The Villanova Tech Expo gets better each year. It is largely presented by Villanova University and many area sponsors and is free for attendees. Presenters are generally local educators, and vendors, but if you look at the schedule, there are always some golden nuggets of information to be found. Over 50 sessions, included topics from network security to flipped classrooms.
Educator Chris Penny said he may never buy another mouse with the way technology keeps improving. There is no need with iPads and tablets becoming so mainstream and better to use. To get some of the teachers at WCU on board with technology, they bought Kindles for them. Once teachers were comfortable with this technology they moved forward with integration, personal management and classroom instruction. He stated that West Chester University has moved forward in their adaptation of the SAMR model. Assessments are designed differently because of this theory. Apps he mentioned include eBird, Keynote Remote, Puppet Pals, along with use of iBooks, google+ to conference with student teachers and TodaysMeet.
Two teachers from Central York, Carol Roth and Lauri Brady explained their paperless classroom model. The website they shared has all of their information: http://gopaperless.weebly.com/index.html. More and more schools are becoming environmentally conscious in their use of materials. One their suggestions was to be sure to give students the opportunity to contribute by assigning jobs such as photographers, tweeters, blogging, note takers to share what is going on in your classroom. This excellent website is worth the time to explore.
David Pogue was the afternoon keynote and offered this to the audience: teachers should teach ethics, teach the permanence of the Internet, and teach credibility. Along with his humor, Pogue said that “Keeping up with tech is like drinking from a firehose.” I can relate to that! Every time I feel like I have caught up on what is going on in educational technology, something more interesting comes along. If you ever get the chance to hear him, don’t hesitate. Along with some great insights about tech in education and everyday life, David is an accomplished musician and humorist.
I had the opportunity to speak to a few vendors about hardware we were considering for purchase, examined a few iPad mini cases from Targus, and spoke with TechSmith reps about a new app that was just released called Ask3. For a free one day program, this offers some good ideas for the classroom and a lot of infrastructure information. If you are nearby, plan to attend next year. Attendance might be better if it was not PSSA testing week.