Thursday, June 9, 2011

Calling All ISTE11 Newbies

My friend, Beth Still, has been working with the ISTE organizers to make the convention experience less intimidating for first timers. Thanks in part to her efforts, this year for the first time there will be a Newbie Lounge. Beth is working to get veteran ISTE attendees from her personal learning network (PLN) to be there to help welcome the newbies.

There were almost 13,000 attendees at ISTE in Denver last year. That's more people than were in some of the towns I lived in as a kid. A number like that can be a staggering statistic to someone who is attending for the first time. So when you are feeling overwhelmed head to the Newbie Lounge for a breather.

I am one of the veteran ISTE goers who answered Beth's call. She and I tweeted back and forth and finally I came up with a plan. I am hosting a BYOB (bring your own breakfast) Monday morning, June 27 at 8:00 in the Newbie Lounge. I have already been contacted (mostly through Twitter) by over two dozen newbies who plan to attend. I sure hope if you will add this event to your conference planner.

In her usual helpful style, Beth created a video showing how to use Google Maps to locate donut shops close to the PACC (Pennsylvania Convention Center). Are you going to join us?

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Enjoying #4thchat and #elemchat

I have been helping to moderate #4thchat on Twitter since it debutted on Monday, March 21, 2011 with the topic Brain Breaks. If you don't understand how ed chats on Twitter work, check out this post where I explain it in more detail.

I would like to thank Jeanne McQueen (aka @jmplus2 ) for inviting me to help moderate #4thchats. The other moderators are Nancy Carroll (aka @ncarroll24) and Justin Stortz (aka @newfirewithin). Justin also created our #4thchat logo. I love working with this team and am glad that I have gotten to know them better through our interaction on Twitter.

Check out the archives of the #4thchats on our wiki. And remember to join us on Mondays at 7:00 Central (8:00 Eastern)

Another chat I am loving is #elemchat which is now taking place on Twitter on Saturdays at 5 Central (6 Eastern). This one is moderated by seven great educators. This chat was born on July 8, 2010. Check out their Archives and Summaries.

These two chats account for two hours of my time during each week. To some people who don't "get" Twitter that might seem like a waste of time. I can tell you that I love the learning, sharing, and interactions that occur during these chats. I anxiously await for them to start and hate when the hour is over. If you have never attended a chat try one of these out or check out this list by our good friend Cybraryman1.

Do you love #4thchat or #elemchat as much as I do? Is there another educational chat that you love? Please leave a comment explaining why you do.

Joining the Big Time

I have spent the first week off putting together my first presentation that I am being paid to do. WooHoo!! I am excited but also very nervous. This is what I have been working toward for the last two years. Thanks to Ken Shelton for suggesting me as a replacement when a scheduling conflict didn't allow him to do this presentation. He sent me a direct message on Twitter asking if I would be interested. I immediately answered back that I was, but didn't think Region 8 would find me an acceptable replacement for him. When I was very surprised to receive an email from Margaret Henderson inviting my to present at the Region 8 Summer Institute.

It is Sunday night and I have put together a Google site that contains my presentation. I try to be as paperless as possible so everything from the agenda, to the presentation, to the handouts, and the evaluation are all a part of the site. I have tweeted to a few close friends to look it over and give me feedback. So far, so good. They think I have done well getting organized and think I have a great presentation. Their feedback makes me feel better but I'm still nervous!

I will leave Tuesday afternoon to drive to Monroe. The event in taking place on the campus of Louisiana University at Monroe on Wednesday form 9:30-3:00. I checked with Margaret to see if any sites I wanted to use were blocked. She assured me that everything from YouTube to Skype will work for me.

I have tried to make my workshop a nice mix of lecture, time for discovery, collaborative group work, and participatory. We are even going to have a Smackdown at the end of the day. Wish me luck.

Time Keeps on Slipping into the Future

I am amazed that I spend so much time at my computer but don't seem able to find the time to update this blog on a regular basis. Maybe part of the reason is I spend quite a bit of time moderating my students' posts and the over 1,900 comments they received thanks to using the hashtag #comments4kids on Twitter.

I finished school for the 2010-2011 on Thursday, May 26. I walked out of school very happy that my classroom was finally packed up for the summer and knowing I would not have to return on Friday to finish.

I left New Orleans Friday afternoon and headed to Baton Rouge with one of my best friends to attend the Bayou Country SuperFest. The BCS was being held at the LSU stadium over the Memorial Day weekend. It was a great way to relax and unwind after a super busy school year. I slept late each day since we weren't going to the stadium until about 6:00 pm each day. We heard Trace Adkins, Sugarland, and Tim McGraw on Saturday and Billy Currington, The Zac Brown Band, and Kenny Chesney on Sunday. We left Baton Rouge on Monday and had lunch (needed a Swamp Burger) before getting back to our homes. It was a fantastic weekend - thank you so much, Janet.