Saturday, July 31, 2010

Reform Symposium

My goodness! What a place to be in. This was my first time attending a conference from the confines of my sitting room. I started following the step-by-step instructions on how to participate, desperately wishing I had help from someone more knowledgeable about these these things. But I managed. And the ensuing result was astonishing. The atmosphere in the chat room was vibrant. Like-minded people from all over the world (Serbia, US, Finland, Canada, Germany, Australia, UK, etc) were all there talking at the same time! The topics addressed were:
  • Using Word Clouds to Integrate Reading and Writing
  • Introducing Web 2.0 into Your Classroom: A Project Management Approach
  • EduBlogging
  • StudentCon: Students Teaching Teachers
  • Creating a Personal Learning Network (PLN)
  • Supporting Authentic Student Engagement with Blended Learning Environment
  • Will Online Learning Change Everything?
  • What the Heck is a 21st Century Skill Anyway
  • Technology, what's in it for my students
  • HOTTS (Higher Order Thinking/Technology Skills) ... among others.

I learnt so much about the way different teachers think ; the challenges they faced were quite similar to mine. I made connections with others through the chat box and I was surprised to find that if I said something, it was immediately acknowledged by my virtual colleague!.  Very well known educators guided us though these sessions. This would not have been possible if I had waited patiently for my school to send me to the next pd session . I made new connections on twitter, was invited to other chat session, discovered amazing wikis and blog sites, downloaded a book "The amazing web2.0 projects book' by Terry Freedman, and pocketed a mine- full of information!

I was comfortable during these sessions because I have attempted to use most of these tools myself. I have not waited for any one to show me the way. But like some moderators in the symposium mentioned, web 2.0 tools are easy to use. Take that step forward and go for it. Dont be discourage by the amount of stuff that is there. The tools that work for you will naturally fall into place.
A great place to start playing around -


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