EduBloggerConWest08 - The best part of CUE Published 2008-03-10 under ,

It was a minor miracle that I was able to attend the EduBlogger un-conference this past Wednesday. Between last minute preparations for my CUE presentation, technology glitches, delays in downloading media, and my lack of sleep thanks to our kids' needs, I questioned whether it was worth the stress/hassle to attend the un-conference. Lucky for me, I pushed through the hurtles and made it. I am so thankful that I did; it was well worth the effort.

The success of the event is a testimony to those in attendance, a group of smart, innovative, educators. We shared quick tech tips (see PicLens below), discussed big picture topics (see Project Based Learning below), and even disclosed our favorite, must have, technology that we carry in our bags (see In The Bag below).

In addition to the more formal parts of the un-conference, the networking opportunities were priceless. Had a great lunch conversation with Jennifer Wagner (of Women of Web 2.0), was inspired by Rushton Hurley's recounting of the process he went through to get Next Vista up and running, and appreciated the insights offered by Mark Pennington regarding blogging in general as well as my outdated website

Here are some of the take-aways that I would like to share with you...


Brian Bridges did a 5-minute demo of PicLens. A description of this software does not do it justice. Check out their website and be prepared to be wow'd.

In The Bag

Here are three of my favorite items that peopled shared as the "most important technology in my bag":

  1. UStream TV, a site that allows you to broadcast using your webcam. Steve Hargadon broadcast most of the un-conference using his Verizon Internet card.
  2. An Eye-fi wireless memory card that automatically uploads pictures from your digital camera to your PC or Mac and to your favorite photo sharing site (read Flickr).
  3. Advil - need I say more

Project Based Learning

This round-table conversation about the challenges to implementing project based learning was fascinating. It was agreed that for a teacher to be successful at integrating projects into her curriculum, she must have experience with projects. So how does one get started?

Two answers to this question struck a cord with me. The first involves a mentoring program where teachers with experience implementing projects into their classroom help run a project in the class of a teacher with little or no experience in this form of instruction. Certainly, there are issues with funding and coordination, but the idea is not without precedence. There are a number of programs of artists and scientists in residence, helping teachers in areas of instruction that they feel less comfortable. Why not a project based learning evangelist in residence?

The second solution discussed involves professional development that models project based learning. Instead of the traditional summer conference or workshop that we have all experienced, teachers are immersed in a curriculum that requires them to participate in a project so they can have the experience from the point of view of a student as this is a foreign way of learning to students also.

I was impressed with the comments from all of the participants of this breakout session but especially thankful to the ideas of Sylvia Martinez (session moderator) and Jane Krauss (who co-authored "Reinventing Project Based Learning", an ISTE publication). I greatly enjoyed meeting these exceptionally informed educators.

Again, I am so pleased that I made the EduBloggerConWest08 un-conference. It was the best part of my CUE experience. Thanks Steve for all of your hard work!

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sylvia martinez said...

It was a terrific day! I really enjoyed how the day formed in response to those of us who were there. Such a difference to most conference days.

Thanks for mention of the project-based learning discussion, it was great to talk to everyone and dispel some of the myths about PBL. It can be done!