The technology conference in Atlanta was nothing short of exhilarating. As David Warlick wrote on his blog "You can't turn around here without learning." There was way cool stuff everywhere I looked and people who were excited about learning swarming all over it.
One of the most useful sessions I attended was called Professional Development Transformed through Personal Learning Spaces. Sounds riveting, doesn't it? But it was good. Sharon Betts, a Technology Coordinator from Maine, spoke to a standing room only crowd about a Professional Development Model implemented in her district. She offered a sensible approach to many of the problems we all face as we struggle with the logistics of training teachers. They are using wikis, blogs,web pages, Eport, Ning, Moodle, and other things- including some that I had never heard of but intend to learn more about soon. I sensed that Sharon has a keen understanding of what teachers need for support. She was kind and sensible. She knows that teachers are already so overwhelmed that we surely can't be issuing mandates for completing training. Our district may be able to deploy a comparable model and Sharon’s web site will be a useful resource for guidance.
I loved the new additions showcased at NECC on the Reading is Fundamental site. They have added games, stories, finger plays, songs, etc for children 0-5. These are well done flash elements that children, parents and teachers will love. I can't wait to share this one with my Pre K and K teachers as well as our parent liaisons. Oh - OK - and Livi too.
Scott Wilson from Georgia's DOE presented Moodle and Milestones for Integrating Technology into the Curriculum. His presentation was informative but what I took away from it that I'm most excited about is a product called myudutu.com. I'm still exploring but it looks like a great solution for teacher's web pages. No html, ftp, web design knowledge needed. There's a free version as well as an affordable upgrade. It may be easier than Google's Page Creator even.
Speaking of Google I loved the demonstration on SketchUp that I caught at their cool Google booth, and have you created custom search pages yet? You can set up a page that will only search the sites that you dictate. The code that is generated can be copy/pasted onto your home page so when your students search the Internet from your site they only get results from those sites that you’ve selected.
I could go on and on but you would probably prefer that I stop. Suffice it to say that I have plenty of new info to mull.