An Awesome Day of Learning

Yesterday, I got an opportunity to participate in edCampQuinte.  Although it was held in the city of Belleville (~50 000), the concept of Quinte spread using technology.  While a group of us worked face to face in the Belleville Public Library, another group was in attendance virtually through Avon Maitland’s Adobe Connect in the hands of ever-capable Peter McAsh.  This was actually the second edCampQuinte – I missed the first one and justifiably so not wishing to drive the distance in the Winter.

The beautiful new conference room at the library was our physical location for the day.  While we had a tentative listing of folks and what they were going to share, the day began with just interesting conversations.  Some people knew each other from having the same employer but many of us knew each other from online.  I made a note about one of the conversations – it was about how you can identify people from their unique heartbeat or by a unique earprint.  Got to follow up on that.

Unfortunately, while we were having our discussions, the remote site was growing impatient.  Peter was ready to go.  He kept sending Twitter messages wondering what we were doing.  We eventually broke down and let me know that we were chatting and struggling with internet connections that would challenge us all day.  But, the day really wasn’t about the technologies; it was about the conversations and they were terrific.

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So, eventually, we were off.  We had a unique experience with co-presenters Kim Gill and Peter McAsh.  Peter was remote; Kim was sitting next to us.  They gave us an overview of how they were using Edmodo in their respective classrooms.  It was a unique combination with Peter using it for a number of classes and Kim just getting her feet wet.  However, between the two of them, we got a really rounded sharing of their experiences.

There was an interesting sidebar…Andy Forgrave had to take his boys to swimming lessons but joined us for a couple of hours with his iPad tethered to his iPhone!  The tweets were actually…

I was up next.  I tried a different style designed to get a conversation and interaction going.  I think it worked well.  Me, with my croaky voice still could talk to the group and somehow it went through the Adobe Connect session.  Colin Jagoe was working his magic with the audio and the camera.  So, really my topic was “Let’s Talk about QR Codes”.  If you follow this blog, you know that I’ve been doing some learning about these things and blogging about it.

So, I put together a bundle linking to all of what I had been learning.  To facilitate the discussion, I created a document and invited everyone to jump in.  You can see our discussion and ideas here.  At the conclusion, we had to determine whether QR Codes would be “Game Changers”, “Just Another Tool”, or “No Place in Education”.  Unfortunately, the document really didn’t capture the essence of the discussion.  While we didn’t formally vote, I think we came to the concensus that they are “Just Another Tool”.  But, we did generate some ideas in addition to the results from the survey I did recently.  Things like science experiments or WHMIS information or use of a couple of devices as a centre.  Yes, Brenda Sherry, we did discuss your idea too!  We liked it.

Michael Mciveen took us on an interesting tour and discussion.  He posed the big question “How are students recording their learning?”  After a bunch of blank stares around the room, he took us on a tour of what he does to record his own learning.  He has created his own Google Site and generates a new page essentially of his thoughts, comments, and multimedia when he attends learning session.  The flexibility of Google Sites lets him keep some resources private; he shares others with the world; and some just between a few people.  The presentation culminated with the question, “if he could do it, why couldn’t students?”  HPEDSB has a Google Domain so they have the tools – how does it roll out?  Really good question.  I think this will be something to follow as it matures.

Then, Andy Forgrave, just a bit wet, started his session.  He wanted to have us collaboratively work on a document but the internet wasn’t willing.  So, instead, we took a look at some of his favourite applications.  It was quite an impressive demonstration; he upgraded to the iPad 2 because of the video out capabilities.  (I wished I’d asked what happened to his original iPad…)

We had a demonstration of:

  • Reuters Galleries – News in Pictures
  • The Guardian Eyewitness
  • Skeleton Creek books
  • PDF Notes
  • Cloud Me
We all agreed immediately on the value of Popplet as a graphic organizer.
Before we knew it, it was the middle of the afternoon and haven’t enjoyed lunch!
I think that we were all exhausted.  I had a big drive ahead of me so headed west.  I’m sure that the conversation continued at lunch.  What a great day.  edCampQuinte should be very happy with what they put together.  It was a great day to be a learner.

OTR Links for 05/15/2011

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.