Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The @ScanSnap SV600 Review #EdTech

The Fujitsu ScanSnap SV600 is awesome. I just wanted to get that out of the way first. It is incredible and the idea of a contactless scanner is perfect of the things I need to scan on any given day. Here is a video that will quickly walk you through the features. 

This video does a great job of showing all of the cool things the scanner can do for a teacher. I love the end of the video where the student brings up their work, presses the button, and it is scanned right away. As an English teacher, scanning pages of books on a copier is a huge headache. I can't take the book apart for individual pages either. The SV600 is the perfect solution for scanning pages in a book. I can now scan pages, upload the PDFs to my Smart Notebook or Smart Amp file and have students annotate on the document. 

Another great use for the SV600 is archiving our old student news papers. We have papers dating back to World War II and it is too costly to have the pages scanned and saved by a company. With the SV600, students can carefully scan individual pages of the newspaper and we can now have archived editions of our school newspaper. Here is a collection of photos as I tried out the scanner with the newspapers. 

I loved having the scanner connected to my computer and my Smartboard so students could see the photo and note the high quality image that was scanned. 

The image of the scans were beautiful. We could zoom in on the scanned pages and we could see every letter and every picture clearly. It was an amazing picture. The scans can be saved as a PDF or a JPEG as well, so there are options as to how we choose to share these items. As an Evernote guy, I love that scans can be sent directly to Evernote. If there are pages of a document I want students to annotate, I can scan them and share them directly into a folder that the students have access. It is a simple way to get my students work. Once it is scanned once, I no longer have to worry about scanning them again. It will save me time in the long run when I scan the work. 

There are some other cool features that are worth noting:

Auto crop several documents in one scan. If you are scanning a bunch of business cards, it will recognize this and crop out just the cards. Up to 10 documents can be in one scan.

Page turning detection. It knows when you turn the page and will start scanning. This is just cool. The extra button pushes are removed with this feature and it works great!

Fingers are erased. You can easily edit out your finger if it made it into the scan holding a page down. This is a nice feature for those who do not want their pudgy fingers not the page. 

Items can be scanned to Google Docs, to Microsoft Word, Dropbox, and other Cloud Storage services. 

The ScanSnap SV600 is priced at $795.00. When I was given the quote to archive all of our student newspapers, it was a few thousand dollars. With the ScanSnap SV600, I can do all of the scanning myself and whatever I want to scan for years to come. 

Overall, the ScanSnap SV600 is a beautifully designed scanner with high quality pictures that is very easy to use. The scanner would be perfect in the library for students and teachers to use who need to scan parts of books or their projects. The ability to share easily with Google and Evernote is a huge plus for me and I see this Scanner getting hours of use the rest of this year. The ScanSnap SV600 is an archivist dream and librarian's best friend. 

I was sent a ScanSnap SV600 for the purpose of this review. All content and opinions expressed are my own. 

#PBL in Practice #EdChat

Below you will find another excellent example of why project based learning is a wonderful part of the classroom. I asked my students to create their own Myth or Legend at the end of our Myth and Legend Unit. They could write a story, create a comic, make a movie, or offer an alternative. Most student chose to write the story, but these two students wanted to go all out and film their very own legend. There are some areas of grammar that could be worked on for this short film, but the overall idea was great. The students in class loved it and it started great conversations about Myths and Legends in each class I showed it. These two students worked hard in class and put in hours after school to add the sound effects and to just edit the entire piece together. I've written this before, but I'll write it again. What type of bubble test could inspire these students to work or accurately asses what they accomplished?

Enjoy the film.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The #EduBroAwards v3.0 #EdChat

The #EduBroAwards are back and better than ever! Please take this brief pause to collect yourself and keep reading. 


Good. Now that you are slightly more calm and tad bit more collected, I will go over the fine details of how the #EduBroAwards work and why they have come back. 

The #EduBroAwards show was conceived as a way for people to celebrate one another after a long year of working hard, sharing, caring and generally being awesome. There are too many awards shows that focus on the few when we should all be celebrating the many. That is what makes our awards show so special and different from all of the rest. We want everyone to be recognized for how truly awesome they are. We have unlimited awards to give out and we can't wait to see the craziness that ensues when we hold out live Google Hangout to hand out the awards. 

The Awards Ceremony is tentatively scheduled for Thursday December 18 at 8:30PM EST

Things the #EduBroAwards will be about:

Having fun
Veiled references to 90's pop culture
Not so veiled references to 80's pop culture
Too many inside jokes
Kyle Pace's hugs
Steven Anderson's height
Bow ties
Boy Meets World
Girl Meets World
All other things that ARE awesome

Things the #EduBroAwards will NOT be about:

All other things that are NOT awesome

Here are how the #EduBroAwards are going to work this year:

  • You can create your own award and nominate anyone you want.
  • You can create your own award and nominate yourself.
  • Someone can be nominated for more than one award. 
  • Everyone will win something.
  • Here is a list of the award categories we have created.
    • Best Mustache/Beard in Education
    • Best Hug Giver
    • Twitter User Most Likely to RT a Post They Didn't Read
    • Best Twitter Avatar
    • Best Title to a Blog Post
    • Best Educational Road-trip
    • The Daniel LaRussa "You're The Best Around" Award
  • All nominations must be made in the comment box.
  • You must identify yourself in the comment. No Anonymous comments.
  • You must nominate yourself for one of the awards created or one you have created. 
  • Tweet your nominations with the #EduBroAwards tag
  • Nominations end Wednesday December 10th.
Awards Show
  • The #EduBroAwards will be held using a Google Hang Out that will be streamed on YouTube
  • Nick and Tim will host the awards. 
  • Every award will be presented live on the show. If you were nominated, you get to hear your name read out by Nick or Tim. 
  • Badges will be available after the ceremony is over. 
  • The show will be funny. 
  • Casual attire is encouraged, but formal attire would be way funnier.
The last thing we want to say before you start filling the comments with nominations is that this is supposed to be a fun event. We love our friends and we want to recognize them in a way that is not a competition focused on self promotion or popularity. We want to do something fun and the #EduBroAwards are just the thing to put a smile on people's faces. 

The @BlackboardK12 BITS Learning Sessions #14 #BbK12Live

I've partnered with BlackboardK12 to share out the awesome sessions they are having this Fall. Educators can sign up to attend and share with other great educators what they have learned. I'll feature the session and the description on my blog each week and on my Twitter account. If you have questions, feel free to shoot a tweet to @BlackboardK12. Have fun learning and sharing!

The Best of Both Worlds - a blended co-teaching model

We have a unique co-teaching and blended learning model at the NC Virtual Public School. Our co-teaching and blended learning model pairs an Exceptional Children's classroom teacher with an online content teacher. The students work within the online course and the classroom environment, giving students both a classroom teacher and an online teacher who collaboratively plan with a focus on each individual student. We will share the benefits found in our model along with details about its beginning, implementation, and next steps.

Sherry Bell, RttT STEM Project Manager and Instructional Director of the Blended Occupational Course of Study Courses/Exceptional Children/504 Programs  

Jen Currin, Instructional Director for English, Science, and Credit Recovery

Jen Currin is the Instructional Director for Credit Recovery, English, and Science at NCVPS. Jen has been with NCVPS since 2010 and has served as an online and blended learning teacher, Instructional Leader, course revisionist, and course development team lead. Jen was the 2013 NCVPS Teacher of the Year and a finalist for the 2013 National Online Teacher of the Year.  

Sherry Bell joined NCVPS in March 2012 and is the RttT STEM Project Manager and Director of the Blended Occupational Course of Study Courses/Exceptional Children/504 Programs. She is responsible for quality assurance in the online learning courses in order to support the learning of exceptional children taking NCVPS courses and in accordance with the virtual STEM model outlined in the Race to the Top grant. Mrs. Bell holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Disorders and a Master of Arts in Speech Language Pathology, both from Appalachian State University and has a license in Exceptional Children’sProgram Administration K-12.

Twitter: @JenCurrin @sherrydbell

Monday, December 1, 2014 3:30 PM EST

Monday, November 24, 2014

Thank an Educator #ad

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Chevrolet for IZEA. All opinions are 100% mine.


‘Tis the season for thank yous and I wanted to share with all of you the best way that I have ever been thanked as an educator. One of my favorites was a student who created a zombie version of my head and gave it to me on graduation last year. She wanted to thank me for always supporting her artwork. Here is a video of it from Instagram. 

While this may not be a conventional way to thank a teacher, as an educator, these types of gifts mean the world to me because it is something I never expected to get. Any gift from a student or a parent is always so amazing because we do not teach to get presents. We teach because we love teaching. We love working with students and seeing their light bulbs go off after so many short circuits. There is so much joy in working with students that gifts do not even enter our thoughts. Knowing that we impact the lives of so many students every year is something that still makes me smile when I come to work. I think that is why they are so meaningful.

In today’s culture, educators are at the center of a storm where we feel very marginalized. Our work is not seen as valuable. It is not the best climate right now to be an educator though we are an essential part of our society. Maybe that is why even the little things right now mean so much to me. The smallest thank card from a student holds so much weight because it feels like society just wants to drive you into the ground. While I am happy with a small token of appreciation, it is really nice to see organizations offer support and thank educators in their own way. Chevy is offering an educator discount for all school employees as a thank you for all of the hard work they put in day in and day out. Things like this can go a long way in making educators feel a bit more appreciated in what they do every day.


The Educator Discount applies to public and private educators kindergarten through university. Chevy is taking an awesome step in supporting the great things educators do every day by providing them with a wonderful discount on the purchase or lease of their next car. For me, I will always have a special place in my heart for Chevy and doing something for teachers only enhances my admiration for them. More companies need to follow Chevy's lead and support educators at a time when others are turning their backs.

If you are looking for a new ride this winter, take a few minutes to check out the awesome options available from Chevy. If you’re not in the market for a new car today, you can wait until the summer because the discount lasts until September 30, 2015! Check out a 2014 Malibu MTZ, 2014 Impala LTZ, 2014 Equinox LTZ AWD, 2014 Traverse LTZ AWD, or the 2014 Silverado 1500 4WD 2LT Double Cab V8 and arrive in school in style with a few extra bucks in your pocket from Chevrolet’s Educator Discount.

There are so many people saying so many different things about education and teachers right now, it is sometimes the simplest thing that people need to say or do that can make all of the difference. As an educator, I wonder how often we take a minute to thank the amazing educators around us. We get so wrapped up in our own lesson planning and student interactions, how many times do we stop and thank our peers for their help? It is something worth thinking about this holiday season and, truthfully, all year long.

So, how would you thank a teacher?

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