Saturday, November 15, 2014

Four Letter W@rDs!

CODE is a four letter word.
Yup, really, it is.  No denying it.
One of my seniors carries around a spiral notebook and a pencil and crouches on his chair like a gnome with his feet curled in different directions, and scribbles what appears to be something that can only be classified as 21st century Elfish on every line, occasionally stopping, looking up at the ceiling, and erasing, furiously, only to start the whole procedure again.

For somebody who registered for college courses by walking around the giant gymnasium complex (with floors covered with tarps so we wouldn't scar the floors with our flipflops?), gathering giant punch cards from tables representing each of the departments, trading them like Pokemon cards at recess with each other until we had "the perfect schedule", and then turning them in to be fed into a computer larger than most of the cars we would ever drive in our lifetimes, technology should  also be a four letter word in my book.  

Fortunately for me, TECH is more than four letters. 

The Te@chthought Blog Challenge prompt of the day:

Nov 15 What tech tools are you most grateful for? Why? How have they changed what you do?

This morning, I'm waking up for the third day in Baltimore at the NAGC Conference in Baltimore.  The wake up process happened early, as the sounds in my room were not conducive to sleep, and my mind was just a little preoccupied with the myriad of potential downfalls that might await me and my presentation (scheduled for 3 pm today, if you're in the area!).

Around 4 am, I grabbed my ipad and put Billy Joel on itunes repeat, plugged in my too thick-to-sleep-on-your-side headphones and tried to go back to sleep.

I woke up an hour later, completely versed in all the lyrics of We Didn't Start the Fire, wondering whether I could read the notes on my ipad attached to the presentation that my presentation partner and I developed last summer.  It's now 8 am, and I have given up the hope of figuring out how to do that before Leslie arrives sometime this afternoon.  (We'll have time to practice, right?)

Am I Tech Savvy?  Not nearly as much as I'd like to be.  I'd like to think that I am more savvy than the  average 53 year old?  I hope so.  I'm very competitive.

I spent my first day of the conference in (imagine!) "Building Better Blogs to Promote the 4 C's:  Creativity, Critical thinking, Collaboration and Communication - a breakout session about blogging - both professionally, and with students.  The presenters were delightful and engaging,  (shout out to Brian Housand, Tamara Fisher, Ian Byrd and Maria Selke), had quality advice that actually had the entire audience scribbling or typing frantically with their additional "off the cuff" ideas as they talked.
Somehow, I wound up in the same room in the afternoon for "The Synergistic Experience of Coding:  Uniting Creativity, Motivation and the Common Core."  (Lauri Kirsch, Brian Housand, Christie Ray)

Now I had dabbled with the Hour of Code last year, with the promise from the organizers that it basically teaches itself, which, for a 53 year old multi-tasking Teacher of the Gifted, is ALWAYS a good selling point.  But here I found myself in a safe little place where I could observe, and ask questions.  Again, a fab session, and I feel so much more confident with the impending arrival of Bo and Yana (even though they are now in the Witness Protection Program and have changed their names to Dash and Dot.)


So, yes, Tech Tools that I love now -- Googledocs, Dropbox, Flashdrives, ( they hand them out like candy on Halloween here!), Googleblogger (DUH!), Schoology, ipads, macbooks, doc camera, and my new, school issued,  Yoga Lenovo.  All a far cry from punchcards at South Campus at West Chester State College.

To quote Whitney, one of my DJH colleagues, "Thank you, baby Jesus."

#reflectiveteacher  #nagc14