NEOTIE is a small (about 100 people), local, education conference held at Beachwood High School in October. It is a very good event and well planned. $18 gets you breakfast, lunch, a t-shirt, and 4 blocks of PD sessions to choose from. More Northeast Ohio educators should put it on their calendar for October 2019.
First I learned a bit about Desmos Activity Builder ( https://teacher.desmos.com/ ) from Mike Gisondo. An important thing to take away is that you can use it to build activities for any subject. Polygraph and Card Sort are great ones that can be used for any subject. You can add any images and concepts that you want students to work with.
Anne Radefeld used PearDeck to take us through some digital tools : padlet ; read & write for google (https://www.texthelp.com/en-us/products/free-for-teachers/ teachers can get the premium version for free, students cannot but some schools are taking advantage of their awesome whole school pricing to buy it for all students). There are a variety of ways to make text accessible in addition to Read & write. There is “OpenDyslexic” (chrome web store) ; a variety of audio book tools, even Google translate. There are some tools to help students focus : Go Noodle, Noisli, Move It, Simple Blocker, Visor (the last three are Google extensions). She gave us three organizational tools to check out (Google Drive - some students find color folders helpful, Google Keep, Toby). Students using their voice (Google Voice Typing, Google Search with Voice, voice notes in Google Keep, Google Voice (free phone service), Closed Captioning in Google Slides). There are some ways to gamify their learning (prodigy). Some she didnt have time to show us : EdPuzzle, VoiceThread, Flippity, Book Creator, Google Sites…(and FlipGrid, Screencastify, Kahoot)
After lunch (nice box lunch made by the Beechwood food staff), I went to learn a bit more about Adobe Spark (Post , Page Video) from Dan Stitzel. He showed us some quick examples, then people got hands on making things. Spark is a pretty good set of apps, with templates, built in photos and audio , and lots of style adjustments It is easy to use and things look good. It is web based as well as an iOS/Android app. Post is like a meme or a poster (images, text, icons). Page is web page, but think scrolling web page that you can add pretty much anything (image, photo grid, text, links, video, glide show). Video is as it says, add some images, add video, take video. And yes they have templates and stock images & audio. When your students publish or share, you might have them “uncheck” the buttons that include their name and get them noticed.
The last slot of the day was the first time I had a session on “Maker Market School”. It is a crazy idea that John Martin and I had while strolling the Wichita Farmers Market after Podstock. Every booth there could be done by our students. The focus of the school would be to run a monthly Market (Farmers, Crafters…). 3 people came to the session (the other sessions I was in during the day had ~20), but it is a real crazy idea with a strange name. It is a participant work session. We talked about 3 questions and everyone wrote down ideas. What booths would you have, what would the students do, what skills are being learned. We had some great discussions and ideas. One attendee thought that it could work as a half day or whole day workshop to really do a deep dive and get at the 4th question : what content standards are there. I agree. Hopefully I will get to do this session at OETC19. I am also trying to work through and develop these four questions and answers more.
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