Ok, let's get the nasty convention stuff out of the way first!
I arrived at the convention center at 8:15 ish to check email at one of the email stations (the only time yesterday that I would be able to have time and access to a functioning internet connection). Following that I went to the Choose my Keynote hosted by Dr. Knezek (?...I'm not good at names!), the ISTE CEO. He mostly talked (in his Texan bravado) about "getting real" with students, teachers, administration, and technology. I was a fairly enjoyable session, but as of now I cannot remember much of specifically what he said. Prior to the speech, awards for various services provided in integrating technology were provided.
The next hour and so was spent in the exhibit hall continuing my ever-present search for Maple (which I'm going to check at the University Bookstore for, and if I don't find it or the other thing that I'm looking for, I will just give up for the time being) when I came across a Sibelius booth. Sibelius is a music notation software that can be used for composition. (Ok, here comes a side story)
I've come across a lot of fragmented parts in which I either have a score (a document showing simultaneously what every part is doing) and no parts or all the parts and no score. I have been using Sibelius to recreate the missing factor by hand which is rather tedious. (Back to the story)
The Sibelius guy demonstrated to me the PhotoScore Professional version which allows me to take printed music and scan it into Sibelius. This has now become my #1 item unless Maple (if I ever find it) is more expensive. I will use my stipend to purchase the more expensive of the two packages and save the others for a later date. Currently I have the PhotoScore valued at $179.99 but I will comparison shop a little first before 2pm today (7/2/03). Other exhibits that interested me were the Smart Music (which the guy there yesterday didn't have as much to say as the guy that was there the day before and therefore the software fell to the bottom of my list.
Next, a session regarding the use of laptops in the education of preservice teachers (which was really a misnomer because this was done on the graduate level which could imply previous service). There was a team of five women (laptop woman, faculty-interviewing woman, student-interviewing woman, survey woman, and PowerPoint operating woman). The discussion was regarding a pilot program at National-Louis University in the Chicago-Milwaukee area where teacher candidates on the graduate level were provided with the opportunity to have laptops for this grant-sponsored program for a course entitled TIE 500 (5000?) technology in education in the Master's in Art of Teaching degree. Through this program the student all have laptops provided by the university and are expected to use this techonlogy to create and implement quality lesson plans as well as contact and submittal of assignments by teachers. This was one of the more well-received and well-organized presentations that I have been at in the conference.
(Lunch, see accompanying story...can't create a link because I haven't written it yet!)
Following the break I attended a session dealing with how teachers need to make students aware of internet content. For example, what are the differences between the following websites?
The first is a website that paints the Civil Rights Era icon in a highly unfavorable light and is linked to White Supremacist groups while the second is the legitimate website for the King family. How would a young child know this?
Try this...I'm looking for the White House:
These are all legitimate websites but only one is the real one! This session dealt with the advocacy of media literacy on the internet (BTW, the whitehouse.gov is the real website...whitehouse.com is a pornographic site...the other two are political spoofs decrying the White House (although one is stronger than the other)). It was highly highly informative and a must check out...if I could find an email address for the presenters for the PowerPoint presentation, I will post it here as a reply.
The final session I went to caught my eye because it involved music technology and taking music to the students in the elementary schools. This was a very much exciting thing for me to find! However, the presentation bombed with a lack of punch behind the presentation and the already small crowd refused to participate (because of the juvenile nature of the thing) or because of the infancy and lack of sophistication as exhibited in earlier presentations. I did not leave because I believe something can be gained from anything.
Some suggestions that would have made the situation better:
1) The exact same program could have been given to a set of non-musical administrators and teachers to attempt to show how music has a rightful place in the core curriculum (really there shouldn't be such a term as core curriculum because for a well-rounded member of society ALL subejcts are important...ancient Greeks...or Hellenes to be more correct...knew this!).
2) Instead of a presentation, this could have been presented as a Birds of a Feather Session for ideas. The impression that I got was that this was the first real grant that they had established for themselves and this was the first such program that they had created so that they could have used ideas.
Comments: Another reason why I stayed is for networking purposes. For example the host college in this presentation was Winthrop College (Univ?) in Rock Hill, SC and either the immediate or current president of the South Carolina Collegiate Music Educators National Conference (CMENC) attends this school. This is good for me because I'm currently the president of the Georgia chapter of CMENC. Also, think about the underlying message we send that contradicts our educational message: when we see something that isn't as high-quality, we abandon it. Could some of this not potentially transfer over to students? I felt a moral obligation as a teacher (as yes, I might not be T4 certified yet, but I do teach things, just not in a standard public school classroom) to provide assistance to make it better or to provide feedback on why it was good.
This was the end of my day. Beneficial to the max. For alternate activities from around the conference, please see my entry under the "Stories" section.