One of the greatest parts of the DEN is the networking that has happened through the years. This past weekend 10 of my fellow DEN stars came into Chicago and we all hung out, ate, chatted, shared, giggled, learned and played. It was an awesome weekend that was, in many ways, a mini DENSI. They came from PA, CA, MO, KS (well Kansas City) and MI. Amazing, right?
If you haven’t gone to a DENSI (Discovery Educator Network Summer Institute, you are missing out! I don’t know if I’ll be on the magical list that shows up later this month, but it is the BEST professional development ever. It is designed for people like me–ADD with little tolerance for people treating me like an idiot. I love to learn and try and play and please respect me as I do so…and Discovery does. It is a week where I learn everywhere I go, whether it is through the sessions offered or the social gatherings during the day and especially at night where we share, learn and grow together. It is an amazing experience and we created a mini DENSI last weekend.
I think what amazes me the most is that this group of people does not contain your average people. They are all brilliant in their own way, but are also curious, intent on learning and growing and love to laugh. They are open and quick to share and without judgment about tech skills. It is a great combination and they are marvelous people to whom I feel a connection and closeness I treasure.
So thanks. Thanks to Traci, Genny, Katie, Jan, Peg, Emma, Wendy, Gena, Margie, and Amy in no particular order! Thanks to the DEN and Porter and Lance for introducing me to these amazing educators, energizing my teaching and reminding me that there are people like me! I love you all and appreciate everything you do for me!
Visiting Mythbusters at the Museum of Science and Industry
April 29 at 10:00 you should bring your iPad and your brain down to the Apple Store on Michigan Ave!! We are having a Discovery Event there to share apps, tools and knowledge! If you know little, great! If you know lots, great! Just come and snack and share!
If you haven’t already done so and can make it out to Bozeman, MT in July, you should apply for the DEN Summer Institute. It is, hands down, the BEST professional development you have ever experienced! You will learn tricks and tools to use in the classroom as well as meet some of the most amazing educators in the country.
My entry isn’t the greatest or most creative, but here it is…
and hopefully it’s good enough for an acceptance letter! I’m so excited
Ahhh! I just filled out the application for the DEN STAR Institute. I went last summer and loved it. I learned so much and had a great time in the process. If you have not done it, you should do so! It is worth the plane fare! Of course if you make and I don’t, I’ll be super sad, but at least the best people get to go! Good Luck!
I presented at ICE, here in Illinois back Feb 26th. I created a wikispace for it for people to look at some lessons I have done in my classroom. There are links, lessons and such that might prove useful. Here is the link, and please let me know if you find it useful or helpful!
I also went to a presentation by Lucy Gray that was helpful about Google and the resources/lesson ideas they provide…Here is the link to her presentation and information. Again, I found it useful and can’t wait to try some of it in my classroom. I already use the search tool, you’ll see it in my wiki, but she also introduced me to other tools I didn’t know about!
I went to a conference and learned about some new websites…some looked better than others, but here is my list!
Sharetabs–gives you a chance to save your bookmarks online so that you have access to them when you are not on that computer.
Wallwisher–like a parking lot you see at conferences…not sure I would ever use this…
SlideShare–can upload your ppts and can share and look at other’s ppts they have created.
SimplyBox–another public bookmarking site. You see a snapshot of the site and you can make comments to remind you of what you liked or whatever
Livebinder–create online folder with all kinds of things–can use images, text, etc…could use as digital portfolio for kids? Joanna for things she does?
Kwout–takes screen shots and you can embed them in wikis etc and gives you the embed code so image can be hyperlinked.
Evernote–a place for you to take screenshots, images etc and tag them
Skitch–screenshot helper for macs only
Jing–the best idea anywhere! It captures screens including pictures AND video! Want to use videos on you tube in the classroom? Capture them at home and then play them at school! I have loved the Jing project for a while…
Open Goo–wrote it down…dont’ remember!
DimDim–cool meeting site where multiple people can log on and share interactive whiteboard kind of thing, everyone can draw on it
Wordle is also a website that does some cool stuff by making the most common words (other than most small ones) the largest, so kids can see patterns in their work. Also the final product looks like art! Pretty cool!
Day 3 and 4 actually amazing. It was structured so that we were able to attend some longer, indepth sessions about a specific program and there were about 5 from which to choose each time. Then there were also several…I think 4 or 5…10 minutes sessions where you were just introduced to a program and if you were interested, you could ask the presenter more later or explore yourself. There were also some very interesting presenters both in the sessions and then as speakers to the whole group–Glogster man (which is how I will refer to him, but he is the man that created Glogster which Traci us in one of the longer sessions), Hall Davidson, Adam and his crew from Wikispaces were my favorites.I loved this set up because for many programs, I just want to see what they do, but would learn more on my own through using the software. But in some cases, like the Google Earth Presentation by Hall Davidson (who is really amazing in the breadth of his knowledge and enthusiasm), there were SO many things to explore and so many applications in the classroom, that the longer sessions were needed. I was also fortunate enough to be in the Google Earth session where Adam Controy (spelling?) volunteered to show some of his work with his students and it was amazing! If you ever have questions about how Google Earth works or how to use it in the classroom, ask Adam…he is in Pennsylvania. I am so excited to get that into my classroom.Another session which I enjoyed was Geocaching. If you haven’t ever done it, you have to try it…of course you have to buy a GPS unit, which isn’t cheap, but what a riot! So our instructor Heather was amazing and set up some caches for us to find and practice our newfound skills. What great fun! Not only was it fun, but I think the kids would really enjoy something like that, but how to get them out and about and how to tie it neatly into my curriculum will be a few challenges I have to overcome! There were ideas about them using them in a field and finding random letters or words and then having to create a word or sentence, but I am not sure how that would work or what it would look like exactly yet, so I have some work to do on that! And at the end some people came in and showed us an app for the iphone for an active spelling game for kids (or adults) that looked like tons of fun, but I can’t really get iphones for all my students….Anyway, it was extremely informative and also tons of fun. It was active, interactive and entertaining! Most of all it was extremely educational for me and I left with so much new knowledge as well as an enthusiasm for integrating all these new tools into my classroom. Woo Hoo!
Day 2 was a complete blast. The way this conference was organized, we went on our adventure first. This was amazing, because it allowed us all to bond, get to know each other as people before we worked together. It established trust and built strong relationships. It was impressive how quickly we bonded.We took a trolley car into San Francisco and toured around, stopping periodically for photos. The trolley driver was very droll and kept us entertained with much history and a slew of random and personal facts. We ate lunch at Boudin’s bakery which was very tasty and then we were left to our own devices to wander around the city. We shopped a bit and just took in the sights and the different people to watch. Very entertaining.To get home, we hopped aboard that trolley again and returned for a delightful dinner.Dinner was followed by a presentation by Claudia of Second Life. She was interesting, as she explained Second Life. There were some that were truly impressed to meet her and listen to her discuss her program. Again, the value in this day for me was the networking and all of the people that I met and the discussions that were held. These relationships made the subsequent days that much better! I appreciate all the work and coordination that went into that very valuable day!
Arrived at a beautiful spot–ocean right outside and hills and cliffs abound. Spent a couple hours on the beach before everything began, which was marvelous. It wasn’t too hot or too cold. The wind counteracted the strong sun–I know you are thinking San Francisco’s coast–strong sun? But it is true! It was relaxing and peaceful. Ahhh.At 3 pm we all met and did some silly activities to break the ice and get to know the new format of the website. If you don’t know already, the website was updated and they made some super cool improvements. Then we broke for dinner, which was ok. I am awfully spoiled, as I lived with a chef for 17 years.The only real complaint I have is where we have to sleep. We are staying at old army barracks. We are all in a dorm kind of thing sleeping on plastic covered mattresses in bunk beds. Some people snore awfully loud. I can’t sleep very well like that and might turn into a huge B by the end of the week! Hee hee! The end of the night was spent by a select few consuming beverages in a far away cabin. We played a name game and, let me tell you, I remember EVERY one of their names! =] Now that is networking!