Thursday, November 08, 2007
I'm not above a bit of shameless self-promotion, so I will review the third session of the day that I attended, which just happened to be one that I did. After having experienced a similar session at the Classrooms for the Future Coach Boot Camp in September, I wanted to co-present virtually. Dawn Crawford, Customer Relationship Specialist for netTrekker, was the virtual co-presenter and mastermind behind the presentation.
I had a nice-sized group in a PC lab that was able to follow along with what Dawn and I were searching for/manipulating the results of search results for in netTrekker. When Dawn spoke, she had control of the microphone, whiteboard, etc in an Elluminate vRoom I had signed up for only a week or two prior. (If you'd like your own vRoom from Elluminate, start here).
I liked that Dawn and I had to collaborate and cooperate via a virtual classroom space like Elluminate; I liked that the participants were working on a lot of different levels at the same time: attending to the presentation content, attending to one presenter in the room and one that was not, and attending to the results they got through this robust academic search engine.
I definitely want to do this again, at other conferences, and even during professional development sessions at the AIU or in the districts. It is efficient, a time- and money-saver for the other presenter, and I think it provides an additional level of engagement for the participants.
Among one of the ideas we gave to the group was the inclusion of a hyperlink to a "Shared Folder" within a teachers "Saved Searches" on their account, which gets embedded into a placemark on Google Earth. For more on why that can be helpful to a student and a teacher, you'll have to comment.
Wednesday, November 07, 2007
Stevie Kline, my colleague from IU1, showed us that a picture really is worth a thousand words, and maybe more. Images can convey a lot of meaning quickly, and we can infer a lot from cues within the image.
Simple exercises with a single image helped us realize how much learning/information can be derived. A single image can be a great jumping off point for a multitude of topics.
The tie-in with the references to Pink's book and its emphasis on using our inherent creativity are evident.
It's safe to say that the theme for today is using the tools to allow students to express themselves in ways beyond standard assignments: written or oral. Peter Scott, who works for Harcourt Connected Learning, did a nice job of showing how digital storytelling can:
- engage students
- be cross-curricular
- encourage writing
- provide an outlet for student creativity
Lance Rougeux from Discovery Educator Network delivered the keynote, having us consider our "ESL" students - our kids who speak txt lingo. He provided a translation site, so that we can convert the language we use to a language that kids use more frequently. Emoticons are the new "Rorshach" test. These collections of punctuation marks, letters, and other keyboard strokes have meaning for the group that assigns meaning to it.
He also told us that learning the second language is mandatory. The icing on the cake was his IEP he had developed for us to follow - great resources as starting points for learning the language - walking a mile in their shoes, so to speak.
New to me: Moonk (similar to Animoto, other sites) - a tool that allows posting of images, video, and audio and automatically converts them to Flash format.
Link to Lance's take on the session (Boy, he's fast!)
Tuesday, November 06, 2007
I just finished a powerful conversation with a group of great educators at the pre-conference session for TRETC. Ostensibly, my session was titled "Blogs and Wikis," but after finding out that most folks were at level 1 on a scale of 5, I shifted back to starting off with del.icio.us, which remains one of my favorite tools, and seems to be an easy entry point into Web 2.0 and social networking.
I also realized that even in a two-hour block, it is very easy to overwhelm people who are new to these tools. Part of that is because of the inherent value of these tools: their interconnectedness. Becauseone tool truly leads to another, it is very tempting to jump down the rabbit hole and get lost in Wonderland. Yet, people need to see how these tools begin to feed into and off of one another. Creating del.icio.us bookmarks that can then be fed to your blog, and then adding audio content (often known as podcasts) to your blog, and then peeling parts of that content off and attaching it to a wiki....you get the idea.
Ultimately, I tried to emphasize two things: find what is useful to you, and begin the conversation within your classroom and with the world.