Thursday, January 04, 2007
I am sitting here in my office amazed at the conference today. The morning began with Sheryl Nussbaum Beach getting everyone going with a motivational video, I Generation, and Skyping in Jeff Utecht from Shanghai, China and Chris Croft. You could literally see everyone sit up a little straighter when they realized it was 10:30 PM in China and Jeff was willing to talk to them in Alabama. Everyone left the keynote session ready for the concurrent sessions. I have to hand it to our tech staff. All of a sudden the wireless shut down on everyone - about 300 people. They fixed the problem quickly and got everyone up and running by the end of the first session. We also awarded technology grants. You can see pictures here - http://www.flickr.com/photos/chambfamily/sets/72157594459574384/ We ended the day with great BBQ and conversations. I have heard from several people that they thought this conference was exactly what they needed but WOW there is so much to take in. I am interested to see the level of participate, increase conversation, and collaboration.
Wednesday, January 03, 2007
Tonight is the eve of our Trussville Educational Technology Conference. The conference is modeled after Alabama Best Practice Center's Octoberfest and the K12 Online Conference. All 289 faculty, staff, directors, and the superintendent will be at the middle school tomorrow for 4 hours of technology training. I am thrilled that Sheryl Nussbaum Beach is our keynote speaker. The teachers will spend one hour with Sheryl then travel to 3 other sessions of their choice. So many of our teachers are new to technology that we did not have sufficient presentors that knows Web 2.0 and are using it. So, we decided to utilize the resources of the K12 Online Conference. We are taking Jeff Utecht's LAN party and making it on a larger scale. All teachers will bring their wireless laptops to get as much hands on as possible. We have created public SharePoint sites for each session with a blogging component added. The moderators for each session will promote the use of the blog to continue the conversation from the conference well beyond Jan. 4. We are also having the moderators digitally record the discussion so that we can podcast the best thoughts, ideas, comments, and questions on the SharePoint pages. Another exciting event taking place tomorrow is the awarding of technology grants. We are awarding one $8,000; thre $5,000: and six $2,000 grants. We have made large checks and will break into their 9:10 session to award them their checks. I will post the pics on Flickr from the conference and place a link here. I can't wait!