VSTE 2011 – My thoughts

For the past three days, I attended a wonderful conference in Roanoke – the Virginia Society for Technology in Education conference.  It was my first time to attend the conference, and I was a first-time presenter.  Here’s a quick summary of what I learned and the cool resources and ideas I got from this wonderful conference.

Lessons learned:

  1. Conferences are exponentially better when there are bowls of M&M’s everywhere.
  2. It sounds like it’s sometimes incredibly fun and sometimes incredibly frustrating to be a K-12 teacher.  I have a newfound appreciation for working in higher ed.
  3. Don’t expect a great Internet connection (even at a tech conference).
  4. You can do some really awesome stuff with Apple products. It also helps to be a Title I school.  Does anyone know how a university intensive English program can get grant money? I want to buy iPads for the classroom too!

Ideas:

  1. Use what you already have: I learned how to use the Microsoft Office suite to create Madlibs, comic books, and choose your own adventure stories.
  2. Let students teach each other, and let students create their own assessments.  These are two ideas I’ve already been exploring in my own teaching, but it’s great to hear that other teachers believe in the power of the students’ knowledge.

And here are some websites to visit:

  1. TPACK – this was new to me, though, of course, it’s not new.  It stands for Technological, Pedagogical and Content Knowledge.  The idea, as I understand it, is to look at how these three kinds of knowledge interact.  Integrating technology without understanding how it works with the pedagogy and content is missing the point.
  2. Here’s a presentation I wanted to make it to, but didn’t.  Fortunately, the presenter posted a website full of great links to a lot of different Web 2.0 tools.
  3. And here’s another presentation I didn’t get to see about using Google. And we all know how much j’adore Google.
  4. And another great presentation I didn’t attend about how to streamline your web usage. With all the information that’s out there, it’s nearly impossible to keep all the information you need handy.  But, this website helps you get close.
  5. Finally, here’s my presentation website, once again, for good measure.  (You see, I did make it to at least one presentation.)
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