I am just de-compressing from a wonderful ICE (Illinois Computing Educators) conference. I had the honor of presenting with my students, two sessions. iPods and iTouches in the Classroom and Lazertron.net
I took thirteen students grades fourth through seventh grade to present and “wow” the audience. They were amazing and they loved being with “their” people. I told them to bring their favorite “tech toys” such as iPod, iTouch, and Phone, so in-between sessions they could “tech” away the time. These students are the brightness and the innovative students at Sunset Ridge School in Northfield. The stretch each other to discuss and discover new technologies and new programs.
The Car Ride
We arrived at school at 7:45 and realized that the bus we ordered did not arrive. We got into three cars and using our Garmin set off for St. Charles. Arriving thirty minutes before our session, we were in full stress mode. The first session was “iPods and iTouches” in the classroom. The room was overflowing. The students seamlessly talked about how we use iPods (bought by a Best Buy award) for each student to use at school personally buy classroom use and the use of iTouches. Using our new Elmo, they demonstrated how they personally use the iTouch. The final presentation was flying Jets in Google Earth. The two fourth graders landed safely using the flight simulator in Frankfurt, Germany.
We immediately went to the vendors. FREE STUFF. They all got bags and went looking for those wonderful GDW mouses. The students got to “play” with the new technologies and see what future classrooms will have in terms of technology. They all got bags to carry their “stuff.” I loved how the group of 12 boys and a girl took to the adult-centered techology conference and asked interesting questions. That is exactly what I am currently working on with my students, they should be ssking in-depth questions that offer more questions! I am currently reading the “The Global Achievement Gap” by Tony Wagner. It offers an interesting problem in todays world employers want people who “ask” the right questions.
We ate lunch in the PLN area. The Personal Learning Network, which is a community of “techies’ that learn virtually online. I know many of these ppl f2f. But, come like Lee Korbert, (teachakidd) in Palm Beach, Florida, I only know online or skyping. Currently the fifth grade students are completing a Lincoln Project with David Fisher’s fifth grade class in Palm Beach and she is the person who helps set this up.
Henry “played” with my computer using quartz composer and the Promethean Board. It is like watching Picasso play with crayons. He amazes me every time he plays and creates. I even set up a separate account on my personal computer in order to download and get programs for him to use at school.
Sitting and Teching Before Our Session
Before our Lazertron session, we had fifteen minutes to “kill,” so we went to the presenters’ room to relax and tech away. Many of the pictures are from that experience. They all love sharing and asking questions. The parents were impressed on how well the group all got along. These are students that normally do not see each other all day, since they are across four grade levels.
We used the school computer as well as my personal computer to present. We needed “boot” camp on the school computer to show the windows games that frostsabergames was presenting. A bit of stress what that the windows side was not reading the projector. We got it to work, but one could not see the screen on the computer and the powerpoint would not run. No fear. We presented each slide separately and looked at the screen to point the mouse. The lazertron students used my laptop and all was well.
And We’re Off…Well, Almost
The bus did come and get us at 1:30. Three parents were picking up students; three students were staying with me, and five on the bus. We rode the bus over to my car in another parking lot. But the problem was the pickup. You see the bus had enough room to get to the entrance, but not enough to get out of the parking lot. There were so many cars parked around this way and that, it took us thirty minutes to drive around and back up, drive and backup. It was a group effort with the students and parents just to get out of the main parking lot.
Gaming, Awards, and Rain
I had three students that were staying through to help with the awards ceremony, plus I wanted them to see one presentation about gaming in the classroom. These students are quite tech savvy. The enjoyed the presentation and later they even downloaded the game that was presented. We set off for the Larry Stiglebauer awards, where Sunset Ridge fifth graders won for the Composer Collaborative with Gilman Elementary School. Mrs. Muench is their music teacher and a wonderful music techie, so I got to spend some time with her and her other teachers from Gilman. We quickly ate dinner and set off for home. The rain was so bad on the way home that we delighted in seeing all the “rivers” and “ponds.” In true junior high boys, we had to make a McDonald’s stop for just a “snack.” I finally dropped the boys off around 8:45 and headed home, arriving around 9:30.
I had left for work at 6:15 in the morning and finally got home at 9:30, it was worth it. The students had an incredible time and so did it. We are discussing what we should present next year, some of the topics include: building your own website and Google Earth. But, in the world of technology there might be something out there that isn’t invented yet and we would present that. Off to bed – pod29 is at 7:00am and I have to leave home at 6:15am…techie kids never sleep, that includes me!