Call for Presentation Help

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…


5 Responses

  1. Coming from a traditional classroom setting, I think the most intriguing topic would be “Using tech tools you already have in the 1 computer classroom in a school that bans student-use of cell phones, iPods & laptops.”

    I think the most useful topic might be how the 1 computer classroom can have students use their own technology (iPhone apps, etc.) effectively.

    Even a room with 1-4 desktop computers (often P2s in my district) could use student’s technology to compliment and supplement learning.

  2. I really like the ideas you have here. However, you need to make sure you present them in ways that people can use immediately in their classrooms. I find the presentations I like best (and maybe its just me) focus a lot less on the theory behind why to do something and a lot more on the how to do it with specific examples from classrooms. Even though you’ll be presenting from a science teacher perspective, a good teacher can use your examples and adapt them to their subject area, grade, class or curriculum. I feel that the theory behind things (such as copyright say) can be found in multiple areas online but listening to and seeing great real life examples (such as from your class) would benefit people much more. I think your first three topics lend themselves easier to doing this but you certainly could talk about digital citizenship (techocracy) from the perspective of what you do in your classroom and I think this would be more helpful (again if it was me)

    just my thoughts


  3. I like your first and last ideas for the sessions. A valuable lesson I learned at my last presentation was that I am more advanced than I thought. I almost lost my audience about half way through. I checked for understanding and asked for questions, but found that many of them should have been in a beginning tech session. I think most folks that attend your session will probably be familiar with most of the tools you will discuss.

    Your last session idea is great. I would love to sit through that one. A middle schools student’s ability to manipulate the web is far worse than what most of us think.

    Good luck and keep us posted…. I know you will.

  4. a twist on the 3rd one. not great with names – maybe – tech infusion to optimize differentiation.

    the twist being – more emphasis on the web’s capabilities to help each kid learn in their own way, vs, just having different ways to display their content knowledge.
    ie: using best practices of facebook to form groups per passion on a ning, teacher supplying each group with an appropriate expert tutor – young or old – and appropriate members from all over.

    with any of the topics you use – emphasizing what will richardson first branded in me – that whatever you do – do it for yourself first. the best way to get a kid charged is if it’s authentic.

    i want to come. hope it’ll be streamed.

    bravo and huge thank you – to you todd.

  5. Considering the transition folks that might be in attendance, there seems to be a natural fit between your material and transition practices that Jay Herzog talks about between the middle school and high school. (I imagine they’d work for elementary to m.s. also.) That might be a hook for your 9th Grade Academy people.

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