Choosing between the two early morning keynotes was tough, but I settled on child prodigy Adora Svitak (@flyingfingers) and A Kid's Eye View of an Innovative Classroom. For those that haven't yet had the opportunity to hear Adora speak, I suggest you rush on over to YouTube and check out some of her work. She is, to say the least, an impressive young lady (12-years old I believe) who offers a valuable message - once you look beyond the cuteness factor. She's able to articulate from a child's perspective what many of us have been trying to convince our colleagues of - that we need to engage our students with technology that will hold their attention, while providing those valuable 21st century skills (how long do I have to keep saying 21st century skills?). For half of the some 350 in attendance, she was probably preaching to the choir. For the other half - and for many teachers back at your schools - it was a message that needed to be heard. I won't try and repeat what she had to say here, but you can go on over to uStream to check out the archived video - http://ustre.am/:gKcz.
Next on my list was the VoiceThread session with Lee Kolbert (@TeachaKidd) and David Fisher (@davidfisher65). Lee and David used several examples of projects from their classes to explain the features offered by VoiceThread. I chose this session because I've been looking forward to introducing VoiceThread to my kids but have not sat down to figure it all out. Lee and David did a great job at clearing up many of my questions. As a bonus, Lee clued us into some new features that will be rolled out soon, like hard copy book versions of your VoiceThreads. The presenters created a helpful wiki to support their presentation - click here to go there now.
James Gubbins (@JMGubbins) presented on what became the most valuable tool of the conference - Twitter. The back-channeling that took place during FETC allowed attendees - and those following from anywhere in the world -to follow virtually a number of sessions at once. It was proof-positive of the value and importance of micro-blogging. James offered a rapid-fire session of Twitter related applications designed to locate people to follow, conduct interviews via Twitter, conduct polls, and a number of other useful classroom applications. Contrary to what many out there still believe, Twitter is a valuable tool that should become a fixture in classrooms and schools. You can find James' presentation and links to all of the apps that he covered by clicking here.
Tom Turner (@Tom_Turner) led a session entitled Field Trips 2.0. Expecting it to focus solely on virtual field trips, I was pleased that he also spent considerable time talking about the connection between Web 2.0 applications and actual field trips. I am fortunate that I have the opportunity to lead several field trips every year - from local museums to Washington, DC. I'm always looking for ways to integrate technology meaningfully into my time off-campus. Tom gave us much to think about, like using Google Maps, Glogster, VoiceThread, and other apps for pre-trip activities. Tom also talked a bit about using geocaching both on campus and off. For those that haven't given geocaching a try, I encourage you to give it a go. Your kids will love it. If you're in Florida and need help getting equipment and instruction together, contact me and I may be able to help make it happen. Tom's preso can be found here and the uStream archive video can be found here.
The final session of the day was with Hall Davidson of Discovery Education - Faster, Better, Shorter, Deeper: Editing and Capturing Video. I'll save Hall's presentation - and revisit Steve Katz - in a later post.
Well, I know that this is a long post but I wanted to make available many of the resources that the presenters provided. If there is something missing that relates to one of the covered presentations, please leave comments and share.
Adora pic from www.prometheanplanet.com/
Field trip pic is mine from SCMS History Club trip to St. Augustine