Friday, May 18, 2007

Notes from NJECC

I am at our monthly meeting of the New Jersey Educational Computing Consortium. Today's agenda includes topics like iWeb as a classroom publishing tool, videoconferencing, Inspiredata as a means for data analysis, and a few vendors selling their wares.

Coming here on a monthly basis, something we have done all year, always serves as a great way to recharge my batteries and go home with new ideas to use with my staff, and with my self. We have missed the last few months due to scheduling conflicts, and it was noticeable.

Mimio is an interesting product on display now. It is a small piece of hardware that converts any dry erase board into an interactive whiteboard by imaging form the side of the board wirelessly. It is portable, cross-platform, but I don't know how well it competes with SMARTBoard or Numonics products. Ink capture is not a problem either, as it saves the writing as a jpeg or other image types. Inkcasting, or boardcasting, is an interesting phenomena that the speaker just brought up. Mimio is working with Apple to convert the ink that is captured to movie format that can be played back on a video iPod.

I had worked with a Mimio a couple of years ago, and was not crazy about it, however, this model (the company was recently purchased by Rubbermaid), looks to be top-notch. This is a great toy with practical applications for teachers of students with special needs.

A rep from United Streaming is talking about the newer features of United Streaming. Some crazy stuff here, most specifically OnePlace, which enables a district or organization to house all of their digital content, either uploaded or downloaded, onto a server. The example he used was a district's shared drive; when content goes in, rarely is it accessible by any other teacher than the one that put it there, although technically the idea behind a shared drive is just that. What OnePlace does is create a searchable database. In their own words:

OnePlace enables schools, districts, or regions to take full advantage of their online teaching resources-licensed, subscription-based, locally created, even free--through a single entry point.
Discovery Educator Network, similar to the Apple Distinguished Educator program, is seeking to create a program whereby educators and professionals from other fields gain access to each other.


Carolyn Foote said...

We have mimios and one of our science teachers has used them extensively to create whiteboard videos(the newer mimios have a whiteboard recorder feature).

They're much more cost effective than Smartboards, which is one plus!

Patrick Higgins said...

I wasn't sold until he started working with the board just as you would with a smartboard. The old mimio's were clunky to me.

This looks like a great option for cost crunching districts.