Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Kean University Part II

I can't believe it's already almost a week since I attended the Education 2.0 conference. Time to complete my write up on day two.

It's always more fun attending a conference the second day. You are getting to know the lay of the land. I also connected with a group of educators that Kevin Jarrett was sitting with so I felt more at home in the main presentation room. Kevin kindly introduced my to Lucy Gray early in the morning. It's kind of amazing being introduced to a keynote speaker.

Our first keynote of the morning was Marco Torres. It was titled The New Landscape of Web 2.0. I didn't know what to expect. Will Richardson told me the day before that it would be great and he was absolutely right. He had a set of ideas that linked the presentation together.

Some of the ideas he shared included comparing an "expert teacher" generated flyer with a student generated flyer. It showed how much visual literacy the student had from her work in the high school program. He kept coming back to the idea that you have to find your Yoda and add that person to your network.

I especially liked a chart he showed with a progression from Agricultural -> Industrial -> Service -> Information -> Conceptual eras. He compared at the bottom the way we went from location and labor being important -> location+labor+resources -> Proximity+Partnerships -> Access+Connected -> Ingenuity.

He is very visual. The slides he shared really enhanced his presentation. I wish I was so creative in my ability to provide a message with a nice dose of humor. He had a set of slides that showed the technology resources of teachers over time to get the kids to read pages 1-10 and answer questions. We started at the cave man and his wall. Moved on to the monks in the 1400s chanting with their scrolls. Next we moved to the 1950s with a standard chalk board. From there it was on to the hippy teacher in the 1970s with an overhead projector. By the 1980s the teacher had a white board. 1995 no more white board, but a recycle sign. Finally to a wizz bang, too many effects PowerPoint and then the final punchline - an iPod where the teacher recorded the message. The point - kids can do all the wizz bang effects - they need a Yoda, too.

He talked about connections: how a kid in Canada traded a paper clip for a house, how his students found to connect with musicians around the world so they had the best lunch time show in school.

His most amazing story was about a student who needed to be drawn into social studies. Marco gave him a project to produce a band since he liked music. The student acted as the band's manager. He found the resources to have a web page made, a MySpace band page, got a video recorded, and a myriad of other things. Through the marketing, the band's song was sold for the trailer of a hit movie. Can you imagine this happening for your student?

For the first breakout session, I went to Creating from Scratch. It was a presentation by Tamara Stern and Karen Brenan. They walked us through the program on laptops. I had already been working with Scratch for a month. My own son, a fifth grader at my school, actually had questions from his use of the program that I was able to ask. The MIT people are very interested in drawing people in and taking the program even further than it is now. They have ideas for Facebook widgets and being able to send Scratch greetings through email and seem interested in knowing what people would like to see in the program.

For the second breakout session, I chose to go to Marco Torres' Digital Documentaries: Making Learning Relevant, and Applicable. Marco really connects with the audience. There was at least one person in the audience who had been at BLC in Boston and participated in a workshop with Marco's students. This presentation was all about the students and their work. He shared video after video created by the students. One of my favorites was Ham and Eggs. He showed us videos of how his students market themselves to work for the local teachers. I was so involved that I really didn't take many notes.

After lunch, Lucy Gray presented Google Education: Teaching + Learning Innovation. It was with much gratitude to my personal learning network that I was able to keep up with all the presentations. I really enjoyed her speaking style. She spoke as if it was just a small group of people gathered together. She led us through all of the important tools Google is making available such as Google Docs, Google Reader, and her work with schools. It's worth taking a look at her slides. I learned about using Google News to set up a search with an RSS link to my local town's news.

I found I got a lot out of going to Will Richardson and Marco Torres' breakout sessions, so I went on to Lucy Gray's Emergent Technologies in Education. I think this is the way I will go to most of these conferences in the future. I got more out of the professional presenters than I would have from say, Internet Safety. In her breakout session, Lucy stepped back from Google and spoke more about the web sites many teachers are turning to: wikis, blogs, podcasts, chats, and social networks.

I can't wait to go back to Kean next year. They seem to say that there will be another conference like this next year ... right in my own backyard!

Image Citation:
"DSC_4347.JPG.” elemenous' Photostream. 3 Dec 2007. 6 Dec 2007.

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