Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Win a Free InFocus Interactive Projector!


If you are looking for a great way to engage your students, believe me you will want to read on; all the way to the end.
InFocus has provided me with their second-generation interactive projector (the IN3900 series) to give away to some lucky readers this week! This is a great new tool for the interactive, 21st century classroom and InFocus believes this projector will shake up how schools adopt interactive technology into their every day activities. As most us know, interactive whiteboards can be costly and take a great deal of work to install. In hopes to make technology more accessible for any school, the InFocus second-generation interactive projector will provide an affordable alternative to interactive whiteboards. Unlike immobile whiteboards, the new InFocus solution can be shared between multiple classrooms, driving down the cost of technology adoption in schools dramatically.
Since I am lucky enough to have a totally “pimped out” classroom with an installed LCD projector, it was impractical for me to truly test this out myself. So, I handed off this task to my good friend, David Fisher. (Hey, sometimes you have to take one for the team!) David was thrilled to have this shiny, new piece of technology and was kind enough to write up the following review for you:


When a friend asked me to give the IN3916 a trial run in my classroom, I jumped at the chance.  It’s not that the projector I have now is bad; it’s just that I’m game to always try something new.  After picking it up from her, the unpacking began.  Within minutes I had all of the pieces and papers out on a table in my classroom and was ready to go.
The first thing that I noticed about the projector was the lens.  The lens, this massive convex piece of glass surrounded by one focusing ring.  It was then that I decided it might be time to read a little bit of the literature that came in the box.  I quickly discovered that this is not your average classroom projector.  This is big Kahuna of projectors: DLP picture, built-in 20-watt speakers, all the cables that one needs, an accompanying flash drive, and the Wand. 
While digging deeper into the literature, I found some interesting things about this projector.  First of all, it will allow you to play a presentation, or whatever you have, directly from a flash drive.  Plug your device into the USB port on the back and you’re good to go.  Since the image is DLP, the projector is also capable of handling HDMI input.  And, it’s easy to operate.
The actual set-up took just a few minutes.  I have to admit that the school’s tech person had to do some of the hook ups due to all of the wiring that we have, but once that was done, I took over and completed the job.  All in all, less than 15 minutes of cabling for this machine.
The IN3916 is really built to be ceiling mounted, something that is not going to happen in my classroom.  Table mounting is more like it.  I placed the projector on the cart that had my original projector and hit the power button.  Wow!  This machine fired up and had an image on my screen in less than 60 seconds.  And what an image to boot!  My desktop never looked so good!  I quickly found out, though, that the throw on this projector would be superb from the ceiling, but left me with a bit of a challenge for the table.  From the cart, the projector was no more than ten feet from the screen.  The projected imaged dwarfed the screen by at least three feet on every side.  After moving it to the table closest to the screen, a mere 5 feet away, the image was reduced and completely filled the screen.  Again, a crystal clear image.  One quick turn on the focusing ring, and I was ready to go.  Who would ever imagine using a projector with a 5 foot throw to cover an entire screen?  Not me.
Now I was ready to see what this bad boy could really do.  Inside of the box I found a CD with included software called WizTeach.  This software works in conjunction with the Wand.  The Wand, as it turns out, is a wireless, hand-held, mouse and software controller.  Once connected to your computer, it can control it all.  You hold the Wand just like a pen.  There are two buttons on the top that act just like the left and right mouse buttons.  Move the Wand around, and the cursor goes where you go.  The one catch, though, is that the Wand must always face the projected image.  There is a sensor at the front that somehow reads the image and sends a signal through the projector to the computer.  That keeps you connected and moving.
After installing WizTeach on my computer, I found out that the Wand and this software are partners in one very engaging educational environment.  WizTeach offers users a myriad of items to use in delivering lessons.  I quickly found myself drawn to the math resources.  I had the option of blank screens with different colored backgrounds, chart papers, graph papers, grid papers, and many other backgrounds to try.  With WizTeach open, I could control it with the Wand.  I do have to say that writing in the air, which is what you do with the Wand, was a bit difficult at first.  After a while, I did get used to it.  I do have to say that writing with the Wand does take practice.  In order to get a line or mark, you do have to select a writing tool and hold the left mouse button down for every line stroke.  If you’re used to using a Mobi or Interwrite Pad, this will not be the same experience.  However, unlike the tablets, you can go to a white board and write directly onto it with the Wand.  Again, keep the front of the Wand facing the image so that it can pick it up and relay the signal back to the projector.
Now that I’ve tried the WizTeach, the Wand, and seen the image, it was time for me to check out the menu and the controls.  This projector’s ON/OFF button is easy to locate and in a different color than the rest.  Nice touch!  Once turned on, the rest of the controls come to life.  Every button is clearly labeled.  The buttons react to the lightest touch; that’s good and bad.  If you’re like me and have a heavy to medium touch, you’ll find that it will take a bit of practice to get the feel.  Those of you with light touches will love the feel of the controls.
The menu button brings you to a nicely presented list of options.  By using the UP/DOWN arrows, I easily navigated through the menu options.  Exiting was easy, and any change that I attempted was easily reversed.  After all, the factory defaults are really good!  Selecting your input source is just as easy.  There are lots of options with this projector, so select the one, or ones, you would use by using the arrow keys and the Enter button.  Very easy!
As for the sound, I have to admit that I only listened to the speakers once just to make sure they worked.  And, they do!  The 20-watts nicely filled my classroom even though the projector was sitting on a table.  Had the projector been ceiling-mounted, the sound would have been that much better.
After using this projector for the past month or so, and trying to really find something wrong or not even that good, is just not happening.  Are there things that I think would make the user experience that much better?  Absolutely; however, the end user experience will also depend on how technologically savvy the user is. 
I really look forward to turning this projector on everyday.  It runs effortlessly, it’s not a heat producer, and the cool down time is short. What I’m not looking forward to is giving it back.  Now where did I put that box?

Well David, the good news is that you can keep it and in the spirit of Oprah and her “Favorite Things,” I’d love to be able to give one to every reader. Wouldn’t that be great? Well, I do have ONE I can give away, so here’s how the contest will run. As some of you may know, I also blog over at the Secret Life of Scientists website. I believe using the InFocus Projector in the classroom with the Secret Life series is a perfect marriage. You may also know that I am a big fan of Twitter. So, I am going to combine all of my favorite things, so pay careful attention:
  1. Check out the Secret Life of Scientists website and explore the scientists.
  2. Choose a scientist and in a comment on this post, explain how you will teach a lesson using the InFocus IN3900 series projector and Secret Life. (If you don’t teach science, think about how you can integrate Secret Life of Scientists into your subject area.)
  3. In your comment, you MUST include your Twitter name. If you don't Tweet, I suggest you sign up just for this contest. 
  4. Follow @secretlifer  and @infocusedu on Twitter
  5. COPY and Tweet this: I just entered to win a FREE InFocus IN3900 Interactive Projector & you can too http://bit.ly/dS5fQs @teachakidd
This contest will end at 12:00pm EST on January 8, 2011. Winner will be contacted via Twitter and announced in a future blogpost. 

Good luck!

42 comments:

Mrs. Babine's 5th Grade Blog said...

This type of projection technology creates enthusiasm for learning among students, but another benefit of using this projector is teaching presentation skills. I teach a scientific method class to 5th graders. I can only imagine the impact of using it to Skype with scientists or watch live interactive experiments in our classroom.  I would have the students use the classroom projector to practice using presentation software and creating visually captivating presentations of their own independent research project with powerful impact, instead of the traditional tri-fold board presentation.

Mrs. Babine's 5th Grade Blog said...

Oops, I forgot to leave my twitter name... Babine5
Thanks!

Lona said...

Lee, thank you for the opportunity to learn about the InFocus IN3900 series projector and revisit the PBS Secret Life site. I'm impressed with David Fisher's review and am looking forward to checking the projector out on my own.

I perused the Secret Life scientists and felt most in-tune with Mark Siddall. Despite my negative interactions with leeches as a youngster (the back part of our backyard was a swamp), I've learned as an adult just how beneficial they can be. And, the leech "bite" doesn't hurt at all...until you remove it, if my memory serves me correctly.

As a HS Special Education Teacher Living Environment (biology) and Environmental Science are two of the subjects I support in Resource Room. I am one of the only teachers in the school without a SmartBoard, but I have my Master's degree in Computer Education...go figure! Using the InFocus IN3900 series projector would help each student in being able to revisit, in Resource, the information they've covered in science class. Not only would the videos be extremely helpful in science but I also co-teach US History and English 11. The InFocus IN3900 series projector would be invaluable in my classroom to support my students as well as my roommate's students in making their learning more real.

Lona said...

by the way, Lee, my twitter name is LonaBreitkopf!

Howell-Martin's Blog said...

I will use the projector to teach during my 3rd grade science unit on stars. The lesson will include a feature of Neil deGrasse Tyson as a link to a scientist who studies stars. We will then use Stellarium to explore constellations, and my students will use the information to create t shirts with their chosen constellation. As a final check of their learning, students will create a glog demonstrating what they learned about stars. The projector will help them present their final projects. My twitter id is @kmhmartin. Thanks for the opportunity!

Cathy Nelson said...

From CathyJo (twitter):
I like Eva Vertes. As a high school librarian, I get to work with so many classes, individual students, and teachers. Our school has been touched in many ways by cancer, and we work to raise money for cancer research. So I see this site not only as a way to tie many of our cancer research fund raising activities to student learning, but also as a way to bring it all together in the name of student learning and developing an awareness of cancer, the research going into treatments, and the widespread "touch" of cancer. The projector would enhance learning through the media center since we do not have all the "pimped out" gadgets that you, Lee, refer to in your classroom. While our classrooms have many state of the art resources including IWB boards, mounted projectors, handhelds, and the like, the library sadly lacks those same types of materials. Having the N3900 series projector in our library would allow the library to be more than just a research and reading place, but also an instructional location--an extension to the classroom. Students would see the media center as much more than a place to research cancer. Thanks for the opportunity!!

Jeff Naslund said...

I am Jeff Naslund (@TeacherThink).I teach both Social Studies and Math. Not only would pimping out my classroom with the InFocus IN3900 allow me to actively engage my students, but we could more easily visit the PBS Secret Life Site. I would integrate the Roboticist Colin Angle into my classroom. I already work in robotics, but I think it would be so cool to create a lesson for my students to look into the "Secret life of Historical Figures" across all disciplines. Colin's extreme athlete side could work as a great segue to the secret life of James Madison, where research would start with PBS Secret Life and launch from there.

Thanks so much for the opportunity! Off to go follow you on twitter and tweet out the good news of your contest to my followers. I would also love to do a feature on my site: http://www.TeacherThink.com

Jeff

Ken said...

While I would love to win this projector, I so loath twitter, the very concept of it as well as the company behind the concept, that I will be unable to enter...

Heidi said...

I am an elementary teacher/librarian and would love to use the InFocus IN3900 series projector for a lesson with my students comparing their perceptions and stereotypes of scientists using biographies in print as well as the Secret Lives of Scientists site. In particular I think comparing what I believe their perceptions are to scientist Mollie Woodworth would be eye opening. I believe the capabilities of the projector would be awesome in my classroom/media center. Thank you for introducing me to the Secret Lives of Scientists site too!
Twitter name- @heidikeairns

lslevitt said...

I am an elementary media specialist and tech coach for my school. I would love to use this projector to explore Mark Siddall and his world of leaches. We have already explored Wolfsnails this year. We also raise diamondback terrapins to give them a head start in life before we release them in the spring. This projector would be a magical addition to our explorations of the world around us. Every teacher should be able to enchant their students with a wand.
Twitter name: llevitt

stacykasse said...

Lee, once again, thank you for your generosity of sharing your knowledge and self with the rest of us.

While I don't have a smart board or promethean or anything like that, I do have a whiteboard on which to project...and project what I would do with the drawings of Ernst Haeckel, a favorite artist of scientist Caryn Babaian, but perhaps not for the reason you think. After introducing Caryn to my DRAMA club, I would have them look at those wonderful drawings, especially the Actiniae or anemones and the shell life and underwater life Caryn draws. The reason? This year we are producing The Little Mermaid. It would be a wonderful thing for each character in the show to be inspire by both the scientist and the artist and research and draw a picture for part of our scenery (and a sneaky way for me to incorporate science into drama!!!). By being able to project these on to the white board it would enable the third, fourth, and fifth grade
students to really see the detail and structures clearly.

Thank you so much. My twitter name is stacykasse.
'
Happy New Year to all.

Lori Feldman said...

I was reading Gavin Schmidt's feature on teaching and was struck by his hobby of juggling. Aside from juggling multilevel lesson plans in my life skills classroom I occasionally pull out my bean bags to take a breather from structured lessons. I would love to use the inFocus projector to ensure a multimedia approach of instruction. Our school has interactive whiteboards, document cameras and projectors in many general education classrooms, but not necessarily in special education classrooms. I might even try and get the Wiimote Whiteboard in action!
Thank you for your consideration!
Lori Feldman @lfeld52 on Twitter

CC Library Diva said...

@MWLibraryDiva: I am an elementary media specialist who could use the InFocus Interactive projector and the Secret Science site as a lead in to teaching research in the science field by displaying several of the featured scientists. This would also serve to show students new ways to present the results of their research rather than simply writing a paper they too could produce videos. I could also use this projector and Secret Scientist website when doing PD with staff. Media specialists are often the person teachers turn to when contemplating using new technology in their classes and I am always looking for new websites and technologies to share with my school and district.

russechd said...

Hi;
I presently work as a Tech Mentor in a small, rural school district in NB, Canada. I have been working in this role for about 5 years now and anticipate getting back to the classroom in the fall. Much has changed since I worked directly with my own class and I'd like implement a lot of what I've learned in the areas of 1:2:1 computing, Project Based Learning and tech resources with my Gr 8 classes.

May of the students in our area have links to family and/or friends who work with aquaculture and fish farming, the Biological Station in St. Andrews or in environmentalism. I would like to create a "Secret Life Of Scientists" project where by after watching several samples, the students went out and created their own videos/presentations showcasing the work and ideas of local scientists. The driving question could be something like, "How does the work of Scientists living in Charlotte County directly affect our daily lives as well as the lives of others somewhere else in the world?"

This project would assess the outcomes dealing with collaboration, as well as an appreciation and respect for science as it exists "in real life" and how it has evolved.

The interactive projector would be used as a station for student to work on planning/storyboarding or editing and would be cycled through the groups to use.

Upon completion of the projects, students will use the projector to present what they learned through the process of creating their video/other such presentation.

Thanks for this opportunity! Keep up the good work!

Sincerely;
Cheri Russell
@russechd
St. Stephen, NB
Canada

Dave said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dave said...

Wow, I would love to teach my grade 6 science class using the InFocus IN3900 series projector and Secret Life site. I am constantly calling my students "scientists" and reminding them the work we are doing is indeed, science! How cool would it be for them to realize that these scientists are also rock stars and wrestlers? Could I lead them to the realization that they to can have a career in science?
I would focus on the video of Allan Adams Theoretical Physicist / Glider Plane Pilot. It would be a great introduction to our flight unit in which the students actually build a flying machine. To wrap up the unit the students would make and show their own secret life style video on the InFocus IN3900. The video would be based on their flying machine and there special interest or talent.

Thanks for this opportunity Lee! You've inspired me and in turn I hope to inspire my "scientists".

My Twitter name is hilld

TimeOutDad said...

WOW! Lee, thanks for introducing me to the InFocus IN3900 series and the Secret Life of Scientists and Engineers. I could definitely use both in my Computer Lab at my school and also allow others to borrow it, too! ;) I think my Elementary students would be fascinated with learning about all of the scientists. I think they would particularly be interested in Eran Egozy, Game Developer. It would be awesome for our students to learn about what it takes to develop games!
Thanks for the contest!
A Happy New Year to all!
My twitter is @timeoutdad

B said...

Exciting students about learning is my goal. Using the http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/secretlife/ secret life of scientist website ~ iRobot creator Colin Angle information to excite students about robotics and computer programming.

I would use the projector to explore and deliver robotics information to students and have the students research and deliver presentations about robotics and science.


CONTACT
Digital Media Production (DMP)
Instructor: Betty Lowrance

Twitter: @dmp_gctc

Website: www.gctechseminole.com

Address
Gordon Cooper Technology Center – Seminole Campus
800 North Harvey Road
Seminole, OK 74868

Cheryl Oakes said...

Hello Lee, cheryloakes50 here! I am here reporting for the Secret Life of Scientists and Infocus projector contest. I am co-teaching two science classes as a special education teacher at my high school. Students are always asking us why they have to learn about science. I found the perfect support for my answer, Mollie Woodworth. She lives and works in Boston at MIT as a scientist. She is energetic and makes connections to our students through cheerleading and her energy.Mollie makes learning science cool. I would use Mollie's videos to make connections to and with our students. Then, I would use the projector as a way for our students to be involved in making science come alive, by having the projector be a hands on center where the students would present their research and design how the learning subject or topic of the week would be captured and available to their classmates. An example would be the periodic table collides with Mollie Woodworth! Mollie makes learning real, with real world connections. I would ask my students to use the Secret Life of Scientist website as a model, the periodic table, and learning about QR code and make each element come alive. I read about using QR codes here, http://blog.simplek12.com/technology/how-to-use-qr-codes-in-student-projects/. With the inFocus projector as a center and focal point for students, I believe I would be able to engage my students and have them make science real for all high school students.

Mrs. Duff said...

Thanks for sharing The Secret Life of Scientists! I loved Caryn Babaian's use of visual learning. I would love to use the projector in my 6th grade classroom to also use visual learning. This would be a great enrichment to my "JoyfulNoise" poetry unit. Students investigate and then rehearse the insect inspired poetry. There choral reading performance and art work would definitely be enhanced with this projector.
Thanks for this opportunity to dream of my own pumped out classroom and the chance to motivate my students in a new way.
@teacher6th Karla

Mrs. Duff said...

OK- iPod typing is interesting...
there= their
Pumping= pimping
Auto correct IS NOT a friend of mine

susanacanelo said...

Wow Lee !!
I teach English and Math in two secondary schools in a rural area in Argentina.
Internet and technology have opened a wide window to the world from my classes.
We're starting to use the CLIL approach and connecting Math, English and Visual thinking will be great.
I'd use the projector to improve that practice in so many ways !!!

Stacy Lord said...

Wow, if found your link through my Tweet list (@stacy_lord) and here I am overwhelmed with the possibilities of being able to offer my students a fantastic interactive process. By combining the InFocus IN3916 with the great discovery of the website; The Secret Life of Scientists and Engineers, you have in your hands the tools to engage the hardest of students, for me that means teaching the students in my inner-city middle school art room. After spending sometime listening and reading about the variety of scientists and engineers available on the website, I was drawn to Rich Robinson the Nanoscientist. What peaked my interest is his way of describing what he does, both as a nanoscientist and as an artist. Art affects every walk of life and the crossover between artist and other professions is so very small that it can be easily overlooked by many people (students included). The lesson I would be able to teach would be many but the benefits of using the InFocus IN3916 would be endless. To name a few: It would all me to scroll through the website without being attached to my computer. It would free me up to walk around my room, engaging the students while keeping tabs on behavior. It would allow me to pull up a white screen to take notes on or illustrate an idea. It would allow me to hand off the wand to a student who could then interact with the presentation allowing for greater engagement and interest. It would also bring technology into my classroom beyond the overhead and LCD projector I currently have 
Rich Robinson talks about trying to capture his subject’s souls when he photographs. He talks about taking responsibility and actively works towards keeping our plant healthy, for all of us. As a teacher I believe in providing the very best I have to offer to every one of my students, regardless of where they come from or where they go after.

MMolishus said...

Lee,

I was so glad to have the time this week to explore the Secret Life of Scientists and Engineers site, something I’ve been wanting to do. I was also glad I read your post about the InFocus IN3900 series projector, which seems like a great tool for the classroom.

Before I went to the Secret Life site, there was (surprisingly) no doubt in my mind that I would find a scientist who would be perfect for an event that’s in its eighth year in my second grade classroom – my Science Circus Camp! I was sure I’d find a scientist who would relate to our circus theme, and I did, Gavin Schmidt, climate scientist and juggler!! One of the focuses of our spring Science Circus Camp is to help the children think about careers and to help the children begin to explore ways they can work at things they really enjoy. This is a great message that Gavin shares.

This will be the eighth year I’ve combined one of our science units, Balancing and Weighing with a circus theme. We “ditch” the usually school routine for a week and turn our days into a camp-like setting, spending most of the days working on science activities. The children learn how balance is related to the circus, and on the last day of our five days of camp, they perform for family and other invited guests in their own circus! Not only are they learning about balancing and weighing during the week, they’re also learning how to apply their knowledge to a real-life event. And, it’s so much fun! We invite parents to help for the week, past students and high school volunteers have helped as camp counselors, and for most of the years we have been able to merge with a classroom that typically learns in a small group setting, building cooperative skills and giving the children a chance to work with their peers in a totally different and exciting way! The teachers, students, and community work together and it’s fantastic!

This year, I am working in a full-inclusion classroom with another teacher and instructional support assistant. Sometimes, we split the students into small groups to work in ways that are best for learning. It would be wonderful to have the InFocus IN3900 series projector to use when we are working with our small groups. Often times we project items (interactive or not) related to the lessons we are teaching or post things as visual aids. We have a classroom projector and SmartBoard, but having an additional projector that we could use with a laptop in another area of the classroom or even in the hall would be ideal!

Additionally, as part of our study related to the circus, the children investigate careers that could allow one to work in the circus as well as in other places. I am thinking that the Secret Life of Scientists will show the children that a career in science does not mean that one need only be interested in science. The children will be able to see that they can study science but also pursue other interests. And, another benefit of this site is that the children will be able to explore the many activities that require balance. Again, having the project will allow us to have the children work in small groups to explore the Secret Life of Scientists during transitions and as we relate real life to our Balancing and Weighing unit.

Thanks,

Maryann Molishus
MaryannM on Twitter

MMolishus said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
B said...

Engaging and exciting students in the Digital Media Production class that I teach is my goal. I would use the Secret Life Scientist website - Colin Angle: Roboticist and InFocus projector to teach students about robotics and computer programming. I would also have the students use the Secret Life Scientist website and InFocus projector to create and deliver presentations.

Twitter: @dmp_gctc

Media Diva said...

I’m a primary school librarian. My twitter name is @turrean. We do a lesson in the library which challenges the kids to examine their conception of what a scientist is and does. Even today, kids see and internalize a stereotyped conception of scientists as remote, white-coat-wearing, and quite possibly “mad” guys off in a laboratory somewhere. Science is seen as something scientists do, not something people do. The kids discuss & brainstorm their current conceptions. Then we read Snowflake Bentley, the biography of a citizen scientist, and discuss how in many ways he doesn’t fit the stereotypical ideas of a scientist. My lesson is online here: http://tinyurl.com/25gtjog (I had fun adding in lots of media resources.)

Content from “Secret Life of Scientists and Engineers” is just right for this lesson. When I opened the link in your post, the very first blog post had a link to electron microscope pics of snowflakes (perfect or what!) I want to share the video clip on teenage astronomer Caroline Moore, as she’s about as far from the stereotypical scientist as you can get, and then have the kids explore other scientists’ lives, both on the site and in books.

I’d love to add the projector to our school--it would absolutely perfect to add to the computer lab. We could easily share images of stereotypical scientists from the media, show video clips of Wilson Bentley’s life and the lives of other scientists. After our kids draw pictures of their old and new conceptions of what a scientist is and does, and add voice narration, we can share them easily with a whole group.

Lori said...

Hi Lee,
Thanks for your very generous offer to give away the InFocus 3900 projector to a lucky teacher. As yours is, my classroom is already pimped out with most of the cool techie tools a nerdy teacher could want. So, my plan, if you choose me to win, is to give the projector away, too. Our elementary science teacher desperately needs a projector to use with her 4th, 5th and 6th grade classes. She has a huge job and as such I'd like to be able to reward her for her awesome efforts and supply her with needed technology to enhance Science lessons. Our district is facing budget cuts just like everyone else. I'm sharing the Secret Life of Scientists site with her when I get to school this morning. No doubt she will be as pumped as I was when I arrived on the site and looked for third grade applications. The snowflakes are looking pretty good for inclusion next week in Science.
As a fellow DEN STAR, I thank you for your generosity and hope you pick me to win!
My twitter name is @lorir.

Darren Tagliarini said...

twitter: @Thebehaviorguy

As a behavior specialist working with children with Autism I have learned how to harness the power of graphics/visuals to help these children gain a better understanding of the world around them. Images and stories help comprehension of social situations through the use of social stories. Visual schedules help students understand what is coming ahead and when activities are ending. Over the years I have written many social stories and created visual schedules which have been printed and shared with educators and families around the world. These stories and other materials have can be used as a lesson in the classroom either in small or large groups or with individuals to teach specific skills.

One area I have wanted teachers to expand on is to take these stories and use them as interactive PowerPoint’s with all the animations, sounds and utilization of the ability to manipulate and activate the characters through these stories. Using these PowerPoints in addition to having them printed as books or visuals, would be attacking a social communication issue through 2 different media outlets, computer and print .

As I do not have my own classroom with a projector, the InFocus interactive projector would give me the the power to activate and move story characters into the teacher and child’s hands as they walk through social situations. I would share and teach teachers how this can be done easily in their classrooms with their students with autism and other developmental disabilities. These sessions can then be taped and shared with the Secret Lives of Scientists and or posted via the web for others to see the power of interactive projectors and Powerpoint.

Bekka Stasny said...

My name is Bekka Stasny (@ascienceteacher).
I teach 7th grade science at a magnet school for performing and communication arts in Bradenton, FL.
Although our district has a core curriculum that we are required to follow, at my school, we are highly encouraged to integrate the arts into our classes.
When I visited the Secret Life of Scientists and Engineers I was really intrigued with the scientists and engineers secret lives. I immediately felt a connection with them because I feel that I have a sort of secret life outside of being a science teacher. I didn’t ever plan to be a teacher, and didn’t realize that it was something that I wanted to do until my senior year in college when I was majoring in marine biology. I had an internship in the education department at the Mystic Aquarium and the first time that I saw the excitement on one of my student’s faces when they “got” what I was teaching, I knew what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.
I get to integrate my “secret life” as a marine biologist into my lessons and into my middle school science classroom through class discussions and through the multiple saltwater tanks that I have. (I have collected all of the organisms that are in the tanks) I think that my students can make a connection with me, since we can talk about the animals in the saltwater tanks in the classroom as well as ocean life in general. I think that it is important for students to see that teachers do have lives outside of school.
I immediately made a connection with biologist Caryn Babian on the “Secret Life” site. Both because of her love of science, but also because of her integration of art into science. Caryn said something that really resonated with me. She said in her video “The Art of Science” She said that “it is not uncommon for people to get really scared of drawing” I know this first hand. When I try to get my students to draw in my class, I hear – “I can’t draw.” (Neither can I by the way…) but I really like how she encourages her students to get to draw - she makes it relatable to them. Instead of having her students draw da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man, she has her students draw Charlie Brown – He’s so much friendlier, and students can relate to him. And in turn, students are able to put aside their fears of drawing and be successful at it.
If I were to incorporate “The Secret Life of Scientists and Engineers” site and the InFocus IN3900 series projector, I would use them to encourage students to not be afraid of drawing and to encourage them to embrace their “secret life.”
Having an interactive projector will allow all students to be able to interactively draw on the screen and show their artistic talents to the rest of the class, in addition to allowing me to teach science in a way that is relatable to 7th graders. The “secret life” site will hopefully encourage students to embrace their “secret life” whatever it may be – an artist, a juggler, a figure skater, a cheerleader… because it makes them who they are.
I plan on introducing my students to the “Secret Life” site and to Caryn Babian even if I don’t win, because I think that they will gain confidence their artistic ability, and they will learn to embrace their “secret life.”

Bekka Stasny said...

I teach 7th grade science at a magnet school for performing and communication arts. Although our district has a core curriculum that we are required to follow, at my school, we are highly encouraged to integrate the arts into our classes.
When I visited the Secret Life of Scientists and Engineers I was really intrigued with the scientists and engineers secret lives. I immediately felt a connection with them because I feel that I have a sort of secret life outside of being a science teacher. I didn’t ever plan to be a teacher, and didn’t realize that it was something that I wanted to do until my senior year in college when I was majoring in marine biology. I had an internship in the education department at the Mystic Aquarium and the first time that I saw the excitement on one of my student’s faces when they “got” what I was teaching, I knew what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.
I get to integrate my “secret life” as a marine biologist into my lessons and into my middle school science classroom through class discussions and through the multiple saltwater tanks that I have. (I have collected all of the organisms that are in the tanks) I think that my students can make a connection with me, since we can talk about the animals in the saltwater tanks in the classroom as well as ocean life in general. I think that it is important for students to see that teachers do have lives outside of school.
I immediately made a connection with biologist Caryn Babian on the “Secret Life” site. Both because of her love of science, but also because of her integration of art into science. Caryn said something that really resonated with me. She said in her video “The Art of Science” She said that “it is not uncommon for people to get really scared of drawing” I know this first hand. When I try to get my students to draw in my class, I hear – “I can’t draw.” (Neither can I by the way…) but I really like how she encourages her students to get to draw - she makes it relatable to them. Instead of having her students draw da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man, she has her students draw Charlie Brown – He’s so much friendlier, and students can relate to him. And in turn, students are able to put aside their fears of drawing and be successful at it.
If I were to incorporate “The Secret Life of Scientists and Engineers” site and the InFocus IN3900 series projector, I would use them to encourage students to not be afraid of drawing and to encourage them to embrace their “secret life.”
Having an interactive projector will allow all students to be able to interactively draw on the screen and show their artistic talents to the rest of the class, in addition to allowing me to teach science in a way that is relatable to 7th graders. The “secret life” site will hopefully encourage students to embrace their “secret life” whatever it may be – an artist, a juggler, a figure skater, a cheerleader… because it makes them who they are.
I plan on introducing my students to the “Secret Life” site and to Caryn Babian even if I don’t win, because I think that they will gain confidence their artistic ability, and they will learn to embrace their “secret life.”

Bekka Stasny said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bekka Stasny said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Todd said...

First of all, thanks Lee for this opportunity. I'm a 7th grade science teacher in North Carolina (@twilliamson15) and frequently fight the perception that "scientists" are strictly "Old Dead Guys". In past years I have set up Skype conversations with meteorologists both in the broadcast field, as well as working for the National Weather Service and for the private sector. This year, I have set up conversations with engineers at two roller coaster design firms. I think it is important for our students to see that science is not something done in a lab by balding or crazy-haired men with a propensity for mixing chemicals and blowing things up.

The Secret Life site is an excellent example of some of the real world aspects of scientific thinking. Part of my goal is to teach my students that you don't have to "be a scientist" to benefit from thinking like one. Having a wide range of folks in different scientific fields will be a great resource for sharing this concept with my 7th graders.

One of the things I also try and work with my students on is the reality of job availability. I love that there is a Game Developer included on the list of scientists at Secret Life. Just like Roller Coaster Designers, Game Design is a field that is largely thought about from the perspective of some of the lower performing students in my class. Kids that attempt to frequently "escape from the model of schools". These jobs are looked at as the pinnacle of achievement for 7th grade gamers or thrill seekers. I like to inject the reality that while they are science jobs, they are exceedingly rare. The number of video game PLAYERS greatly exceeds the number of video game programmers. The same goes for Roller Coaster Design as there are roughly a dozen design firms worldwide that make the majority of the coasters at theme parks around the world.

One way I would use the projector would be to share the stories of the scientists at the Secret Life site. I would follow this up by having my students look into the particular jobs these people hold and use various tools to present their findings. Students could look for information on the number of jobs available, pay scale, skills required for employment, required degrees, etc. I would give them the opportunity to use various tools such as Glogster, Kidblog, and Animoto to share their findings with their classmates. The projector would aid the students in the presentation of their findings.

I also think it would be excellent to add some Skype sessions with any of the Secret Life scientists throughout the course of my school year. My kids love the opportunity to converse with folks actually out in the field of science. The site has at the very least given me a few other science careers to seek out locally for additional conversations.

Thanks so much for pushing my thinking!

Todd said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Todd said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mrs. B said...

I love the secret lives of scientists. I would use the posts to do many things. However, when I watched Michio Kaku video of how his love for ice skating was connected to the laws of physics I knew I could help my students make better connections between science in the classroom and science in real life. It is so important for students to see why science is relevant to their life and how understanding science can make them better problem solvers even if they don't want a career in science. Also, I thought the profile of Michio Kaku's family was another great connection to show how someones life experiences are a lot like the students lifes. If they want to be successful they can choose to be successful, just like Michio's mom and dad.

shannonthelibrarian said...

@shannonwa on twitter, part 1
Wow! I really like The Secret Life of Scientists videos. The site has a great selection, and I've

discovered several that have immediate classroom audiences. One project that could make good

use of this resource and the InFocus IN3900 interactive projector is a unit of study our 4th graders

are about to undertake. In Language Arts, they'll be studying biography and memoir, including

writing their own. One prompt is "tell us something we may not know about you"; how well this fits

in with the secret life of scientists! I've proposed to the classroom teachers that we use several

Secret Life of Scientists videos as a model of what our students might create, to move their

biography "from the page to the stage." As they'll also be moving into a science of flight unit, the

work of Allan Adams: Theoretical Physicist/Glider Pilot is particularly appropriate to showcase as an

example. I'm really impressed by his obvious energy and enthusiasm for flying. Other videos

introducing Nate Ball, Mechanical Engineer/Free Runner; Mollie Woodworth,

Neuroscientist/Cheerleader; and Caroline Moore, Teen Astronomer/Singer may also be engaging for

4th graders. I like how the Secret Life resource presents segments where the scientists introduce

their science specialty, in addition to the segments on the private passions.

After students have written first drafts of their own biographies, they can use the interactive

projector to model the editing process. Using the included software, students can take turns

presenting their work to peers and their classroom teacher for editing and revision (and celebratory

comments, too). Then, students can move onto the multimedia stage: storyboarding what visuals

might support their text. We're fortunate to have a number of RCA Small Wonder pocket cameras in

all of our classrooms, so students can take turns filming each other, or capturing still images to

support their text. They may also go online to search for Creative Commons images that may be

available to enhance their projects. Once again, the projector will come in handy in demonstrating

the steps in each of these tasks, discussing appropriate and ethical use, and allowing students

clear visuals of the steps they'll be doing themselves.

Using Audacity, students can record a sound track of their biography. With the projector, it will be

easy for several students to collaborate and provide peer support for each other's projects (i.e. "a barking dog sound effect barking dog would make this part of your biography seem scarier.") Being able to project the multiple sound tracks on a large screen will make it much easier for these students to learn to manipulate this software, and to work collaboratively.

shannonthelibrarian said...

@shannonwa on twitter, part 1:

Wow! I really like The Secret Life of Scientists videos. The site has a great selection, and I've discovered several that have immediate classroom audiences. One project that could make good
use of this resource and the InFocus IN3900 interactive projector is a unit of study our 4th graders are about to undertake. In Language Arts, they'll be studying biography and memoir, including writing their own. One prompt is "tell us something we may not know about you"; how well this fits in with the secret life of scientists! I've proposed to the classroom teachers that we use several Secret Life of Scientists videos as a model of what our students might create, to move their biography "from the page to the stage." As they'll also be moving into a science of flight unit, the
work of Allan Adams: Theoretical Physicist/Glider Pilot is particularly appropriate to showcase as an example. I'm really impressed by his obvious energy and enthusiasm for flying. Other videos introducing Nate Ball, Mollie Woodworth, and Caroline Moore, may also be engaging for 4th graders. I like how the Secret Life resource presents segments where the scientists introduce their science specialty, in addition to the segments on the private passions.
To be continued...

shannonthelibrarian said...

@shannonwa on twitter, part 2

After students have written first drafts of their own biographies, they can use the interactive

projector to model the editing process. Using the included software, students can take turns

presenting their work to peers and their classroom teacher for editing and revision (and celebratory

comments, too). Then, students can move onto the multimedia stage: storyboarding what visuals

might support their text. We're fortunate to have a number of RCA Small Wonder pocket cameras in

all of our classrooms, so students can take turns filming each other, or capturing still images to

support their text. They may also go online to search for Creative Commons images that may be

available to enhance their projects. Once again, the projector will come in handy in demonstrating

the steps in each of these tasks, discussing appropriate and ethical use, and allowing students

clear visuals of the steps they'll be doing themselves.

Using Audacity, students can record a sound track of their biography. With the projector, it will be

easy for several students to collaborate and provide peer support for each other's projects (i.e. "a barking dog sound effect barking dog would make this part of your biography seem scarier.") Being able to project the multiple sound tracks on a large screen will make it much easier for these students to learn to manipulate this software, and to work collaboratively.
To be continued...

shannonthelibrarian said...

@shannonwa on twitter, part 3
Then, using MovieMaker (another free tool), students can sync their still and video images to the

imported Audacity soundtrack, then finish up by adding titling and credits. Since this will be these

students first experience with Moviemaker, again, the availability of the projector to project the

computer image for all to see the steps involved in the uploading and syncing process is key to

success of the project. We'd be able to use the wand to highlight key or tricky steps of the process.

Pop a bowl of popcorn, and students are all set to proudly present their final projects. I envision

some students may want to present to the whole school in our cafeteria/auditorium. David Fisher's

review makes it sound as if this IN3900 projector will have no difficulty providing a crisp image on the large wall screen. Other students may want to upload their video biographies to Glogster EDU, and embed these in our class wikis to share with friends and family both near and far. We've discovered that students are incredibly motivated when their work has an expanded audience. Instead of a paper written for a singular audience (the classroom teacher), friends, family, and even the whole world are potential fans or critics.

The project provides students an opportunity to practice critical thinking, collaboration and communication skills. Sound like a winner? We hope so!
Phew- finally figured out how to squeeze this whole post in, despite blogger post limits!

Lee Kolbert said...

This comment by Stacy Lord, was originally posted on Jan.2 and inadvertantly deleted.

Wow, if found your link through my Tweet list (@stacy_lord) and here I am overwhelmed with the possibilities of being able to offer my students a fantastic interactive process. By combining the InFocus IN3916 with the great discovery of the website; The Secret Life of Scientists and Engineers, you have in your hands the tools to engage the hardest of students, for me that means teaching the students in my inner-city middle school art room. After spending sometime listening and reading about the variety of scientists and engineers available on the website, I was drawn to Rich Robinson the Nanoscientist. What peaked my interest is his way of describing what he does, both as a nanoscientist and as an artist. Art affects every walk of life and the crossover between artist and other professions is so very small that it can be easily overlooked by many people (students included). The lesson I would be able to teach would be many but the benefits of using the InFocus IN3916 would be endless. To name a few: It would all me to scroll through the website without being attached to my computer. It would free me up to walk around my room, engaging the students while keeping tabs on behavior. It would allow me to pull up a white screen to take notes on or illustrate an idea. It would allow me to hand off the wand to a student who could then interact with the presentation allowing for greater engagement and interest. It would also bring technology into my classroom beyond the overhead and LCD projector I currently have 
Rich Robinson talks about trying to capture his subject’s souls when he photographs. He talks about taking responsibility and actively works towards keeping our plant healthy, for all of us. As a teacher I believe in providing the very best I have to offer to every one of my students, regardless of where they come from or where they go after.