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I just arrived back from the Discovery Educator Network 2010 Leadership Council Symposium at Bentley University. The trip to Boston was a fantastic opportunity to network with other educators, share best practices, and hear thought-provoking speakers. Here is a summary of the ideas that I came away with:
Paperslide Videos and Music Videos with Lodge McCammon:
Lodge gave the group an opportunity to have hands-on with creating a paperslide video and a collaborative music video. You can see his presentation here: http://sites.google.com/site/denlcfizz2010. These are both great project-centered activities to implement in the classroom and will help students understand concepts.
Chris Dede on 21st Century Learning:
Day two of the symposium was an opportunity for us to hear Dr. Chris Dede from Harvard University speak about transforming education for the 21st century. He challenged us to think about what transformation looks like in the classroom. He shared information about new literacies for the 21st century based on the Framework for New Media Literacies. Dr. Dede also shared his EcoMUVE project and discussed how he hopes to develop a way for assessing student work in a MUVE. He stressed that we must have sophisticated performance assessments based on rich observations. My favorite quote: “Plan needs to be a verb, not a noun.”
On Wednesday, we had the chance to organize ourselves into sessions for an unconference day. Twenty teachers agreed to lead sessions and the other participants could attend sessions of their choice. The only rule was that you must be passionate about your topic. I hosted a session on one-to-one computing with Genevieve Kahlweiss. We were able to spend the entire morning talking about issues with one-to-one computing and sharing ideas and resources. I also attended sessions on augmented reality and cell phone use in schools. Check out ROAR (Radford Outdoor Augmented Reality Project) to learn more about augmented reality in education. All of the groups created documents that could be shared with everyone in attendance. I’ll be exploring the documents for a long time!
Building Learning Communities 2010:
The DEN team outdid themselves this year by taking us into Boston on Thursday to attend Alan November’s BLC (Building Learning Communities) 2010 conference. Michael Wesch, the creator of the viral video, A Vision of Students Today, talked about how we need to move our students from knowledgeable to knowledge-able. His main point was that we need to engage students with real problems and harness the relevant tools to solve the problems. I was also able to attend a session by Bette Manchester from the Maine International Center for Digital Learning. She talked about the lessons learned from the one-to-one computing project in Maine. I came away with a wealth of information that I can share with teachers in my district.
I feel honored that I was able to attend the DEN LC Symposium. The highlight of the week was networking with great educators from around the US. The theme of the week was summed up by Peter Reynolds. We visited Fablevision studios and heard Peter Reynolds talk about the books that he writes. He emphasizes in his books that we need to make our mark (The Dot) and have a great journey as we go (The North Star). I feel certain that I can do that with the great network of people who will be walking alongside me.
Thanks to the DEN planners for putting together such a great week!
I just returned from the ISTE 2010 conference in Denver, Colorado. I was privileged to be with a group of wonderful teachers from my district who challenged me to think deeply about the reasons why we use technology with out students. I took some time to pick out sessions that would show me new approaches to teaching and learning. I’m sure that I will be reflecting on the conference for a very long time, but here are some of the big ideas that I want to spend more time developing in my own educational practice.
Developing, Designing and Delivering Presentations:
Ken Shelton and Robert Craven provided me with food for thought about creating presentations which use visuals to communicate a message. They provided great resources and my take-away is that I want to encourage students and teachers at my school to use cameras and create a comprehensive library of images that we can share with each other. I also want to eliminate those bullets from my presentations and continue to look for ways to involve my audience through interactive activities.
Matching Teachers and Technology and Birds of a Feather sessions:
Rushton Hurley had a great interactive session which engaged the audience. He has a list of things to do and things not to do to provide effective staff development for teachers. He emphasized not teaching in a computer lab, but instead using staff meeting time for teachers to share student work and ideas for projects. I started that process this year with a faculty Ning, but I need to provide teachers with more opportunities for sharing in teams. I experienced the power of teamwork at ISTE while meeting with four other teachers from my district. We had impromptu sharing sessions and inspired each other with great ideas. The Google Certified Teachers Birds of a Feather session also made me think about ways to improve sharing at my school. GCTs came to the front of the room in this smackdown and shared one thing that they were doing in their classroom or school. There were so many fantastic ideas shared in that one hour session! We need to provide our teachers with this sharing time in school and then great things will happen in the classroom. Teachers need to be given opportunities to inspire each other.
1-1 Computing and Designing Learning Spaces:
I attended a few sessions about 1-1 computing environments and am very excited that so many states are looking at ways to provide each student with a learning device. There are a variety of research studies coming out providing valuable data on how to make 1-1 projects successful. I have had some experience this year working with a teacher in our state digital textbook pilot. Just from that small pilot, I have seen some of the same results that are being reported in research studies. Students do communicate more with the teacher and are more engaged in assignments and projects. I definitely want to continue learning more about what works and what pitfalls to avoid. I also attended a session on learning spaces by Chris Johnson from the University of Arizona. He emphasized the need for building spaces that allow us to interact with each other. He said that the best social interactions come from sitting around the fire. This is definitely true for me. I love the chance to meet with small teams and work in an environment that facilitates collaboration and communication.
A conference wouldn’t be complete without attending sessions about new technology tools. I loved Leslie Fisher’s presentation on iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad apps. She shared a great list of resources, and I can see many great uses for educational applications. Sometimes you just need to attend a session to get a new idea for something that you’ve been doing for a while. I work a lot with students and teachers on Google Earth projects. I attended the Google Earth Web 2.0 Mashup and came away with some great ideas. I had never though about embedding a timeline in a Google Earth placemark. Now I’m going to be taking more time to look at ways to embed content in my GE placemarks for more interactive activities. In the vendor hall, Dan Russell from Google shared his top favorite search tools with me. He had some great educational uses for Google News Archive and Google Sets. I can’t wait to share his curriculum examples with my faculty.
I’m thrilled that I had the chance to meet so many new people and learn so much in a short amount of time. If you didn’t have a chance to attend the conference, follow the tweets on Twitter by searching #ISTE10 and join the ISTE Ning to find presentation links – http://www.iste2010.org/.