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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4 thoughts on “Mailing it in

  1. Hi Doug,

    Boy…did I miss you at ECOO 2010 and judging by the number of people asking about you…so did everyone else! Thank you so much for providing your update to the Minds on Media wiki for all of us!
    I didn’t get to participate much as I was pretty busy with conference duties, but I did get a chance to read your page and I’ll be able to have my own “Minds On” with your ideas when I get some time (after a good night sleep I think! ) You would have liked the vibe in the room I think…engaged, mellow, reflective, lots of sharing and time for questions. It was GREAT! And yes, Peter’s genius shines through! 🙂

    I love the integration of streetview and comic life! What a nice way for students to get some excellent images!

    Again…missed you…but looking forward to meeting up at RCAC. Thanks for taking the time to help ECOO delegates benefit from your learning, even if it had to be virtual!

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  2. Hey Doug,

    I, like Brenda and MANY others, missed your presence this year at ECOO2010.

    Childhood Communities
    is a resource that will bring enthusiasm and learning to many children and teachers.

    I remember sharing with you the story if my mum as she stood in front of the big tv, touching her childhood bedroom window on her house in Belfast, N.Ire. – tears of joy trickling down her face (and mine).

    I won’t be making it to RCAC this year. A little holiday time is getting in the way of that. But we’ll catch up another way. You are maybe going to visit the YMCA Academy when it suits. That would be very cool.

    I look forward to ECOO2011 and to sharing in YOUR genius face-to-face. (Thank you for such a compliment.)

    With affection (guy style!) and respect,
    peter

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  3. Hi Doug,
    I wrote a whole reply to this already – but must messed up at the ‘Post Comment’ part. LOL And, of course, hadn’t ‘copied all’ as I usually do as a precaution! 🙂

    I missed you at ECOO2010. But I am thrilled with your contribution from afar. Childhood Communities is a treat for all and will lead to some awesome classroom activities that touch the heart, mind and soul.

    I remember speaking with you about my mum as I put streetview on the big screen tv. She walked up to it and was able to touch her childhood bedroom window and her kitchen window. “And look, Peter, there’s the little alleyway behind the house where your dad taught me to drive!”

    Tears. Hers and mine.

    Powerful Doug. Powerful.

    I missed you at ECOO. But, had you there in many ways my friend.

    Looking forward to your visit to Toronto when it suits.

    And ECOO2011 will include YOUR genius in a face-to-face kind of way.

    With affection and respect,
    peter

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  4. Thanks for checking in, Brenda and Peter. I think that the concept of the Minds on Media session is really unique. At other conferences, that would be a pre-con event with a big extra cost tag attached. Here’s it’s a chance to immediately enhance the learnings from the conference. The selection of topics provided a nice choice for those who elected to attend. Last year, there was magic in the hall and I’m sure that the same happened this year.

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