Thing 13: Attend a “21st Century” Conference

There’s something odd about attending a conference (K12 Learning Conference 2008) that occurred one year ago.  It’s also a bit odd that although thousands have participated in this conference from around the world, I’m sitting here by my lonesome in the session How Can I Become a Part of this ReadWriteWeb Revolution?  Honestly, I’m OK about being a pioneer, but I’m not sure that I’m ready to be a revolutionary.  I’m ready to start the journey and willing to wander aimlessly around for a little bit, but I’m not ready to raise the charge and proclaim the transformative effect of Web 2.0 tools  such as voicethread, flip cameras, Skype, and nings.  The good news is that Alice Barr, Bob Sprankle, and Cheryl Oakes in this keynote session assure me that there is a community involved in this revolution.  I don’t need to go this alone.  I am not by myself.  There is a lot of support out there.  I am hoping that here at ‘Iolani there is enough of a core group of teachers who have taken the first steps and can act as mentors/guides as I continue to wander about in this still all too strange land.  Darren?  Mel?  Erin?  Kathy P.?

As a side note, I find it ironic that as I prepare for this new school year, I am seriously considering moving my desks from groups of four to rows and columns.  Am I taking a backward step into more traditional territory even as I try to have students become active collaborators in the classroom?

My second session at the conference was actually fun, and exciting to think about.  Chris Betcher in I Like Delicious Things introduces the novice to tagging and folksonomies.  I don’t understand folksonomies, but tagging makes sense.  I have been collecting more and more digital photos, and as the number of items in my collection begins to grow, it becomes harder and harder to find just the right photos I need to create a scrapbook page.  My photos are currently organized in files by event and date.  Wouldn’t it be great to be able to search with tags such as mother, or huladancer, or sunset to create a thematic page? Then Chris shows me how a wordle can create tag clouds.  Wow, that’s amazing!  And being a statistics teacher, I immediately saw it as a graphical way of  showing statistical frequency by the size and boldness of the text.  What a great visual way to capture the “essence” of a collection!

I just spent another 20 minutes trying to create my own wordle.  Since I’m still in the dark (having technical difficulties), I’ll send you to Rod Lucier’s blog site.  I’ll have to leave this side adventure for another day.

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