One of the projects in my Wilkes course is for the students to host their own live broadcast. Leading in to it, they need to attend a live webinar and reflect upon the experience. Most of the time, the experiences are largely positive. But every so often, it opens the door to something much more.
I can’t stress enough how much of an impact this first webinar has made on my view of “information distribution” using technology. In a matter of 15 minutes, I was able to search out a webinar that dealt directly with my field, attend for free, and now share an overview for others. Being present for a “live” webinar made me feel more involved, although I did not participate in the Q and A session at the end. I felt like a true part of the audio production industry, and reinforced my professional development in a simple one-hour segment while comfortably sitting in my office at home.
One teacher, one experience, one step… That’s what makes it all worthwhile.
There’s a new comic book shop that recently opened in downtown Skokie (Aw Yeah Comics for those that are interested), and it is quickly becoming a tradition for the family to walk over there and pick up a couple of books from the quarter bins. During our last trip, I picked up a comic for myself, a new cross over event called “Avengers vs X-Men“.
This was the first paper comic book I’ve read in quite a long time, and while I enjoyed flipping the pages, the physical comic was just one of several layers that became available. I noticed an “AR” symbol on quite a few pages, but didn’t have any real clue what it was all about until I found a page mentioning additional content available through the Marvel AR app (iOS and Android). A quick download later, and every time I saw that symbol, I was scanning the page with my phone and getting additional video content, commentary from the writers, and seeing certain pages evolve from pencils, to ink, to being filled in with color. It was like being able to flip on the director’s commentary track on a DVD as you’re reading. I absolutely loved the experience and it left me hungry for more.
I also got a very pleasant surprise when I hit the last page fo the comic. There was a sticker to peel off that provided a code you could use to download the digital copy of the comic which you could read via app or browser. I’ve used th
e Marvel app before and they really nailed the reading experience. It’s a fantastic way to read comics, I just haven’t wanted to spend the $$ to purchase many.
That said, if I can support a local business, have the paper version to share with my son, get the augmented reality extra content, and download a digital copy of the comic, all for the same price? I’m all over it. Major props to Marvel comics, they’ve figured out a winning formula for keeping paper comics relevant in an increasingly digital age. If you want to see what all this looks like, check out the video below.
So many elements of school are still based on paper. Traditional textbooks, workbooks, study guides, posters, and of course the work that students create. QR codes and related technologies are allowing every educator and student to add digital layers to their own paper projects as well, but how many are actually leveraging it? When a student creates an art project, why not allow them to tag it with a QR code that links to other projects they’ve done? Or a video showing the way they created it? Or a survey asking viewers to share their impressions? When a teacher hands out a page of information, why not include a link to a digital version that has extra links, videos and activities for the students to dig deeper. It can provide additional info for the students who need it, or new challenges for students that are ready to push a little further. And the best part is, it’s incredibly easy to do.
Why aren’t more print companies leveraging this technology? And why aren’t more teachers jumping on board? Low level of effort and high reward. Seems like a no-brainer to me.
Oh, and for those of you that are curious about how Marvel is handling their AR, it’s through Aurasma. Think QR Codes without those pesky squares. Well worth exploring.
- New Marvel Comics App Augments Reality (rev2.org)
The business of education is massive. And I mean REALLY massive. There’s a ton of major players making billions of dollars off of schools, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t space for new players on the field. We all have our favorite Web 2.0 sites, but as I’ve mentioned in the past, if a site doesn’t have a direct line of funding within site, I’d be slightly skeptical of how long it’ll be around for. Site development costs money. Servers cost money. Bug fixing costs money. And if developers can’t offset those costs, well more than likely the site won’t be around for the long haul.
That said, there’s quite a few start ups that are looking to break into the education market. The beautiful thing is that if they’re smart, they can keep costs relatively low, meaning it doesn’t take too much to keep them going until they can establish a user base. If you’re at all interested in following these startups and seeing what they’re up to, @Injenuity has put together a fantastic list of Edu Startups on Twitter. Take a look through them, follow the ones you’re interested in… and if you really like what they have to offer, I strongly suggest you consider making some sort of an investment in them. Buy a premium feature, upgrade to a pro account, make a donation, or just evangelize for them. Because if you don’t, they may not be around much longer!
First of all, this TEDx rocks. Watch it and be inspired by one incredible educator. Even better though, while she’s up on stage presenting, she’s even leaving notes for her students back in the classroom.
Extra credit for posting your favorite learning “moment” or short story in the comments.”
I could watch this again and again. And while I’m thrilled for Caine and inspired by his story… I keep wondering just how many tales like this aren’t getting told because nobody thinks anyone else would be interested? Knowing how to market yourself is such a critical skill in today’s society.
A colleague of mine, Porter Palmer, and I recently created a new presentation called 22nd Century Skills: Bringing Future Tech into Today’s Classrooms. I did it three times in the span of a week in two different states. From an ego standpoint, I’m thrilled. At FETC the room was packed and the feedback was fantastic. When I did it at CPS TechTalk, it was really the wrong session for the conference and didn’t generate much of an audience, but the people who were in the room raved about it. And then at the NICE MiniConference, based on the comments I got after it seemed to resonate rather well.
As a presenter, I’m a happy guy. New keynote that I’ve worked my butt off on, successfully shares some new ideas, inspires people a bit, revs them up for a day of learning… mission accomplished, right?
Mostly. I’m still struggling with one thing. What the heck are 22nd Century Skills? Personally, I think that 21st Century Skills are kind of a joke. It’s a broad term that represents a shift that we’re struggling to qualify. Sort of like Web 2.0. And if we have that much trouble defining those skills, how the heck are we going to define what kids will need in the 22nd century?
We can’t. Which is why one of the points we close with in the presentation is that 22nd Century Skills are just as arbitrary as 21st Century Skills and what we need to focus in on are Every Century Skills. Has the skill set kids need to learn to be truly successful really changed all that much in the last 50 years? I don’t actually think so. Yes, there are more positions open for community managers and knowledge workers. There are also more positions open at WalMart and McDonalds. Moot point.
I think what’s really changed is the level of visibility. People are seeing exceptional teaching shared more frequently through blogs and videos and presentations. The great stories are being broadcast and an incredible rate. And that creates a skewed vision that any classroom that isn’t working in a BYOD environment and participating in a dozen global collaborative projects is failing their students…
I don’t believe that’s true. I honestly believe that most classrooms are doing a pretty darn good job. I honestly believe that most teachers genuinely want to do the best job they can, but they may not know what the options really are. IT departments are often run by IT people. Instructional technologists are spread so thin that they often focus their energies on the most eager teachers, the ones who ‘see the light’. With that in mind, I believe that the single most important thing every member of the EdTech community can do… is recruit. To take colleagues by the hand and not just show them the magic, but how to get started learning a few basic tricks so they can create their own magic show.
In your building, on your floor, in your own hallway… what percentage of teachers don’t want to be embracing new technologies? And what can you do to help them take the leap?
I feel like I’m slacking. Because I find myself snacking when my fingers should be clacking the keyboard. But I find myself lacking, whether it be motivation or inspiration, and every post I read just sounds like quacking in my head. Instead of cracking the whip, I’m backing away from the blog. I think need to start hacking my habits, packing up my insecurities and attacking the very thing that got me to where I am… this blog.
First of all, I apologize for those last few lines. But once I got rhyming, I couldn’t seem to stop. Probably ought to delete it, but I’m proud of it in the same way I’m proud of the awful poetry I wrote when I was in 7th grade. And yes, I still have it all.
I haven’t posted anything since that pre-ISTE post. Know why? Because I felt like I should put up an ISTE roundup. Which I never did. And now I feel like it’s too late. Which it isn’t. But it isn’t fresh anymore so it really is.
And that’s what’s causing me no end of issues. It’s not reality, it’s my perceptions of reality. That blogging is a big deal, and I need to make it significant. Instead I avoid the blog, which means I avoid writing, which means I avoid delving into my own thoughts and exploring them. And that’s not a good thing for me. I miss it.
Want to hear how fragile my ego is and how much my own lack of effort in this area affects me? I have been avoiding reading blogs lately because when I read them, I get riled up, and then I want to write about them, and if I don’t, I feel guilty about not doing so. And to avoid feeling guilty about not responding at length to someone else’s post, I avoid reading those posts at all.
Strange eh? Also makes me wonder just how many posts on Teach42 I’ve put up ‘apologizing’ for not posting more. Too many I would think, but I’m not going to look.
The reason for this post (about time I got to it, eh?) actually has nothing to do with any of that though. It’s because I wanted to mention how much I enjoyed this video from WGN.
I ‘liked’ it, which shared it out via The Facebook and Twitter, but then I thought I ought to put it up on the blog. But the last blog post was that ISTE post, and do I really ant to follow it up with a TiltShift video? And that’s when I realized just how self-destructive I was being. And a little hypocritical to say the least.
So no apologies, no promises. Just some insight into what makes Teach42 tick. Hope you get a laugh out of it and say, “Well, at least I’m not that schizzy!”
In just a few days, the largest EdTech conference in the country (or is it the world?) will be taking place. I’m not sure exactly how many I’ve been to, but I think I’m approaching my 10th ISTE. While I know there are many that can say that they’ve got double my experience, I believe I have enough notches on my belt to make a few suggestions. Where in the past I might have been prone to recommend things to do for newbies, I think I’d like to go a different route here.
I hate to admit this, but I’ve seen some people really make some awful decisions at ISTE. Between mob mentality, one ups-manship, and conference over-saturation, I’ve seen some really despicable stuff happen. This is an absolutely fantastic event, with thousands of passionate educators attending. Here’s some suggestions for not making a mess of it.
1) Don’t be a XXXXXXXX. There’s a few select words that I’ve chosen not to use on this blog that I think you can use to complete that sentence. I’m all for criticism. I think it makes people stronger and I’ve often disparaged the fact that so many people are ‘too nice.’ But that said, there’s a difference between civil discourse and just being a XXXXXXXX. It takes a lot of guts to put yourself out there and speak at ISTE. I’ve only seen a few people really blow off the privilege, most pour their heart and soul into it. If you disagree, that’s fine, but there’s a line between criticizing someone and delving back into middle school bullying tactics. Be a critic, be a strong critic, but at least be respectful.
2) Don’t grow roots. One of my favorite places is the Bloggers Cafe. And there’s a definite appeal of just hanging out there and waiting for people to show up that you already know, or are going to meet for the first time. However, there’s SO many good presentations, workshops, poster sessions and activities going on. Schedule your Bloggers Cafe time like you would a session. Set an alarm if you need to. Spend time hanging out, but if you aren’t careful you could find yourself planted in one spot for the entire day. Breakfast, lunch, happy hour, dinner, and the evenings/parties are great times to get your socialization time in. Believe me, I won’t be avoiding the Bloggers Cafe. But neither will I be moving in.
3) Don’t confine yourself to sessions from your friends and favorites. Have I mentioned how many great sessions there are? It’s easy to just go to ‘safe’ sessions, presenters that you KNOW are great and that confirm your ideas/beliefs. However, if you don’t take a few chances, you may miss out on some fantastic material. Let’s face it, some of the best content in the world is presented by mediocre presenters. Man up and get over it. Just because someone doesn’t sing and dance doesn’t mean their content isn’t solid. Pick a topic that you’re interested in and attend sessions on it regardless of whether you’ve heard of the presenter. And if you don’t like their presentation style, try to see what you can learn IN SPITE of that. Consider it a challenge, a hill to climb, the outer shell you need to work through to get to the fruit inside. If you want to be entertained, go to the Improv. You’re at ISTE to learn.
4) Don’t be an end node. Most likely you have a blog, a FLIP cam, a Twitter account, a digital camera, Facebook, an iPad, a netbook, a Palm Pilot and a telegraph in your bag. If you aren’t sharing at least a few things each day, then you’re doing the education community a major disservice. I don’t care how many sessions you’re presenting, take the time to at least share a few highlights or thoughts from the day. Even better, give a full report, share some notes, create a backchannel for a session and so on. But if you can’t, no worries. Do what you can. Whatever you do, don’t just be a sponge that doesn’t give anything back. Pay it forward for the people that can’t be there.
5) Don’t go to everything. You can’t. There’s just too much going on and only a few nights to do it all in. Make some decisions, move forward and no regrets. I don’t care which party/reception you go to, or none at all. Whatever you do, make the most of it. The reality is, there will be friends and favorites at EVERY event. Don’t lament the people that aren’t there, enjoy the time with the people that ARE there. On Tuesday night, there’s a Simple K12 reception, a TechSmith reception, an Edmodo Meetup and EdTech Karoake…. and they are all going on at basically the same time. So which do you go to? It doesn’t matter. You’ll have a great time regardless. Make your choice and don’t second guess.
6) Don’t be shy. It’s your first ISTE. You look across the hallway and see the woman who keynoted your state conference last year. You’ve read her blog for 5 years, follow her on Twitter, and have bought multiple copies of her book (to pass on to friends). What do you do???? You walk up to her and say, “Hi, I’m Steve and I’m a fan.” Let the conversation commence. The reality is we’re all educators. We’re passionate about what we do and love talking to other people who are just as passionate. I have yet to meet anybody at a conference that was ‘too big to chat.’ They might be in a hurry or trying to find their next room, so obviously be respectful if they do have to leave, but you don’t need to stress out about whether a presenter is approachable. They are. Trust me on this one.
7) Don’t let the time slip away. I’m shy. Seriously, I am. My natural inclination is to eat by myself, to sneak off to my room and enjoy quiet time and such. And at ISTE, my inclination is WRONG. You only have a few days with these people. This is the time to ask a ‘twitter-friend’ if they want to grab lunch together. To schedule a drink with that buddy you only see once per year. Don’t squander your time, as it will be gone way too quickly. Breakfast and lunch are fantastic times to make connections. Don’t have any friends at your hotel? Pick a coffee shop near the conference center. Announce on Twitter and Facebook that you’ll be grabbing breakfast in half an hour and encourage them to meet up. You’ll be surprised by how many people will take you up on it. As I said, I’m shy. But this is one of those times to break through that and make the most of each moment.
8 ) Don’t be an ostrich. You’re at a conference. You’re with tens of thousands of other educators. Many of them will be in the room with you, at the table with you, or in a chair next to you. Put. The. Phone. Away. Believe me, I understand about checking in and the need to do it periodically. But for the most part, put the phone IN your pocket/purse and focus on the people in front of you. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been at a dinner where 3/4 of the people are there physically, but their heads are stuck in the ground, frantically checking Twitter to see what they’re ‘missing’. Whatever you’re missing, will still be there when you leave. Face to face time is rare. Don’t squander it by burying your face in the screen.
9) Don’t ignore the vendors. While many can argue over whether there’s anything good on the floor, or whether it’s all just the same old stuff… the fact is that vendor floor pays for most of the conference. And if the vendors don’t feel like they’re getting a return on the investment, they won’t be there, and the conference will suffer for it. The fact is, there’s A LOT of great stuff going on down there. From mini-workshops and presentations, to demonstrations of new technologies, there’s plenty of reasons to walk the floor. But the best reason is to actually chat with the vendors themselves. Have a favorite? Reconnect with them. Find out what they have coming down the pipe, or what things they’ve put out that you might not have heard of. Swag is all well and good, but don’t forget that every free blinking light has a price. At least be polite and find out what they’re about. If it isn’t your thing, you aren’t being rude by telling them. Don’t waste their time either pretending to be interested if you aren’t. But be civil and give them a shot, even if you haven’t heard of them before.
10) Don’t forget to have a good time! ISTE is the ice cream sundae after a long year’s work. Enjoy the experience. Plan well, stay in the moment, and make the most of every minute you have there. Balance the learning with the social time and make the most of both. Work hard, play hard, and maximize your time. You can always sleep on the ride home
Did I miss any tips? Share your own below!
- Making The Most Of ISTE (ipadsammy.wordpress.com)
- 7 tips for a great experience at the 2011 ISTE Conference (bigthink.com)
- Getting Ready for ISTE 2011 (learningisgrowing.wordpress.com)