Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Not Just Another eLearning Conference

As their name points out, the event coordinated by Yorktown Community Schools was not just another eLearning conference. It was a unique partnership with Ball State University and hosted in the beautiful BSU Student Center. The workshop sessions ran 2.5 hours, allowing a deeper dive into the content, and presenters included a combination of Ball State faculty and presenters from Yorktown.

For the first session, I joined Corinne Hoisington, Associate Professor from Central Virginia Community College. She kicked off her talk using Google's Zeitgeist 2012 as an example of an engaging bell-ringer to grab your students' attention. Then she shared a number of classroom technologies she dubbed "free and fabulous!" These included middlespot.com, a site for creating collaborative content dashboards. She also taught me that WolframAlpha now has an interesting feature that will analyze an uploaded image. Another big hit was the Google Art Project which has fantastic ultra-high-res photos of more than 45,000 works of art. If you haven't yet been astounded by this yet, check out Vincent van Gogh's The Starry Night and zoom in by double-clicking until you can not only see the brush strokes, but also the places where he let the canvas fibers show through!

Brian Bennett's keynote "One Flipping Change," highlighted his learning in the changing landscape of education. He empowered participants to motivate change by building relationships, both with colleagues and with students. Taking a page from Chip and Dan Heath's book, Switch, Brian talked about the battle between our rational minds and our "inner elephant." His advice was to pick just one thing learned at the conference that they would commit to doing when school starts.

In the afternoon, Holly Stachler and Melanie Johnson showed some great apps for creating and collaborating on the iPad. Participants got to do some hands-on experimenting with:
Animoto, Popplet, Ask3, and Educreations. Check out more fantastic learning at: #YCSeL

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