|Otis hanging out in Minecraft|
|Time to present my session.|
|Otis hanging out in Minecraft|
|Time to present my session.|
Two years ago, I was selected to attend the Education Exchange (E2) in Australia but prior to going, the conference was delayed and then canceled. Now, in 2022, E2 has gone virtual. While it means I don't get to travel to Australia (yet) it also means that I had an amazing opportunity. I was selected to be part of a team of four to present one of the breakout sessions.
Sadly, one of our four team members never responded to emails so we ended up a team of three. But we were a magnificent team of three. That is of course once we finally got started. That was one of the major lessons I learned from this experience. All three of us were located in different time countries (United States, South Africa, and Viatnam) which meant three time zones and two languages.
This experience was a great learning experience and I look forward to when E2 is held in person again.
This is a little sad, but I had to turn on comment moderation for my blog. As of right now, I don't get many comments on posts here, but within the last week I had over half my posts, new and old, receive random comments. All filled with text about online casinos and hyperlinks to... I don't know, I didn't click the links.
I deleted the comments and felt it necessary to turn on comment moderation. This means that if you would like to comment on one of my posts, I will get an email and need to manually approve the comment. I want everyone to comment on my blog even if they disagree with me, but I need to prevent these spam posts. I promise that as long as your comment is related to the blog I will approve it to be displayed, even if I disagree with you. The only comments I will ignore are ones such as those casino spamming comments.
I have a feeling these spammers are trying to build their SEO by having random websites link back to their site. What is SEO? Search Engine Optimization. I only am beginning to understand marketing and SEOs as I've taken a bunch of courses through LinkedIn Learning and HubSpot. The basics and what I believe the unfortunate purpose of these spam comments is that search engines such as Google and Bing rank sites based on their validity and popularity. Therefore, if more people link to a site it improves that site's ranking on the search engine. Links for ranking purposes must come from external sites. For example, if I link this post to a previous post, that won't affect either post's ranking because they are internal links.
|Page 3 of a Google search|
|Figment of my imagination.|
My trip to FETC began with a day where Murphy's Law ruled. The entire morning represented the expression "whatever can go wrong, will go wrong" but eventually I arrived at the airport and checked-in for my flight. When I landed in Orlando, I knew everything was looking up when Figment greeted me at the airport. You don't know Figment? He's the underappreciated mascot of Epcot, a Figment of my Imagination. Eventually, I arrived at the hotel and made a plan for the next day.
|MIEExpert Road2E2 jackets|
seen in the wild.
Before long, it was time to meet up with my MIEExpert family for dinner and a reunion. Our dinner lasted so long it was amazing the restaurant didn't kick us out. Not only was it the MIEEs, but we were joined by the awesome teams of Flipgrid and Wakelet as we all caught up on two years.
I not only reunited with friends and peers. I also made new friends and connections.
Wednesday morning revealed the true FETC beginning. I started my morning by trying to attend a session on making professional development engaging but it was standing room only so I ended up leaving. Made my way over to Microsoft's room and found that was standing room only also, but there was enough room near the door that I stayed to listen to Leslie Fisher talk about Teams and OneNote.
|Collage from the expo hall.|
I spent a good amount of the day in the expo hall learning about new products and features of products I already knew before trying to attend a few other sessions. One thing I will say about FETC is that because it was the first in-person conference and because I was really nervous about being in crowds I missed out on a bunch of sessions I wanted to attend because they were all popular.
Wednesday night, I was invited to an event hosted by Nearpod and it did not disappoint. I am not part of Nearpod's PioNear program like I am with Microsoft's MIEE program, but they welcomed me at their dinner anyway and made me feel like family.
Day three started with another Keynote and more networking. In the afternoon, it was my turn to present a session on Digital Whiteboarding. My session was scheduled for one of the mini theaters in the expo hall which was great because tons of people were stopping to watch for a few minutes between checking out the vendors.
|A Canva template.|
Murphy's Law reared its ugly head again as I had a lot of wifi issues during my session. Luckily, Microsoft Whiteboard is not 100% cloud-based so while I couldn't demo the cloud and collaboration, I was able to demonstrate the Windows 10 whiteboarding app. While the cloud was not cooperating, I did have my slide deck in PowerPoint so I was able to also show screenshots and discuss some pedagogy including the awesome templates on Canva.
Disclaimer: As a Microsoft Innovative Education Expert (MIEE), I was fortunate to have my registration and travel covered by Microsoft as a presenter using Microsoft tools.
|Uploaded model to Tinkercad|
Over the new year, I spent an extended weekend with my family. It was a much needed vacation but the best part was my excited five-year-old nephew showing me his new school issued Chromebook. He just started kindergarten this year and every experience has been new after his last year in daycare and pre-k was mostly virtual or non-existent.
The first thing he wanted to show me was his new Chromebook. He was so excited to have a big kid computer. I loved seeing the practical use of all these programs and devices that I study and learn about. Since I work with mostly secondary teachers and was a secondary teacher before leaving the classroom, I wasn't sure how the younger students would do. Well, I'm impressed. Am I impressed with him or his teachers though? Or the Ed Tech companies that make the products? I think it's a combination of them all.
|Chome "Beachball" Icon|
His Chromebook is a touch screen and I think that was a good thing because I didn't once see him use the track pad. I'm not sure if he knows how and finds the touch easier, but I didn't ask. He did type a few keys when he pecked at some numbers.
Once logged in, he told me that I needed to click the beachball to open the computer. Yes, he called it a beachball and when I looked at it, I was surprised I never noticed that before. This is what I mean about kindergarten teachers knowing how to reach their students.
His district has defaulted the Clever page as the home tab so it automatically opened a page with all his bookmarks. When I started to type a page directly in the omnibar my sister actually looked up from what she was doing and reminded me not to "mess up" his computer because he wouldn't know how to access anything. In her defense, I do have a reputation for changing things on family members' computers (video clip from The IT Crowd that represents me trying to help) however I never mess with core functions or features.
My nephew pointed to Dreambox and was excited to show me all the games and avatars. I have heard of this program before but never actually used it, so I learned a lot by having him guide me through it. Seriously, he kept referring to it as games, never once referring to it as math. I love that. He was voluntarily practicing his math skills and referring to it as games. As someone that grew up on Reader Rabbit and Math Blasters, I completely agreed with this mentality.
Just a few bookmarks I saw on his Clever page:
I really enjoyed learning about the Chromebook from the eyes of my nephew. Seeing his excitement about both the technology and school was great. Knowing how important the kindergarten experience as the first introduction to school, I'm glad to see that halfway through his first year he's having such a positive experience.