04 November 2012

Thoughts on Fall CUE 2012

Note: I wrote this post last week for a media literacy class that I'm taking. It is more of a reflective piece on ed tech than a media literacy piece.

This past weekend (October 26-27), I attended the annual Computer Using Educators (CUE) conference in American Canyon. About 1,000 teachers from all over California gathered at American Canyon High School to geek out and share all things tech. Many of the people I admire in Ed Tech were there. At any rate, all of the sessions I attended were good, but I thought I would share a few things that struck me.

First, techie teachers are, overall, willing to share what they know and what they have created. All of the presenters provided links to their presentation materials and suggested that participants use the material, change it, and pass it on. Those presenters who were also classroom teachers, they expected to see their students engaging in the same type of activity in the classroom.

Second, many of the presenters seem to be versed in Ed Tech theory and share the research and theory that drives their own practice. I did not notice that behavior last year. It was kind of cool to hear other teachers talk about Henry Jenkins. It also lent those presentations a bit more credibility since they were situated in both practice and theory.

I also noticed that, since is this a K-12 focused conference, many of the sessions were either about technology and the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) or CCSS was mentioned at some point in the presentation even if the presenter is a private school educator. Frequently, presenters discussed specific tools that could be used to help students achieve under CCSS. There are many shifts that must take place in the classroom as the new standards are implemented and it makes teachers nervous. Hopefully, teachers will be able to take time to deliberately plan for the changes.

To close out this post, I thought I would include some of the tools and resources recommended in some of the sessions I attended:

Google Art Project: Somehow I missed this. GIGApixel photos from museums around the world bring the art to your students. It’s almost as good as being there.

Archive.org: Visit this site to find all kinds of video and other documents for classroom use. Much of it is in the public domain. This would be great if students were creating re-mixed videos.

Adventures of the Three Cyberpigs: This is a game to help teach kids about online safety. The presenter and audience members who have seen the game say that it’s fun. Interestingly, they all said to just search Cyberpig and it would be the first link. It’s not. It’s the third or fourth link in the search.

Google Alerts: Jerome Berg, of Google Lit Trips fame, suggested that teachers create Google Alerts for subjects the class is studying. When he taught high school English, he would set up alerts for GIANTS WIN! no, wait. Sorry. He’d set up alerts for Ann Frank when his students read “Diary of a Young Girl.” Her name showed up in the news somewhere in the world nearly every day. Alerts can help you show how your subject is relevant in the modern world.