Reflections on Tuesday at NYSCATE

Conferences can be fun, educational, and tiring. When I woke up Tuesday morning at NYSCATE, all of this was in play. My session, Video in the Classroom to Captivate and Motivate (nyscate08g09), was scheduled for the first slot, and I was excited about it. I thought that after that, I could cruise through the last couple of sessions, maybe stay for the closing keynote, or get a head start on going home.

The great news was that as the morning and afternoon progressed, things just got better and better, and I left only after the last words of the conference were spoken…

My session went well – I’m a huge proponent of using video in the classroom, and was glad to share some of the things we do in our district with others. I think it was received well – there were many more things I wanted to share, but one hour goes by so fast!

The session on the XO laptop, Little Green Monsters (nyscate08h08) presented by Brian Smith, Gary Stager and Sylvia Martinez was eye opening. I’ve known about and followed the XO for a long time now, but listening to them made me start to understand what it’s about. Pete Reilly summed it up best on his blog – check out his thoughts (and my comments there).

Next up was the session on Web 2.0 Open Source Server Based Apps (nyscate08i05) by my friend Steve O’Connor. I met Steve last year by coincidence at NYSCATE as he and I presented in the same room. Steve has the angle on where we will be going in Ed Tech – we want to use the neat Web 2.0 apps, but are concerned about safety/security/privacy. His take on this is right on the money, I believe. Check out his blog and session wiki page for more info.

Lastly was the closing keynote by Gary Stager titled, The Best Educational Ideas in the World. I’ve heard Gary on many occasions, but his presentation was so engaging and right on, that it did not matter how tired I felt – I left wanting more. I strongly recommend anyone who was not able to hear this talk, go listen to the podcast.

The theme of NYSCATE 2008 was Discovering Your Digital Destination – and for me the pathway was opened. A BIG thank you to all of the people who helped make the conference a huge success!

Image courtesy of leshoward on Flickr.

Reflections on Monday at NYSCATE

So for a new twist, I’ve taken the notes from the sessions I attended on Monday at NYSCATE (from scraps of paper, my iPod touch, etc.) and dumped them into Wordle to see if there are any over-arching ideas I heard (or more likely, focused on).

Here is the result:

I think it’s too soon to really process this, but I like how it makes one think.

The sessions I attended on Monday were:
Rod Serling Video Festival (nyscate08d13)
10 Standards-Based Formative Feedback Techniques for Your Classroom (briefly) (nyscate08d07)
Prensky Keynote
Where Teachers Learn, Where Teachers Teach (nyscate08e03)
Knezak Keynote
Leader to Leader (nyscate08f10)

Who Moved My Tools?

First attempt at transparent screenWith credit to Spencer Johnson and his book, Who Moved My Cheese?, who moved my tools? The tools I’m referring to are the software tools that we rely on every day.

I’ve had a great time at NYSCATE so far, in the hands-on workshops that precede the regular conference. I spent two rewarding days with David Jakes – first in the workshop titiled, Creating Immersive Learning Environments with Mixed Media, followed by, Cartography on the Cutting Edge. David is a terrific educator who knows how to harness the value of technology while still focusing on the core learning literacies that are timeless.

In Thomas Friedman’s book, The World Is Flat, the world changed while we were not looking in terms of the global economy. Similarly, while we are busy using Word, PowerPoint, and every other installed program on our computers, the game has changed in that all of the software has moved to the web. There are many names for this – cloud computing, software as a service, browser-ware, etc. The bottom line is that the computer you type on is the vehicle that gets you to the software and content – all located on the web.

We spent two days talking about and beginning to build powerful environments for students and teachers – and all the tools are web-based (see list here from David’s site). There are pros and cons to this, but the fact is that web-based tools allow for RSS feeds, html code that is embedable, and a multitute of uses and a re-uses. The internet connection and browser become the only necessary resources to communicate, collaborate, and be productive. In this light, is it a suprise that Google jumped into the browser market with Chrome?

The web is the new slate on which we will be drawing our future – literally – how will we harness it and make it what we want it to be?

Image courtesy of JcMaco on Flickr.

Off to NYSCATE 2008

The annual state conference for educational technology, sponsored by NYSCATE, is this weekend. Just a few of the things I’m really looking forward to are…

…weekend workshops with David Jakes. David does incredible work in his district, and is very motivating to work with. He’s doing the Sunday keynote as well.

a ton of sessions on Monday & Tuesday – I’ve yet to pick the ones i’m attending, but there are lots of great choices.

…the other keynote speakers, Marc Prensky, Don Knezek and Gary Stager – what a lineup 🙂

…connecting and reconnecting with colleagues from my district and people met at previous conferences and online.

my session on Video in the Classroom, which is Tuesday from 8:45-9:45.

It’s going to be a fun, tiring, exciting time!

Image citation:
Reynolds, Peter. “Quest2008.” NYSCATE. 21 Nov. 2008 <http://www.nyscate.org/07/pix/quest2008.gif>.