Saturday, August 6, 2011

Cal Educamp trip Notes

Cal EduCamp Aug 5 @ Haas School of Business was promoted as an "unconference", that is, an event generated by participants.
Twitter: #caleducamp

It lived up to the billing and more. Sponsored by UC Berkeley's instructional technology groups it featured a webinar by Howard Rheingold, workshops for learning social media tools, presentations and interactive sessions. About 75 people attended.

The best aspect of the conference was its laboratory atmosphere at once inclusive and challenging in a friendly way. Many people shared works in progress through the main live channels or back channels of twitter, wiki and blog posts.

There was lively interest in varied topics: using game platforms as learning environments, cloudware integration, persona development through comics. I was excited to see distance learning course management represented by two poles: 1) Google sites (Sage Adams, distance educator) (2 Echo from NewTech, a drupal platform for public HS that uses facebook's API as well as integrating other cloudware into a true network, that is it fosters co-construction in problem based learning.

Almost all the educators included mindmapping sw in their toolkits for collaborative learning.Mindmeister, Bubbl-Us & MindNode were all mentioned favorably.

Twitter feeds to follow:

Other intriguing software:
Write or Die (write 500 words in 10 min or else)

Jeff Brain from SFSU CEL/ITEC lead several great sessions:
- 1-2-3 SuperHeroes (visual storytelling)
- BricknMortar to Distance where he described development of the K-12 technology competency course and techniques to make a hybrid course rich and functional
(group teams by time zone, use embedded video, integrated assessment)

What's a general purpose toolkit for hybrid, problem-based teaching and learning?
-Webinar: Elluminate or Adobe Visual Communicator
- MindMap: LucidChart, Mindmeister, Bubbl-Us
- Sound editing: Audacity
- video: iMovie
- collaborative content generation: google docs, UTube, vimeo, voicethread

Common theme: don't expect it to be immediate, ease of use takes work.

My take-away: this is all great fun, very exciting but mostly not accessible. Although design for multiple pathways of access (Rheingold and others) is attended to. Many people are still waiting for the technology to just "do it" automatically, probably because its complicated and technology does have a way of catching up - oh wait, that's us!