I skipped the free breakfast, yeah I know I can't believe I did that either.
I headed for the session on using Google Earth. I don't know what we expect to get in an hour, but I liked the session. We were taught the basics of marking a point in Google Earth, describing the point, and adding pictures or other data. We learned one very good use for Google Earth in the classroom and the hour is finished.
Later on Monday I went to the Gcompris session and it is relatively similar. Here is the program, here is how to use it, and here are some suggestions for the classroom.
This is the meaning of the BYOL labs. Here is something you can use in the classroom, here is how to use it, and a suggestion for use in the classroom. I like these because I love taking other peoples ideas and using expanding on the originally suggested use. It's a useful skill and one I think sometimes undervalued. Learning isn't always exploration and discovery. Sometimes learning is taking what someone shows you and finding news ways to use it.
In between I stopped to listen to Scott McLeod talk about CASTLE and SAI. I missed most of the explanation, but what I did hear was they wanted to teach administrators to learn how to anticipate and prepare for the future.
The other session was “At Risk Students in A Digital Age” Anthony Mullins, the teacher of the year not long from a visit with the president himself wanted to tell his story.
An ex-cop turned teacher he started as most of us did with at risk students, trying to figure out a way to reach our student, trying to convince them that not only is education important, but that they can be successful.
Tony said, “all good teachers can tell a story”. We can tell a story of success and happiness. We are given an opportunity to help create this story for our students.
Next came the interesting part. He told us the story of what changed in his classroom. Tony is not a digital native, nor is he a digital immigrant, he is as he says, “a digital interloper”. So when he got a bit of technology in his classroom he didn't try to use it to train his students he gave it to his students and said, “wow me”. What is the tweet that is going around., “technology doesn't make us good teachers it helps good teachers be more effective.”
I think Tony is the teacher of the year not because he found a smart board and used it in the classroom, he is the teacher of the year because he changed his teaching style from an authority attempting to convince his students that they need to learn and became a collaborator who allowed his students to learn.
“Wow me” and they did.