This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.
In mid-February I attended the Discovery Educator Network Pennsylvania Educational Technology Expo PreConference in Hershey.
Educators from Maryland, New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania gathered to learn and share Web 2.0 resources for their classrooms. I’ll borrow DEN Guru Steve Dembo’s definition of Web 2.0 tools as "entirely web-based, interactive, and play well with others." By play well with others, he means these tools work across platform, Mac to PC to whatever you use.
I attended four different workshops, each showcasing online tools to use in the classroom. The best part was that most of them were free!
What I really appreciated about the conference was the care each presenter took to leave the audience with the educational equivalent of a "shovel-ready project."
- The "Study Hall with Ms. Southard" session introduced educators to tools that aid students with learning differences. Simple things like the awesome highlighter and study stack can make life a lot easier for a student struggling in school.
- The "Top Ten Web 2.0 Tools" session by Steve Dembo demonstrated tools like ipadio and Poll Everywhere that allow new ways for students to communicate their ideas with their class and school.
These presentations and dozens of other online tools and resources are listed on the Discovery Education PA blog.
I was so energized to get to school on Monday and start using some of these tools with my students. My students particularly enjoyed the vokis I created to read to them the focus question for the day.
If you haven’t already seen the Discovery Education PA blog, I highly suggest you check it out. No matter what grade level or subject you teach, I dare you to not find something you can you use with your students. Every presentation from the preconference is or will be uploaded to the PA blog.
The PETE&C conference went on for a week in Hershey. Tuesday’s keynote speaker happened to be Philadelphia’s own, Principal Chris Lehmann of the Science Leadership Academy. I’ve watched his speech twice already. I can’t explain how heartening it is to see one of us expressing so eloquently where our schools are now, and where they can be in the near future. Check out the speech and leave your thoughts here.