I had the distinct pleasure of accompanying Mike Arsenault and three high school students to the Maine Learning Technology Initiative Student Tech Team Conference at the University of Maine in Orono. This conference was sponsored by the College of Electrical and Computer Engineering.
Session 1 were student presentations. I attended:
Capturing It As It Happens in Video, Audio, and Still Images (Kern Kelley and Students from Nokomis High School) So many events happen in every school… Awards ceremonies, sports, concerts and other cultural events happen regularly. In this session you will learn how the Nokomis Warrior Broadcasting crew (www.nokomiswarriorbroadcasting.com) has made a name for itself by effectively capturing the raw video, stills and audio and editing them and publishing professional quality final products. And you know what? You can too! Come learn how!
The students explained how they run their Broadcasting group. They also talked about the power of video. They showed an example of how a type written essay could be made far more effective as a media project. They showed how the essay made the progression to Powerpoint, then an online slide show and then to a DVD. Each time the essay was enhanced, first with pictures, them music and then transitions. The text, however remained the same in each rendition. The final product was much more powerful then the written text version. The students did a very good job presenting.
Sessions 2 and 3 were given by students or adults.
I attended a session given by Apple engineer, Eric Williams called Automate your Mac: making workflows with Automator. I have never had much a chance to work with automating tasks and this was fun to play around with. The best part of this session was the questions that students were asking. In particular, one student asked if there was a way to take notes and make the notes go in a specific folder based on a time stamp. So for example, Social studies class ends at 11:00 AM and at 11:01 the document gets put in to the Social studies folder. What a concept. I had never thought about this. We worked on it a bit and Eric showed us a few ways to streamline items such as naming files with time stamps. One of our students, Ben, was also in the session. He is thinking about ways to help other students automatically back up their school work using one of the scripts. Good stuff!
At the end of the sessions, we met back in the auditorium where bazillions of prizes were given away. But perhaps the best part of the conference was our drive back. The students were buzzing all the way home about all they had learned! As they debriefed they talked about all the things they want to do to help fellow students and teachers. It was amazing! Here’s a few items they brainstormed:
- They will help teach our summer course for teachers.
- They want to offer after school sessions for teachers and/or students next year.
- They would like to teach during a staff development day
- They want to formalize how students and teachers access the tech team and help information.
- They assume they will do our laptop rollout next year and started planning the important points of the presentation.
- They wonder if they need to teach teachers an application or if maybe they could be the teacher when a new application is introduced.
OK, so I am out of my mind at this point! As they continued talking they spoke about how much their laptops help them learn and how it is changing what they are doing and how they just couldn’t imagine not having them and how lucky they are. They learned about all different programs and web apps, and had a laundry list of what they are going to try. They were all going to go home and try all the new programs out. Thank goodness Mike was driving because I was getting so excited being a captive audience of these students. Oh how I wish I had my iPod recorder!! This conversation was a dream come true for me.
A couple of quotes:
- “Even though this was a long day and a long ride, it seemed to go by just like a school day”
- “I met Bruce and he was talking all about the super computer. I have no idea what he was saying, but that guy is amazing!”
I have been on such a high all weekend. Seeing students so excited and turned on was a blast. They also vocalized how much they loved learning in this forum. They felt confident to ask seek out other adults and ask questions. I know they will take what they have learned and run with it. I can’t wait for Monday!
Now my question is, how do I harness that excitement and share it with teachers in the classroom????
A shoutout to Jim Moulton, the Maine Apple Computer team, and The College of Electrical and Computer Engineering. Thanks for putting on such a great event!