RCAC Workshop

We started this tradition a few years ago and it’s caught on nicely.  The Ontario Software Acquisition Program Advisory Committee meets in London two days in advance of the Western Regional Computer Advisory Committee‘s Symposium conference so that they can join us for that Thursday date. Then, on the Friday, a professional development event is held for the Western RCAC.  Due to its unique appeal to those of us in consulting positions, the RCAC has extended an invitation to OSAPAC and COCA (Central Ontario Computer Association) members as well.

In the past, this was an opportunity to embrace new technologies such as the Ministry of Education’s license of Macromedia Studio MX.  Over the years, it has morphed to take upon a more self-directed, high level activities that allow members to delve more deeply into issues of the day.  Last year, WIll Richardson spent the entire day introducing us, hands-on, to blogging and podcasting and other interesting Web 2.0 technologies.

This year, Leslie Fisher spent the day with us and the Ministry of Education licensed Adobe Photoshop Elements.  Now, she’s got her hands full since the currently licensed version if 4 for the Macintosh and 5 for Windows.  More on that in a moment.

It’s always a treat dealing with airlines.  My first correspondence with Leslie and her travel plans had her arriving in London at 9:30ish.  Somehow, through the magic of airline scheduling, she was going to make her way from Dayton, Ohio and an afternoon gig to us in London.  These really aren’t major stops on any airline’s schedule and there sure aren’t any direct flights from Dayton to London!  However, with a little patience and layover, you get to see either Detroit or Toronto.

Then, I get a message from her that she would be arriving in London at 11:50pm.  Gulp.  If you read this blog, you’ll already know that I’m exhausted and expect to be horizontal at that time.  No problem, though, I’ll just grab a little cat nap and be good to go.  After all, we’re the hosts and our guests shouldn’t have to cab around a new city in the dark.

Then, I’m with my friend Bob moving things around the hotel and the phone rings.  I quickly put my box down but the phone had already gone to voice mail.  Argh.  I look at the missed call and see the Southern California telephone number and now the voice mail.  I dial it up and hear “Hi, Doug, got on an earlier flight.  See you shortly, we’re about to take off.”

From where?

Thankfully, the London International Airport has a great web resource that provides flight times to the public.  So, Bob and I whip into the room and fire it up.  The first available flight is just after 8pm coming from Toronto.  If I leave now, I can just make it and so I do!  As I rush into the terminal, I realize that I don’t have any money to get out of the carpark since I’d helped David Warlick with cab fare earlier!  But, plans come together.  Leslie is indeed on that flight and the ATM in the airport works!  Leslie gets to see what $17 worth of change in one and two dollar coins looks like!

Back to the hotel.  Life’s challenges are over, right?  Well, not quite.  Leslie is far closer to the cutting edge than any of us mere mortals are.  She’s got Photoshop Elements 7 on her computer.  We’re still working with 4 and 5 as noted above.  Ever the geek, I go to these things with both my PC and my Mac.  We decide that she’ll take the PC and I’ll work on my Mac for the event.  Life’s current problem solved.

Leslie Fisher at the RCAC Workshop
Leslie Fisher at the RCAC Workshop

My life for a digital camera this date.  Here’s an image screen captured from my RCA Small Wonder.

After actually reading instructions, we did get my computer and the impressive video setup at the London District Catholic School Board working with each other.  We debate whether to leave my Twhirl client active for the day or not and decide upon the least annoying route.

Then, Leslie does her workshop.  And, what a workshop it was.  I thought that I knew Photoshop Elements and maybe I did know enough to get by.  But, that doesn’t cut it in this class.  Throughout the day, Leslie takes us to areas and shows us features both in the software and in digital photography that we never knew existed.  The important thing is that we you now know they exist, what can you do with them?  Even the most Level 4 folks are totally engaged for the entire day.  It was absolutely amazing.  The challenge is obviously to remember things and to apply them as appropriate.  Fortunately, the entire day was capture on video so that we can enjoy the day over and over.

I’ve been to a lot of PD events of varying qualities.  You really know it when you’re in the hands of a genius and nothing short of that descriptor would describe this event and Leslie skills as a professional development leader.  Wow.

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