Saturday, March 06, 2010

NCTIES Conference

The NCTIES Conference was awesome, and I was able to spend some quality time with Leslie Fisher and Gail Lovely. We were such geeks as Leslie introduced us to Gowalla, which we now describe as a cross between geo-caching, FourSquare, and Where's George? You get to add new places, check-in, and pick-up, drop, and trade items at these spots. In addition, you can see the history of where the item you have picked up has been, hence the "Where's George" similarity.

Interestingly enough, although we were all at one dinner table, my iPhone GPS had my location as across the street, so I could not even check-in at the restaurant. Obviously the waitress got a big kick out of us learning and working while waiting for our food...we are so nerdy.

The sessions at the conference I attended were full of great information from the presenters, with excitement and good questions from the participants. I was able to meet some tech people I virtually knew, like Kevin Honeycutt and see many of the other very tech-savvy crew!

My session dealt with Twitter and was well-attended. Since the theme of the conference was safari and discovery, of course I dressed the part! The audience was primarily made up of those who could not figure out why they would ever want to use Twitter and those who were already heavy-duty tweeters. I tried not to overwhelm the "newbies" and I did get a bunch of new follower on Twitter the next day, so perhaps I did convince some of them!

I even had a giveway at the session. My VariQuest rep here in MA, Cheryl Rowe, contacted the reps from Presentation Systems South, Arlene and Randy Hobart, who had the board delivered to their booth. It was put together at the home office in MN and shipped to the Hobarts and all I had to do was carry it to my presentation! (Thanks to those in MN who put it together for me!)

It was a safari-themed wildlife adventure bulletin board made from their Cutout Maker, and the teacher who was able to bring it home was ecstatic!  (Our middle school just got the DesignCenter and the Cutout Maker and I am doing workshops on it for the next couple of weeks.)

I chose to attend some sessions containing tips, tricks and successful practices about the items we already use in the district-- Google Apps for Education, Google Wave, and Discovery Education Streaming (given by Hall Davidson). I learned tons of new stuff that I can use the next time I am doing professional development in the district. In addition, the very vibrant Ron Clark was the luncheon keynote and he absolutely got everyone jazzed!

The NCTIES conference wiki is filled with all types of links and information, so I suggest you check it out! In addition, all the links that were tweeted with the #ncties hashtag are linked from that wiki and are in delicious, all 569 of them!