Skip to main content

PodcampTO 2010

Another little conference this weekend; close to home, fortunately. It turned out to be a lot of same-old, same old though:

  • The powers-that-be don’t want us to use social media, or if they do, they haven’t a clue how to do it they just want a Twitter account or Facebook page.
  • There are huge issues with privacy.
  • We’re not really sure of the effectiveness of the money we’re investing but very vocal people tell us it’s working.

Interestingly enough, this wasn’t an education conference; it was for entrepreneurs and marketing folk. PodCamp Toronto 2010 was an un-conference in which people put themselves down as presenters on whatever topic they wanted and the costs were picked up by generous sponsors such as Rogers and GM. A call-out to Rogers for setting up a recharging station for devices – a nice touch if you forgot your charger at home.

What I took away, and this is a big tent, was that businesses are very serious about making money using social media, that they desperately want to get at the information posted anywhere on the net about us (and our students). They also want to spread their information as widely and cheaply as possible and develop a readership at minimum and perhaps a community. Unfortunately, they are challenged with knowing how to use social media effectively with any kind of scaling, safety and consistency. Misery loves company!

On a more macro scale, the other aspect I noticed was the wide variation in presentation skills; you can have very little information but just wrap it up in enthusiasm and levity and you’ll get a lot of positive feedback. In a half hour, one presenter gave out five pieces of data (and even he admitted he was making some of it out of whole cloth) but kept the audience entertained and they left with a buzz. On the other hand, you can have a lot of information but present it as (boring as) a classic chalkboard lecture -- even if you are trying out Prezi and obviously have a strong background full of data and anecdotes that could have been sprinkled in for context. Some presentations were obviously done the night before; others were very well polished and the presenter spoke clearly and with confidence.

Will I try to go next year? Absolutely! For one, it’s an unconference, a potential model for education conferences. Because people volunteered to present (in fact, they chose their own rooms & times in a Google Doc) there was no filtering we see at ed conferences. Since our present filtering method doesn’t prevent the duds anyways (usually 75-25 split at the ones I attend) why not open it up? You were allowed to vote with your feet; if you didn’t like a session you could get up and leave … although I only this in two of the sessions I attended (and deservedly so).

I also think it’s important to get out of the group-think I experience at many ed conferences; the people here were all interested in social media but for widely different reasons. Some were private citizens who did it as a hobby; others were in it strictly for the money. There were academics from journalism departments but also teenagers who were learning all the latest & greatest in podcasting. It was an eclectic and energizing mix!

Comments

Brenda said…
Hi Cal,
I'd love to talk to you about the unconference experience which some of us had been talking about after ecoo 2009. I'm glad we'll be proposing the vote with your feet during our sessions.

It interesting that some of the same things we've seen in ed tech (eg. trying to sift through the noise to find the signal) can be true in the business world. It's also a bit scary to think about how good they might get at marketing through social media and whether our kids will be prepared for that.
Interesting times...

Popular posts from this blog

Teacher Professional Development and Microsoft OneNote

During the first three weeks of July, I have the amazing opportunity to work at the Park City Mathematics Institute.  It is, without exaggeration, the best professional development opportunity for teachers of mathematics.  Participants spend three weeks thinking deeply about mathematics and mathematics education.

There are three main aspects of PCMI:

learning mathematicsreflection on practice (RoP)becoming a resource to others.I'm part of the team for RoP and in charge of the third aspect, in which participants consider a gap in professional development back at their home districts and work in small groups to help fill that hole by developing a rich PD seminar on that topic.

It is not easy to develop professional development.  Teachers who haven't written PD have to patiently learn how to write (essentially) lesson plans for someone else.

This year, I used Microsoft OneNote to facilitate the process.  We have a central OneNote Notebook through which I lay out the daily schedule…

Escape Room / BreakOut in OneNote

[[Part 2 of this article is here: Link]]

So when I was visiting Anna in Edinburgh during March Break, she showed me how she used Password-Protected OneNote sections within the OneNote ClassNotebook to help students check their work -- she set the password to the correct answer, so they knew they had it right when the Section opened up.

I figured I could use this for Math Review, so I set aside a couple of hours (turned out to be 3 hours but a fair chunk of that was solution-time) the other night to put an Exam Review together for my Grade 10 Mathematics course.  I pulled together as many multiple choice questions and short answer questions on the topics as I could Google and tried to balance each Section with a mix of topics and then threw in a couple of pop-culture questions, too.  The students worked on the problems in each section and used the answers as passwords to unlock the next section until they got to the Prize section.
Result?  Near total continual engagement for the 60 min…

You need a Team to do that

So yesterday I mentioned about using Teams to do Screencasts - you can see that blog post by clicking here.  Here's a brief run-down of the process.
When you're in the Teams application, either as a reply to a message, or a brand new conversation, click on the MEET NOW button.  It looks like a little video camera.
You'll get Teams Meeting popping up... you'll be doing a call, but of course, there's no one on the other end.  Type in a Subject -- I'd choose the Course, Textbook, page and question number if it's applicable, otherwise some combination of curriculum standard.

Click on MEET NOW to being the meeting. 
We want to start recording in order to get the video part of the screencast.  Click on the 3-dot menu button and choose START RECORDING.  (It says "Preview" because recording is still in pretty active development -- see below).  The recording has now started and you'll see the red icon in the upper right of the screen.


Now, you're g…