I am tardy in my report and reflections about the Innovative Learning Conference 2008, the first educational technology conference where I presented. I posted my Presentation and Notes so if you missed my presentation you can still get the content! My presentation was well-attended, with about thirty people learning how to use Scratch, a multimedia programming environment that teaches you how to program. I received some good follow-up email from people who attended my session, and Alice Mercer was even kind enough to blog about her positive experience at my presenation: thanks Alice!
Next I attended Marcia Fay's "Take a Trip with Technology!" presentation, geared at the elementary school classroom. Using a variety of tools like wireless Apple laptops,MapQuest, Weather.com, Google Earth, Manythings.com, and classroom books, students plan and take virtual fieldtrips. They use Apple's KeyNote to build multimedia presentations of what they would visit in Washington D.C., for example, narrating orally the history or purpose of the attractions. Parents were invited into the classroom for an evening presentation, which looked to be well-attended in the photos Marcia shared. It was a fun presentation and a good way to integrate technology into elementary curriculum.
I took myself out for lunch at Chacho's Mexican Restaurant for lunch. I was excited to eat Mexican food when in San Jose, and Chacho's was within walking distance of the Convention Center and very tasty as well.
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I made it back to the Convention Center sated and ready for former Pepperdine classmate Colette Casinelli's VoiceThread presentation. This presentation was packed with interested educators who were excited to put VoiceThread to work in their classrooms. I've used VoiceThread for a bit now and still find myself recommending it to other educators as a particularly fun and effective use of technology to better communicate, whether it be an art critique or a means of teaching Spanish. Colette posted her handouts on her amazing VoiceThread wiki, which she started and which has subsequently taken off and grown to be a definitive source for showcasing VoiceThread in K-12 education. She also ran a back channel chat session through Google Docs during her presentation so people could post questions through a moderator. Colette continues to impress me as _the_ person who put her Pepperdine Online Masters in Educational Technology degree to best use.
Joe Wood put on an energetic and engaging presentation about how he uses Google Maps and Google Earth in his classroom. He had many practical explanations of how to use these powerful tools, such as exporting from Google Maps to Google Earth, one of my favorite tricks. He also showed the audience how to set a particular perspective in a Google Earth fly-over, so you can create dramatic effects for the viewer as your swoop around the world. Joe's blog is well worth checking out. He also pointed us to the Google Earth blog, where all sorts of fun uses of Google Earth are documented. Google Lit Trips, of which Joe demonstrated a Google Earth version of _Grapes of Wrath_, was a great use of this interactive technology, and I was glad he included We Tell Stories, which I had previously interacted with, a Penguin Books-launched site that uses Google Maps to tell stories that are location-aware, as it were.
The last session I attended was Gayle Berthiaume's Literacy in a Digital Classroom workshop. This was an excellent brain-dump as Gayle showed us many, many great projects to encourage literacy in elementary school students. Her Del.icio.us site is a great place to start looking for projects that you, too, can replicate in your classroom. The session was not well attended as it was the last of the day, but I have to say it was one of the best sessions in terms of practical advice and good examples. Gayle is also a teacher mentor and technology tutor for the Scholastic web site and she showed off some great tools available there, too.
It would have been great to see better attendance at ILC 2008 but it was great presenting there and to see Colette again.