Wednesday, June 22nd
Andi Fansher – Social Networking in MY Classroom?
Andi created a template in Publisher using social network categories for various projects across subjects. Science created Spacebook using planets as their “people” and English created pages for novel characters, etc. This wasn’t quite the session I expected, I thought it would be more on how to teach social networking, not using social networking in projects, it was still an interesting session. I particularly liked the student examples/completed projects. They were very creative and I would think the kids had fun. I’ve had an English teacher use this type of project for a novel assignment, but using a more simple template. I like Andi’s more involved template and the fact that for things like the buttons page and for things like “affiliations/groups” the kids would have to use what they know/read to decide what to use instead of just pulling the answers from the texts.
Hall Davidson – Great Secret “C” for Content Creation: Cromakey
I personally use a Mac, but we are a PC district. I liked how he showed how to use the Mac’s free Photobooth program as well as Adobe Premiere Elements to quickly and easily create green screen projects. These were REALLY simple tools/directions that even elementary age kids could use. He used video clips from StreamlineSC as the backdrop. I can’t adequately describe the session here. I will say I’ll get Cathy back for making us sit on the front row. I got called out of the audience to come up and demonstrate how easy it is to use Photobooth and a StreamlineSC video to create a green screen effect. On the bright side, I did receive a Planet Earth DVD for being a volunteer. I just hope the “video” I “starred” in doesn’t get posted to YouTube! How embarrassing – especially since I didn’t know anything about the video clip on blood I was supposed to be narrating!
Keynote: Hall Davidson – The Teacher With a Thousand Brains*
Used Wallwisher, Google Docs, and PollEverywhere to demonstrate the power of Web 2.0 for an “instant teacher network.” Again, this session was recorded and should be made available in StreamlineSC.
*BTW: StreamlineSC is what Discovery Education/United Streaming is called in South Carolina. So those of you with United Streaming or Discover Education access, you might also check to see if these keynotes are available to you.
Instead of lunch, we went to the room we were presenting in so that we could set up. It is a good thing we did as we had some technical problems. In the end, I had to use my aircard in order for us to have access to the full content we needed. Isn’t that typical of a school setting – even though we were told the firewall/filter was open for the day to allow presenters to access normally blocked sites. Our session:
There’s An App for That: Using Web Apps to Organize, Simplify, and Enrich Your Life
Program description: “Come learn about web applications and 2.0 tools that help educators both streamline and enhance their professional (and personal) lives. See real examples and learn tricks and tips as Cathy, Heather, and Fran take attendees through a tool showcase (including Zamzar, Evernote, Dropbox, and iGoogle). Leave equipped to “organize, simplify, and enrich” your life knowing “there’s an app for that!”
Fran Bullington introduced iGoogle and how she uses it to organize, simplify, and enrich her life. http://bit.ly/CreatingPersonalHomePages
Cathy Nelson introduced Dropbox and how she uses it to store documents and files and share them with others. http://bit.ly/usingdropbox
I introduced Evernote and how I’m using it to organize and store information. http://bit.ly/UsingEvernote
Our session was PACKED. See screenshot from the photo gallery UTC put together:
This was a good and bad thing – good because lots of people were interested in our session, bad because it was so full we were unable to move around. Our original plan was to introduce the tools and then allow attendees to play with the tools while we circulated and answered any questions/problems. Unfortunately, I got waylaid at the front of the room and I have not idea where my two co-presenters got waylaid. There was no way we could circulate! Cathy wrote up a good evaluation of this on her blog.
Critiquing my own “performance” I have to say it wasn’t that great. I had a list of what I wanted to cover (since we were limited to our time), but decided to “wing it” instead. So of course, I forgot some things and expanded on others that weren’t as important. I also believe I lost the focus of the session which was to show how teachers can use these tools in their personal life first. You have to become comfortable with the tools yourself before you can begin to implement them within your classroom/curriculum. I think all three of us failed to emphasize this point in our talks – yeah, we gave examples and told how we were using the tools personally, but we didn’t EMPHASIZE that the point was to play, learn, use the tools yourself.
Looking over the feedback surveys was interesting. There were only 19 completed in a room of 30 computers – with at least another 20 folks sitting/standing around the room. Not a bad total considering. We should also have thought to have some hardcopies and/or index cards for folks who didn’t have a computer to have the opportunity to give us feedback or ask questions. Some comments surprised me:
“a good sequel woud be to share a document of ideas for use in the classroom.” (emphasis mine)
“… I think a hand out would be wonderful.” (emphasis mine)
“written step by step handout.” (emphasis mine)
“… I would have liked to have seen more actual uses for each tool, especially Evernote and Dropbox. Demonstrating the actual use of each would have been helpful, e.g., uploading and downloading files or organizing info. within the site …”
Okay, folks, we’re at a TECHNOLOGY conference. We gave you links to our presentation materials. We’re not going to have physical handouts! I will admit that one of the things we failed to do was have one place (online) where all of the links were located and to have this page up on the computers before the attendees arrived. That’s the plan for our next presentation and Cathy has already got us a page up. We’ll also be closing the doors once all computers are full so we can give people time to sign up for accounts and play with the programs – upload files, add things, organize, etc. and be able to circulate to help and answer questions.
After our session, there was more talking, lunch, and then the closing session. Overall, I enjoyed my time at UTC and look forward to next years!