Last week I had the opportunity to once again attend and present at the Upstate Technology Conference (UTC) in Greenville, SC. This is one of my FAVORITE conference to attend. Not only because I get to meet up with my friends from around the State, but because the sessions I attend here provide me with new knowledge and challenge my thinking.
My sessions were ones I’ve done previously at the ETV Workshops, Aiken TechFest, and other venues. My morning session, Web 2.0 Speed Dating, went very well and I was pleased to have a fellow Aikenite there (sorry I can’t remember his name, but he works at LBC Middle!) This session has never bothered me and has typically gone very well. It is my afternoon session that continues to bother me – “Evernote to the Rescue!” I have varied my delivery, updated the content, re-organized the content, and more, to no avail. The session just doesn’t satisfy me. Oh, it’s not the topic – I LOVE EVERNOTE! I think I finally hit the nail on the head – it’s the TIMING of the session. I think I’m so pumped up in the morning – I’m borderline hyper – and so tired in the afternoon that it is ME that is the problem, not the content. You see every time I’ve done these workshops I’ve done them in the same order – Web 2.0 in the morning and Evernote in the afternoon. And every time I feel the same – happy about the morning session and blah about the afternoon session. So from now on I’m going to ask to do one session on both days in the morning instead of both session on the same day.
I attended Tamara Cox’s session on cell phones and learned some new and interesting ways to utilize the tools in the library and classroom. Unfortunately, cell phones are verboten in my district. Until this changes I’m limited in what I can and cannot offer in terms of services/programs using cell phones. She did have some tools that we can use our iPod Touches and some that can be used outside of school that I will be exploring.
I attended Chris Craft’s session on student engagement – and while I still think there is such a thing as intrinsic and extrinsic motivation, I agree that the issue is complicated and engagement means something different to everyone (both to the teacher and the student!) That motivation and engagement are individualized and we should be customizing our instruction and delivery for each student. We shouldn’t “assume” we know what motivates a student – we should build relationships with each student to learn how best to serve their needs. That’s easy for me to say as what I do in the library is customized for each patron – for the most part. Yes, some instruction is group and is a one-size fits all, but ultimately we help each student as each student needs (or wants) us.
Another great session I attended was Pat Hensley’s session on QR codes. While I know how to create and scan QR codes, it was great to hear other examples of how to incorporate QR codes into the curriculum. I think I got the most fun out of assisting the two “novices” next to me in how to text to Poll Everywhere and then scan QR codes! Seeing them get excited about something new made me happy! It reminded me how I realized in my Web 2.0 session that while I’m familiar with tools that I’ve been using for years, there are still teachers out there who haven’t even heard of them.
My only disappointment with a session was one on the Nook eReaders given by representatives from Barnes & Nobel. I went hoping to hear tips on how to use it and/or incorporate it into the classroom/library. Instead I left early after (whether intentional or not) they lied about another company’s eReader. Guys, you don’t have to bad mouth other products to sell your own – it should stand on it’s own merits. And trust me, the Nook will hold up without how you went about selling it to your audience. I know, I have a Nook Color and it is a pretty sweet device. I also have a Sony eReader, a Kindle, and an iPad. So I know what each can and can’t do – and what you said made me sad. This is why I walked out on your pitch. If it was because you just don’t know the other products, then DON’T discuss them – just say I’m not sure how the other product works. DON’T lie to me. I’m just sayin’.
But on a brighter note, as always the most fun is gathering with my colleagues and friends. In fact, I missed some sessions just because we were too busy talking to make it to a session on time. Thanks Pat for remembering to take pictures. Every year I say I’m going to and every year I never pull out my camera. Sigh.
Photo Credit: ”001″ by Loonyhiker (aka Pat Hensley) – http://www.flickr.com/photos/23240330@N03/5838413829/in/photostream/