The last few days I have been sitting through sessions at the SCETV Technology 3-day Workshops. I submitted a proposal to present, mainly to have an authentic opportunity to “practice” a planned presentation for early October. (Selfish I know.) I also co-presented with Fran Bullington and Heather Loy doing the session we did at the Upstate Technology Conference back in June. But I thoroughly enjoyed my audiences and the other sessions I attended as well.
Why are “you” here?
Can’t tell you how many times a presenter asked me this either before or after a session. Yeah, I guess I’m a power user of many of the apps being presented but truth be told, sometimes I attend sessions that I already know the content well so I can hone my own presentation style by observing, critiquing, and downright stealing ideas for teaching the tools to adults as well as kids. My goal when attending these sessions is gain at least one new idea. Every session I attended did offer something, so I call it a success, even for a power user like myself.
Hands down my favorite session was John Woodring’s (@Teacherbytes) session called “Don’t Put That Phone Away.” I walked away with so many new ideas, particularly involving QR Codes, that I felt myself getting to the information overload point–you know, that point where you cannot remember anything else because you just cannot process it fast enough? (His companion site/wiki for his presentations over the last few days can be found here.) When I compare myself to John Woodring, I think I’m just a “wannabe” power user. While in his session, I shared on facebook about the QR Codes, and next thing you know, two other librarians shared more on it (Diane Cordell and Gwyneth Jones) in my little network –they absolutely ran with it. (Of course power user Gwyneth had already blogged it back in May, I must confess, but she shared it again.) Be sure to read their posts here and here. All this happened in Twitter while I’m still trying to process what I learned, and find ways to implement it in my “phone-unfriendly” school and teaching context. I’m considering QR codes on shelves for students to learn more about certain books!! That’s just one idea anyway for the time being. Thanks John for a terrific session. You truly did knock my socks off!
This was my second favorite session, and most of my readers outside of SC are familiar with a major component of it –>Discovery Streaming. StreamlineSC is our state’s portal to Discovery Streaming, but as an added bonus, we have many of our own SCETV resources searchable in our portal as well–all free resources to enrich our classrooms. ETV OnePlaceSC is about a year or so old, but its dynamic features include a one stop search for all SCETV resources (Streamline SC, Knowitall.org, ETV, etc.) but adds in the mix our state’s virtual library portal, DISCUS. Everytime I hear a presentation on the resources, I gain a clearer understanding and more insight into how to use these tools with students as well as how to promote their use in my school.
Annual Funding in Question
These resources seem to be on the chopping block every year as our government tries to cut back on educational spending. Each year I am contacting my legislators to plead for continued funding for the programs AND the people at SCETV. These folks work unending for not much more than a teacher’s salary (and we all know how well paid teachers are) to enrich our curriculum, provide resources that are aligned with our state standards, and offer FREE professional development to evangelize to teachers the benefits of using the SCETV content in our classrooms. They travel ALL OVER our state to provide staff development at schools for departments, entire school staffs, and even organizations (for example Aiken is having an after-school event for their librarians in the near future.) FREE. And they bring laptops if needed so everyone can get a hands on experience. Free!! In this day and age of tight budgets especially for professional development, who can’t appreciate free? The last three days of workshops at their worksite has been FREE and worth the hour and fifteen minute drive. I am going to let my legislators know and thank them for refunding the programs I find vital, and make sure I include how wonderful the workshops planned for this week were. I’m also going to make a video to send them–a video thanks from me and my students.
Reflection of my own presentations
The MediaMuskateers (the nickname we gave our trio presenting) took our presentation “There’s an App for That” from the Upstate Technology Conference and revised it to have a significantly more successful presentation. We still had too many in our room (the limit was 22, and we had just over 30) but we had an hour and a half this time, and were able to accommodate the whole group since the overflow brought their own laptops to this lab, which had the space for them too. How can you turn away those who have their own machines? After sitting through John’s session, I think our little trio is going to submit a proposal for SCASL coming in March, and add a couple of apps, meaning we’ll have to submit a proposal for a two-hour session. I suppose we’ll make it a “bring your own laptop” session if no labs are offered as session types. But we’ll make it work.
Still Room for Improvement
My own session, Words 2.0h!, went okay the first day (Tuesday), but I was not happy with it, and it showed according to my friends. So we brainstormed how to tweak it since I had to give it again today, and I kid you not when I say today I never did get to the hands on part, and actually ran out of time before finishing. But it ran smoother, I was more enthusiastic about it, and the response was very positive. Those who can multitask were able to get some hands-on time. Sounds like it could perhaps be a two hour session at SCASL as well. I’m thinking on it. But for the early October conference, I’ve got to get it over and done in under an hour, so I still have some tweaking to do. Sigh. But I did get more positive feedback, and even a way to make it better from friend and colleague Andrea Baker. Librarians are so awesome in their willingness to share and offer constructive criticisms.
Please be sure to write or call your legislators and thank them for saving SCETV and all the resources we have there. Our state is very lucky to have this, and not many other states have as generous, free, and helpful (free) resource like we do. If any part of it went away, most of us in SC would not be able to afford the cost of even a tenth of the resources we are provided free. So we need to continuously remind our legislators of its value in resources and people, and NEVER take it for granted.