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Day Three at NECC 2007

Posted by MrsVance on June 26, 2007

I am have had some difficulty with both wordpress and my internet connection. So, this was written on Monday but I am just now getting it posted.

Another Great Day!

I began the morning with a Lecture – Using Tech to Differentiate by Interest in the Upper Elementary Classroom by Grace Smith and Stephanie Throne. The notes for this class, or at least the links are supposed to be posted at the website Everything DI . But so far it is not there.

Even though Grace and Stephanie emphasized that teachers need to start slow and should not attempt to differentiate for every student every day, I left the seminar feeling vaguely uneasy. Here is yet another thing that I need to put in place during the coming year. We need to have an easy(ier) way to do this. As I wandered through the Exhibit Hall I found myself at the Blackboard booth. Hmm… is this the way to pull it all together? One of the features of Blackboard is the ability to create conditional assignments. Based on an assessment that is administered and graded within the Blackboard system the student would be directed to an enrichment activity or a remedial activity. The real-world classroom activities would be for all students. So no one is left out or excluded. And once the module is created it can be used over and over again. Some questions… does Moodle have similar conditional assignment capabilities? Can content be shared in Blackboard? Is anyone creating content for either system or do the teachers need to create it themselves?

Next I was supposed to go to a BYOL session. But when I got there it was at capacity and no one else was allowed in the room. On the one hand this was a really big bummer. On the other hand, WOW! There are a bunch of us – we will make a difference! And with my better attitude I set out to find another session. What I found was the Hands-On Open Source Lab and the session, Computer Programming for Everybody: Teaching Programming with Python by Vernon Cedar. I taught a short unit on programming for my middle school students last year. Some loved it and some hated it. I had not decided if I should do it again this year or not. After listening to Vernon I have decided to give it another try this year. He suggests projects that are more exciting. His students use the Turtle and LiveWires add-ins for Python to draw shapes and animate objects. Question – does Ruby have similar libraries or would I need to switch to Python?

Finally, in the afternoon I went to Westminster for License to Thrill: Using Top Secret Technology Strategies to Learn by Jeff Giddens and Daniel Rivera. We took a wirlwind tour of the Gimp,, Picassa, Audacity, and Google SketchUp. Jeff and Daniel have wonderful instructions on how to do very interesting things using these product at the Tie Network. They also have some information about marketing and how to use this information to motivate our students.

Using Movie Maker they created a spectacular ‘movie trailer’ for the book 1984! They said they might post it and hopefully they will. Please watch it if you get a chance. You will be inspired! Better yet, have your students watch it and then have them make something similar about a book of their choice. I really could have spent the entire day with Jeff and Daniel.

I can’t wait for tomorrow!

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