I am very excited to be able to go back to my TIES Conference this year. As I reflect on my learning over the course of the last year, it is primarily made up of online resources like Twitter, Facebook, and other social networking/media. Even though I have learned a tremendous amount from my PLN (Personal Learning Network), I also value the ability to connect face to face with colleagues out in the field.
iPad in the Classroom
My PLN has been buzzing about this gadget for quite some time and I am looking forward to some hands-on training. I am fortunate that I recently obtained access to one, and from personal standpoint – I LOVE IT. I can do just about anything on this device as I can on a computer. Reading on it is amazing. Even though I am a screen reader – I have found that the iPad seems a little easier on the eyes. I can watch videos, listen to music, and browse the web. Some of the apps are absolutely fantastic. So far, I am very impressed with the Music apps, children’s education apps, interactive simulations, and free books. What I am hoping is to find out what others are using in their classrooms and figure out the best way to sift through the junk and get right to the good stuff. I am also wondering what apps are worth paying for. Right now, this device (as well as the iPod) is under consideration in our Early Ed classrooms.
Moodle Compact Design
I am very excited about this workshop! I first witnessed this design back in October, while attending the Memo conference. There is a new technique via Moodle that takes the “Moodle Scroll of Death” away and make it more compact. (Participants in online courses have to scroll up and down to get to their appropriate content.) In January, I am teaching another 4 week “Facilitating Online Learning with Moodle” course to some of our teachers and I not only want to improve the experience for my participants but also teach them NEW design techniques. I plan to apply what I have learned by actively working on my course @ this session. I have also excited to meet and connect with other Moodlers!
Google Apps for Education
8:30 – 3:30 –(all day – YEAH!)
Last January, our district transitioned to Google Apps for Education. All of our teachers and students (grades 5-12) have an account and have access to Gmail, Calendar, Docs, and Sites. It is simply amazing what we are doing in our district, schools, and classrooms because of Google Apps! It has transformed the way we create and share information and I truly believe we have different conversations because of this tool. I am looking to learning new ideas of how we can further integrate Google Apps in our classrooms and of course networking with Google Apps users. I am hoping I will learn about how other districts are using Google Sites for ePortfolios. We had a couple of pilot projects this fall and any information I can bring back would be great. I am a believer in ePortfolios as an assessment tool – not only is it authentic and meaningful to students, but it is also very relevant in today’s world!
Some highlights I am looking forward to on Monday and Tuesday!
Keynote – Monday AM: I am thrilled to be able to attend the opening keynote – Sir Ken Robinson, “Finding Students’ Passion” on Monday morning! I have been following his work for some time and feel privileged I get to hear him speak. Our district also is sending a team of teachers to the conference this day so I am really looking forward to how they react to his presentation and most of all, any follow-up discussions/ideas afterwards.
I am also looking forward to presenting at TIES this year. On Monday, I will co-present with Blue Skunk Blogger, Doug Johnson – “A Guide for Teachers Using Social and Educational Networking Sites”. Session is from 11:45 – 12:45. Immediately following that session, I am presenting with our Math Department “Bidding Adieu to Textbooks” @ 1pm. (Wow – is that going to be a tight schedule!) I am very proud of the work these educators have done to discontinue the use of textbooks in our Math Curriculum and feel fortunate we get to share our story.
As for the other general sessions I plan on attending sessions that deal with:
- Online learning
- Effective assessment practices in the 21st Century
- 1:1 Computing and/or Mobile Devices
After looking at my focus strands – I realize how they all related to one another.
I plan tweeting and blogging about my experiences during and after the conference. If you can’t attend the conference but are interested in following the conversations, I suggest you follow the discussion via #ties10.