Sunday, April 02, 2006

Project-Based PD for New York Teachers

I just went to the Fordham University Regional Educational Technology Center (RETC)'s free conference for teachers, Tech to Go V. It offers short workshops on a variety of tech integration ideas that are meant to be low-cost and easy for teachers to implement. While I was familiar with everything I saw in the four workshops I attended, I was happy to pick up a few tips here and there (video making without a camera! just still images and narration, just never occurred to me) it was great to see that the focus of the conference is on project-based learning. They seem to have a fairly wide reach among New York public school teachers and the conference was well-attended (~500?) so it was good to see teachers being exposed to great software like Audacity. At the end of the keynote I took the mic (it was offered) and volunteered the resource Odeo, which people seemed very interested in.

Just one downside: one workshop presenter started his workshop with an idea lifted straight out of Tufte's “The Cognitive Style of PowerPoint: Pitching Out Corrupts Within” without giving Tufte credit. I share the same enthusiasm for this book as the presenter and think the example of converting President Lincoln's Gettysburg Address to a slide show is very funny and makes a good point, but it's just so basic to cite your sources, whether you're publishing or presenting. This is just bad modeling for his students, two of which were assisting him by showing their own tech integration projects, as well as for us workshop attendees.

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