I was super excited to go to the Michigan Digital Learning Conference this week. It was my first time and I wasn't sure what to expect. There were so many sessions that sounded good that I couldn't pick. I labored over which ones I would go to. Hours later, revising my schedule, and then... revising some more I finally registered and I was ready to roll!
There were some highlights that I wanted to share via blog space. I got a chance to sit down with Dale Ehrhart from Genesee ISD. He went over how we may use MaKey MaKey in the classroom (see image on left). These are super cool. I wanted to buy one even before I got here and now I know I HAVE to buy one. What is is a MaKey MaKey? Essentially, it's a small controller. What's neat about it is that students get to choose how to use this and integrate it into their projects. I see ideas for Visual Arts, Science, coding, gaming, and music. So much to do with it that I can't wait to test it out. Best part is that Dale gave me one to try out on my own! How awesome was that? I'll have to put some of my online students on this once they get done with their work of course. : ] I see something with music in the making here...
Augmented reality was also interesting. It wasn't anything that I didn't already know. I actually thought it would be a workshop on how to make the 3D images, but it wasn't. It was good though. Aurasma is the app. Go get it and then come see me for ideas on how to get started. This would be a great resource for any teacher to get their students doing videos and also sharing them with people around the building and even parents. Interactive scavenger hunts and how-to videos could be something the students could get more active and involved in their learning.
This is me, sitting in the Augmented Reality session with Trapper (image above). Yep, that's his name. I do think that augmented reality is going to get bigger as we move forward, but the makers need to figure out how to get more of the creating in the hands of the people, in terms of the design aspect.
The coding workshop kind of blew my mind. There was so much information that my head was spinning when I left. It was a good thing. It was less of a how-to and more of an introduction to what the possibilities were. I just need to focus on how I want to add coding into what I do and what the students do. I think coding should be at all levels in some form. It provides students with the logical aspects of problem solving and working through and building projects, but it still allows them room for creativity to make the projects their own. The really awesome kits for coding that high school students would like are pretty pricey. I will wait to see what the year brings, but I hope to start a coding club soon.
Another highlight of my time at MDLC was sitting in Leslie Fisher's video session. She kind of smacks you in the face with awesome resources. Some people didn't like how fast she was going, but I personally liked it. I like to know what resources exist, a little about what they do and then I can go play with it later. That's how I learn though. I like trying to figure things out and when I run into problems I also like finding the answers. It's frustrating in a good way. I was the kid growing up asking my mom and dad for a kid tool kit and making random geek gadgets and forts in the backyard. Before the Internet (when was that?) I would just come up with inventive Macgyver type ways to fix everyday problems. When the Internet came, I just started looking everything up. That's probably why my family calls me "the Googler" now. I always hoped that this one characteristic would transfer to my students in some way when I was in the classroom. Now, I hope that maybe it will help teachers. Looking forward to sharing the resources with the staff.