My Session on Blogging

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I had the awesome privilege of teaching a workshop at FETC 2015 this year!  It was fun, and I got to meet some great people.  I spoke on blogging in the classroom, with an emphasis on how blogging helps with writing skills and allows students to interact with a global audience.  In addition to speaking about quadblogging and writing standards, I shared various options for blogging platforms and how I grade and manage my student blogs.

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My Thoughts on FETC 2015

There were some highlights and some not-so-highlights.

The Good

I went to some amazing sessions!  Here are some of my favorite sessions:

One session was on curating resources (collecting and sharing) by Steven Anderson of web20classroom.  There were some great tools mentioned (like Zite.com and Flipboard), many of which I knew about, but he also demo’ed ClassFlow (which I’d heard of but never seen used).  It was an interesting session with lots of good ideas.

At another session about making assessments more visual (presented by Lynell Burmark and Warren Dale), we did a hysterical activity involving a round-robin story based on absolutely crazy (and cute) animal pictures (found here).  There were some interesting ideas for engaging students who are more visual learners.

At a session of PBL, the presenter (Sylvia Martinez of InventToLearn) suggested having an invention box that comes out when doing Genius Hour or 20% Time. This reminds me of the tactic I use with my children and my dogs.  Rotating toys!  She also shared about a school whose students create interactive exhibits of an “Exporatorium Museum” focused on a particular topic.  One of my favorite ideas was the have students “make something the school needs.”  That’s a great way to get students involved in a real-world project that has immediate implications and impact.

At “20 Tools for for Blended Learning” (presented by Pamela Aulakh and Melissa Woods from Brevard County), I learned about 10 different apps that I’d never heard of before! Score!  That doesn’t happen too often, so it’s especially exciting for a tech nerd like me!  Yay!  Some sites shared: BlendSpace, Zondle, Spreaker, and Oppia.

The Not-As-Good

Last year, one of the best part of FETC was the technology share on the opening day of the conference.  This year, however, the technology that was shared was, well, odd.  There were “holiday” lights ($40 for 10 lights) that change color with an app, and bunch of other things (like luggage and flight apps) that have nothing to do with education.  I suppose that I was under the impression that at an Educational Technology Conference, the technology shared would be, somehow, related to education.  There were maybe 8-10 things that were shared (out of about an 20-25 items shared) that were truly educationally focused (kahoot.com, plikers, Elements 4D, and some other sites with virtual reality aspects).  So, that was disappointing. It was, honestly, like watching a bunch of infomercials by paid contributors.

Overall

Overall, FETC 2015 was a good experience.  There was tons of information about maker spaces (yay) and coding (yay) and gaming (sweet!), among the many sessions and workshops offered.  I hope next year gets even better, and I’d love to continue to see a greater variety of information and technologies shared.  I would love to hear Adam Bellow have his own keynote (instead of sharing with others).  He was, by far, my favorite keynote (and he only spoke for 1/3 of it).  And I’d love to hear about even more innovative ideas for educational technology.  Here’s to hoping!

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