2009 UTC: Teach Tomorrow Today

I spent Wednesday & Thursday this week attending the Upstate Technology Conference in Greenville, SC and had a fabulous time!


Connecting With Tech Savvy Students – Bill Sheskey and Chrissy Robinson

  • xtranormal.com – type a script and make video snippets to grab students interest.
  • PowerPoint with two videos side by side on the same slide – one is a recorded interview (could use the Flip cameras) and the other is PhotoStory  with just visual of what the interviewee is describing (for example, she was talking about a flood and he found photos from the event, put into PhotoStory to run as she’s talking about it)  Great example of low tech “split screen” video!  as well as examples of primary sources – the actual interview & the photos of the historical event.
  • 24/7/7 – 24 hours, 7 days a week, on all 7 continents! Our students need to be able to compete globally.  You can also add 365 as everything is available online every day of the year.
  • How Google hired workers based on a billboard w/ a math problem that led to a web address, with another problem, that led to another address, and so on until it led to a contact page from Google saying we want to hire you!
  • News magazines have an archive of their covers online, why not use them in your research or teaching to emphasis a point/topic you are sharing?

Keynote: Chris Craft!

  • AWESOME!  Chris is a dynamic speaker.  I hope you take a moment to go to his blog and watch his keynote.  Just a couple of ideas I wrote down (didn’t write more as I was too caught up in his presentation!):
  • Snazzy Videos – short videos he shows at the top of the class. Something the students look forward to watching…(interest motivates learning?? I think that was what he said!)  You can probably catch some at his SpanTube website (Spanish YouTube!)  His class website – www.class326.com and uses Gcast.
  • He records his announcements, instructions, reminders, etc. and plays them as soon as the bell rings to begin class.  This way he doesn’t have to repeat them over and over each class, and so he doesn’t forget to mention something to one class!  Also, a routine that the kids stop what they are doing to listen to the announcements and get right into the groove of class.  The announcements are followed by a riddle (could be any type of interesting bell work question/problem).  While they are listening to the announcement, he’s taking attendance and then begins class answering the riddle and straight on into the days lesson.  Smooth transitioning and no down time or lost time at the beginning of class!
  • I also liked his sharing the quote from one of his friends that Twitter = Virtual Teachers Lounge.  That is how I view it – as a way to learn and share from educators & librarians who just don’t happen to work in my building!

What Can The Web Do For You? – Susan Isball

This session was geared more toward elementary teachers, so while the resource she shared were great, they just weren’t as useful for me.  You can follow the link to see her presentation and resources.  There was also a gentleman sitting next to me (sorry, I’m embarrassed I can’t remember your name) who is an assistant principal at a high school.  He came in and was doodling and by the time we left had the most spectacular “picture book” quality drawing I’ve ever seen.  He is such an artist.  He said doodling helps him think – and don’t get me wrong, he had a page and a half of notes from the session, too!  I wish I’d snapped a photo of it…he should be illustrating children’s books!

Shhh!  Don’t Tell We’re Using a Social Network – Avis Canty

The social network she uses with her classes is Ning.  Being a member of several Nings, I was already familiar with her topic.  I was more interested in how she organized getting her Ning up and running (research on social networks, administration support, parental permission, ning access, etc.) to pick her brain for my own blog proposal.  I will definately be contacting her in the next few days!

Socializing Time!

Of course, if I’m being entirely honest, the real reason I attend conferences is the socializing!  I had lunch with Fran Bullington and a couple of ladies from her district.  I also attended a Tweet-Up at Wild Wings in downtown Greenville after the last conference session for the day, followed by dinner out at with Cathy Nelson, Fran, and Kim Isiminger (Kim held the librarian position at Wagener-Salley HS before me!)  There was a huge group at Wild Wings – at least 20 – and just like MaryAnn said in her blog that the Twee-up was like a human twitter feed.  With conversations going all over the place and way across tables and everyone jumping in here and there!  Oh, shout out to Mary Mason who let me crash on her hotel room’s fold out couch for the night!  Photo credit: Wild Wings07 from loonyhiker – I don’t think Pat will mind I used her photo!  That’s me in the safari print shirt.


Using & Integrating Moodle – Ryan Rucker

An nice overview of Moodle and what it can offer for your class.  Since we already use Moodle, the benefit of attending this session was I now have a contact person to help me troubleshoot my Moodle questions/mistakes!  I’ve already warned him he’s probably going to get tired of my emails! :-)  For teachers whose district doesn’t already support Moodle, you can go to NineHub and they will host your Moodle course.  However, it does have ads and you are limited in the features available with free Moodle hosting.

I Heard It, I Saw It … Now What? – Debra Belue

One highlights from this session include recording students & teachers booktalking, sharing their own stories, and research projects and recording them for play on their MP3 players (the library has sets of them) which students can check out.  They have a recess book walking club – each student has an MP3 player and they walk and listen to booktalks the teachers, students, or downloads from StreamlineSC.  She has parents give permission for student to be able to check out MP3s as well as to join the club as they are giving up recess. High schools could do for study halls.

Place Based Stories – Michael Edwards

Very interesting.  Documenting local history for future generations – a Memory Project that students can produce to preserve stories before they die out.  Great thing, he’s at Pelion HS which is just up the road from me!  Two ways: Google Earth and iPod Museum Tours.  Geotag and upload photos, documents, audio and video to Google Earth and take virtual tours of your area.  They use different place markers to delineate eras or types of events.  For the iPod Museum tours, everything is on your iPod (text, audio, video) all hyperlinked and organized.  You drive to the location (or walk depending upon the area) and listen, watch, read about the location.  This allows you to physically experience the place.  Here are his resources.

Abort, Retry, or Fail: Management Skills for Today – Jude Hunt

Engaging speaker – very nicely done.  There were a couple of things that stood out:

  • Defusing phrases: I Understand; Probably So; Nevertheless; and I’m Sorry.  All used as a complete sentence w/ nothing after them.  They acknowledge the student and his/her “feelings” without agreeing or disagreeing.  Used appropriately they can stop disruptions before they escalate.
  • The other was a “refocus” space with a reflections form on why they were sent to “time out.”  This can be a place in your room or preferably a co-workers room – but never the hall or an office where students can just goof off or be seen as a get out class free card.  Gives the student time to chill out without further disrupting your teaching.  What I liked about this idea was the form asked the student what they did to get sent to time out (they have to reflect and understand what behavior sent them there) which then goes into their file as documentation – great for parent/teacher conference and if further discipline is required.  There is a lot more to this concept as well as in his presentation, but I’m trying to be brief here!

Lunch today was spent in the august company of Chris Craft, MaryAnn Sansonetti, and Fran Bullington.  We had an enjoyable hour catching up since our last get together at EdTech.  Today was jam packed with learning, laughter, and looking forward to next year with an opportunity to put some of these tools and ideas into place.  Once again I am amazed at a FREE conference being not only enjoyable, but extremely useful.  The notes I’ve shared here aren’t a tenth of the notes I took.

So a HUGE THANK YOU to everyone who put together such a fabulous conference!  Let’s do it again next year! :-)

3 thoughts on “2009 UTC: Teach Tomorrow Today

  1. It was great seeing you at the conference. I wish had more time to visit! You look great in the picture too! (and I don’t mind you using it at all!)

  2. Heather,
    Thanks for sharing the notes you took in the sessions you attended. Since we didn’t attend many of the same sessions, it was interesting to see what I missed.
    Is Greenville County culling handouts/presentations from the sessions to post? That would be the perfect way to conclude this awesome conference.

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