Maybe it has been around for a while, but I just tried Google's Lively virtual world this morning. Second Life it is not, nor does the client currently work on the Mac (note on the site says Google Labs is working on other clients), but it runs within the browser on the Windows machine very well and does not seem to take a super-machine to work it. (Maybe it might even work on the MSI Wind or the eeePC!)
Because of my Second Life experience, I had no problem creating and editing my avatar, creating a room, and decorating it. It will be interesting to try this out with some educators (and, if we make a private room) with some of our students, if that is possible at some point.
It has been called to my attention that something I talked about in my presentation last week at NECC has been misunderstood. When stating that the ISTE docents had been "coerced into service" with the promise of a "virtual pat on the back", in addition to talking about how they are always there to help new users get acclimated, I was intending to point out that they are all volunteers.
They help out in Second Life because they are the type of educators who will help out in real life, too-- not for money or fame, just because it is the right thing to do. The ISTE community in Second Life has flourished in large part because of these educators.
I am sorry for any misunderstanding and I am sorry my words were misunderstood. Those of you that know me in real life, know that I would never belittle other educators. Those of you that just know me in Second Life might not realize that....
It is always interesting coming home from NECC. I spent four days talking to hundreds (if not thousands!) of like-minded educators who are engaged and excited about the current and upcoming possibilities of technologies to support teaching, learning, and professional development. I had one-on-one conversations with many dedicated educators who were there to learn, and I loved the time I could spend with them, learning what they get excited about.
On the trip home, I still found myself talking to everyone. I ran into some NECC-goers in the airport, and we discussed our favorite sessions and the new things we saw. After our little group broke up, a businessman next to me started asking me about my laptop. I was more than happy to show it off.
On the plane, I sat next to a retired Army general who was very interested in the Kindle, so I continued to "spread the word". At the sandwich shop in Atlanta's airport, I was using my phone (HTC Touch) to check my email, and three employees came out from behind the counter to take a look at it and learn more about it. On the bus home from Boston's Logan Airport, I had to tether the laptop to the phone to find a hotel reservation for the woman in the seat next to me, since the amount of traffic we encountered on the 90-mile trip caused her to miss both the last boat and plane to Nantucket, where she was planning to spend the holiday weekend.
We talk about engaging our students and getting them up-to-speed on the 21st century skills. I guess I am figuring out that if we don't get the rest of the current workforce and the employers of tomorrow up-to-speed, too, our students may not get the chance to utilize these skills.
Be generous with your time with strangers. Those of us that tote the "gadgets" need to explain the possibilities to others if they are interested. An educator is an educator wherever we are!
Photo courtesy of the American Memory Collection, Lewis Wickes Hine, Photographer.
The Innovation Exchange today went swimmingly! The high-level group of 150 educators heard a wonderful keynote by Dr. Richard Baraniuk who provided an in-depth overview of his passion and his project, Connexions. This was followed by five short presentations and breakout sessions dealing with netbooks (like the Asus eeePC and HP Mininote) used for a portfolio project (Kurt Madden), online synchronous professional development tools such as Adobe Connect Pro (Lee Keller), an introduction to three unique Web 2.0 tools (Leigh Zeitz), the innovative use of the Nintendo DS in the classroom to support teaching and learning (Camilla Gagliolo), and my presentation about the use of portable applications on a USB flash drive (and a little about the Kindle thrown in, too!)
In the afternoon, I attended the ISTE-led session dealing with ICOT, the ISTE Classroom Observation Tool. I will have to investigate it more on my own before giving you more information.
The closing keynote was crowded, and my favorite part were the video interviews with teachers presenting poster sessions about global education projects. Without fanfare, they described the meaningful work they were doing in their classrooms. Kudos to all of them!
Once they are posted, many of the spotlight sessions, the keynotes, and selected other sessions may be found on this page.
Thanks to TCEA for hosting the conference this year and thanks to the ISTE Conference Committee and staff for another job well-done!
Today was another info-packed day. I watched the keynote from outside of the ballrooms with many others and it was great! I continued my journey through the entire exhibit hall from beginning to end and learned some new things from vendors. I then conducted my presentation in the big theater. I felt it was well-received and it was fun to be in that venue with so many educators! You can find the links and see the presentation as a Picasa Web album or a PDF handout here if you are interested.
Later in the afternoon I went to Hall Davidson's presentation about the potential of cell phone use in the classroom. He gave an excellent presentation with practical sites and good ideas for the use of this technology that almost every student has in his or her pocket! He does not have the presentation posted yet, but it will show up here when it is.
The NEISTE get-together was fun and I visited with old friends and made some new ones. This was followed up by a quick stop at the DEN event with tons of people, and then a quiet dinner with some of my DoDEA friends.
Today is the Innovation Exchange from 8am until noon. More later....