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Odessa hosts Promethean conference

ODESSA-MONTOUR—Close to 140 teachers from across the state, and a few from outside New York, gathered at Odessa-Montour High School for the state’s first Promethean ActivBoard conference, May 16 and 17.
Superintendent Jim Frame said that it was the first such conference in the state and O-M was chosen to host it out of 60 school districts. The two day event featured 23 sessions where presenters shared how they have used the ActivBoards in their classrooms. Frame said some presenters came from as far away as Pennsylvania and Indiana, as well as about half of the teachers being from Odessa-Montour. He explained the teachers presented on the use of the technology in different areas like, math and English, and in curriculum planning. All teachers present were from school districts using the ActivBoards, though some just recently.
Debbie Scheer, sixth grade special education teacher for Odessa-Montour, showed how she uses games on the ActivBoards as a way to review. The teachers actually participated in the games she tweaked for use from Promethean’s online resource. Scheer said the games motivate the students. She also told the teachers in her session that when the boards were installed she was terrified of using them. However, Sheer added that she got over being a “technophobe” the last six months she has been using the ActivBoard in her classroom.
Another O-M teacher, Russ Gardner, showed how he uses the ActivBoard for teaching math. The highlight he pointed out is having graphs and diagrams on the board that he can add onto by drawing or writing. All changes made during that lesson would go away when the program is closed. All of the other important information can also be there, like numbers for a proof, but not revealed until the teacher wants.
A presentation was given by Lisa Frost, O-M Spanish teacher, about using the ActivBoards for homework corrections, using games for checking comprehension and planning for a substitute teacher. Frost talked about how to avoid minor problems that she has experienced in games, if for instance a text box was too long.
Other sessions included how to design the “flip charts” used to present information, incorporate Web sites and video, download and install additional programs, and how the ActivBoards have been used in various disciplines.
Julie Sullivan, a teacher visiting from the Vernon-Verona-Sherrill School District, said this is the first year she has been using the ActivBoards and the presentations help. Amy Austin, also from the VSS district, said the presenters gave tips and tricks when dealing with the software.
“It’s really good opportunity to see how other teachers use it,” said Barbara Allen, VSS district teacher.

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