I am very active with my blog, but I am always looking for more ideas on how to help teachers incorporate blogging into their classes with their students. The presenter for the blogging session was Charity Helman, a wonderful teacher from Calgary, AB. She showed some great examples of students’ blogs from her classroom and shared ideas on how teachers could incorporate blogging further. There was also time for teachers that did not have a blog to set one up to dive into with their classes on Monday. Charity also shared her blog, one that she said she hopes to contribute to more often.
My first presentation of the summit was on screenshot and screencasting programs. My session was quite packed with lots of eager educators with plenty of questions and insights on how they use screenshots and screencasts.
However, my absolute favorite moment of the entire weekend came just before I was about to get my session started. As I was greeting people and assisting them with logging into my presentation on Pear Deck, one woman that had sat down looked very familiar, so I asked her if we had met before.
Her response was along the lines of “Yes, I can definitely say we have”. It turns out that this woman, Tiffany Orton, was a student of mine 9 years ago and had me for US Government. She is now married so the last name threw me off, but as soon as she told me who she was, I remembered her. In my defense, I had her in the 2007-2008 school year, so it had been a long time since I had seen her. I was excited to see a former student, now a teacher, coming to learn from me once again.
On top of that, she sent me a very nice direct message on Twitter, thanking me for the session and everything that I had done to inspire her many years before. And speaking of Twitter, she needs more educational followers; take a moment to follow Tiffany and share your expertise with her!
My second favorite part of the weekend came learning about Soundtrap. The presenter, Meredith Allen, described the product as “the result of Garage Band and Google Docs having a child”. Garage Band is an amazing music and recording program, but it is limited to Apple products. You don’t have that issue with Soundtrap, as it is available across all platforms as a web-based program. You can also download apps for Android and iOS. Once you have created your account, you can share a song or a recording for editing purposes with others, much like you would a Google Doc, Slides, Sheets, or other. I received an email in the days leading up to the summit that explained what Soundtrap was and that they would be at the summit as a vendor and presenter. I created an account and toyed around with it a bit before Saturday, but I was definitely looking forward to the presentation. I enjoyed the presentation and the potential for the program with students so much that I went to the same presentation again on Sunday to make sure that I didn’t miss anything and to play around with it as well. During the sessions, in the course of about 10 minutes, I was able to create a sample jingle for a podcast, which you check out here.
To top it off, I won a 6-month account for me and up to 50 students, which normally would cost $250/year! I will be using the program to record and produce a podcast that a couple of teachers at my school are planning. Stay tuned for the Ridge Life Podcast!
My presentation on Sunday morning was on a topic and in a format that I had never done before. I organized my presentation as a roundtable discussion amongst teacher leaders and administrators on how to bring tech-newbies and tech-resisters into the fold at our schools and districts. I created a document that allowed for attendees to add ideas of things that has worked for them and things that could potentially work. It was a shame that the session was only an hour; we had to cut off in the middle of a great conversation. There are a lot of great things going on in schools throughout my district and in the districts that were represented by attendees. You can check out some of their ideas on the shared document from the session. I’ve proved that I know the tools, my video needs to better demonstrate it!
The closing for the event was a keynote from Charity Helman (her first, I believe!) on failure. She highlighted how throughout her life, she has endured what most people would refer to as failures, only to rise to where she is today as a wife, a mother, an educator, Google Certified Educator Level 1 & 2, Google Certified Trainer, and a presenter for EdTechTeam Summits. She emphasized that if you allow a failure to dictate, then you will indeed be a failure. But if you can analyze the failure, learn from it, and make changes, you too can do amazing things.
It was so great to learn from great people, see good friends that I don’t get to see often enough and make plans to see each other again. I am going to apologize now if I miss a name, but some of those great people are Jeff Heil, Emily Fitzpatrick, Joanne Schmutz, Craig Statucki, Tina Statucki, Snehal Bhakta, Lucas Leavitt, Nick Park, Dennis Jarrell, Donnie, Michelle, Charity, Pear Deck, Soundtrap, and the EdTechTeam. I look forward to the next time we meet! Until next time…