The Learning 2.011 Technology Conference in Shanghai, China was really exciting for getting ideas on technology use in the classroom and outside of it. I took a digital storytelling class and was so excited that I videotaped Shanghai using the iTouch. I had 200 thirty second or less videos and they captured the noise and crowds of China. (I deleted most of the videos.) It was my attempt to tell a story of a country I had never been to using a video camera app. I had so much fun!
I love using technology in the library. It's a tool for getting students excited to read. After the conference, I was reflecting on an area of technology that I need to improve on such as social networking. I'm a twit when it comes to Twitter. Honestly, I can't quite figure it out. Jeff Utecht introduced our CoeTail cohort class to it, but my brain was not computing. I shut down at the Bit.ly part. I know a ton of applications but this social side to technology is really different! How do I use it in a meaningful way? How do I develop the habit of using it? How do I find time to use it in a schedule already overflowing?
The unique setup of the Learning 2.011 conference is that people get together and have a one hour workshop on a topic of interest to them. I went to the Twitter workshop. The presenters' PowerPoint on the LCD screen kept flickering like an eyelid blinking in rapid succession. It made me feel slightly ill if I looked at it too long. I focused on the speakers and what they were saying and found my twitter jitters disappearing and my thoughts becoming positive: this is something I want to do! The speakers showed the value of networking with colleagues and others who are on the cutting edge of technology. They showed people in the conference tools for organizing and reading tweets that are more intuitive than the Twitter homepage, such as Tweetdeck or Hootsuite, and gave the advantages and disadvantages of both. They showed how it has helped them improve lessons and connect with other students and teachers around the world. They showed the power of this technology tool that opened my eyes to its possiblities.
Another teacher at the conference told me about Shanghai Taxi, an iPad app that is free and translates English words to Chinese. Too bad I didn't have my video rolling when we showed the iPad,with Longyang railway station in large Chinese letters, to the driver who giggled over it like a kid. He thought it was so funny. He started to hand the iPad back to my husband, pulled his hand back, laughed, shook his head and touched the screen like it was a magic wand. More importantly, it worked; we got to the right destination.
The beauty of this conference is that you can customize it to your needs or interests in learning technology. The sessions are no longer than one hour and I could absorb all the new information. I need to thank Jeff Utecht for suggesting this conference that he co-founded. It is terrific.
Sitting on my desk next to my computer is a notebook that has scribbles saying, "Tweet about this:...." and I have a list of ideas, but I haven't tweeted them. I know you are thinking, what a twit.
But no more. Tonight I sent my first Tweet asking for apps that are easy to use for grade 5 students doing video book trailers on the iPad.
Except I forgot to mention I wanted an app for the iPad not iPad 2.
Then I realized I forgot to mention I wanted a free app because I have a demo iPad for only 2 weeks.
Then I realized I only had 9 Followers so it really doesn't matter ; )