It was a day of powerful learning and discovery for me yesterday at CATC Camp with my friends from Waterloo. At the end of the day when the facilitators went around the circle sharing how the day went, I responded with “Gave an informal presentation, Took in an informal presentation, and did a lot of R&D”. That pretty much summed up my day.
At the previous day, with the full group of campers debriefing and winning prizes, @Gill_Ville wanted to know how I created the web app that I had demonstrated earlier. The web app was a directory to WRDSB schools and she was interested to learn if it would be a fit for her. Interestingly, she wasn’t alone so about a dozen of us grabbed a data projector and set about an hour of learning. I didn’t think that there would have been interest so really didn’t have anything formally prepared. After all, the sessions at the camp included RWD and websites wtih WordPress and I didn’t see anything devoted to using an editor like Dreamweaver. Instead of something formal, I went through my thought processes as I opted for this approach rather than develop something in Objective C and going through the formal App Store process. It was interesting hearing myself talk about it and reliving the learning. As a consequence of our talk, there are about 6 of them who are planning to get together once back home to further learn and possibly develop something of their own. Very cool! I wish them all the success in the world with iWebKit.
I sneaked across the compound to the other buiidng to see what was happening in the room devoted to Apple presentations. @mebemrpo had just finished up with one of his introductory iPad sessions and had moved on to some work with the iMovie for iPad application. I hung out as long as I could watching how he introduced the audience to creating their first YouTube video with the application. It really is a powerful tool and he had them creating within an hour or two.
Later, I reciprocated learning with Kim. Earlier in the year, I had spend a day at the beautiful new Ryerson Public School and shared my thoughts about it here. From the campers, there was a desire to learn more about the Livescribe pen and how she had used it with her students. I hadn’t seen anything except sales pitches before so I joined the group out on the patio for another impromptu session. At the time, there wasn’t a cloud in the sky and the sun was beating down hard on us. I think I may have been the only one without sunglasses but listened carefully and somewhat comfortably once I found an umbrella. One of the things that is always so impressive to me about good special education teachers is the passion that they have with the students in their charge. Kim showed us how she maintains running records, have students analyze their reading abilities, and I really enjoyed the story about the talking tree.
The afternoon shifted gears to the R&D component. @markwcarbone had purchased a couple of eBeam units recently and @rebrouse joined us for the unpacking and setup. Of course, it would be a sign of weakness to actually read the manuals but we did sneak a peak at the installation diagram and pretty much had the who setup ready for testing in half an hour or so. We experimented with the features of the Capture and Scrapbook applications. There were a number of frustrations that we had with some elements of the setup but we persevered and I think got a pretty good sense of what it was all about. I admit to having a great deal of baggage with my experience of working with SMART technologies and tried to think of everything in that context. But, we did nicely, I think and @euenoconnor and @jpkitchener joined us to learn and joke and point out the painfully obvious! After supper, we returned to the setup and introduced the setup to a few others. By now, we were fairly comfortable with what we knew and things went better. There were still some questions but time should provide answers. I think that it’s cool that @euenoconnor and @aliringbull have agreed to give units a shakedown in their classrooms in the fall. It’s great to have your own volunteer R&D folks.
The group was delighted when @ron_mill showed up. Gnome_Ron had been around for the entire time but it was great to renew friendships in person. With someone who had made so much impact in his years as a formal educator, I really am thankful that I had the opportunity to wish him all the best in person. He even joined us at the campfire which I understand is a rare occurence.
I was delighted to be able to get out a bit earlier to see the sunset. My EyeFi set is available here. I was even able to get this shot of the sunset over Kim’s shoulder as she took a picture of the sunset.
It was a long day of learning and there’s one more to go!