links for 2010-11-11

Mailing it in

Today is Day 1 of the Educational Computing Organization of Ontario‘s annual conference for teachers interested in learning and sharing the use of computers and computer technology in education.

Like most great conferences, there is a full slate of presentations, keynote speakers, and a vendors’ exhibition area.  It’s a pretty intensive two days of professional development.  Oh, and a Tweetup.  What would any good event be without a Tweetup?

On the first day, there’s also another event.  Minds on Media is a unique break from the traditional conference fare.  Instead of passively sitting through presentations, participants are expected to bring their own laptops and spend half a day immersed in the construction and learning of Media and Communications.  Led by the genius of Ontario educator Peter Skillen, participants are invited to a number of different stations where they can sit down and satisfy the need to learn or the curiosity of a new application for technology.

As I type this, there will be stations initially titled Childhood Communities, Adobe Youth Voices, Google in the Classroom, Photography & Photo Editing, Classroom Googling, Filmschool 101, Drilling Down Digitally,  Cultivate Critical Thinking – Hyperstudio, Augmented Reality, TakingITGlobal, and Ministry Licensed Media On Demand.  I say initially because this sort of a session has the ability to scaffold far beyond the original premise based upon the needs and demands of the participants.

Last year, I participated as one of the Pedagogistas – a term given to a group of volunteers who wandered the hall helping out at all of the stations so that the facilitator could stay on track.  Formally, the role is described as:

"A pedagogista has responsibility for educational leadership of several schools, a role which involves mentoring staff, developing awareness of the theories which support their practice, and leading the collective discussions of teachers and parents from those schools as they explore ways of building upon children’s enthusiasms and activities. This reflective, responsive approach, which puts the child at the centre of the educational process, is directly at odds with the concept of an externally imposed national curriculum and the implementation of mandatory and standardized attainment tests."

This year, I was scheduled to facilitate my own station.  (It would be a great deal less work!)  I was invited to share the techniques that we described in this blog a while back dealing with Childhood Communities.  This concept matching Google’s Streetview with a variety of software and techniques creates powerful opportunities in digital storytelling for students.  I was prepared to take on this challenge and have been batting around some additional ideas and was hoping to collaborate with others to see if they would fly.  Unfortunately, as it happens, I’m not able to attend this year’s ECOO Conference.

But…that doesn’t mean that the show won’t go on.  The Minds on Media event is wiki-driven with its resources and ideas for participants.  So, from my chair here in the sanctum, I was able to add and update some of the resources that I would have used.  The Minds on Media will be an excellent opportunity for ECOO attendees and makes it very unique among technology conferences.  I wish the organizers and participants all the best for a wonderful learning event over the next couple of days.

I wish I could be there but, for now, I’ll just have to mail it in. 

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links for 2010-11-10