Monday, November 15, 2010

My Global Education Conference highlights.

I spent most of my day following lectures from the Global Education Conference. I did not know it was happening until yesterday, and the thought of a completely free online education conference was very tempting. I should have listened to Ed Gragert's Keynote address but I was still in the process of caffeinating myself. I did log in to Toni Krasnic Mind Mapping lecture, because I was curious if it was the same mind-mapping that carried me through college. It was the same or similar, and I was happy to see that many of my techniques were still there- creating visual maps of knowledge. His website Concise Learning describes the Concise Learning Method, which contains 5 phases (preview, participate, process, practice, and produce).  While the session was ongoing, there was a lot of activity on the side- questions and answers in the chat room, links and hashtags flying, and lots of people tweeting about the event #globaled10. The recording can be found here.
After that I was really curious to hear about blended courses by Don W. Brown, but he did not show up in Elluminate at the start time and the session was canceled. As I had not done any exercise the past 2 days, I decided it was perfect timing for a trail run.  It was a perfect morning and a perfect run:
Back to the conference I decided to listen to Kelly Mendoza's Digital Citizenship talk. That was VERY interesting. I learned about how much children and teens text (over 3000/month), about how for kids the interaction with media  these days is two-way, and about the "digital footprints" they (and us!) leave.  She presented  Common Sense Media and their programs. How to make kids understand the complexity of being a digital citizen? "With great power comes great responsibility," was one kid's Spiderman-inspired answer- very good one!
In the Twitter-universe an EDUCAUSE report about Blended Learning landed my way, and what I read made a lot of sense- the design of a blended course not only as addition of online content to a F2F course, but as a complete rethinking of the course content and the opportunity to add new learning and teaching opportunities. And the challenges to implement blended courses run a wide gamut, from resistance by faculty to institutional challenges. Much too familiar!
One afternoon session I was very interested in was  Learning with the Lich King: The Potential of World of Warcraft in the Classroom by Peggy Sheehy. I had a short existence in WoW as a Night Elf Hunter, but my main interest in the game is because of my teen at home. Indeed, this was the first time he seemed interested at all in anything related to my world as the slides were passing through the screen. The program was used with at-risk teens in high school, and it seemed incredibly fruitful in many aspects. The chat window was very active and there were many suggestions as to how to use the game (from math to psychology and of course creative writing). My son translated some of the technical terms mentioned, and I left the Elluminate room with a vague desire to try it out again- however I do not really see it pertinent to biochemistry or microbiology...the recording is here.
After that it was time for me to go to work. I am looking forward listening to several lectures tomorrow and feel like a kid in the much to choose from, so hard to decide.

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