Sunday, April 26, 2015

NETA 2015 Day Two

makerbot.comDay two of NETA 2015 was filled with great sessions. I was excited from the start after visiting the vendors and realized that 3D printers are not as expensive as I thought. An 8th grade Science teacher and I are looking into writing a grant for a machine for our school. We plan to use it to create models for science class, integrate into teaching of engineering in science, and hope to expand to other subject areas as well.   

I got reaquainted with an old love at NETA, augmented reality.  I have not had the chance to use AR much in the last couple of years.  I was exposed to some new tools that have reignited that spark.  I can't wait to find ways to use Leslie Fisher's ideas to use AR in the classroom.  I forgot how useful Aurasma and other AR tools can be in the classroom.  

Eric Bell, from Lexington Public Schools, showed how he helped his district move away from textbooks and have a completely digital curriculum. He explained the process for creating the digital repository that was completely aligned to each state standard.  Every class in the social sciences has a repository with a curriculum guide, concepts and skills, unit summary, vocabulary, links, PDFs, PowerPoints, videos, podcasts, and more.  The reason for creating these repositories is to have a curriculum and all pieces needed for any teacher to come into their district and be comfortable teaching that class.  This way if a really good teacher leaves, a new teacher is not starting from scratch.  Every social science teacher in the district contributes materials for everyone to use.

During the Ignite Your Learning session, Michelle Baldwin, Ann Feldmann, Kristen Swanson, Mickie Mueller, Corey Dahl, Beth Still, and Otis Pierce led a fast-paced session on many topics ranging from embracing failure and learning from it to making sure laughter is present in your life to help destress to sketchnotes to see your notes visually to help retention. this session was fast but effective.

Devin Schoening led a session reminding us to let students be amazing. We need to provide opportunities for kids to be amazing. We need to allow wonder and curiosity. He reminds us that the futer belongs to the curious. Our classrooms should be places for posing questions, not just answering them. Teachers need to foster and incubate student interests and passion whenever possible. If we want our kids to be passionate about learning, we need to be passionate when we teach. We need to be the model of passion and lead by example. Remember to share your ideas. What may be obvious to you, is amazing to others.

Cynthia Stogdill led a session on providing Professional Development for fellow teachers.  Some of the many ideas shared were Summer deck/tech parties, morning slams - quick morning technology sessions, lunch sessions, and after school sessions.  

Thursday, April 23, 2015

NETA 2015 Day One

I have been telling myself to start blogging again for a long time so I decided what better time then #NETA15.  The move to the CenturyLink Center was a good move for NETA.  There was plenty of space, facilities are unbelievable, and the wifi seemed adequate for the amount of people there.

The opening keynote from Adam Bellow was a great way to start of the conference.  He was inspiring and upbeat.  He told it how it is and made you think about things in a different way.

I went to some really good sessions today.  I learned about some new tools I haven't used before and was reminded about some that I haven't used in a while.

One of the best things I learned today was from Aaron Svoboda.  His session was on annotating in YouTube.  I've annotated videos in YouTube before, but his example of how to link videos for a quiz style video experience was awesome.  That is going to be my next test review this year.  He showed us how to record short screencasts asking a question and then putting annotations in at the end to choose an answer.  The answer annotations are linked to either a correct or incorrect screencasted video.  The correct video praises the student and then asks the next question.  The incorrect video explains what the correct answer should be and then asks the next question.  Students would go from video to video but the experience is seamless to them.

Tony Vincent had a great session on finding and designing visuals for your projects.  Tony showed us different websites that had public domain and creative commons images and how to use images correctly without breaking laws.  He showed us how to make sure that students give credit to the producers of the content.  He also showed us many tools for creating awesome infopics.

Julie and Jason Everett showed us the Ed Tech Challenge.  This website is a collection of self-paced courses to help educators use collaboration tools, content management systems, personal learning networks, formative response tools, open educational resources, and electronic portfolios.

Beth Still had a packed house for a session on the ins and outs of Google Chrome.  She had a variety of information from the basics to advanced.  I like to think of myself as a pretty savvy Chrome user, but she told me about a few extensions I didn't know about.  I can't wait to start using OneTab, Google Docs Quick Create, and TabCloud.

Leslie Fisher gave a great presentation on tools you can use tomorrow.  She presented on many tools from Kahoot, Quizizz, Plickers, EdPuzzle, Adobe Voice, and Adobe Slate.  Leslie is an upbeat presenter who makes you want to use these tools in your classroom immediately.  I have used some of the tools she showed us, but she is up on THE latest and showed some tools that were new in the last couple months.

I presented a session today on Flipped Professional Development.  My session was a conversation strand where I started the conversation and then the attendees share and bounce ideas off of each other.  We had several good ideas on how to present professional development to staff in a way to where the staff didn't feel like it was a big waste of time.  One suggestion was Google Classroom, where the teachers are the students and can watch videos and have discussions before PD meetings to speed up the process and have more time to get to other objectives in the meetings.  Another suggestion was to record all of the new teacher information sessions that new teachers could watch at any time.  This way, new teachers were not overwhelmed with an entire day of information.  Also this allows new and veteran teachers were able to go back and review district policies at any time.

My session ended with me showing how I use screencasting to create videos to teach students and teachers how to use different tech tools.  I house all of these videos on my website, Tech Nerd Training.

Overall, this was a very productive day at NETA.  I hope to get as much, or more, from day 2 of NETA 2015 tomorrow.