of cool features, especially for photo editing and Photo story 3 (a free download software)- which again, I have used before and I think is great for teachers and students to create simple photo "stories", but for me, I would still rather use iMovie on my Mac or Windows Movie Maker on the PC. There were also some great ideas shared, I loved the idea of having the kids take photos with a digital camera around the school and writing a story to go with the photos and turning it into a little movie using Photostory. I am trying to secure some funding to purchase a class set (well, 1/2 a class set) of digital cameras so teachers can check them out and use them with their students.
The second class I took was Windows Movie maker, a program I have used a lot, but I did find out some tips and tricks with the program. The teachers also shared some movies that have been made by teachers and students, they had a great one that had students going around the school and taking pictures of fractions, putting them in a movie and narrating it - it really helped them to understand the concept of fractions in a "real world" kind of way.
I am lucky, my school (and school district) has a lot of technology available to students, the problem I have found, though, is that teachers are so busy they do not have the time to learn the technology or the time to integrate the technology into their lessons.
I am hoping to offer some technology classes after school this year, short, 1 hour classes that will just let teachers know what we have available and how they can use these in the classroom, but of course my problem is, getting the teachers to come to the classes in addition to everything else they have to do after school.
I have one more class this week on Google and using Goole products in the classroom - this should be a good one.
if you are in Georgia, check out the ETTC ( educational technology training center) in your area. they offer classes in all kinds of technology for teachers in the state and in some cases, can even offer courses to be taught at your school.