Saturday, March 7, 2015

Edcamp is Awesome!!!!

Have you ever heard of edcamp?  I hadn't.  In the class I take, one of my classmates organized an edcamp at his school and encouraged us all to come.  It was local at Los Alamitos High School, so I decided to take a look.  I talked my fourth grade teacher friend into attending with me.  I was pretty sure I wouldn't get much out of it, he being a high school computer science teacher and myself a first grade teacher.  Boy, was I wrong!  So it begins with networking in the morning with munchies and coffee.  We are then directed to write down anything we'd like to learn more about or any topic we'd like to facilitate.  Then we are directed to place them on the following board:

We placed any post its with topics we'd like to or felt comfortable facilitating on the orange sign.

And anything we'd like to learn about on the purple sign.

There were a few people working the board, what I mean by this is, they were moving the post-its into similar topic groups.  Once it was time to begin, we were told to either look at the board or log-in to view the computer board.  We then picked which sessions we would attend and were encouraged not to sit through something we didn't find useful.  We sat through three sessions.  In those sessions the facilitator would begin by asking, what everyone's questions were and writing them on the board, then we'd go through and see if anyone in the room could answer those questions.  Smartboards and computers are on, so people could share ideas via the web, google docs, what ever.  It was within one of these sessions I learned about the app  An SDC teacher who has a non-communicative autism class was very excited to share her finding.  So, you can get the free app, which has limited characters and backgrounds, but the most limiting is that it only allows for 30 seconds of voice recording or text to speech (which is what her students were using).  If you upgrade to tellagami edu, you will get 90 seconds of voice or text to voice recording.  It is $4.99 and the app looks like this:
So I was so excited to get started, I began to use it on Monday.  The standard we are working on in science is how animals thrive in their environment.  So we had a home project where students created a habitat and then brought it to school.  I took a picture of the habitat, the students created their character then they spoke about their habitat.  I then put the link in a QR Reader maker, I used this free link to do that: downloaded it and also put the link above that, with the child's name.  I then attached them to their project and asked parents to download a free qr reader for open house.  What a hit!  I work at a school where 97% of students are on free lunch, so I wasn't sure how many parents had smartphones.  I have a class of 27, 25 parents showed up, only 6 of those did not have a smartphone.  The rest did and when they watched their child's tellagami they loved it.  Here are a couple, either use your qr reader or the link to watch them.                       
Preview of your QR Code                                 Preview of your QR Code

This was very easy to do.  In 2 days a few minutes each day, I created a class of 27 of these.  I used my phone or ipad then emailed the link to myself, after school I put them in the qr maker.  It was easy and I wowed my parents.  I also had principal walk throughs the day before open house, the principals, superintedent and assistant superintedent walked through my class and they were wowed, also!  You should have seen them going around with their QR Readers listening to the different mini reports.   If you've never heard of this app you've got to give it a try!

If you are interested in ed camp, you can get more information here:

Here is a super short youtube of the event:

And don't forget to check out my TPT store:

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