Saturday, August 16, 2014

EdcampCT, Simsbury, August 2014

EdCamp was held at the Ethel Walker school in upstate CT. It was wonderful to see the UNH ITDML students who attended the conference. It was a nice way to interact as a group.
After a much discussion about legendary POTATO CHIPS and MILKSHAKES, the organizers encouraged attendees to create sessions and to take part in sessions. 

For those who have not attended an unconferece like EdCamp, attendees can either present about a topic they are familiar with, lead a discussion about something they have interest in, or call a discussion about something they would like to know more about. Most sessions involve crowd participation. Participants are encouraged to follow the "Rule of Two Feet." If you find the session you are attending is not what you expected it to be, you are welcome to leave and go find another one.

Tim Flanagan, Josh Lambert and I put together a Google Presentation outline that discussed the ORMS Model. We chose to present at the first session. The link is below.
During the presentation we started a lively discussion about what teachers already do in their classroom. We then introduced the ORMS MOOC, Mozilla's Web Literacy Standards, and some of the other material we alluded to in our presentation.

For the second session, I saw there was a talk about the role of Technology Coaches, and was surprised and pleased that I had found Elizabeth's Ignite Talk. 
Other titles: Technology Integration Specialist, Digital Instruction Specialist, Literacy Media Technologist.
 - There was a principal in the classroom. It was fascinating getting his opinion about the role of the Tech Coach. He wanted to be sure that person was not seen as an extra IT fix-it person, but as an INSTRUCTIONAL coach - a CURRICULUM specialist with Technology, not a Tech specialist with curriculum. He was also wants to ensure that all students in his building have similar experiences across a grade,  and the "Technology Stars" in the building give their students a whole different (better was implied) experience. 
 There were also teachers who officially and unofficially hold that position in their schools. Most are overwhelmed by the sheer number of teachers who like the idea of using technology in the classroom, but don't have any idea where to begin... so they stick to the same routine.
Technologists who get a stipend never get enough time to do the job well.
If you want a Tech Coach in your district, collect what is happening in other districts and present it to the board of ed... preferably by students.
Use the argument, "You just gave us $800,000 worth of equipment, and if it isn't implemented correctly, school achievement could go down. Is it worth it?"
"Air Drop Technology" mostly fails. With out proper PD, the equipment is a distractor.

LUNCH: As promised, along with creative sandwiches, and a salad that included lettuce, watermelon, red onions, and Feta cheese, there were freshly made potato chips, brownies, and..... MILKSHAKES. It was also fun sitting at a table talking to fellow teachers from around the State.  Lunch was also longer than 20 minutes, a reminder that I have one more week of eating like a human...

Videos that suck less, third session:
Try: Sock puppet app, Use short (5 or less) minute clips with activities
Other things to check out:
Videoscribe, Explain Everything (iPad), GoAnimate, PowToons, EdPuzzle, Voki, Voicethread, Haikudeck, Tellagami, 30 Hands, 60 Second Recap.

I also wrote out a list of other sites to check out that were recommended in the Connected Learning session and at the closing:
International Dot Day
Voxer - like voice twitter
Rap Anything - Makes anything you record sound like rap
Adobe Voice - pix, soundtrack, voiceover
Chatterpix - make a photo "talk"
Google Chrome shortcuts: "Shift ?" gives a list of all the shortcuts. Memorize a few.

Want money?
CECA aweards $1000/year to 3 people. 
NEW John McCormick Award - you must be recommended, and it often involves a trip. Few people apply.

I chose to attend the happy hour after the conference. It was nice to sit and chat informally with teachers about school and life in genearal, exchange twitter handles, and talk about technology.

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