NECC 2008 Day Two

Today was a very productive day! Spent more time at the Bloggers Cafe and NECC Unplugged… great discussions all around! Also really enjoyed Ian Juke’s Digital Kids II session. It’s so great to be around people who have vision, and it’s also very empowering when someone else validates your beliefs. Sometimes, I’m a bit impatient to get things “moving.” Change takes time, but I also know that it doesn’t happen without change agents.

What I think I enjoy the most about conferences like NECC are a) meeting new people and sharing ideas, and b) the incredible conversations you can have even informally in a hallway that might be a great new strategy to take back with you.

On another note, I had intended to do quite a bit of live blogging today, but the wireless connection seemed to be a bit overloaded. I took a lot of notes and plan to summarize, recap, etc. within the next few days.

Finally… someone asked me today at the conference why I named this blog “Avenue 4 Learning.” No, I don’t think my blog will lead you to all the answers. I view tools used in education the same way I do with roads, streets, avenues. I don’t need to know everything about a street in order to use it. It’s important to know basics about the road (Is it one way only? Does it take me where I need to go, or will I drive in circles, etc.). Other than that, finding the right road is part of the process to ultimately get me where I need to go. I look at education the same way. If we use tools in education– technology or otherwise–  the tools themselves might be great, but it’s really all about the final destination… learning.

NECC 2008 Day One

Arrived in San Antonio yesterday afternoon about three hours later than planned thanks to a late flight out of Dallas. Usually, I like to take the first afternoon/evening I arrive at a conference to register, walk around the conference center and surrounding area to get acclimated, meet up with people I know, and then start meeting people I don’t know. Because of the delay, I was able to register and then meet up with some people from our state association. After that, we walked around the Riverwalk to get dinner — I felt like I was going to collapse, I was so tired. Oh, and did I mention it’s a bit hot in San Antonio? Yikes.

So, this morning was “acclimation time.” Met some very nice people from Texas, and then I volunteered at Presenters World for three hours. While volunteering, I met some more great people from Texas (TCEA) and talked to them about using the NECC Ning and Twitter (Hi, Karen and Katie!).

Haven’t decided yet whether I’ll live blog any sessions, or maybe just take notes and then post later. For now, maybe I’ll just conclude with the fact that NECC can be so overwhelming… so much to do, so much to learn. It’s a great opportunity, though, for educators of all levels and experiences.

NECC 2008- My 10 Goals

On Sunday morning, I’m flying to San Antonio to attend NECC 2008. This will be my third conference, and as always, I’m really excited to attend.

Some other Ed Tech folks have been posting their goals for NECC, and I thought that was a great idea. When I was a NECC newbie, I was very overwhelmed with all the available sessions. Even though I used the conference planner in San Diego (even downloaded to my PDA while I was there), I was really never certain about which session to attend… when to hit F2F networking opportunities, etc. Last year in Atlanta, I was even more overwhelmed by the sheer size of the convention hall. I had mapped out every session and workshop, and I wanted to visit more vendors/exhibitors. I probably made it through 1/100 of the exhibitors. That might have been due to the fact that their was an ice cream vendor in the same place each day in the Exhibitor Hall, so I tended to go back to the same area every day. haha

SO… for San Antonio, these are my goals this year. Some of them are already checked off–

1. Mark all sessions I want to attend in the conference planner. (CHECK)

2. Volunteer for ISTE. (CHECK– am scheduled to volunteer Monday afternoon)

3. Stop by the Bloggers Cafe.

4. Go to the Second Life playground.

5. Gather more ideas (especially those with any research-based themes) about digital learning and using Web 2.0 in our schools.

6. Search for more evidence that blocking too much on the internet does a disservice to students and faculty (I already believe this, which you know if you read my posts at all).

7. Look for ties between goals #5 and #6 that support our district initiatives.

8. Attend more sessions and workshops than I ever have before at NECC. Yes, I’m optimistic.

9. Catch up with fellow Ed Tech-ers that I don’t get to see very often.

10. Go to the Alamo. I didn’t sign up for the NECC-sponsored tour, so maybe I will find some friends who want to “wing it” with me. ??

If you’re attending NECC 2008, leave a comment or shoot me a link or trackback to your own blog posting of NECC goals. If you’re not able to attend in San Antonio, did you know you can be a virtual conference-goer?

Welcome, NETA Participants!

If you attended my “Social Networking for the Blissfully Unaware” presentation at NETA April 24, 2008… you are in the right place! Just check out the PAGES section for the “Blissfully Unaware” links and resources.

Also, I’ll be adding the “Tips for Parents” page soon! Come back and visit me again… leave a comment if you wish! I’d love to hear from you.

NETA 07- Day Two

Alan November was the keynote this morning, and he talked a lot about Web 2.0. I’m thrilled to see that he is sharing much of the work we do in our Net Detective/Net Savvy and Digital Literacy in-service sessions! I learned a few new tips from Alan to add to our sessions as well.

My favorite part about both sessions I attended with Alan November is that he almost begs educators to be more open-minded about Web 2.0. Of course Wikipedia shouldn’t be the end-all-be-all for resources, but we shouldn’t discount the information it stores just because some “expert” hasn’t blessed it. He notes the “power of the collective” is something our students understand, but our teachers have yet to grasp. Most importantly, November notes that we need to teach our students to be responsible users of technology… we can’t just block them from everything. I wholeheartedly agree, but I think he may have been preaching to the choir at NETA. The majority of attendees feel the same way, but aren’t able to make much progress back at their schools.

If you want to know more about Alan November, check out his site… he’s over in the Blogroll, too.


Another noteworthy session today was led by my good friend, Dan Schmit. Dan’s session was titled, “You Can Do That?!” Dan introduced a lot of fun, new technologies that are available via the web.  Rather than recap it all here, I’ll just point you to his pbwiki page, You Can Do That?!— where he’s listed and briefly described everything he discussed in his session.

I’m off to more sessions… probably won’t post anymore about NETA 2007. I will say, though, that this has been one of the more enjoyable NETA conferences!

NETA 07- Day One continued

Tony Vincent’s session, “I Didn’t Know You Could Do That With An IPod” was very well received. Tony always does such a great job of helping educators find new and interesting ways to use technology tools.

Much of his presentation is contained on his website, Specifically looking for the iPod ideas? Check out his iPods in Education page. Tony has some really great ideas for you!

One other tip Tony shared with the group is the Vixy beta site: If you want to convert a YouTube or other similar video to a file you can play on your computer or iPod, you can use this tool to do the work for you. By pasting the embedded video code into the site, you can choose to convert the Flash Video File (FLV– format of most uploaded videos) and change to mp4 for iPod, mov file for Mac, avi for Windows, and 3GP for mobiles.

NETA 07- Day One, Session One

The first poster session I attended today was “Blogs, Vlogs, and the Mad Rush to Web 2.0,” by David Pogue.

With an introduction to Social Media- self-expression via text, audio, video- Pogue asked the audience how many people have ever blogged, podcasted, vlogged, etc. Not many hands went up as bloggers. In fact, when he asked the audience how many people read blogs everyday, my guess is that less than 20 hands were raised (the audience was several hundred). I find this a little disheartening. NETA is an EDUCATION conference. How can we be effectively teaching our students if our teachers/administrators/tech staff aren’t in the know about what’s going on in the world? Blogging is nothing new. Our kids know how to use these tools to communicate, self-express… we don’t have time to play catch up!

Sorry… I digressed a little there. I wonder if David Pogue felt the same way.

He also discussed the amount of garbage that’s out there in Web 2.0, but he was careful to note that there are some really amazing things happening on YouTube and iTunes and the rest. I truly agree. As adults, we can’t discount what people are producing and creating, just because much of it isn’t well-produced, written, or even planned. Yes, a lot of YouTube videos are not worth our time… but several are. Young people are learning and building and creating outside of their educational institutions. Or should I say, in SPITE of their educational institutions. Nobody ever asked a kid to create a YouTube video, and then take a standardized test about creating the video.

Pogue also brought up “Copyright Challenges,” something he touched upon in his keynote earlier in the morning. I was really glad that he discussed how the music industry just isn’t getting it. Suing one’s own customers doesn’t get you far. In fact, I’d say it would do more to lose those customers than to theoretically whip them into shape. There are options that the music industry should consider. When your customers’ demands change, change your business or fail. Duh. Find a way to get those customers back, and make it look different. Funny, I’ve been saying the same thing about education.

Toward the end of his session, Pogue noted that there’s a lot of mistrust on the internet. A lot of corporate sponsorship of blogs, PR blogs, people getting paid to blog/endorse a company or its products, phony profiles or identities passed off as genuine (e.g., lonelygirl15)… it’s hard to know whom to credit as authentic. Additionally, with the anonymity the internet provides, there’s a lot of truly vile content, especially in comments. Pogue said, “anonymity breeds contempt.” People feel safe spewing hatred from behing the curtain. He brought up the Kathy Sierra situation, and mentioned that some have called for a “Blogger Code of Conduct.” Will it happen? Will bloggers be able to self-regulate ? There are many suggestions by a lot of people about how to start addressing this problem.

I’m glad Pogue brought this up, because it’s important. I have posted about the very same issue on another blog. I do wish, however, that he could have mentioned more about the positive aspects of Web 2.0 before ending the session. People who are afraid of “Social Media” will use that as justification to not blog, not podcast, not put themselves out there to communicate with the world. And they definitely don’t want kids in a world like that… even though that’s where the kids already are.

Okay, well… on to the next session. My next post will be about Tony Vincent’s session, “I Didn’t Know You Could Do That With An iPod.” Tony is a former teacher with whom I’ve had the pleasure of working. I’m anxious to see what he’s up to!