Pedagogically Speaking - Tricks and Tips for Activ Inspire

Pedagogically Speaking – Tricks and Tips for Activ Inspire

As you know, I’ll be having a baby in about 6 weeks and, as a result, I’ve been trying to tie up all the little New Years resolutions I had .  The baby will conveniently be born just after the New Year too so he’s a real motivator!!  As a result, I’ve been busy wrapping up a heap of projects and so I’m really sorry if you’re reading this post thinking.. is she trying to sell me another thing? I’m not, honestly.  But, i have managed to achieve something that I’m pretty proud of and so I can’t help but blog about it 🙂

I’ve gone and got an actual book published!

The book that I originally started writing in 2007 has finally been re-jigged, typeset and published.  You can now buy “Pedagogically Speaking – Tips & Tricks for Promethean’s Activ Inspire” by me, in the Create Space and Amazon Book stores (US | UK).  The book has evolved over the years and so, to be honest, i’m really glad it took me so long to finally finish it.  It’s much more refined now than it was back then! Having said that, I’m sure it’s not perfect – I can always add more!!! 🙂

For those who don’t use Activ Inspire, yes.. I will be writing another one for both Easiteach Next Generation and SMART Notebook. In fact, now that the typesetting is all in place, i’m hoping it’ll be MUCH, much easier to do so.  As for which one comes out first? That will depend on which company gives me the permission to use screen shots of their software first. It took Promethean nearly 2 years to get that, rather little question sorted! I am very grateful that they eventually said yes!  Perhaps now my students can see another reason why I get so obsessed about doing the right thing with copyright and creative commons 🙂

So, what is this book about and who is it for?

Well.  The book is designed to support one of my passions. To help us to focus our teaching with technology more on the pedagogy that the tool itself. To ensure that we are getting the best out of a very expensive tool. That the IWB is NOT (and NEVER WILL BE) used in a teacher-centric 18th Century manner and that teachers are able to link their professional teaching skills to the technology’s true capability and create powerful, meaningful learning experiences for themselves and their pupils.  The only way to do that is to step away from ‘technocentric’ thinking – “This technology lets me go online and show videos on a big screen” to one in which we consider what we need to do to enhance learning.. “I need to differentiate this bit and increase team work and collaboration skills whilst teaching X”. The book shares my own experience about how you can do those things with Activ Inspire.

I’ve spent years going into schools and having this conversation with teachers so it probably won’t come as a surprise to you to see that it is made up of over 50 pages of “how-to”s – all of which are categorized by one of nine pedagogical practices.  These are the same pedagogical practices that I have stuck in the front of my teacher planner. They are the methods that I question myself on every time I plan a lesson and ALL of the pages in this book have been used in my own lessons.  I know that they work because I’ve used them. I’ve also trained countless others to do the same. I’ve not had any complaints so far! 😉

In the first versions I wrote back in 2007 I couldn’t really articulate what I was trying to do .. then Punya and Matt wrote the TPACK framework and I got a hold of that a couple of years ago.. now I had  means to explain what I was up to 🙂  So, you’ll find an introductory chapter in which I explain how I use the TPACK framework – practically – to inform my teaching practice.  I take what some see as ‘just an acronym’ and show you a practical way of applying it with any year level, subject or ability range.  The reason the book is able to do that, is because I only provide the guidance on the technology and the pedagogy – you bring along the content knowledge and VIOLA!  You’re in the Nexus! I have to say a big thank you to Punya and Matt for agreeing to let me use their diagram in the book too 🙂  Next time they’re in Adelaide I owe them a beer!

Which technology are you using then?

Well, this one is designed to be used with a Promethean Activ board or, any IWB that runs the Activ Inspire software. So, if you’ve got an interactive projector or another brand of board AND have a license for Activ Inspire then this book would be for you 🙂 It doesn’t cover the real basics of the software. I hate the.. “here’s the pen tool.. you can write with it…” approach anyway and, to be honest, even if you’re a total beginner (but are able to feel your way around software) you”ll get lots of use from the book.  Feel free to email me for a labelled diagram of where all the basic bits are anyway – always happy to share!

Will i be able to get an e-book of this?

Yes.  But that involves me re-typesetting it for Kindle so the real question is – “Can you re-typeset this for Kindle before the baby is born?” I’ll do my best!

What’s next on the project list?

Well, let’s see…  That’s a Word Press theme for e-portfolios, a App in the app store and a book.  I have promised my friends that bungee jumping whilst this pregnant is definitely OFF the list! 😉  I’ll get the app on Android and attempt to get the book into the Kindle store and then, i reckon, I’ll concentrate on being a new mum for a bit 😉

Unless you have any suggestions? 😉


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