Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Notes from the Ashe County Tech Conference

I had the opportunity to present at a tech conference in Ashe County this week. It was a small but well run conference that brought in a lot of educators from the county and few from beyond. It is always great to interact with teachers on summer break. The teachers seemed excited and interested in learning about new technology, and I met some really dedicated educators doing great things in their schools. I think sometimes having the summer time to reflect and use new technology is a key factor in whether teacher will use it in their classroom.

The session I taught was on using Pageflakes and Netvibes, and my group did a good job of grasping how this could both allow them to organize web content for themselves, and also use these startpages to use in instruction. The participants in the session also seemed to understand the need for having tools like RSS feedreaders to organize the massive amounts of information online. A key skill for 21st century students will be learning to use tools to help access and evaluate the information on the web, and we need teachers to model these skills. I shared my email address and encouraged them to share their experiences with me. I'd enjoy hearing what they've done with these tools.

During the conference I am reminded of how all those in education are dealing with the same issues. Our districts may vary in size, our kids may look and talk a little differently, and classrooms may be outfitted with various equipment, but we are all searching for ways to engage students in learning with technology. I was very pleased to be a part of this conference and a part of that movement.

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