Looking for Notetaking Software to Make Observations of Students in the Classroom

We are looking for ways to become more efficient in the classroom. One of the areas we are focusing on is becoming more organized and systematic in the way we make notes about our students.

We want to collect data that is useful, meaningful, and timely:

  • Information that helps us to plan our lessons
    • what can our students do,
    • what can’t they do, and
    • where do we need to go to help them to succeed.
  • Information for parents to know how their students are doing.
    • So they can help their students to succeed, and
    • so there are no surprises when the report card comes home.
  • Information for students to know how they’re doing
    • what are they doing well,
    • what do they need to improve on, and
    • next steps to work on.
  • Immediate feedback
    • so students can start improving right away (instead of a month later after they’ve already forgotten about the assignment.)
    • So parents can stay on top of their students and help them to succeed.
    • So teachers can modify their lessons to better meet the needs of their students.

Things to think about:

10 Things to Know Before You Buy Dragon NaturallySpeaking Premium Student/Teacher Edition

What’s the Difference between Dragon NaturallySpeaking Home and Premium (and Student) Editions? Click here for more info. 

Dragon NaturallySpeaking 12.5 UPDATE

Are you a student or teacher? Are you thinking about getting Dragon NaturallySpeaking? Did you know there’s a student/teacher version which is $100 cheaper than the regular premium edition?

Here are 10 things to know before you buy Dragon NaturallySpeaking Premium Student/Teacher:

Continue reading “10 Things to Know Before You Buy Dragon NaturallySpeaking Premium Student/Teacher Edition”

Nuance (Dragon NaturallySpeaking) Gave Us a Full Refund

We recently canceled our order for Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11 Wireless Teacher and Student Edition.

Not because we don’t love Dragon 11 – we’re still cautiously optimistic and excited by the voice-recognition software. In fact, this post was written using Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11 Premium Wireless. (Jump to the bottom to see the accuracy rate.)

No, we returned the Education Edition back to Nuance because we found a better deal at Staples in our hometown. When we wrote our initial review of Dragon 11, we were having some trouble with Nuance’s cancellation/return policy. We’re happy to report that we received a full refund from Nuance. Continue reading “Nuance (Dragon NaturallySpeaking) Gave Us a Full Refund”

Using Picassa and Face Recognition Software to Organize Your Classroom Photos

Nobody does it like Google.

If you’re like most teachers, you have access to a digital camera. Maybe it’s your own personal digital camera from home, or maybe it’s the school camera, but chances are you’re snapping photos of your students and filling up your hard drive.

Maybe you’re putting together a year-end slideshow and you want to make sure that you include photos of as many students as you can. Maybe you’re a primary school teacher and you’re putting together a special album for students to take home to celebrate their year at school. Maybe you’re putting together the yearbook.

No matter what the project is, chances are you’ve spent too much time flipping through your photo collection trying to find photos of specific students.

In this digital age, it’s easy to have thousands of photos on your hard drive. In fact, if you combine all of the photos from all the teachers at your school, you might even have tens of thousands of photos on the network. So how can you quickly go through your photos and find the one that you’re looking for?

Enter Picassa. Continue reading “Using Picassa and Face Recognition Software to Organize Your Classroom Photos”

Using Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11 in the Classroom

We just got Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11 Wireless Premium and we are cautiously optimistic. We’re trying to figure out whether speech recognition software can make us more efficient, as well as how good it would be in the classroom.

Right now, this post is being written using Dragon and Internet Explorer. (I did have to use some keyboard clicking and mouse highlighting when I was editing.)

I’m not sure if it’s easier to speak our ideas rather than typing this post, but that could be because we’re just starting out. Here are some of our first impressions. We’ll follow up with a second post in a month to see if our thoughts change after we become better acquainted with the program. Continue reading “Using Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11 in the Classroom”

Behind the Scenes

We haven’t posted here in a while, but things have been busy behind the scenes.

  • We’ve been setting up classroom blogs for some of our colleagues. (Who knew that the domain edublogs.ca would still be available.)
  • We’re focusing and reorganizing this site (blog.classroomteacher.ca) to focus more on technology in the classroom rather than blogging in the classroom.
  • With that in mind, we’ll be moving most of our blogging and WordPress discussions over to our new edublogs.ca.  There are lots of ways to use class websites, literature circles and edublogs and we’ll be showcasing ideas over there.
  • We’re looking for ways to become more efficient in what we do. Right now, we’re exploring Dragon NaturallySpeaking in the classroom. We have students submit a lot of work electronically, and we started to wonder if it would be quicker to speak our assessment feedback into student work, instead of typing our feedback. Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11 costs around $99 for the Education (Student/Teacher) Edition.

    We’ll do a review on this blog once we see how well the new version works. (Voice Recognition software is often given to Special Education students as an assistive tool, but how many of them really master it and use Dragon effectively? Imagine what you could do if you could role model how easy voice recognition could be if you invest time to train the computer to understand your voice.)