Birds of a Feather...

There is nothing like being in a group of tech-savvy educators. The excitement of sharing ideas and working through challenges is better high than any drug (not that I have experience in that area). I have had the honor of meeting so many innovative educators through the Discovery Network, Google Certified Educators Group, and Plurk and have learned so much in such a short period of time. Today was an opportunity to work with the top dogs in my district and I am still on a positive high.

It was a half day meeting, but I chose not to go my school for the other half. I didn't want to ruin my meeting experience with any nonsense from my school. I got there early to set up and chat with those I rarely get to see. My course supervisor took the time to make sure I was going to submit a proposal to the MICCA conference. She proceeded to say that she thought I was a good presenter and that I should be getting my name out there. I was like a kid with an A+ paper. I suppose everyone needs a good ego boost once in a while.

As a group we proceeded to continue to evaluate online conferencing tools and products the district already owns. Twiddla which is a great, free tool allows collaborative use of an online whiteboard, demonstration of any web page, and the sharing of documents. There were a couple of hiccups like this site allows access to filtered sites and everyone collaborating at one time is a big mess. Despite any flaws, I think this could be a great tool in the classroom. I will be trying it out to review the features of Animoto.

Then we went exploring the tool that district already owns. The district spent $250,000 on the Polycom system which utilizes the phone, Window NetMeeting, Mac Xmeeting, and actually Polycom equipment. It has hardly been used and they still don't know how to use completely. I even had to share a laptop because it doesn't work with Vista. Which make me wonder if this system is worth the effort because when it will be obsolete? Is it obsolete already?

It was a great experience and I look forward to the February meeting where we develop a district plan for online conferencing. In the meantime I work on change in my classroom, this blog, and my new photo blog 52 Chances. Oh and I almost forgot, those MICCA proposals I promised my supervisor.


Zohair said...

I too believe that whiteboard software can offer a much better bang-for-the-buck than proprietary hardware: possibly 80% bang for -well- as little as 0% buck. Twiddla is a great option, but we've reinvented the interface and built software that we think makes interactive whiteboards much more powerful. I'd be thrilled if you gave it, Dabbleboard, a spin.