Practical Ed Tech Summer Camp, 2016 By Kerri Geppert

Kerri Geppert

Grant – Professional Development

Practical Ed Tech Summer Camp, 2016

Technology Summer Camp, Not Your Childhood Summer Camp

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Summer camp is the ubiquitous childhood experience for most of us.  The opportunity to attend a technology summer camp in the comfort of a conference room with no insects? Well sign me up!

Richard Byrne is familiar to many of us as the creator of Free Technology For Teachers (freetech4teachers.com) and someone I have followed online for many years.  Each summer he offers a technology “summer camp” for educators that is limited in size and with two full days of technology integration immersion.  I was looking forward to meeting Richard and spending time with colleagues, learning and sharing technology ideas.  Surprisingly, I was the only librarian in the group.  There were elementary teachers, secondary teachers, and college teachers from education degree programs.  These educators were from all around the world which brought some interesting perspectives to our conversations.

Our first day began with the question, “What do you want to do with technology?”  I hadn’t really considered this question.  We all “do” technology but being asked to articulate what I wanted to accomplish flipped it around.  I would encourage all of you to consider this as you integrate technology into your own library instruction as well as when you work with colleagues.  The answers our group formulated were:  

  1. Discover new information; get beyond just “typing into Google”
  2. Interact and learn
  3. Show off and demonstrate

Next we explored searching beyond Google.  One of the new resources I found very useful gep-1

was Choosito (www.choosito.com/search).  This tool does not require an account to search, however, if you want to use the filters, you do need an account.  Educators can get a free account that does allow use of the filters.  The search results are returned in a much more friendly format for elementary students.  But the option that I particularly liked for student searching is the web evaluation question reminder.  The red arrow (1) points to the small graph that shows evaluation questions and how other users might have rated this site.  This feature is available without a free account and is a good reminder for students about evaluating the sources they use.  

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All search results open in a new tab when selected so the student can return to the questions as needed.  The blue arrow (2) is where a student or teacher can complete an evaluation, however, an account is required for this feature.  I encourage you to explore this tool for use with students, particularly elementary students learning to search.

The second good take away for me was the mnemonic we learned to help remember copyright for images while we were working with video production tools:  Harry Potter Can Fly: H – home grown (do you have your own pictures that you can use, if so use those first); P – public domain (media that is in the public domain pixabay, archive.org (not for elementary students, no filters in place); C – Creative Commons (owner said yes you can use them but give me credit, photosforclass.com is good for this, includes attribution students need on the photo); F – Fair Use (very murky use, depends on point of view but who?) This may require me to create a poster for the computer lab.

There was much more we covered during day one that included backchannel tools that are good to use with students, assessment tools, and blogging.  My brain was on overload as we finished and left for the day.

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