Sunday, March 20, 2016

Processing #cue16: One Day Later

What a weekend!  After two days of sessions, keynotes, networking, and little to no sleep, processing everything that happened in Palm Springs can begin.  When I finally woke up this morning, my FibBit told me that I slept 12 hours, 37 minutes, with very little restlessness during that time.  I cannot tell you the last time that I slept that long.  However, I really must have needed it!  Now to digest what came my way this weekend...

The last session that I attended yesterday was one on podcasting, hosted by the great Brian Briggs and the ever entertaining, knowledgeable and hilarious Ryan O'Donnell.  I have listened to their podcast, Check This Out before (you need to check it out!), and it is informative and entertaining.  Their session talked a little about their podcast and how and why podcasts can be used in the classroom and how you can begin your own podcast.  While I sat in the front row, about 6 feet in front of them, I was struggling from the lack of sleep, food, and water, but I powered through and learned a ton about podcasting.  More on this momentarily...

When I drove down Thursday night, I came down to Palm Springs alone.  Two of my colleagues and friends, Mike Lillo (a first time tech conference attendee, he was absolutely blown away, claiming that if he would have been asked to leave after the first hour on Thursday, he would have been satisfied with what he learned, he was thoroughly impressed) and Steve New (an old hat in the tech conference game, but learning tons nonetheless, follow him on Twitter @StevenNew1) had driven down Wednesday night, got checked into our hotel room and attended all of the Thursday sessions.  To save Mike an extra half hour of driving across town from where he lives and the fact that Steve lives about 2 miles from me, Steve rode back to Las Vegas with me.  My initial thought was, "Good, someone that can help keep me awake!"  Keeping me awake is an understatement.  The drive from Palm Springs to Las Vegas, according to the ever faithful Google maps, was 4 hours and 10 minutes.  I don't think there was more than 10 seconds of silence at any point.  The entire ride back was a reflection of what we learned at the various sessions, our experiences, and how was are going to start implementing these new ideas.

One of the first things we talked about was podcasting.  I mentioned to Steve as we were getting into the car to leave the conference that he and I should do a podcast together.  As it turns out, I beat him to his thought; he proceeded to tell me that he thought of that during the session and was going to save it for the drive back.  Stay tuned, in the next few weeks, you are most likely going to experience a podcast from the two of us, logistics are going to be worked out in the coming days.

We also talked about how to implement podcasting with students.  Brian and Ryan made a point that you can turn a writing assignment into an audio assignment through podcasting.  My instant thought was how we must have students make deeper connections with material by explaining, assessing, synthesizing, etc. information and not just regurgitating facts.  Why not take a reading passage or info set in social studies and have students make podcasts of the what, how, and why of that information?  You could expand on it by having students pair up for their podcast to debate material.  The possibilities are endless!

Steve and I also talked at length about peer rubrics for assignments.  Both he and I have used them in the past on project-based learning activities.  However, why can't we use them on more everyday assignments and activities?  Sure, it's going to take some time to set up, to implement with students, etc., but another NEPF standard for Nevada teachers is to have students take responsibility for their own learning (Standard 4).  Student rubrics would be a great way to give students the opportunity to be responsible to their own learning.  It's one thing to take feedback from a teacher, but when your friends and peers are providing the feedback, it may mean more to a student.

Even after so much sleep, I am still absolutely exhausted!  It is going to take a couple of days to process everything.  Luckily, it is spring break! However, I have a lot of other things on my plate as well, so this week will be packed with tons of things to catch up on and complete.  Oh well, I didn't choose this career for the glamor and the money.

Until next time...

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