Friday, March 5, 2010

Back from NCTIES...My top 5

I had a great time at the NCTIES conference (official site)  in Raleigh!  People always say if you bring back just three things that you will use then it will have been worthwhile going. 

So,  even though I have not had time to fully digest everthing I learned, I will try and narrow it down to Three things that I plan on sharing/using.  In the meantime,  I have seen the following blogs (via twitter) from other attendees...and the following links have their top lists too--some overlap, some don't:

Melissa's notes  from Department of Technology in winston-salem

Blog from Kevin at Clemmons MS

Well,  one thing I know I will use because I have already set it in place, WellWisher...

1)  At our SIT meeting last week we talked about teacher morale and there was a suggestion for a "drop in the bucket" type bulletin board for sharing positive accomplishments for one another at TJMS.

Well, it just so happens that one thing I learned about (from my friend, Jennifer LaGarde) in Raleigh is a website called Wallwisher. It is a simple webpage where we all can easily post our positive messages about one another on an electronic bulletin board :)

So, I set up the following wall on wallwisher: and posted a message there. I also put a link on the left border of our TJMS webpage called Best at TJMS After you click on the link, just double click on the "wall" to post a comment (You do NOT need to sign in or set up an account. I will moderate all comments --so we don't get messages up there like: "Mr. Downs is the worst tech facilitator ever! "

2)  The second thing I plan on sharing and encouraging is Personal Learning Networks and Twitter.  Twitter seemed to be something that kept coming up at different sessions at the conference.  I attended Kathy Schrock's session on Twitter and Emory Maiden's too.  People were tweeting throughout the conference and here is a listing of tweets from people attending or speaking about the conference:

I learned that you can use a "#" at the end of a tweet and any tweet with that "tag" will show up in a search.  So,  people from the conference would tweet an idea or message or question with the ending tag #ncties, and anyone at the conference could then easily search twitter for tweets with that tag and see what was being said or shared.

This type of "tagging" has implications for the classroom as teachers could use a similar idea for classroom projects!  We also saw examples of teachers or schools who set up twitter accounts for very specific uses.  There was a sports department who would twitter sports score results and set them up to display on their website.  Another teacher would tweet the daily weather at her school and followers would tweet conditions from locations all over the world.  Students would then gather that data and analyse it!

3)  In a concurrent session with Leslie Fisher, (who I really liked!) I learned about Google Forms...   Forms can help you easily gather information from a large number of people without having to send and receive multiple emails--Teachers could pose a question online and receive feedback (create on-line quizzes for example).  Here's instruction on how to create a Google Form..

Okay,  I can't stop at THREE!!

4)  Ustream:   established in March 2007, is a website which consists of network of diverse channels providing a platform for lifecasting and live video streaming of events online.  I think this would be a great site for distant learning opportunities.  I want to explore this more!

5)  Flip Videos and using video in class is wave that is still rising.  I attended this session from nancy Mangum, and there were some good ideas for using video in classes.  This is something I really want to encourage.  Ms Mooney in 6th grade recently acquired a set of four flip videos and we need to start using them!   Nancy talked about several ideas for using flip videos in class, and had the participants demonstrate one where a flip video was used to film hand-drawn or downloaded pictures along with a script in what she called a Paper Slide video...It was easy to do and cool!

Other things
I really want to check out:
(a way to manage your twitter account from a desktop application)
(can set up multiple calendars, use for room scheduling at your school, etc.)
(This guy was a great speaker and had some outstanding ideas, loved his "entertainnment tonight style" video that he created with his kids.  Liked his line:  "kids in India & Chine are hungry for your job")
(Kevin Honeycutt, a great conference featured speaker shared this site where you can upload student artwork for a shared audience :)
(A guy I respect on twitter said this was one of his favorite "finds" from the conference so it must be good!)

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