Sunday, March 6, 2016

OTEN Conference

OTEN Conference – Graham Bledsoe

            Heading to the OTEN Conference, I really did not know what to expect. To be quite honest, I was dreading the thought of sitting and listening to different people lecture on how to teach effectively. What I left with though, was quite the opposite as I came away with a lot of useful resources that I can implement in my current and future classrooms.
            The first session I attended was the “Fun, Free, Formative Assessment Strategies” put on by Nikole W. Hartman of the Forest Grove School District. I was really impressed with this session overall and thought that Nikole provided a wide range of programs that we can use in our classrooms. I was very impressed with the program, Kahoot, which we were able to play around with by taking an interactive quiz on Shakespeare. I loved how it was both educational and a competitive game, something that I could see a lot of my students being very interested in. Another program we explored was Answer Garden, which could be used as a quick/easy daily warm-up to see if your students understood a reading, a lesson or vocab words.
            Session #2 of the day was the “Podcasting and Video Technologies in the Elementary Classroom: Ideas for creative projects with your students” that was presented by Machelle Childers of the Forest Grove School District. Machelle provided us with a lot of fun ideas that she uses in her classroom that all involve making videos. One of the video projects that I really enjoyed was based on her class’s field trip to a nearby wetland where she was able to show parents and her school exactly what they did/what they learned. I thought that this session was fun to be apart of and it was cool to see what her school was doing with podcasting but I was thinking that she was going to show us how to make these videos or show us different apps that are helpful in order for us to implement it in our classrooms.
The next session I attended was called “Making Online Formative Assessment More Meaningful” and Cathy S. Nostrand of the Beaverton School District presented it. This session was very similar to the first session I attended and the presenter of that first session, Nikole, was actually in attendance as well. We took time to play around with different websites like Padlet, Kahoot, Socrative and Plickers. I really enjoyed the Plickers app and actually started an account for a class I currently teach. With so many high school students with cell phones, I think that these kind of apps in the classroom could be really useful.

            The last session I attended was split between “Exploring Apps for Differentiated Instruction” (presented by Courtney Fisher, Eric Weinbender, Julia Barret and Zachary Blinkerd of Pacific University) and “School Garden Uses in Oregon” (presented by Mike Charles, Rich Van Buskirk of Pacific University and Claire Buhler, Scott McCahon of Forest Grove HS). I really enjoyed the presentation by the Pacific University students, specifically the Nearpod program. I think it’s layout and user-friendly model could really be beneficial in my classroom. The school garden presentation did not really pertain to me but it was actually really interesting to hear about what students at Forest Grove HS were doing and the elective classes that they offer.

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