Monday, June 30, 2008

Upstate Technology Conference Reflections

Last Wednesday and Thursday I attended the Upstate Technology Conference in Greenville, South Carolina. I thought it was wonderful that I met lots of friends that I’d talked to on Twitter. I met Ewan McIntosh, David Jakes, Cathy Nelson, Chris Craft, Mary Ann Sansonetti, Heather Loy, Julia Davis, Frieda Foxworth and probably some others that I can’t remember. I felt like I had known them for a long time and they weren’t strangers to me. You can see some of my pictures of my twitter friends and the conference on my Flickr pages. After thinking about this I realized that this networking was one of the most important aspects of the conference for me. I enjoyed the sessions but the connectedness of it was the most meaningful to me. Others have written about the conference and the keynotes so I won’t repeat them and I’ll just give you the links to their blog posts: The Global One Room Schoolhouse by Ewan McIntosh, F2F PLN = family-like reunions (UTC reflection) by Cathy Nelson and UTC…meeting and learning by Mary Ann Sansonetti

Here are the sessions that I attended:
1. E-mp3: I learned the differences between IPods and mp3 players
2. Publishing, Play, Purpose: Three Elements that must change our teaching and learning (Keynote – Ewan McIntosh)
3. 12 Personal Practices for Online Protection: this made me paranoid enough to upgrade my antivirus program and download some other free stuff
4. Create Video tutorials for students and colleagues: really seemed like an ad to sell Screencorder 5 that he spent about 5 minutes explaining.
5. Creating Virtual Field Trips with Google Earth: we actually played with Google Earth. I love the hands on experiences where we actually use the software. I guess I learn better by doing.
6. Making Your Podcast More Pro: I felt inspired and motivated to try to do some podcasts
7. Ipodabilities: I learned more ways to use IPods in the classroom.
8. Global One Room Schoolhouse (Keynote - David Jakes)
9. Don’t Read to Me – A Presentation on Presentations: We need to stop reading slides off PowerPoint and engage the learners.
10. 21st Century Cartography: Using Google Earth and Maps to Empower Student Learning: He used Google Earth and Google Maps which inspired me to put my travels on Google Earth with pictures.
11. Podcasting with Gcast: This was a simple way to do podcasts. I may do some using this.
12. Deter, Detect, Defend: I had more ideas on how to prevent identity theft.

I realized I gained more from sessions that showed the technology tools and how to apply them in the classroom. If I do any presentations about technology, that is the way I would do this in order to make it relevant to the people who are attending. By seeing the actual application, I could adapt it to my needs and how I would use it in my classroom. Is this not the way we should be teaching our students? I think it would be more motivating to show them how the tools you will teach them can be used, and then teach them how to use the tool to achieve their goals. Too many times we get bogged down in the teaching of the tool to where we either frustrate them or make them so bored, they have no desire to use the tool. I know this because I have felt this way in many conferences.

At the end of the last day, we all filed in the auditorium for the drawings for free prizes. I couldn’t believe it when I won a set of speakers. I really needed them!

1 comment:

Michelle said...

Sounds like a great conference! I'm hoping you'll share more information and insight from your "Don't read to me" presentation. I'm very interested in hearing their take on how to make presentations more engaging for the audience.