I am very glad that I traveled down Highway 50 yesterday to join 300 other educators for the CTAP3 Ed Tech Conference held at Granite Bay High School. CTAP3 Director and conference organizer Ben Anderson opened the day with the statement that we would “have a great day and find this conference a valuable learning experience for your own professional development.” Here are my top three reasons for enjoying the event:
1. Learning about Granite Bay High School‘s “World Class Tech Support” - Three impressive, engaging seniors kicked off the conference with an introduction to their highly successful GBiT program. This program (and class) provides students with the opportunity to engage in real-world technology support, web development, and management. GBit students maintain all technology on campus, including updates and upgrades, build and maintain the school’s web site and websites for outside customers, and provide faculty with technical training. GBit faculty coordinator Mike Fisher has built the program around a strong college-to-career path. (Note to self: Get the word out to high schools in my district about the GBit program and model!)
2. Listening to Hall Davidson‘s “Revenge of the Digital Immigrant: Teaching wit Media Technology” presentation – Hall reminded us of the brain-based research that supports media in the classroom. What I took away from this session was the power of short – 10-second, maybe 20-second, no more than 30-second – videos in the classroom. By projecting an image of Warren G. Harding and then flashing several times the phrase “29th president, ” followed by “handsome” flashed a few times, followed by “worst president ever,” I am pretty sure it will be a long time before I forget the gist of Hall’s mini lesson on the president who was elected more on looks than on ability to lead. (Note to self: contact Hall or Discovery folks to find link to Hall’s PowerPoint.)
3. Meeting and co-presenting with Alice Mercer – I met Alice about a year ago in the chat room of a Teachers Teaching Teachers Skypecast. From there I started connecting with her in the blogosphere, first through her classroom blog, which was often the model that made visible to teachers in my Web 2.0 workshops the power and possibilities of blogging with students. As a regular reader of the Blog of Mz. Mercer, I feel that I know Alice pretty well…yet…(and here comes the blogosphere connection)…Alice I had had never met face-to-face until walking into the auditorium at Granite Bay High School yesterday morning. Thanks to Skype, Edublogs, and Wikispaces, we did our pre-planning online and were ready to jump in and – together – lead two workshops: Blogging for Absolute Beginners and Going Live with Edublogs. If I do say so myself, I think we did a great job:-) .
One of the favorite things I learned from teaming with Alice was a nifty trick for commenting back to students in Edublogs. Since Edublogs does not have an option for threaded discussions, Alice’s tip will come in handy for teachers wanting to respond directly to a student’s comment (or a fellow blogger’s comment):
I’m already looking forward to next year’s CTAP3 conference – but immediately to next week’s Web 2.0 Conference in San Francisco!