There was something in the air on Saturday in Washington DC, and it was not the Cherry Blossom festival … yet. Edcamp MetroDC was held in Bethesda, MD and for the second year in a row, I made the drive down from Hershey to attend. There was excitement and collaboration in the air. The co-chair Sarah encouraged everyone to participate because we are all experts in something. That was important to remember. It does not matter if someone is an edcamp newbie or an edcamp organizer, we are all there on a Saturday because we want to learn.
The opening speech was probably one of the best.
The first rule of #edcamp is to talk about edcamp. That could be on Twitter or other Social Media [like Instagram or Facebook], and share your resources on GoogleDocs … the learning can extend to teachers following from at home.
So what did I learn and share?
The 15 Minute Film School; moderated by @matthewfrattali (Matt’s blog reflection for the day)
This was a session where I walked away with great resources and things to ponder. I have used video creation in a class, but I know I do not have the time to dedicate to teaching the principles of filmography. However, this session showed how much you can accomplish in 15 minutes in giving students the basics:
- Give the students an overview of film terms (framing, types of shots, focus, camera position for storytelling, lighting)
- Show shot names and explain when you used them (wide angle, close up, reaction, cut away, over shoulder)
- Ask students for favorite commercial. Ask students to count the camera shots with video on silent. Normally just 3-5 seconds each shot.
- Get a variety of interesting little shots. Clips are easy to shorten, so don’t shoot too short.
Great series of advice for students:
Do something interesting with the camera … tell a story … think like a producer not a consumer.
Other resources that I found through the session or from independent follow up of the session. For the storyboarding portion, the Penultimate app (which I already owned) has a free template for storyboarding in the writing category. It is simple but does prompt students to sketch and write. Based on the discussion about teaching students the bare bones of the process but providing them with a resource to reference if they wanted to go further, I found thewildclassroom.com with breakdowns, descriptions, and examples of each stage of the filmmaking process. For my own personal interest in filmmaking, I found MIT’s OpenCourseWare for media. Overall, I loved the energy and ideas that came from this session.
Things that Suck; moderated by @TechTeacherT
This session is a staple at Edcamps, but it is the first time I have attended. I liked the format. For some of the topics brought into the forum, it was interesting hearing the similarities and/or differences between the public school and private school teachers.
Coding in the Curriculum; moderated by @TechTeacherT
I have never brought coding into my curriculum, but I have incorporated it into our BYOT Club and as an option for bored students during study hall. During the Smackdown, I shared Code.org that was set up for the Hour of Code earlier in the year; however, the website and the very helpful tutorials that can be used across a plethora of devices are still available. General advice for finding good resources for incorporating coding in the curriculum is to follow the Twitter #ukedchat because it is a topic that comes up frequently because of their coding initiative in school and push for students to code. Other resources that were mentioned are Tynker and Live Code.
- Tynker (new free ipad app, but watered down and limited from website)
- Some portion of the website are free, but setting up a class is a paid feature
- Because they are a start up, they are very responsible to teacher feedback and constantly improve the website.
- Tynker can be linked to Google accounts
- Write codes for personal devices, could be games or interactive eBooks
- A teacher shared the site with resources and examples from his class.
- After code is created, create a stand alone, set what the program should run on. There are free downloads to accomplish this:
- Google or Android device emulator needs to download
- Download XCode for iPhone (free from Apple)
Google Glass in Education; moderated by [me] @SrtaLisa
I brought my Google Glass along to document Edcamp MetroDC and to let other people try them on (one of my favorite things about owning a pair, the ability to share and watch the joy and surprise on people’s faces).
There were four weeks that I wore Glass frequently (as well as shared with students) and blogged my reflections: Week 1, Week 2, Week 3, and Week 4. I know what my experience was, I wanted to see what other people thought. The only way to do that is to give them a chance to try Glass on and complete some tasks like taking a picture or asking Google a question. The point of the session was to brainstorm how Glass could be used in education.
I just saw an interesting article for the New York Times about the places that Google thinks Glass would be well suited for … Education was not on the short list. This was the same discussion we had during the session. There are some great features for private life or certain industries, but it is not transformative for education. Most of us are lucky enough to have access to other technology in our classrooms and our students are able to use their hands to type, so wearable technology is not the most efficient way to complete tasks, neither for the money or the ease of use. I will continue to find ways to incorporate it into my classroom, but it is more about the novelty than need.
That of course brings us to one of my favorite parts of Edcamp: the Smackdown The entire Smackdown was curated to perfection on Smackdown GoogleDoc. There were a couple stand out tools that I immediately plan on implementing or have already shared with the teachers who would benefit the most.
- eduCanon , Alchemy , and Glean all provide teachers who want to flip their classrooms with additional checks to make sure that the students are actually completing the tasks. Alchemy was one of the great sponsors of the edcamp … not that free stuff is necessary, but it does make everyone happy.
- Kahoot is a game based student response system. I am already a big fan of Socrative and Infuse Learning (so much so that I shared these at last year’s Edcamp MetroDC). I registered for a free account already, and I am interested to see some of the different options that Kahoot offers.
- Art options that I shared with the art teachers in my district. I already knew about Artsonia and the Google Art Project through the Google Cultural Institute (which has so many interesting things to explore). Google Open Gallery is a unique opportunity being offered by Google. I suppose it would call into question the ownership of work, but that is always the case when something is published online. There is a balance between having the students publish their work in a searchable and shareable manner vs maintaining absolute ownership.
- WordMover App for the iPad was shared on Twitter during the day.
The only downside of the day was the raffle mix up. My raffle number was drawn and I was so happy I thought I won… but it was a mistake. I still walked away with the enthusiasm to continue past the winter teaching blues. Thank you to all the organizers for yet another fantastic Edcamp. For those of you who have not tried Edcamp, the Edcamp Wiki has a schedule of upcoming locations for Edcamps.