Thursday, May 7, 2009


Okay - I'll admit it - I had my doubts. It was to be an online conference in real time for Maine educators and just about anyone who wanted to drop in. The vehicle: Adobe Connect Pro. That was the proposal, and all I could think of was what might go wrong.

Let me tell you this: This naysayer has been converted to an ardent believer! I have been awed by the organization and execution of the conference by David Patterson and his crew, and I have been inspired by the presenters as well as the participants. Well done!

I will even go so far as to say that this online experience has been even richer than a face-to-face conference might have been. The opportunity for interaction - at least in text, audio, and visuals - has been superior to being in the same physical space . . . and certainly a vast improvement over the ATM video system. Now don't get me wrong, physical connections need to be part of the mix in ongoing learning, connections right in the classroom and school, but gosh, this digital platform was superb. And to beat it all, I could enjoy it in my own home with a cold beverage close at hand.

Besides that, the conference will live on with recordings of each session. Here's a list in case you missed the real time experience:

Keynote – Angus King

Second Life – Rez your Teaching

iTeam Project-based Service to the Ambassador Actors

Enablemath 360 – a terrific web-based program that is to numeracy what Read 180 is to literacy

Vital Signs – Developing Student Understanding and Application of Inquiry using GIS technology to Monitor Invasive Species

When Essays Move – Bringing Content-Area Writing to Life through Multimedia

Mathematics in Design - An Investigation using GeoGebra

Low cost interactive whiteboard and EcoBeaker Maine Explorer (EBME)

Literacy and Technology across the Curriculum with a Graphic Novel

Visualizing Numbers

Rethinking Presentations – Prezi and Dynamic Narrative

Maine is My World GIS!

Blogging it Up!

PowerPoint Based Portfolios – Sharing a format that can be used in any content area for students and instructors to build portfolios

Applications of Calculus – A Resource Wiki

BackChannel Chats as Classroom Tools

Rural Voices Radio

Art Meets GIS!

Let Your Laptop Do The Talking

Creating a tessellation screen saver

A Wider World: Google Earth for Research, Writing and Sharing

American History – Family Narrative

Exploring Cultural Differences

GeoGebra – Redefining Math Instruction and Learning

Why Wait For the Science Test?

Using podcasts in the classroom to engage students and improve student comprehension

Google Earth, Ancient Rome, and the 21st Century

Promoting Literacy with Cartoons, Comics and Graphic Novels

The conference was a winner!


davidpatterson said...

Jim... glad you enjoyed the conference. It certainly was an ambitious proposal, but once again educators in Maine stepped up and made something special happen.

The willingness to share expertise, knowledge and understanding with other educators was a joy to behold, and the conversations that accompanied each presentation were often rich and engaging. Bob McIntire, Juanita Dickson and an army of volunteer facilitators helped bring this event to life, and it certainly was exciting to see it take shape.

For those who didn't have a chance to participate live, recordings of each workshop are available, as is the opportunity to comment and continue the conversation on the conference web site. Thank you for your good work in championing teaching and learning with technology in Maine, and for supporting this wonderful opportunity.


This was a very fun event (full disclosure: I was a presenter and an attendee). I like it how Jim points out that the interaction was by far at a higher degree - and I can even say that some of us were a bit unprepared for it, going in, both participants and presenters included. I also must say, that as Jim pointed out, things went much smoother than a naysayer was confident they would. And I also that it was also a great learning experience for everyone involved and I know that the next round will be only better and more exciting.
Thanks to David, Bob and Juanita for putting their time and effort into this endeavor, and giving us opportunities to present as well as participate!

Joe Makley said...

This certainly demonstrated the potential of the platform for PD (including PLC work.) Most of my viewing was done after the fact (and after the work day) but I had a great time and checked out several sessions. I left a comment on the keynote, but I noticed no one else did. Are the comments all shut down now David, or just the front door?