Each February educators from PA, MD, DE, NJ and more descend upon the “Sweetest Place On Earth” – Hershey,PA for the annual PETE&C conference. This showcase of exemplar integration lessons, products and ideas inspires hundreds of folks to try something new at their home district. From keynotes to informal conversations at the fireplace, teachers gathered to learn and share their ideas. Here are some of the ideas I gleaned from 4 days of learning.
I attended two sessions about augmented reality in the classroom and each supported using Aurasma to create auras and lesson ideas. Aurasma is free for your device, but need to visit Aurasma Studio on the web on your computer to create auras, with the trigger image. Teachers are using AR to let parents see student multimedia work, or to link to classroom video activities, students reading poetry or even YouTube videos. There are tutorials in the Aurasma Studio site as well as good tutorials on YouTube. So take a chance and give it a try.
Have you hear of a MOOC or attended one? This is a Massive Open Online Course which is free to attend. See this YouTube video for more of an explanation. There are MOOCs created on many different topics from medicine to courses from different countries. I participated in one last spring in which there were over 1000 participants! This is another way to get one online PD from the comfort of you favorite chair! Find one at this site.
If you want to try and create an app, follow Ray Pastore from the UNC. His suggestions include GameSalad, html5 and Dreamweaver, appinventor.mit.edu for Android, Java, Flash and phonegap.com. Most of these sites have tutorials, and you can find tutorials on YouTube as well. I would need a month of snow days to explore these sites.
Dan Harrold has a unique way of gamifying his HS English class using http://3dgamelab.com/. Each unit in his class is a different quest whereby students receive points for completion. He uses Collaborizeclassroom.com to have online conversations with this students about the classwork. He delivered a profound statement by saying why don’t we grade with a green pen for all of the great parts of an essay instead of grading with red for the mistakes. We should be celebrating student achievements. View his web page here for more information.
As always, Steve Dembo has a few new tricks with great sites including piccy.com to edit images. Why spend the big dollars for Photoshop when you get most of what is needed in this free online version of editing images? For creating infographics, choose http://www.easel.ly/ or Pictochart.com (especially for images). Both are free to create. If you are looking for some free images of people, places or things – NOUNS, try thenounproject.com for free images. They also accept image uploads your students can create. There were more, but I found WeVideo to be a simple way to make fun videos including a BradyBunch type of wall. Finally you need to use GoogleTours to create a tour of…well anything like this one of the DENSI locations.
Whatever your interest, there were sessions on that topic. This conference has grown in quality and attendees. Each year it is fun to connect, attend, present and catchup with friends from afar. Thank you to the PETE&C committee for another great conference. DiscoveryEducation put on a fantastic pre-conference on Sunday with many different workshops from the staff at headquarters. We were thrilled to hear Dean Shareski’s presentation on JOY. Don’t take yourself too seriously, have fun and spread joy to someone today. Even if you have over 14″ of snow outside in PA. Wonderful message Dean.