After #FETC – Clearing the Haze, Part 2 of 2

FETC Letters outside the convention center

In our previous post, we shared ways you can sort and sift through the pamphlets, trinkets, and other goodies you picked up while at FETC 2018. We continue the process, focusing on the handouts, notes and other information you received while attending sessions, workshops, breakouts, etc.

You undoubtedly picked up a LOT of useful information during your visit to FETC in Orlando. So much, in fact, you may feel more than a bit overwhelmed by it all. There are a couple of things you can do to help organize your information and digest everything you’ve learned.

  • Find the highlights. Quickly go through your notes and handouts and find the things that stand out – things that you underlined, things that you circled, and things you highlighted. Those are usually the points that will stick with you. Take some time to refresh your memory and mentally revisit the sessions where that information was born.
  • Prioritize your learning. As you go through the myriad of handouts, notes, and other information, see if you can organize and prioritize based on the criteria you decide. You might want to put shareable items at the top – things you plan to share with colleagues, administrators, and other stakeholders. Perhaps you want to let those things which apply most immediately to your own situation rise to the top first. You get to decide what’s important and how important it is. Some items may be interesting, but not important. Let those sift to the bottom of the learning for now. You can revisit those later.
  • Take the good, take the bad. As you reflect on your learning, think about the positives and negatives about each session. What did you learn? what did you hope to learn but didn’t? How can you follow up to fill in the gaps? What are the shareable points? Are you a blogger, tweeter, facebooker? What things would you (or will you) share? Make notes. Use a unique color highlighter or some other method to mark those things worth sharing.
  • Share! Remember: not everyone got to go to the same session(s) you did. There are lots of folks who would love to know what you learned, what you wanted to learn, and how you plan to apply your learning. You don’t have to write a book for each session. A couple sentences, sometimes just a few words, can convey the overall takeaways.
  • Toss. Just as with the other information and swag you picked up, sometimes you just have to toss things away. Don’t be afraid to junk a session’s notes if that session proved to be less than helpful for you. On the other hand, instead of tossing the notes and handouts, perhaps you have a colleague who would greatly benefit from them, especially if they weren’t able to attend.

The key to this portion of sifting, sorting, and sharing is time. This part of the post-FETC filtering can take days, weeks, even months. It’s okay. You don’t want to forget the great things you learned, but you also don’t want to overwhelm yourself trying to declutter without processing.

*BONUS: Make notes for your next conference visit! What did you miss that you want to see next time? Think about the content, the tracks, the presentations that piqued your interest this year but you were unable to take part in. Shoot for those things next time!

It’s the little things – 5 ideas for EdTech Micro-Lessons

Isn’t it always? The little things usually make the biggest impression. From just a simple thank you to a yes ma’am, the little things help define a person, a situation, an event, etc.  So why are we always shooting for the big win in the classroom setting?  Shouldn’t we make more memorable, meaningful small ones?

That’s where the Micro-Lesson comes in. Small, fun, impactful lessons that you can think up over coffee in the morning or discussion in the teacher’s lounge. Set a goal in your PLC meeting to leave with 5 EdTech Micro-Lessons in your bag of tricks.  To help you get started, here are 5 ideas to add some fun and excitement to your classroom and lessons:

  1. PODCAST – You know us and podcasts, we love them! And, so do many others. Who doesn’t like to put on their own “show?” This is easily accomplished by creating small 90-second podcasts covering whatever the current topic is during that day’s lesson. Use your laptop, iPad, etc. to allow the students to come to the “recording booth” and record their opinions, views, assigned topic, etc. Share with parents and students and watch the engagement bloom.
  2. CLASS-CREATED PRESENTATION – Let students create a group presentation using your multimedia projector or television and add an app like Buncee. Critical thinking and creativity are addressed in an open, comfortable environment where students can learn from each other and explore their creative avenues by sharing ideas.
  3. PHOTO ALBUM – This one is an easy one and can be accomplished almost every day. We recommend at least once a week, but possibly on the same day, use any digital camera in the room and document the work of the students individually and as a group. Cover that day’s work or the work from the week. Short and simple wins here. Make the creation a group event using Google Slides, Prezi, Buncee or other presentation apps. Once again: sharing excites the parents (And keeps the refrigerator less cluttered)!
  4. NEWSCAST – It’s video time! Get creative with writing: 3 to 4 topics, 3 to 4 groups. Each group has 10 minutes to pick a newscaster(s), write their summary and design their scene. Their final “report” should be no longer than 60 seconds of air time. Encourage students to get each member in the video and use props if possible. Use your device of choice, record the video (we recommend a Padcaster Setup) and put it on the class/school/district YouTube channel. This can be very informative for your parents and lots of fun for your students!
  5. GAMIFICATION – This one is a tried and true friend. Gamification has been around since the poster board and sticky stars (and yes, way before that). Several websites and apps (such as ClassDojo) help to bring the fun of achieving goals and attaining badges for a job well done. This helps increase student engagement across the board. Every student needs a “win,” and this helps to create that. Gamification can be a classroom experience or a personal one. Over time, the feedback the student receives will help foster a growth mindset, propelling them throughout their educational journey.

#education #teaching Elemental Speed Dating Elements4d as #AR #ProfessionalDevelopment Ice Breaker

Daqri released Elements 4d several years ago. If you’re not familiar with it, it is a combination app and physical blocks that users scan with their smartphone. When the block is detected, a 3d model of the cube shows up on the user’s device containing a virtual model of the element being scanned.

Not only that, but the the REAL magic comes into play when two elements are placed next to each other physically! If they mix, the app shows the combined result! For example, Hydrogen and Oxygen form a virtual cube of water!

When I am introducing Augmented Reality (AR) to teachers, I hand out PDF-printed blocks or enlarged panels of the blocks (links below) to each teacher. They then have 10-15 minutes to take part in what I call “Elemental Speed Dating!” They have to get up and move around and try to pair their selected element with other elements to see who has a good “bond” with each other! Some elements don’t mix well, so the teachers must keep moving on, trying to find potential “mates” for their elements.

It is so much fun and a great way to get folks up and moving, interacting, and definitely putting a new twist on dating… CARBON dating, anyone? (I’m a Dad. I make bad Dad jokes. It’s what I do.)

Find out more from Daqri: http://elements4d.daqri.com/

My Google folder with the enlarged single panels: HERE!

3 Ways to Look Beyond the Spotlight: Student Careers in Sports, Music/Film, and Education #education #edtech #studentvoice

Ask a student what he or she wants to be when they grow up. What answers do you generally get? Fireman, police officer, etc, sure. Often, though, we hear things like: singer, rapper, President, actor, athlete… While there is nothing wrong with any of these professions, we need to encourage students to look beyond those which are the “limelight” careers.

SPORTS:

Perhaps you have students who love sports, but who are just not destined for the field, rink, court, etc. Teachers can help them see that there are all kinds of related jobs to sports that don’t necessarily thrust them into the spotlight nor threaten their physical being. For example, sports medicine is related and covers a variety of jobs: sports doctors and nurses, medical techs, assistants, and more. What about artists in sports? Absolutely! Graphic design for logos, stadium signs, banners of heroes from days gone by and the stars of the current team. What about writers? There are sports writers that work for news and sports outlets, sure. But, did you know sports teams (professional, college, amateur, etc) need writers? Think about media programs that are handed out at games or the biographies that are handed out to sportscasters, etc. How about the person who writes the words and puts up the graphics on the big screens over the field? What about music in sports? Theme songs, walk-off tunes, etc. How about finances: team, player, concession, stadium, etc – all need money and they need people to manage that money… And to manage the people who make it all run – HR personnel, etc.

And, that was JUST sports and we still didn’t cover a sliver of what’s out there!

MUSIC and FILM:

What about the music industry? People have to write the songs. People have to manage the singers. It takes people to book gigs, create album covers, produce the music, make the videos, and everything else that goes with each of THOSE types of jobs. The film industry needs writers, graphic artists, make-up artists, assistants, caterers, and a host of other positions vital to the production of what we all see on the big screen.

EDUCATION:

What about education? Teachers, administrators, writers, artists… People from all walks of life with varying backgrounds are needed in education (at all levels, too!). Your students might not want to be teachers, but what about participating in other capacities? Administrators help shape and guide the direction of a district, campus, or building. Counselors help students in need. Technology Directors help teachers and students use and implement various technologies to help with education. Don’t forget some of the vital roles played in the school environment: Food services, custodial services, transportation, maintenance, and more.

There are all kinds of ancillary opportunities waiting for people to fill them. We just have to help our students see the potential and the availability. We have to expose students to thinking differently about using their talents in ways they may not have realized were waiting.

Make Most of Your #Twitter with #Tweetdeck!

Keeping up with the never-ending stream of consciousness that is Twitter can be challenging. Whether you are trying to keep up with the latest trending hashtag or you’re trying to generate the latest trend, using Twitter by itself makes the task difficult. Enter TweetDeck: The organizer and scheduler that will make your Twitter life MUCH simpler. We use it at EduTechGuys and wanted share how it helps us so that it can help you, too.

Though this article is not meant to be a comprehensive tutorial, hopefully it will give you an overview as to why TweetDeck should definitely be in your arsenal.

TweetDeck organizes your Twitter feed, info, followed tags, etc into columns. The site allows you to create tweets and send them as yourself and/or as any other account that you are a member. You can also schedule tweets to go out when YOU want them to. This comes in handy when you are building anticipation for an upcoming event. This way, you can write and schedule your posts in one sitting if you like, but they won’t go out until the date(s) and time(s) that YOU say!

After you have scheduled your tweet, it shows up in the “Scheduled” column, so you can always know what you’ve got coming up.

As we mentioned, you can also create or join groups (teams)! This means you can have several people sending out tweets as your company/organization. It also means you might be on several teams and tweet out ONE post to each of those accounts in one swift click. In the image below, see where I can be “myself,” “EduTechGuys,” or “SWAEC?” I can send out a post as any or all of those!

TweetDeck also makes it very easy to follow your favorite people, topics, trends, or Twitterchats! Just use the “Add Column” feature and select from several options:

So, if I chose the “Search” and typed #education, I could add that as a column (far right in image below):

There are a LOT of things you can do with TweetDeck! In fact, one of the workshops/trainings we offer is how to get the most out of your total social media outreach program and TweetDeck is just a piece of that over all experience! Reach out to us today to find out how you can bring the EduTechGuys to your school, business, or organization!

Send your inquiry to: contact@edutechguys.com

Avoid the post-#FETC Blues!

#FETC2017 is over. It’s a sad, sad state of affairs. How do you avoid the post-#FETC blues? Use these tips to help!

  • Marinate – You’ve met lots of fun, exciting people. You’ve attended life-changing sessions, workshops, poster presentations, and keynotes. You’ve taken more into your brain in the last few days than you have all year. Relax. Don’t think too much. Let all that information, all those tips, and all those tricks marinate in your head for a while. Grab a glass (or cup) of your favorite beverage, sit back in your favorite chair, and relax. Don’t think too much about all that stuff. Let key points float up into your consciousness and then fade out again, replaced some other cool bit you learned while in Orlando.
  • Connect and Collaborate – You probably made a LOT of new friends at FETC – folks you hadn’t known before and folks you only knew through publications, blogs, podcasts, etc. You may have amassed quite a collection of Twitter handles, emails, and Instagram usernames. Reach out and connect with those folks. Drop a quick “So glad we met at FETC!” If you aren’t following the folks you met, take a few moments to go down your list and look them up, then connect with them. Follow them, Google them, Share with them.
  • Find out what you missed. You can’t do EVERYTHING at FETC. I know. I tried a few years ago. You just can’t do it. So, head to fetc.org and check the site for presenter notes, links, information, and updates. Keep checking during the next few weeks and months. Reach out on social media and ASK folks to share their FETC experiences, insights, and “Ah-Ha!” moments.
  • Listen to the folks WE talked to! We learned SO MUCH from each and every one of you that came by the EduTechGuys podcast table! Absolutely incredible, amazing things you are doing for your students and/or in your organizations to help teachers, students, parents, and administrators. Head over to youtube.com/edutechguys and look for archived interviews with the wonderful folks we met at FETC!
  • SHARE! What did *YOU* learn at FETC2017? Share your experience!! Leave a comment here at edutechguys.com, post a Tweet, share on Facebook. Don’t keep it to yourself – let EVERYONE know!

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