CESIMEET is followed by the CESI conference on Saturday. CESIMEET is a hard act to follow but the CESI Confernce managed it.
Saturday started off very early when I met Pam and Mary Jo for breakfast in the hotel. We packed up and checked out to go to the school. Arriving at the school and the carpark was jointed. We finally found spaces and went in to register and get ourselves sorted. Mary Jo and I called to the Foras na Gaeilge stand and were treated to a lot of lovely freebies like CDs, rulers, pens and folders. With our hands full we had to dash out to pop all our goodies into the car.
At this stage it was time to head to the Keynote speak. Thanks to twitter we all know that Steve Wheeler, of @timbuckteeth fame, was delayed due to fog. We were lucky that Steven Howell could step in and have us raring to go after an invigorating talk about Scratch and Kinect. Great start to the morning. Steven is an amazing speaker and you cant help but enjoy his sense of humour and obvious love of what he does.
The choice of workshops and presentations was overwhelming again this year. So hard to choose what ones to go to. In the end I choose to start my morning off with a workshop with Anne McMorrow about using iPod touches in the classroom. Anne had the use of 30 iPods from Sep to Dec last year and was nice enough to show us some of the apps she used with her 6th class during the iPod project. All their work looked amazing. Adrienne was there as well and she told us a bit about how her secondary school is using the iPods around the school and how the kids all want to see the subject teachers bringing them to class. After the talk we were given the iPods for a while to play with and check out some of the apps.
After all that excitement it was time for lunch. The wonderful part of the CESI Conference is that there's loads of time to talk to other teachers and find out about the workshops they've been to. Of course following them on Twitter is a huge help too. During lunch I ran into a girl I'd met at last years conference, Diana and we had a right ole giggle about my new obsession with apps, considering last year I wouldn't have gone near them! With full bellies we headed off to the next workshop!
Mary Jo and I went to a workshop with Pam at the helm to tell us about some very simple and effective web tools she uses in her daughters classroom to help out the class teacher. First of all we played with Animoto, a photo display tool complete with sound effects and very cute back-rounds. Pam showed us an Animoto she did with her daughters class of their school play and the ease of use really sold it to us all as something to used in class for all sorts of events. Next up we had a look at Glogster, a poster creator. These posters are old school and very cool. A fantastic way to present work such as projects or information sheets. Last of all we had a quick look at VoiceThread, almost like a podcasting tool. I can see the uses here but so far I'm liking Animoto a lot more. Maybe I just need to play around with it a little more!
More coffee and chance for more chatting with teachers. I love getting to hear about the workshops I couldn't go to. There just aren't enough hours in the day at CESI!
The final workshop I went to was with Simon Lewis on How to build an App. As much as I loved seeing the process of making an app I'm not sure it's something I'll ever be doing. Yes parts of it are complicated but the idea is pretty straight forward and in theory it's easy. What really scares me about it isn't the work involved it's the cost involved. Apple aren't exactly budget friendly when it comes to app development.
Steven Howell was to be the capstone speaker but due to Steve Wheelers fog issues they swapped and we ended the day on a complete high hearing Steve talk about the idea of our futures. Maybe we can't predict the future but we can certainly see patterns in how technology has developed over the past few years and with experience try to work out where our future technologies will bring us. Who knows maybe the new instant messages will be sent by brain power alone.
CESI is one of the highlights of the year for any techie teachers. It's a chance for teachers to learn from teachers. As educators we encourage peer tutoring and learning every step of the way and CESI helps us to do the same. Next up is the ICT EDU conference in LIT Tipp on the 19th of May. The call for presenters is coming up soon, keep an eye on twitter and the website for more details.
Wise words today? Don't knock it til you try it, if you've never been to a CESI conference make sure you don't miss out next year!