FETC Pre-conference

Wow!  What an exciting week!  The pre-conference started Wednesday morning at Universal Studios.  When I arrived in the parking lot, Scott Kinney and Hall Davidson were in the car next to us.  Danielle got out and gave the lady in the car a big hug and they took a photo.  She came over and I introduced myself and she said, "Hi, I’m Kathy Schrock".  I smiled and said hello while thinking to myself, "I’m standing here with Kathy Schrock in the middle of the parking lot at Universal! Hummm…."

The day was off to a great start.  We had a wonderful tour of the park and had a great behind the scenes tour.  Our guides did a wonderful job. They took us into the Mummy ride and showed me things I never knew.  If you are waiting in line, there is a large box with a place for a hand on either side.  If only one person places their hand on the box, the symbol for evil appears on the ceiling above.  If two hands are placed on it (one on each side) the symbol for good will appear.  I had never noticed that before.  The creators of the ride consulted with experts from Egypt to make the artifacts as authentic as possible. 

Many of you probably remember the King Kong ride that use to be in the building that now houses the Mummy.  The creators at Universal wanted to make a statement so they created a gold miniature of King Kong and placed it in the treasure room of the ride.  The next time you are on the Mummy, see if you notice the statue of King Kong.  At Universal Kong still lives. 

We were able to tour the sound stages and discovered that Universal is a unique working studio because they have a covered breezeway that allows costumes, props, and actors to move from one soundstage to another without having to worry about weather conditions that could delay the production.  The Blue Man group will soon be added to the shows that are produced at Universal and they are currently looking for people to star in the show.  Maybe you will be the next member of the group.

The horror makeup show was very fascinating.  We learned about the material used to alter a person’s nose and even tried them on. The original use for Max Factor was horror makeup before it became available as a cosmetic.  There were many other fascinating stories but you really need to experience for yourself.  We had a thirty minute show condensed into ten minutes. 

Our project for the day was to create a digital story with pictures and audio.  Everyone went around the park snapping pictures and created a story about a school or learning in the future.  Playing with Kathy Schrock and other DEN members was a great experience.  We all practiced using several of the following programs: Audacity, Photostory, iPhoto,  iMovie, and Garage Band.  I will post my group’s Shrek School project as soon as I transfer it to this computer.

As a special note, I would like to say thanks to Discovery for offering us this experience and for inviting Kathy Schrock too!  She is a celebrity in my world.   I was so excited to share with my coworkers and friends that I met Kathy Schrock.  As we were waiting for Bill Nye I couldn’t control my enthusiasm any longer. I said, "Guess who I met?  Kathy Schrock!"   The first person said, "Who is that?" My bubble was burst because I thought everyone knew who Kathy was.  Then I shared it with a more techie person in our group and received the reaction I would have given, "Oh my gosh, you met Kathy Schrock?!?"  That’s when I realized that Kathy is a celebrity in our techie world and the rest of the world has not had the opportunity to know her yet.  I have to say she is a wonderful person and very down to earth.  I had such a great time with her and look forward to working with her again in the future.

For those of you who were unable to attend we also had two very special guests, Karen Seddon and Danielle Abernethy.  It was wonderful to see them and even though they are no longer our field managers they will always be our friends.  Thanks to both of you for establishing the wonderful network of teachers that we have in Florida.  We will always think of you fondly and wish you well in your future endeavors. 


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  1. Danielle said:

    Thank you Debbie for the wonderful blog. Keep up the great work!

    Isn’t Kathy Shrock just wonderful? She’s a true inspirer in tech ed!

  2. Karen C. Seddon said:

    Hey Deb,

    Where is your picture with Bill Nye? It’s a classic!

  3. Mark Hall said:

    Yes Debbie I agree with Karen, you have to post the picture with Bill Nye. The behind the scenes tour exceeded my expectations, it was wonderful. It was fun working with the DEN members to create a digital story based upon our adventures of the day.

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