This week SCETV is holding its summer technology workshops. Normally I’m so busy building new schools and putting in computers that I can’t take part in the summer workshops. This summer, however, I decided I would try to make it. I figured that during summer there would be better participation than there might during the school year.
Last spring I did three sessions each day, which meant that I had no down time nor opportunity to visit any other sessions. This time I cut one of my presentations, so I would only be doing two workshops each day – Basic Google Earth and Creating Interactive Lessons with Google Earth. I had also been asked to conduct a geocaching activity one of the afternoons.
As with last spring I was in SCETV’s NewsPlex room. It’s a fantastic multimedia facility with comfortable seating and a cool view of downtown Columbia. Tuesday’s sessions went well, but were not as well attended as I might have liked. The sign-up sheet showed a capacity crowd, but only half showed up.
In the afternoon we got together with the Discovery Education Network teachers for a geocaching activity. Justin Krakow from Discovery hosted the gathering. Donna Teuber and Donna Thompson had set up several geocaches around the studios. Five were virtual caches, and two were actual containers, one of which held tickets for a prize drawing.
We gave each teacher a GPS that had been pre-loaded with the coordinates of the caches and let them work in pairs. I showed them how to operate the GPS units, and sent them on their way. Despite the heat and threatening rain, I think they enjoyed it. I had fun watching them walk in circles and around the property.
Back inside we had snacks for them and drew tickets for prizes, which included some nice DVDs from the Discovery Network. Here’s a short video Justin took of the event…
Tuesday evening several of us got together for a Tweet-Up – a meeting of instructional technology folks that use Twitter. We met at Wild Wings Cafe, shared food and drinks, and talked about the creation of a Palmetto Learning Network to promote best practices in technology. It was great meeting folks I had only seen online and getting to know them better.
Wednesday’s sessions would be a repeat of Tuesday – more Google Earth. This time, I really did have capacity crowds. There were more there than computers. The sessions went extremely well, and I got lots of good questions. I even learned a few things in the process. The only disappointment was one person who identified himself as a coach who sat in the back and snored.
After lunch I attended Donna Thompson’s session on Digital Storytelling with Photostory 3. I really need to find an excuse to use this program and make myself learn how to use it. It looks easy enough.
After the day’s sessions had wrapped up I headed over to Dwight Moffit’s to hang out, then go to dinner. He took me to a brew pub called “Hunter Gatherers”, which had excellent home-brewed beer and great food.
So far it’s been a good conference. I have a repeat of my sessions today, then get to head back home this afternoon.