Friday, July 26, 2013

Sunday River Practical Ed Tech Camp

Earlier this July while I was checking the #Edtechchat on Twitter I saw that there was one ticket left for the Sunday River Practical Ed Technology Camp run by Richard Byrne. Since my school is going BYOD next year I wanted to find new technologies that would be applicable to my students to engage in collaboration, curate their own content, and seamlessly integrate technology into my teaching practice.

Covered Bridge near Sunday River

Two tools that I can see myself implementing in various ways are Google Earth and ThingLink. I've used Google Earth for years, but have wanted to use it for virtual field trips and didn't know where to start. I also have tons of photos from our overseas school trips and personal vacations that I would love to use in class, but besides showing a slideshow and annotating them live each time I wasn't sure what I could do.

I can pare these two pieces of technology together to make many lessons more relevant and interactive. Secondly and perhaps more importantly, students can use both of these tools to create their own products and then share them out in presentations.

After our department trips overseas, I like to share the photos I've taken, but after that I rarely do anything with them other than posting them to a website to share them with family and friends. With ThingLink I can annotate the pictures with many more pieces of information. For example, a picture of me in front of the Acropolis could have video attached that I recorded while there, a wikipedia article on the Acropolis, a podcast of a professor who was lecturing on debates at the Acropolis, a link to the virtual tour of the Acropolis. While doing this we can also use Google Earth to gain many other pieces of information, such as how far it is from where we are, where it is in relation to Sparta, how high the acropolis is, among many other pieces of information that students can brainstorm to answer.

Constantly in this conference, I was thinking, why in 2013 are we still doing...a poster board presentation...a in person discussion? There are so many other interactive options out there that can keep the classroom relevant after the bell rings and keep kids engaged in learning. Isn’t a goal of education to encourage students to become life-long learners who are responsible for that learning?

There were so many more applications that were introduced, discussed, and played around with but I don’t want to bore you! A future post will have a rundown of other applications and technology tools that were discussed. I certainly will post about how I am using new (to me) technology in my classroom over the course of the school year, so stay tuned!

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