Monday, January 26, 2009

From ESU to StL

Currently I'm sitting in my beautiful room at the Embassy St. Louis/St. Charles, which is connected to the Convention Center that will host METC 2009 (link to METC Ning). I always get pretty excited for a new hotel, and this one didn't disappoint. More on the hotel and METC in later posts.
Speaking of later posts, I never had gotten a chance to reflect on ESU 3's 21st Century Skills Fair. Once again, ESU did a great job of bringing in quality individuals (including yours truly) to present on how to improve what is happening in your classroom. The first session I attended was on incorporating 21st Century Skills into math. ESU is doing follow up sessions similar to this on math, social studies and language arts, so I wanted to make sure I got to attend. As you can see by the links on their page, the activities shared are great to enhance your current curriculum activities. My goal is to encourage our toolbox writers to attend the session that corresponds to the content area that is their speciality. I think it's time we push our curriculum people to look at ways to integrate technology into the curriculum instead of relying only on their building tech people.
The second session was an introduction to NDE's iTunes U content. While not public yet, we were shown what will be there when it comes up (mostly NDE-directed professional development) and discuss where it is going in the future. One thing that was brought up by multiple people was wanting to see model teachers at work in the classroom. Something that we've struggled with in our own district is getting our new teachers out to see the best of the best. Being able to tap in to the best educators from across the state with just a click off a button would be huge in developing quality teachers in the state. And it's free to get. The catch is going to be compensating those who are doing the recording and being recorded.
The third session was great to get some tips as we move toward developing online classes in our district. While their setup was different from what ours will be, I did get some great tips.
The fourth session was OUTSTANDING! Because it was ours....We are currently getting ready to present the extended version here at METC. Our presentation starts tomorrow afternoon at 2:00 pm in the Windsor 1 in the Embassy.

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