Thursday, July 31, 2008

Now for some House Cleaning

It is the summer and I am the daytime caregiver for my wonderful 3 boys. This means that computer time is between the time before they get up and breakfast. After that it is go go go with the list of items we need to fix around the house and finding activities that are interesting to them.

I have a few loose ends to tie up before the next year starts.
  • The first is to wrap up the CIU20 Math Conference I keynoted in June.
  • The second is to reflect on my year and all that happened.
  • The third is to go about setting up 8 blogs for the grade 7's and 8's this upcoming year.

This post will be about the experience I had in Pennsylvania in June.

I was asked to keynote and provide 4 sessions to math teachers in Pennsylvania in December last year. Enthusiastically I said yes to this en devour. I would provide these teachers with a Keynote. (Warning the slides and the audio do not match. I have 100 slides and am unable to sync them all to the audio. I have chosen to evenly split the audio and slides so that you are at least able to follow along. Sorry for the shoddy job.)

and also go about preparing 4 sessions based on the work I do in my classroom . I thought this would be easy. I was to do this presentation during the last week of school for my school division. This meant that all of my year end duties had to be done well in advance. This part of the story went off with out a hitch.

Arriving in PA I set to work finalizing the keynote and making sure that the other presentations were worthy of a performance. Much to my dismay the wifi in the hotel was weak and working on presentations online was difficult. I overcame this obstacle with some pain (working early in the morning) and was able to create a wiki for all participants.
All of the material I created for the participants is here. Some of the comments I received in the evaluations of this conference need to be shared because it shows the weakness of my presentations.

A common comment was that participants wanted more hands on time to create and work on blogs. I would have loved to provide this but in just an hour per presentation this would have been difficult. Another problem was that only 1/3 of participants had computers with them. What would the other 2/3's have done. I hope that my style of showing how to quickly for the 1/3 and explaining for the other 2/3's was not too stale.

If I was to do this again I would ask for an entire half day to explain and provide hands on techniques to participants. In 3 hrs one could accomplish quite a bit and give the needed first steps to participants.

Another common comment was that "My district does not allow..." for all the tools demonstrated during the conference. My recommendation for all of the participants who mentioned this is to talk to their tech people. They will listen and show you what you can use and cannot use. Show them the possibilities of 2.o applications and set your students on a course for learning.

My hosts were gracious and nice and I hope that I provided valuable information to the participants in my presentations. I am glad it is over and am ready to do it again if anyone wants to hire me...

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