What did I take away from it? Well, for the first time in my life I made notes in a word doc instead of in a notebook. That's quite a shift for an old paper addict. But as I type much faster than I can write it makes good sense and I'm not sure why it's taken me so long. I'm likely to do much more with my electronic notes as I know where they're stored, for a start, and can copy and paste sections of them as required. I can also upload them onto MyPortfolio in some form as part of my record of professional learning (no doubt ticking some RTC box or other, but that's the least of my reasons for doing so!!) Leaving a timely trail of reflection as one goes (while the trail is still warm) is eminently sensible (as we're doing now), compared to doing massive, window-dressed, probably fictitious, template-filling reports for purposes of compliance, which no-one, least of all the author, will ever read.
So what did we do?
Several campers shared interesting stuff during the Smackdown. Here are some of the things that I'm likely to revisit some time, or which I found particularly interesting:
- 'The 100 Days Project' seen at TedX Auckland, which consists of signing up to do and share one thing for 100 days (share some magic). The example used was of someone undertaking to paint 100 canvasses. I wonder what I'd choose to do?
- Breaking the classroom bubble - power of the # was preaching to the converted about the power of connectivity for taking learning and sharing beyond the classroom.
- App crayons (not available in NZ but under $20 US for a box of 6, for writing on ipads
- 10 ways to use a cellphone in class - kids taking snaps instead of notes, screenshotting everything to save time and effort and to make it instantly available for sharing.
- I liked the Gliff to attach an iphone to a tripod. $30US
- bluetooth mouse and keyboard 90% of
functionality of interactive whiteboard
bluetooth headphones / not tethered to your laptop(and now for some reason the bullet points are having a spazz as I try to cut and paste and edit and they won't go back to the right place despite repeated efforts so I'll put that one in the not-important-enough-to-waste-time-on box)
(used for RSA animates) $6 on ipada bit fiddly on the ipad but much cheaper than for laptop)SESSIONS - SOMETHING YOU CAN SHARE AND SOMETHING YOU'D LIKE TO KNOW MORE ABOUTAs we put up post-its of the above it reminded me very much of the Réseaux d'Echange Réciproque des Savoirs which some of my French PLN are exponents of and which dates from the early 70s. You may remember I took part virtually in a RERS conference in Paris from the comfort of my own office in 2009 (I think it was).
I was eager to crack the nitty-gritty of creating Google Docs and that was the largest session. It consisted mainly of two people showing how they used Google Docs to enhance their students' learning. I found it mildly frustrating as I already knew how I wanted to use them but lacked the practical expertise. Fortunately as a follow-on from this session we had another chance to choose what to do next and I opted for an impromptu how-to-do-it session with David Fitzgerald from Cromwell. I like the way the sessions grow organically from the needs identified on the day rather than being set in concrete in advance by the boffins. It is, as you say, teachers being responsible for their own professional development and going and getting it rather than going along expecting things to be handed to them already packaged. It's a mirror image of what I've encountered with some of my students. They take a while to get used to being the drivers of their own learning. So (revenons à nos moutons) we had a chance to negotiate our way around the Google Drive page and collaborate on a document. It was just what I was looking for, so that was an added bonus to an already satisfying day. I've come away with something concrete that I'd already identified the need for, so it was TIMELY. I was able to reciprocate on a very small scale by showing David how I used MyPortfolio. I was all set to come home and try a Google Doc between my two laptops using different addresses but I've ascertained that my school address isn't recognised by Google so either we rectify that school-wide or I get my students to create a gmail account for collaborative work.In addition to the above it was good to have a chance to meet Greg Carroll and see Anne Kennelly again. They carried us through the proceedings with flair and enthusiasm without in any way dominating them. It was all very horizontal. I look forward to further developments at Columba vis a vis the E-Learning Plan of Attack, or whatever its official title is.
We rounded off with a convivial lunch at No7, where we'd dined on Monday evening. It was packed to the rafters so it's just as well we had plenty to say to each other.