I watched all of the presentations from Week Two that were available as movie files. I skipped any wiki presentations and audio podcasts. I’ve heard from other teachers who prefer the latter kind of presentation but I feel like I can see wikis and download podcasts any time. What’s unique about the conference in my mine is the opportunity to see movie versions of teachers’ presentations.
Backchanneling in the Classroom by Scott Snyder
presentation link | Scott’s blog
This presentation was one of my favorites because the idea presented was totally new and novel to me. Mr. Snyder has students chatting with each other on laptops at the same time that they have a class discussion in his English class. This allows all students, even those who rarely participate orally, to participate and increase engagement. It’s like a high tech version of pair sharing that we do in the elementary grades but better since it involves the whole class together. He uses it also as assessment tool by examining the text of the chat at the end of class sessions. The biggest obstacles for most of us is not having enough computers for everyone and the intense classroom management. Scott wisely included interviews with students in his presentation. One thing I would’ve liked to have seen is the text of some of the chats perhaps intercut with the class discussion. I wonder how it supports and enhances the regular class discussion.
Monsters in Bloom in our Wiki by Ann Oro and Anna Baralt
presentation link | Ann Oro’s blog | Anna Baralt’s blog
Teachers had second graders create monsters and then write detailed descriptions of them using adjectives. Students at another location had to recreate the monsters using only the written descriptions reprinted on a wiki. I liked this presentation because it was directly applicable to early elementary students, age appropriate, and not too technically difficult. They also went out of their way to plan their project to align with Bloom’s taxonomy and higher levels of thinking and connect the technology to writing and the inclusion of sensory details. Teachers often skip this planning piece.
Games in Education by Sylvia Martinez
presentation link | Sylvia’s blog
I’m already a fan of Sylvia’s but she did an effective job in this presentation of making the case for games by linking game playing to learning through the ages (and even in animal behavior). At the same time she takes a hard line on traditional educational computer games which basically replicate paper flash cards on the screen and yet remain the most popular type of classroom games. She shares LineRider a physics type game which I wasn’t familiar with and Phun, a virtual physics sandbox. If you’re interesting in using video games in the classroom, check this out.
Changing Disabilities: Using the MacGuyver Approach by Beth Lloyd
presentation link | Beth’s blog
I will never forget Beth’s story of a student with selective mutism who was scared of saying hello to school personnel in the hallway. Beth recorded people like the school nurse and principal saying hello to the student on a voicethread. By playing the voicethread for the student and having the child get used to the voices and faces of the different personalities, he was able to say hello when he saw them in the hallway.
Leverage Points for Insping Change by David Warlick
presentation link | David’s blog
There’s a reason why David keynoted the conference the past two years. He has a charming down home personality and although I can’t say I learned anything new from his presentation, he effectively makes the case for educational change and I loved his use of Leopard’s Quicklook feature (which allows you to click on a file and press the space bar to bring up a preview), and found the twenty minutes I spent with him thoroughly enjoyable. Stealing the show is his son’s cover version of a Ben Fold’s song, created in Garageband using overdubs of a euphonium.
Current Leadership Models are Inadequate for Disruptive Innovation by Scott McLeod
presentation link | Scott’s blog
Scott presents the ideas of Dr. Clayton Christensen’s work on Disruptive Innovations and argues that in the same way cassette tapes overtook vinyl, CD’s overtook cassettes, and mp3s overtook them all, education is on its way to be overtaken by a new model that he predicts will take over in 2019. It’s fascinating stuff although I don’t see what in education is going to cause this disruptive innovation and undo the well established infrastructure of real estate and ideology that is thoroughly established. The whole structure of schools needs to change and I really don’t see how the advent of the internet alone is going to facilitate that.
I thank everyone for their entries into the K12 Online Conference. I like this model of professional development and would love to see a literacy conference, a math conference, how to help English Language Learners, etc. presented in a similar online format. I think technology for technology’s sake may not be the answer but if we really want to change education we might have to look at the total picture.