Wednesday, November 11, 2015

GaETC 2015 - Atlanta, GA - 11/4-11/6

Wow! GaETC never fails to be a fun and informational conference.

Keynote Angela Maiers

Wednesday morning, we heard from keynote Angela Maiers on the "mattering gap." What is that, you ask? It's exactly what it sounds like. Anyone who has ever had a 4 year old knows that they know they matter. They know they are awesome. But the older we get, the less we feel like we matter. The only way to change that is to change the attitude surrounding it. Elementary teachers often set aside time for praising their students, whether it be open house, when they show the parents how awesome their kids are, or school play night when the whole school cheers them on. But as grand as that sounds, it's not enough. Mattering is more than just an instance here and there. To know we matter, we have to feel it around us everywhere.

I know, you're thinking "we're college professors, it's not our jobs to coddle our students." And I'm not disagreeing with you. Our students are adults now. We aren't raising them like elementary teachers are. However, this notion of mattering applies to more than just kids. Based on Angela Maiers presentation, there is a huge, huge percentage of the workforce that say they would "run to work" (or in other words, be excited for their jobs) if they were more appreciated. And I wholeheartedly agree. I came back to KSU after a year away because I wasn't appreciated in my previous job. I love it here because I am appreciated here. I enjoy coming to work because whether I'm told or not, I know that the faculty I work with are appreciative of the job I do, just as I am appreciative of the job they do.

So while we're not elementary teachers, why can't we show our college students that they matter? Why not praise them on their awesome work? Why not give the extra attention? I challenge anyone reading this to think of just one way that you can show your college students that they matter.

Let me just say, Angela Maiers changed my whole perspective and made me understand why I am where I am, and how we can help college students get there too. She ended the session by having us write that we matter, that we are enough.

Project-Based Learning Presentations

The first concurrent session I attended at GaETC was on project-based learning and presentations by Stacey Tanner at Fulton County Schools. She started out by directing us to this awesome site with tons and tons of project-based learning resources:

She covered some essential elements and best practices in PBL:
  • key knowledge, understanding, and success skills
  • challenging problem or question
  • sustained inquiry (guided practices)
  • authenticity
  • student voice & student choice
  • reflection
  • critique & revision
  • public product
And then she introduced us to a few presentation tools:
  • Wideo - make animated online videos
  • Flipsnack - convert PDFs to interactive flipbooks
  • Emaze - visually appealing online presentation software

Chrome Extensions That Will Save Your Life

This session was one of my favorites. Chris Craft from South Carolina told us about some Google Chrome extensions that would be so, so, so beneficial to educators, and even some that are beneficial to everyone. First, though, he explained the difference between a Google App, a Google Addon, and a Google Extension.
  • Google App - Third party service that can be used with a Google login
  • Google Addon - Can affect Google Docs, Drive, etc. 
  • Google Extension - Impact the browsing experience
And then he jumped into the awesome extensions, some of which I have already added to my browser.
  • Print Friendly & PDF - removes everything except the document itself (ads, etc.) for printing.
  • TinEye Reverse Image Search - you can take an image and search for it, and it will track down the first place it was ever posted. Good for helping your students properly site images. 
  • uBlock Origin - adblocker that doesn't weigh down Chrome. Better than Ad Block Plus because ABP slows Chrome down, but uBlock Origin does not. 
  • Clearly by Evernote - takes everything except the main text away. Good for keeping yourself from getting distracted by other stuff on the page.
  • The Great Suspender - after an hour of non-use, tabs are suspended to free up memory (but the tab stays there, so you don't lose your spot). Also has a white list feature for things that you want to keep active always, like email.
  • OneTab - condense tabs into one webpage full of the links. Good for if you want your students to look at a bunch of different things, but don't want to create the list of links yourself. 
  • CraftyRights - every time you search Google Images, every result will be copyright free.
  • CraftyText - pulls up a big text box in the middle of the screen. Good for if you're in class and need your students to see the URL for something, but it's too small for them to see. 

Academic Integrity

Marcia Philosophos from Florida Virtual School did a presentation on academic integrity in virtual environments, and while most of what she said was stuff that we either already knew here at KSU or was only applicable to lower grades education, she did point out some free web-based plagiarism checkers:

Engaging Students Online

KSU CHSS's own Dan Farr presented on how to engage students in an online environment on Thursday morning. He said some good stuff about structuring your online courses:
  • have a clear and logical layout of course materials
  • be consistent in organization throughout the course
  • have multiple cues - text, links, visuals, etc.
  • use tools that encourage students to be organized - he mentioned that he uses one of my videos (from when I was a student at KSU) on organizing the KSU student email accounts as an organization tool for students
  • have a clear syllabus and clear guidance

Adding Power to Your Point

KSU (Bagwell and CHSS)'s own Kali Alford presented on tons of cool presentation software and add-ons for PowerPoint.
  • Nearpod - create interactive and visually appealing presentations; also features a teacher tool where students can create presentations and you can assess from within the website
  • Microsoft Sway - brand new Microsoft presentation tool that is free to use and cloud-based
  • Office Mix - PowerPoint add-on that revamps what you can do with PowerPoint presentations
  • ThingLink Edu - create interactive images, maps, and other traditionally stagnant presentation items to increase student engagement
  • Notegraphy - write and publish to social media while adding your own personal style
  • Flipgrid - make visually appealing collaborative discussions with video replies

Side Notes

During the Chrome Extensions session, I heard a woman behind me mention Quizziz, which is apparently similar to Kahoot.

At some point during the Engaging Students Online session, I also heard about Animoto, which is another video and slideshow software. 

My Presentation :)

I presented on open educational resources for foreign languages. After presenting a few OERs, we had a great collaboration session of foreign language teachers helping each other and telling about the resources they use in their own classes. To get the links to the resources from my presentations, click here.

Overall, GaETC was a really fun conference with tons and tons of technology resources. Though to conference generally focuses on K-12 education, some of the best tools and ideas come from those grade levels.

Monday, November 9, 2015

The Keynote at GAETC 2015

Angela Maiers delivered one of the keynotes at the GAETC 2015. Everyone was talking about how awesome it was. What was also awesome was an artist who created a graphic of each keynote. Here was his rendition of Angela Maiers'.