SC EdTech (2008 theme Rock On) is over and done again for the year. It will be back next October. It is so good to see such a mixture of educators at this annual meet-up. Best now that I live in Myrtle Beach (80% of the time anyway) getting to sleep at home and not worry about hotel internet connections or parking is a huge plus.
I did an extended session first thing Wednesday morning that went well enough. I had standing room only for the first hour, but when it came down to getting “in my sandbox” and getting dirty playing with tools, some bailed. It was expected and even okayed. The smaller the group, the easier it would be to assist those who needed help. I did find I had to go significantly slower than was my intent. A do over would call for a poll of expertise and comfort, a recruitment of help (I had several experienced friends in the audience including Frank Moore, Chris Craft, MaryAnn Sansonetti, Heather Loy, & Fran Bullington) and then a divide and conquer approach to teaching. Many had absolute interest and desire to learn, but no schema for the content nor a comfort in the tools. I’m still not quite sure how I think it went.
The opening day keynote was a hypnotist who was quite intriguing. sat on the front row, but did not volunteer. I was amazed at the volunteers AND audience members who FROM THEIR SEAT were put under and at the mercy of the hypnotist. I hope someone videoed to show these people exactly what they did. While it was PG, I would be so embarrassed if I looked back at it on video.
Here is a breakdown of my day Thursday:
Google Apps – The presenter went over many of the tools I knew well already, but I was hoping to get ideas for “enticing” others to use them. I am planning a parent/student evening workshop on this toic, so I went for ideas, and i was not disappointed.
Don’t Read to Me by Chris Craft – Chris is using all his learning theory and psychology from his Ph.D. program at USC to help attendees understand the best way to engage an audience when teaching or doing staff development presentations. He is engaging and funny, so this time flew by (I had to leave half way through for a call that I may blog about later.) But reports from attendees was that the session was fabulous.
Keynote – NASA Video Conference - the speaker had all kinds of technical glitches with sound and feed back, but the astronauts that work the education side of NASA were filled with ideas of use for video conferencing in the classroom. I kept wondering why plain old Skype wasn’t used….
A group of us ate lunch together at the Sea Captain’s House right on the beach. YUMMMMY. (Me, Chris, Maryann, Julia Davis, Jessica Donaldson, and Heather Loy.)
Game-on! Okay I went b/c i am considering doing a gaming club, and so thought I would get some good ideas here. But it was simply PowerPoint Games and the audience was SO into this. I wasn’t all that impressed. Sigh. I apologize, as I can see where those who love powerpoint would get all hot and bothered. My take away? Have kids search for PPT template games online and create their own for a content review in the classroom. So see, i did leave with at least an idea.
My next session was BAD and like Heather Loy, i will comment no further on it other than to share what I got from it. My take away? recertification credits. I should have left but 1) I hate when others do that, 2) it’s not like I paid to attend–committee members were there free, and 3) I was trapped at the wall where i raced to get a seat so I could be plugged in with my laptop. I did text my friend Chris to say the presenter needed a remedial course in his session topic, presentation design. It was a CLASSIC KMN pppt. (KMN = Kill Me Now b/c it is bullet ridden, text heavy, and the fonts were microscopic. That was okay though because the presenter READ each and every word on her slides.)
Second Life – A few of my friends and I went to the Second Life Session, and we immediately jumped right in and friend-ed the presenter, Dr. Gary Senn, a professor from the University of South Carolina-Aiken campus. I sat in the back so I could be near a plug, and my neighbor and I got to goofing off in SL while he was touring us around (mostly me) and I got a serious case of the giggles. I could not regain composure, and people around me were getting angry. I formally apologize to everyone who was around me. I realize in hindsight how much of a distraction I was, especially after some of my friends at supper reminded me that I was being glared at by nearby session attendees. Ooops. SL has potential but I am not ready to lead students in.
We ate supper out at Broadway at the Beach and had a nice time feeding the fish and the ducks who were downright mean to each other.
Friday morning I met another friend, John Woodring, who kind of walked me through some questions I had with Ustream. Too bad it doesn’t count as a session. I stayed for his next two sessions he presented, one on using WizIQ and one on Cyberbullying. (See his wiki.) I left with an idea for teaching cyber-bulling at school during the day to kids. I have previously done some parent workshops, but nothing of any great detail for students. Thanks John for the great ideas today.
The conference does something called e-tracking, where you get a card scanned at each session and then after the conference you have a document that is worth recertification points or credits in South Carolina. I wish they would give me a session credit for my one on one impromtu Ustream session w/ John. I was there at the conference, just not in a scheduled session. Also, I think we should get credit for time spent in the vendor hall too, as I get a lot of ideas from the vendors as well. Oh well. That is a comment to leave on the conference evaluation. I did enjoy the days there, but the hanging out with friends, catching up with colleagues we only see at conferences, and picking the brains of experts and those who have done interesting or exciting activities that were shared is what makes attending this conference so exciting.