Day two of the conference for me had an eerily similar beginning: Brisk drive into the city, application of scarf/gloves in preparation to walk from the garage, followed by a never-ending screaming of “Holy hashtag it’s cold!” in my mind as I walk to the Convention Center.
My first session was all about blended learning, which was presented by Marcia Kish of DSD Professional Development (@dsdPD). The workshop-style session featured a lot of useful tools that either I could use in my classes or, more importantly, share with other teachers in my district. Here’s a link to the applications and websites that were focused on.
It surprised me how many web 2.0 tools are still unknown to many people in education. Socrative, Padlet (formerly wallwisher), Today’s Meet, and Voki avatars were all things that I was introduced to years ago (and some of which I have phased out of implementation).
Other more recent offerings were welcome (BlendSpace, ShowMe, ThingLink), and Marcia did a nice job of implementing these tools into her workshop session materials.
After meeting up with a former colleague during the keynote, I headed to the session that I was most excited for today: The LMS Smackdown!
This was a participant-driven session with volunteers promoting their Learning Management System of choice in successive rounds answering the “What, When, Where, Why, and Wish” of their selected LMS. Blackboard, Schoology, Desire2Learn, Moodle, Edmodo, Google Apps, and (at the last minute) Canvas were all represented.
The session was upbeat and fun, and led to some great discussions with the LMS advocates afterwards. In my classroom, I have been trying a combination of Edmodo and Google Apps for a one-two punch of communication and collaboration, and wanted to know what other options could work just as well or better.
Christopher Deis (@christopherdeis), who represented Google Apps during the Smackdown, shared with me that he was using Schoology and Google Apps very successfully. Guess what I researched a bit more after that…
I finished my day with a session titled “Beyond 21st Century Skills,” which was presented by Edward Hill from the Ohio Resource Center. Expecting to find a session locked and loaded with more tech firepower, I was pleasantly surprised when this was a more “fundamental question” discussion.
Although technology may be a part of what we do, Mr. Hill encouraged us as educators to “be brave enough to fail” when trying new things. Focusing heavily on incorporating the design process into lesson planning and having students help develop the ways in which they learn, a lot of the undertones were reminiscent of Kevin Honeycutt’s (@kevinhoneycutt) keynote and sessions from Monday. Mentioning the likes of Sal Khan and Sugata Mitra really drove the student-driven aspect home, and was an uplifting end to my time at EOTC on Tuesday.
There were many other sessions that I would have loved to attend on Tuesday, but it’s just not physically possible to get to them all. If anyone would like to share their experiences (or presenters, any of your resources and handouts) tweet them @EdTechToolkit and I’ll share some of those in a future post. Thanks to everyone who made day 2 of EOTC great!