Welcome to I.D.E.A.S.

The Website for the GST BOCES I.D.E.A.S. service and its User Community

Welcome to IDEAS!

IDEAS applications have helped teachers integrate technology into their classrooms for the last five years.

All of our programs have been created at the suggestion of teachers, and are constantly modified according to teacher requests for new features and capabilities. The acronym I.D.E.A.S. stands for Instructional Development of Educational Applications Service and that is just what we do. We create applications for students and teachers to use in instructional settings.

Toolbox Pro, our latest and greatest product, is the culmination of all of our efforts combining the tools that teachers have asked for into a single integrated interface. With Toolbox Pro you can create a class website, create online quizzes, tests, and activities, upload files and documents you want your students to access, communicate with parents and other teachers, and even post podcasts. Visit http://www.toolboxpro.org

For more information about IDEAS or about any of our programs, email us at IDEAS@gstboces.org.

Fostering A Frenzy of Reading in Horseheads, NY

November 15th, 2012 · No Comments

On November 15th, 2012, Horseheads Middle School held a Reading Frenzy. This article is written by the school's reading specialist, Joanne Doherty.

An image from the Horseheads Middle School Reading Frenzy on November 15th, 2012

Click on the images in this article to view larger versions.

The Reading Frenzy was an school-wide event that Horseheads Middle School's Site Based Team planned to foster literacy in our building. The objective was to dedicate one entire school day, immersed in reading for enjoyment. 

In the course of the 7 and one-half hour day, student and staff volunteers were able to read, nonstop, a total of 886 pages of "The Diary of a Wimpy Kid" series by American author and cartoonist, Jeff Kinney (that's four different titles, plus a few pages in the 5th volume.).  The reading took place in the busy, front lobby.  Every time students moved between classes, they saw people reading.

Thanks to GST BOCES technical support, many teachers allowed their students to view the event's webcast live during their study halls. Other classrooms across the district were also invited to view the event. Many positive comments were received  by both students and staff.

Joanne Doherty
Reading Specialist
Horseheads Middle School

→ No CommentsTags: Learning Activities · Special Events

Students in GST BOCES component districts vote in Online Mock Election

November 7th, 2012 · No Comments

On November 6th, 2012, students in the GST BOCES participated in an online Mock Presidential Election. Teachers registered their classes using an online web form and were issued voter IDs and passwords via email. Students logged on using their IDs and cast their votes for either the Democratic ticket or the Republican ticket. They were then asked to express their opinion on a series of questions by choosing Yes or No. At the conclusion of the voting the students were shown a real-time summary of results which they were able to drill-down to view individual districts, buildings, and classrooms.

The Numbers

3316 students from 31 schools in 16 school districts voted in the mock election.

1952 of them (58.9%) chose to re-elect President Barack Obama and Vice-president Joseph Biden for a second term.

1364 of them (41.1%) voted for candidates Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan.

The complete results can be view at http://ideas.gstboces.org/mockelection/2012/results.cfm. Use the link at the bottom of the page to view the responses from individual school districts.

Student Opinions

After voting for the candidates that they wanted to elect for president and vice-president, the students were asked a series of questions on various topics.

Here is a sampling of their responses to a few of the questions:

% of students
to the question
Do You Use Facebook?
Do Your Teachers Use Technology Well?
Would You Ever Go Through Hazing to Be Part of a Group?
Should the Government Limit the Size of Sugary Drinks?
Should Students Be Able to Grade Their Teachers?
Should Schools Put Tracking Devices in Students' I.D. Cards?

If these responses have captured your interest, you can view the complete results can be view at http://ideas.gstboces.org/mockelection/2012/results.cfm.

A Google Earth map of the Participating Schools

Some Comments from Participating Teachers

"This was a very positive learning experience.  I loved the fact that it was down-to-earth real-world education.  Thank you for making it so streamlined and simple." – A 6th grade teacher from the Waverly School District

"Thanks for setting up the mock election. Everything went great – a few times we had some issues with server overload but no big deal. The students really got into it and the results were interesting.  The one issue we ran into was the definition of the word "obscure" on the internet privacy question.  Many students didn't know the meaning and we didn't realize this until someone asked what it meant after a few classes already voted.  Sometimes it is hard to predict words students don't know and I think this may have skewed the results.  Just curious if other schools told you a similar thing. Thanks again – I'm sure a lot of work went into setting this up." — A high school history teacher from the Spencer Van-Etten School District

"Thank you. This was our second time being involved with the Mock Elections and I thought it provided so much conversation and truly gave the students a voice into some very important issues. Thank you for providing this great opportunity for our students." — A 5th grade teacher from the Elmira City School District

"I think the mock election was a great idea – we discussed the candidates answers to 20 questions about various
Topics and the students filled in a + for all of the answers they agreed w/ on a t-chart and then added up the
Candidate with the most pluses in order to help them to decide who to vote for – we also watched BrainPop videos
about the election process."
— A 6:1:1 classroom teacher from GST BOCES with 8th and 9th grade students

GST BOCES IDEAS service was started specifically to create applications for teachers and students to use as part of instructional activities. This mock election is one example of how an IDEAS-created application can be used in a classroom. Toolbox Pro is another application that IDEAS created specifically for teachers and students. Many teachers in the GST BOCES region are using Toolbox Pro as part of their daily instruction. You can check it out at http://www.toolboxpro.org.

If you have any ideas for applications that IDEAS could create that would enhance your classroom delivery, please send them to IDEAS@gstboces.org.

→ No CommentsTags: Articles · Learning Activities · Special Events

Today – March 29th – Live Event – WWII Teach-In

March 29th, 2011 · No Comments

Today, March 29th, 2011, IDEAS is helping to sponsor the Horseheads Middle School World War II Teach-In. The Teach-In Event brings middle school students together with seniors from the community to talk about what it was like living through World War II. You can follow the event live on the web.

Visit http://www.horseheadsdistrict.com/ms/ww2/

The web site hosts two live video streams (provided by GST BOCES New Visions Communications students), links to a live wiki where students will be publishing reports throughout the day, and a live up-to-the-minute feed from Twitter.

Pictures of Video Clips

Clips from the video feeds

Each speaker is able to share their story and show artifacts from the WWII period as they are interviewed by groups of students. The first hand accounts of this time really makes history come alive for the students.

image of simultaneous livecasts

Another image showing the simultaneous livecasts side by side.

→ No CommentsTags: Articles · Special Events

Free Math Software from Microsoft

March 15th, 2011 · No Comments

I am always on the lookout for free software that can be used by students and teachers. I was delighted when I found out that Microsoft (http://www.microsoft.com) was allowing downloads of the latest version of Microsoft Mathematics for free. Microsoft reports that they have had over 250,000 downloads of the software since they released it in January of 2011.

Microsoft Mathematics 4.0 provides a set of mathematical tools that can help students get their schoolwork done. It helps students learn how to solve equations in a step by step manner while gaining a better understanding of concepts in pre-algebra, algebra, trigonometry, physics, chemistry, and calculus. The program contains a functional online calculator that looks just like a handheld device. Equations can be plotted in both 2D and 3D graphs.

Image of Microsoft Mathematics Website

Microsoft Mathematics Teacher Website

Direct Download Page for Microsoft Mathematics Software

The Teacher Website above includes a simple Teacher's Guide to get you quickly started working with the software as well as a detailed Microsoft Word document containing step-by-step procedures. A three and a half minute starter video is also available on the site.

Download the software, try it out with your students and let us know how it works for you. Leave us a comment here, or email IDEAS@gstboces.org.


→ No CommentsTags: Articles · Freebie · Teacher Resources

Internet Safety Resources – iKeepSafe.org

February 8th, 2011 · No Comments

Whether you are a parent, and educator, or a student, you will be sure to find some valuable information about Internet Safety at http://iKeepSafe.org.

Image of the iKeepSafe home page

IKeepSafe.org has a great deal of dynamic content and visual impact while providing very usable information that is appropriate for young people of all ages. Some of topics addressed on the site range from Peer-to-Peer File Sharing and Social Networking to Identity Theft and Cyberbullying. Content is also provided in many different formats including PDF, PowerPoint, Video and Interactive Flash content.

Image from a Cartoon Video

Faux Paw is a technology-savvy cat who goes through several scenarios while he learns how to stay safe with technology and the Internet. Targeting younger students, the episodes of this cartoon are presented in video format and downloadable PowerPoint presentations, which can be just in conjunction with the lesson plans and curriculum resources.

Image from Social Networking Flash Piece

This image shows the interface of a Flash piece dealing with Social Networking Basics. Each of the sections contains several engaging videos about sub-topics. This content was developed with a partnership from MySpace.

image from Social Networking video in flash

(Click on the image above to go directly to the Social Networking Flash Piece.
It is worth taking a few minutes to go through this short training.)

More interactive content is provided in the Fun Zone.

image of Faux Paw Games

iKeepSafe.org has a great variety of resources for teaching students of all ages. Take a few minutes to peruse the information here and it will be well worth your while. Some of the material on the site was created in collaboration with commercial partners but much of it is totally ad-free.


→ No CommentsTags: Learning Activities · Online Training · Teacher Resources