First things first, let me take care of some housekeeping procedures: as I sit up here typing responses to most of your posts I can't help but notice that it seems almost as if we are posting for the sheer obligation of posting. Let's respond to a few choice items a day, spark conversation, employ our brains and challenge each other's viewpoints and make each other think. I spent as much time as I could possibly stand tonight working on responding to people because I want you to know that I did read your thoughts and now I would like follow up just to encourage discussion. I think we owe it to the grant committee to actually engage in discussion as opposed to the mere posting of facts (also, by the number of reads on some of the documents it seems like some have not even been read!)
I know that I tend to disappear a lot from the crowd. Nothing against anyone, but I have my own agenda. My professional activities can be documented here under News items and my private escapades through Seattle can be detailed through "Stories". Please read and provide commentary!
I preface my entry by stating that I went with no given plan...I had no prerequisities for my attending a certain seminar...I just made a decision about 10-15 minutes ahead of time and went. None of my choices were closed. I also went alone mostly to freely formulate my opinions without the interference of others until my thoughts were firmly cogent. Here goes!
My day: Newcomer's session...hmm...dowithoutable if the maps had been provided somewhere else (like an information booth).
I, as a few others, attend D. Macquarrie's CBL (computer based lab) session. While it was informative, I worry that the topics discussed may be beyond the scope of a lot of teachers that I know. This is why I wonder if there are ways to either water down the technology for lower levels or the content of the lessons. In my opinion this was not as clear. Also, in a time of increasing pressure on standards-based assessment, how much time can one seriously devote to such experiments (especially when teachers themselves had difficulties initially performing the experiments in question)? He answers by eliminating the fluff, but in my opinion this involves the massive task of streamlining curricula for the suceeding grade levels to ensure that if "fluff" is removed, that it is removed entirely.
The next session I attended caught my eye because it simply had "music" in the title ( I don't remember the exact title but it had something to do with the WAM NEXUS). It involved a series of stories (very touching ones in deed) regarding videoconferencing and progressive student achievement. Of course the videoconferencing didn't work, but the idea (called the Collaboratory) was impressive nonetheless.
Next was a break for some business and lunch (see accompanying business under "Stories" for more details)
Upon return to the convention center, I attended a session regarding keeping standards and technology unified (it's currently midnight local time and I can't remember!). This was not aimed at students...or even teachers for this matter. I feel that this was something best gleamed for administrators looking for advice from outside educational consultants. Nice PowerPoint presentation though.
Lastly was Pam Keys (?) presentation on using Excel in the classroom. I had the feeling that a lot of people were on edge because her comfortability with the subject matter, while good in theory, was not shining through. This was coupled with the fact that a lot of people in the audience were obviously more proficient with Excel than she was and the fact that people were continously leaving.
Lastly, a trip to the exhibits. I don't take free stuff from vendors (at least not in that manner). I don't want to parade around in equipment that I don't firmly believe in. If I'm going to be an advertisement, I have to believe completely in the product that I'm advertising in. I thought it was mostly going to be a bust (because I still haven't found that MAPLE program that I'm looking for) until I ran across musicians! (Finally!). I'm going back tomorrow to check on the presentation for Smart Music, a program that I've used before and will comment on later. There was also a demonstration on Finale 2003 (but I own Sibelius...their chief competition software).
Now for what I did in between the conference: check out today's story!