In a previous post, I mentioned learning about an Education 2.0 conference down the street from my home at Kean University in Union, New Jersey. I took away something from each of the two keynotes and three individual sessions. What more could I ask for?
The answer is face to face connections with some really interesting people in some local schools. The other neat thing was meeting Kevin Jarrett who I only just have gotten to know through his K12Online presentation about Second Life. He was kind enough to introduce me to Lucy Gray.
I've taken Lucy's cue and tagged my delicious account with CIE entries for web sites that I found useful over the two days. I'll be adding a few more as I go back through my notes. It took me until the second day to figure out how to use Kean's wireless system. They forgot to announce the guest id and password.
The day started early with breakfast and a keynote speech by Will Richardson. I've read his blog, heard people write about him, and have even left some comments behind at his Weblogg-ed blog. It was a pleasure to listening to him. I found his keynote at the Christa McAuliffe Conference in New Hampshire at Bob Sprankle's blog in his Seedlings podcast.
His keynote speech was: A Web of Connections: Why the Read/Write Web Changes Everything. He really hopped along through a variety of interconnected ideas. His overall message was prefaced with the statement: "My job is to get you unsettled". Overall, the idea that stood out for me was how he showed a ClusterMap of the people who read his blog. It was jam-packed with red dots. Then he showed us the ClusterMap of his children's school. It had one big dot on the school. The big question was how can we help our students fill their ClusterMaps with dots from around the world and where are the dots on your map. I've started putting Cluster Maps at the student work on their blogs, wiki linked podcasts, and wiki VoiceThreads for Fair Use and Copyright. I try to point out the dots from time to time. Feel free to stop by at those four locations and add a dot when you get time. I took a close look at mine on the side of this screen and am happy and amazed at the little red dots. I'm also starting to get comments from other people which really makes it feel like I'm not just talking to myself. That's fine for a while, but then you get to want more.
The first breakout session I chose to go to was an hour long presentation by Kevin Jarrett titled Second Life in Education: Virtual Space, Real Learning. I have visited Second Life, gotten through tutorial island, and traveled to ISTE Island. I have even spoken to an ISTE docent and sat through some of a newbie presentation in ISTE's auditorium. What was really amazing was to seeing teachers and students show off some of their work via Kevin's presentation. He took us to three separate locations. When I get to SL again, I'll be sure to stop by and take time to look at all the exhibits on the main grid location we visited on Friday. I also had the privilege of seeing the teen grid first hand as a visitor. This is something I cannot do on my own. It was a worthwhile session that was over too quickly.
My second breakout session was by Will Richardson titled Podcast, Vodcast, Screencast Nation. It was also an hour session. He gave a quick walk through of how easy it can be to create a personal broadcast. He took a quick stop at the creative commons web site to show how we can find and use copyright friendly media. Some take aways for me was the mention of the Griffin iTalk ($35-40 US), iRiver ($65-70 US), and Flip Video ($100 US) to create inexpensive media that easily integrates into the computer. These are some pieces of hardware I'll be able to investigate for next year's technology budget.
Some websites that I learned about include ourmedia.com to host podcasts, Flickr Storm to which has a tray on the side that students can come back to with a web link if they have to leave in the middle of work to go to a different class, and JingProject a currently free screen capture/ voice recording software that works with OS X and Windows.
After lunch, we had a second keynote speech from Vincent Laforet. Take a look at his project galleries. His images are fantastic, but the stories he told about them made the images come to life. I enjoyed showing the family the images and retelling his stories when I got home.
Lastly, I rounded out the day with Geocaching in the Classroom with Deborah Gries. She walked us through how her school received grant money to get $100 Garmin GPS navigation devices. The seventh graders learned how to use the devices and then made a set of geocaches for the sixth graders to find on the school grounds. She also walk use through www.geocaching.com to look for other local projects. One of the cute ideas that she mentioned was that you could get trackable items called Travel Bugs that you can place at a geocache and then track it's travels via the Internet.