Well, this whole trip so far has been quite the experience! I’ve not been able to work and update as I would have liked in the evenings because I’ve been having personal issues. Without going into too much detail, a kidney stone has decided to appear. I was in the ER the day before I left for this trip, and I went back there again last night. Quite the experience, but I’m still up and kicking! I would not miss this training at all!
Yesterday’s sessions were interesting, and I attended all but one of them. I had to skip the last one due to not feeling so hot from medication. Let’s jump in and review what happened:
Our opening session focused around Twitter. There were different stations set up for attendees to visit based on their level of experience with the social media source. I really should have gone to Table 10 and learned about creating a movement for change, but I instead chose to stay at Table 8 where the focus was on edchats and getting connected via educational hashtags. I assisted the table leader here. We talked about #wvedchat, and tools one could use to more easily connect on Twitter. I also was able to pull up Cybraryman’s list of edchat hashtags and chat schedule to share with others. I tried to get content areas of teachers so I could recommend different hashtags to follow, and was successful for most of them.
Based on my own personal experience, I really don’t recommend participating in edchats without the assistance of a program like Tweetdeck. Tweetdeck helps me track all of my lists, and creates lists for my favorite hashtags. Without Tweetdeck, I would be lost and frustrated. I have never participated in an edchat without being connected to a computer. I’m sure others can find success in using tablets or tablet/computer combos, but they certainly aren’t for everyone. The best thing about edchats is that if you happen to miss a chat, nearly every chat creates a chat transcript of some kind. They tend to either use Participate and Learn’s website, or Storify. These are a good way to catch up, and then also go back later on to review any discussions.
The next session that I attended was on using infographics in the classroom. The session itself focused around using Easel.ly and how to create infographics with the website. Of course, there are many other educational websites out there to create infographics, such as Piktochart, but this session only focused on the one. My Surface Pro, for whatever reason,
hadn’t charged correctly and was dying, so I didn’t get to use the website version to test out during this session. This gave me a good chance to try out the app version instead, which had 2.5 stars out of 5 in the app store. I would definitely agree with that. The interface was not very user friendly and it was hard to edit and make changes to what I was trying to design. Definitely stick with the website version if possible.
Infographics can be great ways to show data reports in the classroom, as well as timelines or visual versions of classroom rules. They can also be used to show current event information, election data, and processes/cycles in science. The best way to start using infographics with students is to have them work from a template the first few times so that they get the hang of it. After that, have them try to create an infographic from scratch. Having done a few template versions prior to this, they should adjust more easily to creating their own.
My second session of the day was on using Animoto in the Classroom. Animoto is an easy way to string together photos or videos into one simplified presentation format. It has templates available, as well as music that is included. It can be used to create book trailers, field trip videos, virtual field trip videos, student introductions, and more. Animoto is free to a point. The free version has a watermark that appears over the video. There are other versions that can be upgraded to for a monthly cost, and an educator’s version as well. Here’s a sample video I made about Minecraft Makershop with Animoto:
I did not attend the last afternoon session before team time due to medical issues I was having. I did return to the training for Team Time at the end of the day though, where we discussed the sessions we had attended that day, and possible topics we would want to see for Edcamp on Wednesday or present about. I did sign up, but it didn’t pan out and was out of my control. I wanted to share my coding games resources and Minecraft in Education as well.
Day 2 to follow shortly!