Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Tuesday Afternoon - NECC

While I leave things like this very encouraged, quite typically I am very overwhelmed and walk away feeling like I'm fighting an uphill battle I will never win. I'm at that point today. I have attended some wonderful and very informative sessions, but it makes me realize how far we have to go in the Panhandle. I get up and fight another day, but it sure makes me tired! :)

The Adobe breakfast this morning was yummy, but not only that they had three speakers (national-state-local) that spoke about the need for technology in the classrooms. Tim Magner, who is with the Office of Educational Technology under the U.S. Department of Education, was the national speaker and spoke to the idea that our kids are 21st century learners. Nothing I didn't already know; however, it was good to hear someone on the national level say it. He did give us a great resource (some of you may already be aware of it's exhistence): www.school2-0.com This is a eToolkit that will help districts develop a common education vision and explore how that vision can be supported with technology.

The second speaker (and I can't remember her name...I apologize) is from Florida and is with their state department. She discussed the way that Florida is encouraging the integration of technology.

The final speaker was a teacher, also from Florida (and I can't remember her name - again, I'm sorry!), and she walked us through some amazing things she's done with her kids and technology. It was a great way to start my morning.

We didn't get done at the Adobe breakfast until about 9:30 or so and we decided to head into the exhibts. Oh - so many! :) Prior to heading into the exhibit hall, we stopped by ISTE central and bought some books. When will I have time to read? They're going to be great books when I get around to reading them.

I was hoping to make it into the Marzano and Web 2.0: Ed Tech That Works with Stephanie Sandifer. I even brought my book! Unfortunately, I was too late and didn't make it into the session. I think it ended up being a good thing, though, because I was able to go into another session: Developing 21st-Century Skills in School and District Leaders. It was how a school implemented a 1-1 with an emphasis on how they trained the leaders in the school. If we're awarded the Technology Immersion grant, this information will be invaluable. It also made me realize how behind we are. Will we ever catch up?

The second session I attended was supposed to be Second Life Virtual Caper: The Case of the Cyper Footprint, but it ended up being a session on what the 21st century student looked like. It didn't have anything to do with Second Life. That's okay, though. It was an amazing experience none-the-less. Peter Reynolds - renowned auther and illustrator - along with Eric Close (yep...that's right - of Without a Trace fame) used the audience to come up with a picture of what a 21st century student looks like. Eric Close asked questions and the audience would answer them. As we answered, Peter Reynolds drew the character. The amazing thing is that Peter asked to be sent additional information and he would continue to develop the character and would eventually animate the character and would share it with the world. How awesome is that!?! :) It was sponsered by Thinkfinity which is an amazing (free) resource that teachers can use. You don't even have to have a username/password. The resources are just there for educators to use to the benefit of kids. HOW AWESOME! The picture that was created at that point is available and I'll post the animated version when it's available.

After I left that session, I went over to the poster sessions to find my co-workers and ran into some people I know from Austin. I had gone done with some teachers from the Panhandle to view what iPods in the ESL classroom looked like. They're doing amazing things with their kids! It was nice to see them again.

Then I went back to the room for a some rest and I checked my e-mail and started this blog. Okay...time for confession here...it's Wednesday morning and I'm finishing up this post. My brain was too tired and I was too tired to finish...so...you're getting my Tuesday recap...on Wednesday. :)

Blackboard had a meeting last night to show their new interface that will be released during this next year. I want it now! It's amazing and appears to be so much easier to use - especially on the class creator side. I'll be excited when this comes out.

Last night was an evening of events. I first attended the Discovery Education get-to-gether. It was fun and I met my contact. It was just very loud, but a good experience. And...I won! It was a Discovery Education fleece pullover. After that I went to the TCEA get-to-gether. It was fun, but at that point I was so tired from my early start to the day that I just sat there and stared. We left early.

Back to the room...and off to bed.

Very Early Tuesday Morning - NECC

It's very early in the morning and I am not a morning person. On top of that, I stayed up late working on an online professional development that I am taking. I didn't get much sleep, but that's what conferences like this tend to do. You stay up late to have fun and wake up early to continue the fun.

Some cool things that happen here that have never happened at a conference before (and I've been to several):

There is a daily paper that is printed, published, and left out for anyone who wants one
The Daily Leader (the daily paper I mentioned above) is delievered to our hotel room door (we think this is because we're staying a room with the TCEA block because one of my co-workers is on the TCEA board)
Blogger's Central

My session yesterday wasn't all that great. Interestingly enough - she did exactly what David Jakes spoke about yesterday. Bullet points. I could have printed off her presentation, read the information, and understood everything it took her an hour to share. What can I expect, though. Two out of my three sessions I attended yesterday were wonderful. Those odds aren't bad!

I'm looking forward to today. We're going to breakfast with Adobe this morning and then I've got several sessions to attend today. I'm not going to lug my computer around, though. The hotel is close enough that I can come back if I need to use it...

Another exciting day of NECC...