Last weekend I attended TeachMeet GA (#tmga12) and was exposed to many new ideas and resources- new web 2.0 tools, APPs,, and QR codes. I had three main takeaways:
1. Unconference collaboration works.
The informal nature of the unconference is just what I needed on a Saturday! Almost everyone was in jeans, and the atmosphere was quiet and laid back. There were no presentations of vendors pitching their product- just educators chatting with other educators about topics that interested them. Nancy Blair (@blairteach) put it best, reminding us to “vote with your feet,” and move from room to room as your interest and the relevancy peaks and wanes. I loved the varied time length of the presentations- from the 2 minute smackdown to 15 minutes to 50 minutes. Presenters were Skyped in, Tweeted about, and interrupted to ask questions. The main room was set up with round tables, perfect for movement and collaboration of different teachers, schools, districts, states.
2. QR Codes finally make sense!
I tried out www.pbsmartcodes.com and made my own QR code. I added my picture, Twitter name, and email features, and linked it to my work email signature. Success! Other teachers have already tried it too. And – the best part- is that our technology integration specialist created a QR codes scavenger hunt for our 4th graders with the iPads.
3. True technology integration is vital, possible, and individualized.
The “Best Practices for EdTech” session was fantastic, and I came away with a wealth of resources: Web 2.0 tools, presentation and YouTube-friendly websites for teaching, ideas on how to use the Promethean when there is a substitute teacher in the classroom, and websites worthy of paid subscriptions. I’m going to check out Stratalogica maps (http://www.stratalogica.com/NystromDigital/home/home.html;jsessionid=-LY2lMMDw7sXe2n4TbTrKw__) for fifth grade.
All in all, it was a great day. I was a teacher and a learner, all at once, collaborating and communicating about ways to best teach and support students using innovative tools and technology.