Friday, July 30, 2010
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
I kept seeing this being tweeted for about a week now and finally had time today to click on the link and read the article. Every teacher needs to read the post "Top 20 Websites No Teacher Should Start the 2010-2011Year Without" by Samantha Smoke. She has written about tools that every teacher should know about and be adding to their toolbox.
I know that using Web 2.0 tools can seem overwhelming, but I encourage every teacher to try out one new tool each month this school year. Remember that you don't have to be an expert with the tool to begin using it. Just play around with one at a time and have fun. A strategy I use is I use the tool a little bit and then introduce it to my fourth graders and challenge them to learn more about it. I give them time in class to demonstrate their expertise and we all benefit.
Let's start 2010-2011 off on the right foot by learning together.
Monday, July 5, 2010
I am finally recovered from a very eventful week in Denver. I went to Denver early to spend some quality time with members of my personal learning network (PLN). We had a great time at the cabin and in Estes Park. I wrote about that part of the trip here. I also attended my first EduBloggerCon on the Saturday before ISTE10 officially began. Read my reflections on EBC10 here. I even got to attend the TEDxDenverEd event and I won an Eno board. Read all about that experience here.
I have spent much of the last couple of days reading others' blog posts, reviewing session materials that are being tweeted out, and just chatting with my PLN (old and new) on Twitter. I was so mentally drained when I arrived home that I slept until 11:00 my first day home. I haven't done that in ages. Also during this time I've been trying to get my ISTE reflections solidified. So here they are -
What Did I Learn?
I am an innovative educator. I use many tools, not just for the sake of using tools, but because they help my students create, collaborate, and connect.
I have created quite an online presence. I was looking forward to meeting members of my PLN and I thought I would have to find them. I didn't think that they would be looking for me. When Peggy George come up to me and said she was so glad to finally meet me face to face I was floored. Kim Caise did the same thing, and so did so many people I know online. It was great to hear someone say, "Oh I follow you on Twitter", as I introduced myself to them.
I can't do it all. I struck a nice balance this year between attending sessions, looking at the vendors' exhibits, and spending time in the Bloggers' Cafe. I got to attend some great TweetUps and vendor parties, and I even had some alone time. Yes, there are things I wish I had done, but overall I'm happy with the things I got to do.
I learned that reaching out to newbies was fun and easy to do. I had written a challenge on the ISTE Ning before going to Denver about helping newbies connect. I also wrote about the challenge on my blog. I was successful in meeting my own challenge and hope that others did the same thing. It was great to get to know these newbies on a more personal level - Tami Thompson, John Shoemaker, Dorie Glynn, Karen McMillian, Tim Nielsen, and Donna Dennis. Hope their first ISTE was memorable.
What Are My ISTE10 Take-Aways?
I found that this year it wasn't so much about cool tools for me (except the iPad) as it was about reflecting on my use of those tools in my classroom. Jeff Utecht made me reflect on the projects I have my students do. He took us through a 15 minute engaging project that hit all levels of Bloom. Thanks, Jeff, for a great session.
I learned that it is important to do some training for parents. I plan to schedule a session at the beginning of the coming school year to help parents learn about online safety, creating a digital footprint, and "crap" detection. As a teacher and a teacher trainer I have covered these topics, but I never reached out to the parents. It is important for them to learn about these topics as well.
Having connections to a PLN is very important for helping me stay current and continue my learning. Members of my PLN are the people I will turn to first when I want to work on collaborative projects in my classroom. I am glad that I was able to make so many new connections at ISTE10 this year and I am looking forward to the next school year with renewed energy.
I know as the days continue to pass by I will think of more things I learned while at ISTE10 but these are the ones that are foremost in my mind at this time. Attending this conference was worth every cent I spent to attend.
Photo credit: Melanie Holtsman http://www.flickr.com/photos/holtsman/4737542378/in/pool-1324634@N24/
Sunday, July 4, 2010
Have you ever watched a TED video and wished you could attend one of their events? Well I have many times and I was one of the lucky people who received an invitation to attend TEDxDenverEd. TEDx events are locally organized independent events that follow the TED format. I had to fill out an online application and then wait anxiously to see if I'd get invited. When my invitation hit my inbox, I could hardly contain my excitement. A while later the speakers were added to the website and I started reading up on those I did not know. I exchanged tweets with Dafna Michaelson and Brian Crosby and told them I couldn't wait to meet them in person at the event.
I called John Shoemaker (@showee) and arranged to meet him for a late brunch at his hotel. John didn't find out until about two days ago that he would be attending ISTE10 from his school district. He and I have developed a relationship on Twitter and we definitely wanted to meet each other face-to-face. We had a great visit and realized that we were attending a lot of the same events while in Denver.
Brenda Smith talked me into attending the opening ceremony. I'm really glad I went because the skit by Mario Armstrong was great. He talked about battling the "Locked Net Monster", "Dollar and Cent-atur", "Medi-Orge", and "Abominable No-Man". I also managed to get one of the ISTE metal water bottles.
Next, I spent some time in the Bloggers' Cafe and watched the opening keynote from here. Pretty sad to watch that unfold, but I won't dwell on it. Other bloggers are having a field day with it, but I don't want to go there. I'll just say it was very sad to witness the feeding frenzy.
My next activity took me over to the Hyatt Regency to attend the Glogster Ambassador meeting. Jim Dachos greeted all of us and handed us a Glogster bag full of goodies to help spread the word. I saw John Shoemaker, Ann Leaness, Patti Duncan, and Traci Blazosky at this gathering. I love Glogster.edu and feel very comfortable telling others about this great tool.
Finally I attended a TweetUp at the Hard Rock Cafe. We were packed into the bar area like sardines but it was fun. Had wonderful conversations and enjoying meeting people from all over. Headed back to Pearl Street tried but happy after a long day.