I presented at my first CUE Rockstar in Tahoe during the summer of 2013. I loved the style of how PD was given; slower placed, make & take, and FUN. This year I was fortunate enough to present again but time in Redwood City with my podcast partner Brian Briggs taking the lead. In my whirlwind of early summer travel I drove make from a weekend in Lake Tahoe and had Briggs pick me up after about 45 minutes at home. Briggs brought with him another for this expedition, his 11 year old daughter. Once he showed, I piled myself and my stuff in his Prius and off we went on our road trip to the bay area.
The ride was long (especially after my 2 hour ride down from Tahoe) but fun, with a games like “how well does Briggs know his daughter” (he got only 60%) .
We arrived and joined some of the other presenters (also known as “lead learners”) for dinner and then got ready for the three days of awesomeness.
The day kicked off with seeing old friends and meeting some new. Reconnecting with the people who you see online is truly special. For example getting to see Diane Main and her rock star son Cameron again is always a joy.
As per all Rock Star events, presenters have to sell their session. Meaning that during the morning introductions, you have one minute to sell everyone to come to your session. These are filled with some heckling and laughs and are a fun part of what Rock Stars are.
I presented on Using Photos in the Classroom with a focus on introducing them to Google Photos (which is my favorite and most under the radar Google tool out there). I had the usual wow’d faces when they saw the features like:
Briggs and I offered our podcasting session. Here we showed both how to find & listen to podcasts as well as how to get started on making one of your own. Those who attended all seemed interested in starting their own be it for their class, school or entire district. We even had some of the CUE staff themselves swing by including Mike Lawrence whom we used as a Guinea pig to create a demo podcast. Thanks for being a good sport Mike and yes, I will check out “blue grass covers of popular songs” like you suggested.
We finished this day of with a killer visit to the Google headquarters in Mountain View. I saw a Google self driving car, got a tour and was even able to hop on one of the Google bikes for a spin
For this day I was only able to do one session but had a big group of teachers looking for ways to use Games in the Classroom. We mostly focused on game shows and had a loud and fun time playing these and discussing how we could use these in our classes.
You can check out these games we played at my Game Shows link in my navigation on top.
If you haven't had the chance to attend one of these events you should check them out. They are some of the most rewarding professional development opportunities out there.
Ok, I'm going to attempt to finish my reflections from the CUE 16 Palm Springs Convention. This is not easy you see because, I've been stalling since there was just so much that happened. I'm actually trying to use the voice typing feature in Google Docs to help me so please forgive me if a little this is pretty disjointed.
This was my second year attending this conference. This year I went down with a contingency of Educators from my school district and for most of them it was their first time going to 2. I think by the time that we left their minds were filled to the brim with both ideas and inspiration. And I hope that as they return to their sites that they're able to have some of this magic rub off on the people they encounter.
The first wow factor that we experienced, as you can see in this photo, was our house that we rented. I guess it was a good thing that all the hotels were booked because we ended up having to rent a house and ended up with what we thought was like a mini resort. We're definitely going to go down this road again next year.
My agenda for this conference was twofold; one, I had to present at several different sessions and the other was to really try to connect with so many of my head ed tech friends whom I've met and many whom I've never met in person. That I think is probably the greatest walk away that I had from this conference - the relationships. Of the two sessions that I presented one was early in the conference and the other was the last session before of the conference. My first session was on the LMS platform Schoology that I got to present with my friend and co-worker Bill Kimmel. We had a much larger than expected room and the session went fantastic! We had a fair amount of people who have never seen this program before and were pretty new to the whole idea about how an LMS can be a new way of looking at how teachers interact with their students and parents at home. We finished by playing a Kahoot game which got them excited inspired and even was able to give away 5 t-shirts courtesy of the folks at the Schoology booth thanks!