Two week ago I attended the Northwest Council for Computer Education Conference conference at the Washington State Convention Center here in Seattle. This year’s had a western theme complete with mechanical bulls and hay bales. The theme felt very apropos because technology in education is a bit like the old wild west, unregulated and under funded.
I started my morning by taking a tour around the exhibition hall where all the vendors were selling their wares. Every other booth was peddling some type of projector or monitor in mass quantity. The booths in-between exhibited more variety. There was everything from Geocaching to Xbox 360 representing what could be construed as education technology.
One session that I attended was one called “Adobe Premiere Pro: Beyond the Basics” in an attempt to relate some of my video post production skills back to the classroom. We’ve been talking about incorporating short STEM interviews created by students and I thought this might be a good opportunity to gather some teaching techniques for this potential experience.
I was mildly disappointed, I was hoping that the course would more directly link back to lessons or techniques that I could use in the classroom but really it was mostly instructional just as the title of the course would suggest. I learned a few tricks that will help me speed things up when I’m working on projects but generally speaking I wasn’t so impressed with the amount of knowledge I gained by the end.
I was also hoping to attend at least one iPad related session but that never came to fruition. There were several courses that required a $700 entrance fee because they were essentially selling you an iPad 2(the now old iPad model) and giving you instructions on how to use it.
Another session, “Technology Timesavers,” I attended was one with featured speaker, author, and technology specialist Tammy Worcester. She explained different web tools such as Google Docs, Wolfram Alpha and Qwiki.
Google Docs is a great alternative to Microsoft Office and a good way to get students to collaborate in spreadsheets and graphs when collecting and presenting data. Files are also saved in the cloud so students could access them from home and then back at school.
Wolfram Alpha which is an information engine as opposed to a search engine. For example, you can enter a word or phrase and Wolfram Alpha will shoot out a bunch of information gathered from all over the internet on that subject. An excellent alternative to finding information from the usual google search.
Qwiki is a great little tool that takes a word or phrase that you type in and turns in into an automated video with pictures and audio. A lot like Wolfram Alpha, Qwiki takes information from varying sources from all over the web and complies them into a short video that explains the subject.
Many of these resources I had already been familier with, but it was nice to see them applied in a classroom setting.