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Saturday, August 9, 2014

Innovate, Integrate, Motivate

It is hard to believe Shelby Schools begin in five days!  Counting down...

The title of today's post is three key words for any edtech educator, and the theme of Thursday's inaugural Oldham County Schools Educational Technology Conference. (That is a mouthful!  I'll call it OCSET-Con for short.)  Besides presenting about Teacher Technology Tools, I also attended several sessions and participated in the Twitter backchannel at #ocedtech14, and it's not too late to use the hashtag to review many of the tweets and pictures from the conference.

There were some great presenters and interesting edtech finds.  Here are a few of my favorite moments:

  • The keynote was done virtually.  (The speaker, Richard Byrne, is well known for his blog Free Technology for Teachers.)  I was worried if my attention would stray without an actual human presence walking around, but Byrne was clever, concise, and engaging.  Among his edtech shares was a MIT App Inventor site that students have used to emulate their own smartphone apps.  Talk about real world use of technology!
  • Tobie Keown (ECE teacher in the Oldham district) presented on Google Drive -- in particular, Google Forms.  She blogs as Mae's Morsels, and her Google Slides presentation and accompanying video are located in this post.  One interesting idea she had: make a table in Google Sheets that can be edited by other users, share a link to the doc with students, and have them enter their thoughts (perhaps as an entrance/exit slip) into individual boxes.  If numbered or color coded, it can be easy to tell each student which box to use.
  • Courtney Perkins from South Oldham High School discussed Socrative.  They've recently upgraded their service and this formative assessment / data collection tool has many new features, including automatically saving results in your teacher "dashboard" and allowing quizzes to continue running overnight or for days -- useful for a flipped classroom or homework.
  • Christi Unker (@cunker), a librarian at Oldham County High School, shared her work with Animoto.  Creating student accounts that can be monitored by a teacher can be time-consuming, but the program is easy, intuitive, and create fantastic, professional looking videos by simply uploading your photos.  Lots of fun templates and royalty-free music are included on the site.
  • Last but not least, I was flattered to present the same session twice due to enrollment interest in my first "slot" making it standing room only.  Besides the ten tools, I gave a "bonus" in the form of beginning the session with a Kahoot quiz, which is fast becoming one of my favorite new edtech tools and was a hit with the audiences.
After the conference, the day ended with a first for me: after trying and failing to make it week after week, I was finally able to participate in a regional Twitter chat.  #kyedchat happens every Thursday at 8:00 PM EST.  (On this particular night, it was moderated by James Allen [@TLJamesA], another librarian at OCHS and one of the leader/organizers of OCSET-Con.)  Educators, I'm telling you -- if you don't yet recognize the power of Twitter and how it can increase both your PLN and your knowledge, participate in one.  You will become a convert. 

Congrats to all who organized OCSET-Con, and thanks for all the new edtech knowledge to start my school year!

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