We Came… We Connected!

The theme of the TRETC ( Three Rivers Educational Technology Conference) this year was Come and Connect.  There were many that came and many that made some great connections. Held at the Regional Learning Alliance in Cranberry, Pa, the conference had two awesome keynote speakers that kept attendees on the edge of their seat with new ideas ranging from video tools to cellphones in the classroom.  Hall Davidson from Discovery Education had the audience captivated from the beginning as he engaged everyone with his Poll Everywhere activity. This *free* tool lets you conduct live, real-time polls via text message, showing the results coming in, in real-time. Hall drove home the fact that we can no longer be a ‘standalone teacher’ with a ‘standalone curriculum’. Educators need to realize that the way students think has changed. They need to help students learn the way their brains are wired to learn, because this is the Learning Age, and we need to transform learning into a 21st Century learning system.
The breakout sessions were engaging and informative. Check out the 2009 line-up here. Joe (Oliphant) and I both presented a session, mine was titled Glog On! Using Glogster in the Classroom, and Joe’s was Gigawhat…Gigawho…Gigapan! Attendance was great and the attendees were motivated to learn some new tools to take back to their classroom. The discussion I heard following the sessions was continuous and contagious as attendees were networking and sharing resources together.

I had the opportunity to sit in on Matt Monjan’s session titled No Mind Left Behind. This was a great session that focused on the mind and engaging students. It related using technology to Five Minds for the Future by Howard Gardner. Matt shared different ways of using technology to reach Digital Natives. Here is a quick blurb on Matt’s ideas for engaging students through the “five minds”…

The Disciplined Mind~

  • Use the DE Builders
  • Wordle.net- analyze and identify -acronyms, terms, special slogans

The Creative Mind~

  • Photostory3, Movie Maker or iMovie- create a compelling narrative – a video to draw conclusions, make generalizations, summarize

The Synthesized Mind~

  • DE Science Interactive Labs
  • Extension Modules in DE Science

The Respectful Mind~

  • Create non-linear PowerPoints
  • Skype with another class
  • Podcasts/Interviews

The Ethical Mind~

And of course… Discovery Educator Network can help you connect these tools to your students! So share those resources using Discovery Education MediaShare… so No Mind is Left Behind!

The closing remarks were given via Skype by Milton Chen. As a good note to end on, he stated “One person cannot ‘do it all’…we need to share our areas of expertise and be committed to solving generational and economic ‘divides’  and Technology is the conduit.”

So… if you happened to miss TRETC this year… be sure to plan ahead and attend in 2010!

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