OTEN 2016 Conference
What an informative day! There was a lot to be inspired by today, beginning with the very first session. I came to the conference with a schedule all worked out. It was neatly typed, very beautiful, and precise. I knew exactly where I was going and what I was going to see, until I heard the opening speaker. He spoke of a program in Pacific University being run by Aja Appel and Kylee Oshiro. I sat and listened to this man on stage describe the way I would teach; letting the students lead the way. That was it; I immediately decided that was the talk I wanted to hear, and a classroom I wanted to see. This was a classroom that was, for the most part, student-lead. I really enjoyed seeing the different technologies and hearing how they are used. Tons of notes and great ideas. Brava, teachers. Can I come to play, too?
The second session was run by Chris Hessilbein; Google Drive: Tools for Collaborative Learning. I had seen Chris in Hillsboro recently at a Google for the Classroom conference. That was, of course, the day that Google decided to crash. Today was a little better. Chris went through Google Docs and showed us some tips and tricks that will come in handy. I use the Google environment a lot, and anything I can learn that will make my life easier is worth the time to learn. It really is a powerful platform, although Google Sheets could stand some upgrades. But, I digress. I did not take too many notes during this class because we were interactively busy almost the whole time. Of course, as with any course of this sort, where something is trying to be demonstrated, there were connectivity problems. However, we muddled through and learned something. They should give better explanations on connectivity issues for classes like this. I felt we were just cut adrift.
Lunch! Not having eaten breakfast, lunch was a lifesaver! My little tummy felt much better afterward and I was all ready to listen to a very interesting keynote speaker, Linda Samek, from George Fax University. She was surprising in that she seemed very unassuming, but she was easy to listen to. It can't have been easy to get to where she is now, knowing that, to date, tech has been a man's world. She is a pioneer and an example to our young women. I imagine Ms. Samek would be a fun person to hang out with.
After lunch, we flew through an hour with Patrick Brittenham while he talked about 21st Century Formative Assessment Toolkits. He told of some fun websites where different assessments could be accessed. Some of these were:
They all did essentially the same thing, but with tweaks and twists. I can see myself using some of these fun interactives. They would be as much for for me as to use as for the students.
A shorter session was next, with a presentation about Exploring Apps for Differentiated Instruction, presented by four Pacific U students: Courtney Fisher, Eric Weinbenden, Julia Barrett, and Zachary Blinkerd. However, one of the young men was not physically present, but I am not sure which one attended. These students talked about apps they had used to support differentiated instruction, describing the pros and cons of each app. An interesting talk, but, at this point in my journey, I am not sure I can utilize this information.
The last session was presented by Jennifer Hardacker, and was entitled Gamification-lite of a Film History Class. We were told to go to a session that challenged us or that was outside our sphere. This one certainly was, but I found some real nuggets of info contained in this small session. I liked the way the instructor allowed the students to pick the things they want to work on, up to a certain point. I also liked the different ways students could earn points toward their final grade in different ways, i.e. watch a film and write a report, or make a film, etc. It was one class, but it could be tailored by the students to fit their own style and inclinations, working with their strengths and interests.
In all, it was a very long and interesting day. It seemed to pass quickly. By the end, the others in the cohort were lining the hallway like limp marionettes. I think we were all a little wrung out and very glad to be going home.