Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Google SketchUp Pro Free For Teachers (AK)

  Alaska has signed a State License Agreement for Google SketchUp Pro software.  This is a 3-D Modeling for students to use, FREE for all Alaskan Teachers!!  Courtesy of Alaska’s Learning Network www.aklearn.net/resources  and the Alaska Department of Education & Early Development.  To request your site license, contact:   Roxanne.mourant@alaska.gov / 907-465-8578 
Opportunity is provided through the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) University of Alaska, the Alaska Department of Education & Early Development, and Alaska’s Learning Network.

What is the Google SketchUp Pro Statewide License Grant?
Typically, SketchUp Pro licenses have to be purchased. This grant of SketchUp Pro educational licenses to schools on a state-wide basis allows teachers access to a great learning tool without any costs incurred.
We highly recommend downloading Google Earth (free) as well, as Google SketchUp Pro and Google Earth are used in conjunction for modeling real world buildings which can be geo-located in Google Earth.

What is Google SketchUp Pro?

Google SketchUp is software that you can use to create 3D models of anything you like. Teachers are using it on many grade levels and in many subject areas from computer technology to math, geography, and science.
What is Google Earth?
Google Earth lets you fly anywhere on Earth to view satellite imagery, maps, terrain, 3D buildings, from galaxies in outer space to the canyons of the ocean. You can explore rich geographical content, save your toured places, and share with others.
How do I get a site license?
AKLN resources issue site licenses for Alaska’s teachers.  Go to www.aklearn.net/resources or contact:  roxanne.mourant@alaska.gov.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Learn 360

If you have access to Learn360 and its incredible database of videos and lesson plans you know how beneficial they are in the classroom. The only problem is that they take FOREVER to stream. Well here in the Lower Yukon School District we have jumped this hurdle by downloading these videos to the servers of each individual site. This way the teachers of each site can watch the videos from upstairs instead of... oh I don't know... California or Timbuktu!

If A teacher wanted to take it a step further they could also download the videos to their own computer. Pretty cool right?! Yes... but the latest videos (added by the Biography Channel, History Channel, etc) are in a new format. You can still watch and download them, but you need to do a few things first. 

Ready to try it out? Open another browser window and follow along with me!


Friday, January 13, 2012

Firmware Upgrades

"fixed, usually rather small, programs and/or data structures that internally control various electronic devices" - That is Wikipedia's definition of firmware. Remote controls, projectors, iPhones, and SMART Boards have it, and sometimes they need updating. SMART Boards are often in need of firmware updating when strange behavior is evident. 
Some of the symptoms include: 

  • squiggly lines when users are drawing straigh ones. 
  • reversal of horizontal of vertical planes while drawing (upside or reversed movemets).
  • reduced sensitivity.
  • limited connectivity to the computer (stops working sporadiaclly).
Before following the attached steps, be sure that your SMART Board Tools or Board Tools application is running and is updated. You may also want to unplug and replug the device or try the connection wizard (Board Tools>Open>Control Panel).

It doesn't hurt anything to upgrade the firmware in any case, so give this a shot the next time you are experiencing unexplainable behavior:

Flashing Lights on SMART Boards

If you have a SMART Board in your class or school you have probably noticed the lights on the board, the power button, or the projector itself. These lights will at times indicated trouble or necessary maintenance. For a complete listing of these lights and their meanings, see the attached PDF, page 52.

Recently I troubleshot a UX60/SBD600 on a mobile stand. The light would not stop flashing amber and green. This one is the easiest to fix, as it is simply a loose wire. First check the connection of the wiring harness to the ECP:

  Next be sure that the other end is plugged in firmly to the projector. They get moved and bounced around so much, it is no wonder they come loose. Lower the unit and remove the panel to see the connections below: