Tots and Technology - Day 1 Favorites

Day one of TCEA's first annual Tots and Technology conference has proven to be very worth while!  The keynote speaker, Tim Chase, discussed the "new normal" for our 21st century kids.  They don't know what land lines are...they expect to have wi-fi everywhere all the time...and they are begging you to teach them how to use the technology that is available to them!

The first session I attended was called "It's a Small World."  The ladies at White Oak ISD knocked it out of the park with this great session about creating a global learning community in your classroom using Twitter, Skype and blogging.  Here were my favorite points...
  • Check out this video to get a truly hilarious look at what Twitter is. 
  • How can you use Twitter in the classroom?
    • Gather data - post a question, have students (or classrooms in other places!) Tweet their answer and then graph it.
    • Talk to experts - Tweet with an author or scientist or historian
    • "Short and Tweet" stories - post a prompt and have students build a story one or two sentences at a time (this can be up all the time at a computer station and students can add to the story when they finish their work)
    • Book responses - respond to a selection with a personal reflection
  • How can you use Skype in the classroom?
    • Chat with an author - Skype an Author Network
    • Guest speakers - dentist, fire fighter, professor
    • Virtual field trips

I also attended a session called Robots for Tots.  I am very interested in robotics and you can expect to see me on your doorstep asking for guinea pigs!!  :)  Check out the Bee-Bot and the Lego WeDo!

My favorite session of the day was called "Extreme Makeover: Parent Edition" and it was presented by two dynamic ladies, Erica Gruber and AJ Pitts, from Humble ISD.  They created technology-rich activities throughout their school for Open House in order to showcase available technology tools in their school and gain parent support (and funding!) for technology initiatives.  Here are my favorite of their ideas...
  • Create a Parent Technology Blue Print to let parents know what the school has and what their kids are using!
  • Use Voki to create a public service announcement to put on your school home page before Open House to increase awareness.  (Let's face it - Vokis are just cool!)
  • Create a passport for open house and parents must visit each location and participate in a technology-rich activity to get a stamp!
    • Go to the "Reading Room" and post a comment on the classroom blog.
    • Watch a student-created book trailer (ANIMOTO!) in the library.
    • Use an iPad or iPod touch in the "Math Room" to practice math facts (check out SumStacker!)
    • Play Pictionary in the "Social Studies Room" using the document camera...draw pictures of common Texas symbols.
  • Some other cool ideas I picked up - these girls were amazing!
    • Deliver morning announcements via the web as a podcast or VODCAST! 
    • Parents can buy "shout-outs" to their kids on announcements for $5!  (Can you say generate revenue?!)
    • Start with 4th graders so they know what to do as 5th graders and you don't have to start over at middle school.
    • Librarians!  Start a BLUEBONNET BLOG!  Students who post comments about the featured Bluebonnet Book of the ___ (week, month, etc.) can get points to earn ___ (insert your prize here).
    • START A BOOK TRAILER CLUB!!!  Read a bluebonnet book as a group and then make a book trailer to sell it to the rest of the school!

    Way to go Renate Moudry and Heather Kaldis for doing an AWESOME job with your session, too!  Hold on to your hat because 2011-2012 is going to be a great year for technology in BISD!  Hope you are ready for the ride!!!