The sessions I attended at this year’s TCEA conference in Austin were wide-ranging, so it’ll take a little reflection to post all of them. But first, a little “tool-sharing” is in order.
First off, Elaine Plybon’s session on paperless classrooms and how she maximizes the use of various tools to reduce paper use in her classroom was very intriguing. Some ideas she shared that I thought were of value:
–Use Voicethread or a flipcam to record instructions for your lessons when you are absent. That avoids a lot of confusion for students, and brings your presence into the classroom even if you aren’t there.
–Use Google forms for data collection for assignments like science labs instead of using worksheets.
–When grading an audiovisual project, she uses a screencasting tool like screen-cast-o-matic to record her notes right onto the student presentation. Not only does that save paper, it is quite a bit easier for the teacher and probably more likely the student will be attentive to the comments.
–Using zoho.com — Zoho functions similarly to Google docs. It’s often forgotten as a tool, but is user friendly and has some nice embedding capabilities for photos and video.
What I liked most about her presentation was her creativity at coming up with ways to reduce paper and make her classroom run more efficiently.
A few tools that I picked up on in sessions were helpful as well–
In Robert Pronovost’s session, he shared a number of applications that he uses with elementary school readers. Names in a Hat is a fun iPad app that allows you to put student names in a virtual hat, and it selects the name for you. He uses iTalk lite, a recording app, to help students with literacy by having them record and listen to their own reading.
A number of other tools and apps were part of the EdubloggerCon Cool Tools duel , which pitted Stephanie Sandifer and Brian Grenier against Randy Rogers, and the “cool” tools they shared, including myfakewall.com(fake facebook page creation site) are listed on the Edubloggercon wiki.
I plan to share more in later posts about Ryan Bretag and David Jakes’ session on Learning Spaces and also Steve Hargadon’s talk on web 2.0 and the changing story of education.
I also want to extend kudos to Scott Floyd, particularly, for piloting the new Web 2.0 area of TCEA. It was packed for most of the sessions, demonstrating the real desire of attendees at TCEA for more content relating to web 2 tools. (In fact, it was overflowing. It was a creatively designed space, based on Ryan Bretag and David Jakes’ learning space at their own campus, utilizing whiteboard walls and light pillars that could be written on and comfortable seating arrangements.)
Lastly, I also want to thank Scott for including so many library related sessions in the Web 2.0 area. There weren’t many librarian specific sessions at the conference this year, so it was much appreciated. The sessions that were specific to libraries were packed to overflowing, so clearly there is a place for librarians in TCEA and I appreciate Scott’s efforts in providing for that.
It was as always excellent to have a week of face to face conversations with so many other passionate learners, meet up with colleagues and friends, and make new acquaintances and connections. The web 2.0 area provided a flexible and comfortable gathering space for that. (as did as the Hilton bar’s leather chairs 😉 )