Sunday, May 4, 2014

C4T Assigned

cartoon drawing of a conference
"What's an UnConference?"

I read the latest post written by Lisa Thumann on her blog, Thuman Resources. Lisa was concerned about attrition rates at Unconferences.
"What is an UnConference?"is probably the question you are asking right now. Others may even be asking, "What is attrition?" I will admit I had very little idea either. Luckily, Lisa includes a definition of attrition right on her blog. The definition for attrition states, "a reduction or decrease in numbers, size, or strength." Unconferences are free conferences that do not stick to a rigid itinerary. It appears to be a sort of meeting of the minds where the the attendees decide the topics of discussion. This YouTube video gives a brief explanation. "What is an UNconference?"
 Ms. Thuman expressed valid concerns about the dwindling attendance at Unconferences and the wastefulness that ensued. Planning for 100% to 50% attendance and only have 25% actually attend left Ms. Thuman feeling frustrated. One of her main concerns was the amount of food that was thrown away at the end of the event. In my comment, I suggested that she plan for 50% attendance to avoid either over preparing or under preparing. I also suggested that she have non-perishable snacks as a back-up plan. I recommended donating any surplus at the end of the event to a local charity or homeless shelter. I also stated in my comments that it is extremely hard to get people to commit to events these days, and even when you do, you still can't be sure they'll attend.

picture of 20%
"Endless Possibilities"

In Ms. Thuman's post, "20% Time," she discusses an interest in implementing a 20% time project much like the one Google uses with it's employees. She provides examples of teachers who have already started their own projects with students and what has resulted from that. Apps for Autism by Morgan was one of the resulting projects that came from students using 20% time. 

In my comments I expressed that the possibilities of implementing such a program were endless! I also thanked Ms. Thuman for sharing the information about Apps for Autism. Having worked with children on the autistic spectrum, I found this resource extremely beneficial, and I began following Apps for Autism on Twitter. You can too! Here's the link:

Google Drive emblem

In the blog post, "Untapped Apps on Google Drive," Ms. Thuman gives a link to the Web Chrome Store where you can find a plethora of apps which can be added to your Google Drive! Wow! I had no idea this was available! One of the beauties of adding these apps to your Google Drive is that you do not have to remember usernames and passwords for each app. Plus, the apps follow you through your google account. So there is no need to download them to each individual device that you own! 

I thanked Ms. Thuman for her post and told her that I had already tried to add an app to my Google Drive. PicMonkey is a photo editor that I chose to install. Currently, I'm still trying to figure out if and where it actually got installed. Hopefully, I'll get a better understanding of this process and be able to add apps with ease in the future.

graphic explaining perks of google education on air
"Google Education on Air"

"FREE PD: Google Education on Air" is a great blog post about all the free webinars that are available to teachers through Google Hangouts. Lisa Thuman provides links to all the information you will need to get started in participating in this free resource. 

Ms. Thuman has done such a great job with her blog in providing information about free resources, and we know teachers love free stuff! Google just might be a teacher's best friend! There's so much I still have to learn about what available. I look forward to seeing what Ms. Thuman introduces me to next week! For now, I'm watching a webinar... for free! PD NOW!  

picture of Alabama Ed Summit logo

"Alabama Google Ed Summit"

In NY/NJ Mobile Learning Summit, Ms. Thuman starts by saying she's been a bad blogger and goes on to explain that she's been very busy and that's why she has only posted once a month. She also provides links to a lot of the things she had been working on at the time. 

While checking out those links, I found some information on a Google Apps Summit that is held annually for New York and New Jersey. This got me wondering if there was something like that offered to educators in the state of Alabama, and there is! After getting acquainted with Google this semester, I would like to go to this summit in 2014. Unfortunately, the only information I found was from 2013, but I plan to keep searching. 

The comments I left for Ms. Thuman pointed out my interest in this summit. I gave kudos to her for choosing life over a blog post. Sometimes, we have to get our priorities in order!

picture of a man looking at unconference session wall
"Ed Camp" 

Lisa Thuman writes about an "Ed camp for Newbies" that she orchestrated and held for teachers over the summer of 2012. At first, teachers were apprehensive about how unconferences worked, but by the time the camp was over, Ms. Thuman was getting a lot of positive feedback. After putting their fears and skepticism aside, teachers learned that they had a voice and something meaningful to offer other teachers who were attending the unconference. 

In response to reading the post, I searched "unconferences in Alabama." I'm not sure if there is another local term that I should be searching, but I came up empty handed. I like the idea of unconferences and would like to attend one to decide if it's something I'd like to get more involved in. The most attractive feature about them is that they are free!

logo for common core

"Common Core"

In Lisa's post, edcamp Common Core, she provides information about a free event for teachers to learn more about Common Core. She provides this link. Common Core Standards

I visited the link and watched a short video describing Common Core because recently there has been a lot of hype about it in the news. There has also been a lot of backlash and concern from parents and teachers. I can't form an opinion about it at this time because I have no experience with teaching under these standards. I am excited to get out and see what all the fuss is about though so I can decide whether I am for or against Common Core.

example of a page from an iBook created by a student
"21st Century Learning Tools" 

Ed Tech in the NJ Classroom is a post about some of the tools that are available to teachers in the 21st century. Ms. Thuman provides links to several tools that she presented at a conference. I wish I had read this post last week. I would have had even more resources to draw from when writing my post about "21st Century Communicating and Learning Tools." She even mentions glogster in her post which I also mentioned in mine! I also liked Book Creator for iPad.

professional development wordle

"Professional Development"

Ms. Thuman writes about the launch of Google's Hangouts dedicated to education and professional development in "The #eduonair conference and PD in NJ." She also includes links to other sites who are dedicated to the same purpose. These include Classroom 2.0 Live and The Global Education Conference. In closing, she presents some questions to her readers about their opinions on professional development. 

In my comments, I offered my opinions. I wrote that I thought professional development should absolutely be a requirement. I also stated that I thought teachers and administrators should share the responsibility of decided what types of sessions should be attended. 

Ms. Thuman never fails to provide information on useful resources, as she did with this post. I have learned a great deal about what's available from reading her blog. Anyone who wants to expand their knowledge of technology, especially Google technology, should read her blog.   

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