Sunday, February 16, 2014

Percolator: Now Brewing

Since the beginning of this year, I have been thinking I should really be posting more of the #edtech activities that are happening at my school.  It's been quite a growing process for my friends, but they are finally starting to integrate more tech tools with their learning objectives.  In the past few months, more teachers have requested help with technology, partially due to the fact that our district tech showcase is quickly approaching.  Whatever the reason, it doesn't matter, as long as we are collaborating and creating together.

I got to work with a small group of Kinders last week.  They celebrated their 100th day of school recently and wrote about what they would do with $100 dollars.  They also drew pictures to go along with them.  If you know me, you know I love photo editing apps.  We took pictures of their drawings, and then they used the Percolator app to shake them up and make them look cool!  After that, we dropped them into iMovie, and the kids recorded their sentences.  I think it turned out pretty darn cute. It's artistic and showcases their learning.

I'm going to be sharing more of what the students are doing in the coming days! But, until then, try something similar and share it with us.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Highlights of My Week at #TCEA14

Steve Dembo, Me, Jake, & Carrie Ross
sporting our 'staches from the Tech Amigos!
Before I get back to all the fun that is to come at school this week, I figured I had better give a quick summary of all the cool things that happened this week. I will be sharing more about the tools in the next few weeks, but for now, the fun stuff!

What a week!  So many wonderful memories will stick with me from TCEA14.

Here are my Top 10 Highlights of the week:

10. Trying to position myself in the sneakiest way to get a #selfieswithstuart.

Stuart, waiting for the bus, while I snap a quick pic.
Tim takes a #selfieswithstuart

9. Watching Matt drive around a robot and talk to convention-goers.
Matt, asking strangers for cookies.  #cookieclub

8.  Podcasting with my buddy.

Kenya and Jake in the Digital Square 

7.  Eating & hanging out with my friends.

Torchy's Tacos
Me, Jake, Todd, & Stacey enjoy a fine Tex-Mex meal.

Jake's "Squealing Pig" at Gourdough's
Jake, Me, Todd, Mindi, Stacey, Amy, Lyndsay, & Jazmin at Michelada's.
  Matt was taking the picture.

6. Getting new ideas from Tracy Clark (Make & Do for the iPad Crew).

5. Presenting a session with my Tech Ninja friends!

Todd speak while Stacey demonstrates a website.

4. Chatting with Christian Long & David Jakes about Learning Spaces!
Victor, trying out a Buoy active seat in the Digital Square.

3. Attending a grant writing session with Dr. Rita Oates.
I was so busy typing notes that I didn't get a picture of her session.

2. Having critical conversations with Scott, Jake, Miguel, & Tim.  (See yesterday's post for more info.)

1. Playing Saloon Shootout on the Leap Motion with Steve.

Me with Steve, Jon and Matt photobombing

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Reflections from #TCEA14--It's Still About the Relationships

Believe it or not, this was my first TCEA convention.  I am thankful that my school foundation was willing to send me, and my principal was willing to find resources to allow me to eat, sleep, and drive there.  I learned some new things this week, was inspired to continue what I am doing, collaborated with new friends, and cemented old friendships.

When I wasn't in a workshop or presentation, I was in the Digital Square.  On the first day, one of my colleagues commented to me, "Gosh, you know everyone."  My response, "I'm on Twitter."  I follow, I RT (retweet), I favorite, all in the name of learning more, connecting more, and building relationships. After almost 2 years of being on Twitter, I can truly say I have learned more as an educator because of the relationships that have stemmed from my PLN.

But, by far, the informal conversations I had in the Digital Square were my favorite part of the whole week.  There is something extraordinary about having conversations with other connected educators.  I was able to connect with David Jakes and Christian Long.  They are involved in educational design, and all the sessions they led were very relevant for me.  At school, I am working on a huge project which is going to transform our classrooms.  I appreciated David's willingness to answer all of my questions.  Also, he is a fellow Chicagoan, so I am a little biased.

On Friday, I got to be a part of a podcast with Miguel Guhlin, Tim Holt, Scott Laleman, and Jake Duncan.  I met Miguel Guhlin last summer at ISTE and had a brief conversation that inspired me.  I can't even particularly remember what he said, but he was down-to-earth and accessible.  He was willing to chat with me (a relative nobody to him) and discuss education.  This was the first time I met Tim and Scott, but after listening to their ideas and knowledge, I know these guys are great ones to have in my PLN.  Jake always shares AMAZING tools with me.  As educators, we need to have more conversations like this, ones that challenge & inspire us.

After Jake returned from his session (tELL me a cuento, por favor), we worked on an episode for our podcast, Cutting Edgucation.  It was nice to be able to process the week with him.  Future episodes with definitely stem from our learning last week.

I'll be sharing more of what I learned in the next few weeks, but until then, if you aren't on Twitter, you should be.  Because it really is about the relationships.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Surviving TCEA (or any conference) as an Introvert

So, here I am (again) at a very large #edtech conference, wondering how I am going to survive a week of learning with thousands of people.  Yes, friends, I am an introvert.

Last summer I attended ISTE13 and learned a whole lot about navigating large conferences as an introvert.  You see, I get reenergized by being alone.  I need considerable amounts of downtime to recharge and reflect.  It's not that I don't like being around people, I just need lots of time alone.  So, I wanted to give my fellow introverts a few tips for staying sane and getting the most out of these conferences.

So, here we go...

Tip #1:
Do not take a roommate.
Number 1 rule for having time to reflect and recharge.  If your school requires you to take a roommate to save money, this could be a problem.  Try, at least, to take another introvert.  If not, maybe your extrovert roommate will be out socializing so you can get some time by yourself.

Tip #2:
Don't attend a session during every time slot.
Give yourself time between sessions to think about what you learned.  Chat with a few people or pull out your laptop and blog about it.  There will plenty of learning going on all week.  Take time to reflect on it.

Tip #3:
Meet new people!
As an introvert, I prefer to talk to small groups or one-on-one.  Make connections and network with new friends.  When do you have a chance to meet so many like-minded people in one place?  Take advantage of it!

Tip #4:
Sign up for evening "activities", but don't feel obligated to attend all of them.
After a few days of all this edtech fun, I know I will need an evening to myself.  So, I usually bow out one night near the end of the conference.  Sometimes I feel like I am missing out on all the fun, but I always feel better the next day!

Tip #5:
Have fun!
A large part of attending conferences, for me, is seeing my friends.  I spend a considerable amount of time hanging out at the Digital Square or the Lounges chatting with my colleagues.  Some of the best learning happens while sharing our experiences on an informal basis.  Take advantage of those times!

Follow these 5 tips and you are sure to have a great time!


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