I was fortunate enough this past week to be asked to speak at the Education Service Center in Region 8 in Mount Pleasant, TX. I had a great time with a very receptive audience. One of the attendees was even in my university program during my bachelors. It was great to see her again.
My goal with this day was to show them how White Oak ISD uses our web presence to make our classrooms and district transparent in many ways and allow our community to become a part of the school day. We use blogs from our WordPress MU server, a redesigned Joomla site, our Apple podcast server, and other web based tools like Delicious to let everyone see just what we are trying to accomplish in our students’ education.
There were a few things that struck me during the day:
- I had several in attendance who told me during breaks that they had not heard of any of the tools I mentioned. While as a presenter that is good for me, it bothers me a bit as an educator. These have been around for awhile, so I thought I might be extending the knowledge on a few of these tools, not introducing them, per se.
- I was struck at the statement made metaphorically by starting with the two videos that I did. While I did not intend it that way, it came across that way to the attendees. The Introduction of the Book showed early issues with lack of knowledge of its use. The latter video of Chris Lehmann’s students discussing, toungue in cheek, the lack of functionality of the book does much the same in a 21st Century context. It was cool to see they got that out of the videos.
- Schools spend a lot of money on commercial tools when many times the opensource versions can provide more even if you have to find paid support. I will be helping one district start to rebuild their wbesite away from a paid, very limited service to Joomla. (Disclosure: I am not getting paid to help them. It is just nice to help when they have a staff member so willing to jump in on his own as well. I will be more of a guide.)
- ESC 8 ROCKS! They either filter a LOT less than other ESCs or they opened up the lab I was in knowing I would be using several resources normally blocked. While they did not block wordpress.com, they did block Edublogs. I bet they get that resolved, though. They are sure to have several school districts requesting it, anyway.
My takeaway from this is that we all still have a lot to share with each other. While I shared tools that some might have even heard of before, several heard new uses for them for their own schools.
You will find below the Google Presentation version of what I presented to them. There are a few videos embedded for a point as well as just for fun. We did some hands-on work at different times, so the presentation might seem abrupt at times. If the embed below acts up, you can find the presentation here: http://docs.google.com/Presentation?id=dcr4kb53_1273jnqdrc4
Feel free to leave your comments as well as questions below. I am more than happy to reply.