I have recently been asked to present at NMSA’s Middle Level Essentials Conference in Las Vegas this upcoming April. I will be leading a 3 session strand on “Getting the Most Out of the Technology You Already Have”. The sessions will be run twice, once on Thursday and again on Friday. The focus will be on Middle School classrooms/students but there will also be a contingent coming for the 9th Grade Academy sessions, discussing how to build a transitional program from middle school to high school.
My question for you is: If you were a teacher coming to this conference, what 3 topics would you be most interested in under the strand of “Getting the Most Out of the Technology You Already Have”?
Here are some preliminary thoughts:
- Effective Use of Tech Tools – Poll the audience on various hardware tools (IWBs, Doc. Cameras, Digital Cameras, Flip Video, etc) to find out what most have available and discuss the effective use of these tools in the classroom.
- Harnessing the Power of the Collaborative Web – Take a look at various tools that allow for collaboration in platform independent environments. Discuss the use of tools like Wikis, Blogs, RSS, Social Bookmarking, Google Tools as a means of building collaborative and creative potential of students.
- Technology and Differentiation – Ways to use classroom technology, both hardware and software/Web to differentiate in the Middle School classroom. Discuss tools that allow students to display their content knowledge in a variety of formats: podcasts, Glogs, video clips, blog posts, etc.
- Web Literacy (a la Alan November) – Though I’ll still side with Ben Grey and call it something other than Literacy (perhaps introduce a whole group the the idea of Technoracy?) I could envision a session discussing how we teach students to verify information they find on the Web, from the Tree Octopus, down to using Wikipedia as a starting point for research online, advanced Google searching, etc
Those are my initial thoughts for sessions. I fully recognize that many of these ideas are highly ambitious within the framework of a 75 mintue session. What other things would you be intrigued in as an educator at various stages of technoracy? I’m sure I’ll have some who are coming who aren’t yet really comfortable with these online tools, and others that are looking to push their boundaries. I don’t yet know if my sessions will be lecture style or if participants will have computers available, though I have been told to plan what I want and NMSA will do it’s best to make things happen for the sessions.
Any and all feedback/suggestions are greatly welcome! I need to have some basic session descriptions pulled together next week, so feel free to share this post far and wide until then…