NIMAS Converter 2.1: Many of you are probably aware of the Free CAST NIMAS Converter tool by now (I hope!) So, I wanted to let you know that a new version (v2.1) has just been announced and is available for download, free of course, from the CAST website: http://nimas.cast.org/about/resources/conversion_tool.
Of course the CAST site offers a lot of other resources regarding NIMAS as well: http://nimas.cast.org/index
TLT ’09: Tuesday and Wednesday of this week, I participated in the FREE Teaching and Learning With Technology Conference at Purdue University that I blogged about several weeks back. I returned to my office Thursday morning with several really interesting experiences from this conference. www.itap.purdue.edu/tlt/conference/
1. Twitter-Enhanced presentations/teaching: Though I’ve had a Twitter account for about 3 years now, I’ve never really made good use of it till now. During the opening keynote at this conference, Sarah (Intellagir) Robbins, spoke very well while showing ppt slides. What made this a particularly different experience for me was that the audience was encouraged to Twitter their thoughts and questions about the presentation while Sarah was presenting. Three or four large monitors and projectors displayed a running twitterfall of the asynchronous discussion going on in the crowd during the keynote. It was incredible to me and I tried to participate with a few twits of my own. Sarah proceeded to recognize the twitted comments/questions and responded to them, making it much more of an interactive experience even with a few hundred people in the room! I loved the concept and immediately started thinking about applying to 1. my own presentations and trainings and 2. a classroom teaching situation. So, everyone continued to Twitter their thoughts, comments, questions, resources, during the remaining 2 days of conference and I have to say that I probably gained almost as much information from other attendees twits as I did from the presentations themselves. What an incredible learning network opportunity! Here’s one resource that someone at the conference twittered, during the conference, as one source of info on how to present while the audience Twitters: http://pistachioconsulting.com/twitter-presentations/
2. We should all be well aware of the term “Web 2.0″ by now even if we aren’t using all sorts of great web 2.0 tools in our classrooms quite yet. Here’s a listing of some award-winning web 2.0 tools all in one place: www.seomoz.org/web2.0/short. Many of the tools are free and very powerful and certainly worth a little of your time to check out!
3. Purdue University in Second Life. I knew of Purdue’s presence in Second Life, but hadn’t been able to spend any time on their island. However, two of the sessions at the TLT ’09 Conference specifically addressed Purdue’s experiences in Second Life so far and I got a good look at the Boilermaker campus in SL! 4. Wordle: Wordle isn’t new to me. In fact, Sandy has had a PATINS Wordle on our website for quite some time, but I was reminded of Wordle clouds at this conference and came home to immediately implement with my daughters. My 7 year old and I put the Itsy Bitsy Spider text from the book she had to read for homework, into Wordle, which created the word clouds below. This may not look overly impressive at first glance, but consider what went into this and what the final product actually is. First, in order to type this story into wordle, she and I had to go over and over the text in the book making sure we had the words spelled correctly. In the process, she actually read me the book 3 times. The final product displays the words that are used more often in a larger font. So, it’s obvious from looking at this wordle which words are repetitive in the story. How many great ways could you use this to help interpret public addresses and speeches and even your own teaching perhaps? Then, we had the opportunity to play with the font colors, style, placement, etc, bringing in a little bit of the creative design aspect. Give it a try. Wordle is free. www.wordle.net/
5. Intellagirl: …mentioned in #1 above with regard to the asynchronous twittering, but worthy of continued discussion! Sarah Robbins was the opening keynote for the conference, and in my opinion, really started the conference off on exactly the right foot and with the right attitude. Sarah is the coauthor of “Second Life For Dummies,” is a PhD candidate at Ball State University. She’s doing some truly ground-breaking work with pedagogy and just a select few of her points from this conference that stuck with me, that maybe are worth spending some time thinking about include:
- 78% of 2009 incoming class will have had internet access for their entire K-12 career, 98% in 2012. This has SERIOUS implications for pedagogy and the tools we use with them as educators.
- It’s TIME NOW to implement policies that punish or reward the person doing, rather than policies that prohibit the technology.
- The concepts and theory behind tools like facebook and twitter are NOT new and can actually allow educators to engage their students in the instruction on a much deeper level.
- Most errors on wikipedia are corrected in less than 60 seconds. Sarah expressed that she was blown away that many districts block wikipedia rather than teaching responsible use of it.
- Policy driving pedagogy, as we often have now, is seriously separating our students from the world in which they will be expected to live and work. It’s time for pedagogy to drive policies.
Finally for this week: Above is a screenshot of the K-12 school districts represented on the Lighthouse Learning Second Life Island. The Lighthouse K-12 Island in Second Life is hosting something pretty special:
Time: 5pm (SL time)
Date: April 26, 2009
Location: Lighthouse Learning Island Auditorium.
Contact me if you’d like more information and a Landmark to attend this event!