Hi! It looks like my doctoral studies got the best of me these past few weeks, so I have not been posting much. On the bright side, I have been reading so many books I will not run out of material to talk about any time soon! I am currently reading Annie Fox’s Middle School Confidential series and all I’m saying right now is that I’m hooked! I will blog about them soon.
Aside from reading, I was busy with last minute tweaks to a paper I co-presented this past weekend with my doctoral committee chair and fellow grad student for the Florida Association of Teacher Educators’ (FATE) 2009 Conference in Daytona Beach, Florida. Our paper was titled: Beyond Access: Engaging Technology in Academic Societies and it was about moving online classes beyond discussion forums by incorporating a multimodal format that engages image, sound, text and speech (we demonstrated with Power Point and Voice Thread). People asked questions, shared their experiences and spoke to us after the presentation, so it went very well.
I learned quite a few things by attending other presentations, which I want to share with you here.
First of all: the food! Seriously…the FOOD! We were given breakfast, lunch and a mini snack buffet. Usually I don’t stick around for food, especially at conferences (if you’ve ever been to one of these, you know what I mean!). However, the food provided by Chef PAPA’s was exquisite! If you’re ever in Daytona Beach, FL, make sure to visit this restaurant. You won’t regret it!
Ok, no more about food, I promise.
The first presentation I attended was 3D Virtual Worlds in Education: A Look at the Virtual World Experience of Quest Atlantis as a Pedagogical Approach to impact 21st Century Learners, by Jesus De Leon, M.S., Roxanne De Leon, M.S., and Deborah Gordon, M.A. I learned about Quest Atlantis, which is a free educational 3D virtual world designed by Indiana University. I don’t know how I had not heard of this before, (I’m a teacher who loves playing video games and am intrigued by educational games), and I wish I had heard of this while I was still teaching at a public school. You see, though it’s free, it is exclusive for K-12 teachers.
In this virtual world, students create an avatar (they can even dress them!), and go on quests that are associated with educational standards as well as social commitments. The best part? The students don’t even realize they are learning. I saw some screen shots of the game. The graphics are not the best I have seen, but interesting enough to keep me engaged. Even better, there are over 500 quests to choose from! Students have to read, write and figure out how best to save the world. I could go on and on about this game, but I’ll let you check it out here.
The next presentation was titled Permission to Tell Stories: Digital Ways to Invigorate Stories using Digital Storytelling, Glogging and More, by Dr. Susan Wegmann (she’s on Twitter: @DocWegmann). I was already familiar with digital storytelling in the classroom, but I had no idea about “glogging and more”, so I decided to attend. She provided many useful links on digital storytelling. Instead of telling you about them, you can actually download her presentation and links here.
I went to this third presentation because I’ve always had trouble with math (this includes my current headache with a statistics class). Sirin Coskun, Doc student, presented: Designing Dynamic Software Activities for In-service Teachers to Improve Visual Understanding. She presented different activities using the program Geogebra that helped connect abstract mathematical equations to real life. I was simply floored by the activities in Geogebra (which is free, by the way). According to the website, the program “joins arithmetic, geometry, algebra and calculus. It offers multiple representations of objects in its graphics, algebra, and spreadsheet views that are all dynamically linked.” You have to see it in action to know what this means! I wish this program had been around as I was growing up and suffering through math…
That’s all I have for you! If you have heard/used these ideas/programs before, I’d love to hear about it. Other ideas and programs as also welcome.
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