Thursday, January 30, 2014

Quickhit Thoughts from FETC Day 1

FETC Essentials
Following my usual pattern, I am sitting in the eye-opener session (sponsored by Google) putting
together some thought from yesterday's kick-off of the Flordia Education Technology Conference (FETC)

A Keynote on What Matters
Discovery Channel sent Architectual guru Danny Forster to give a phenomenally entertaining presentation on his life travelling around the globe discussing the great building (and in one case really deep mines) of the world.

His takeaway was that it is important to move beyond the utilitarian purpose and to consider both the context of the environment (the place, the surroundings, the history, the mission) in creating buildings that will be truly meaningful.

BRIEF INTERLUDE: Pre-show music is Daft Punk. I really don't want to think about all of these educators and vendors being "up all night to get lucky" END INTERLUDE

He did a great job of not drawing the conclusion but allowing the audience to discover for themselves. It was certainly easy to come to an anti #edreform conclusion that in our pursuit of value-added matrices and common core aligned test scores, we may have lost sight of the purpose and context of education.

Another thought that occurred to me was the importance of considering the environment when using social media (or teaching the use of social media). Facebook, Twitter, G+, Instagram all have unique use cases and we should understand their use and purpose not only in the function of the network but in also in how our kids are suing these systems as a part of their lives.

Best question and response:
 On to the Vendor Fair

Ok, I said these would be quick hits, and the show is about to begin:

Glass is Growing
I am beginning to hear a Google Glass backlash among some educators regarding limited use-case and what it cannot do or how it cannot be used. Interesting sidenote: it is very similar to the cell phone discussions that we heard a decade ago.

This is the first conference I have been to where I am seeing a decent amount of Glass Explorers (at Blackboard World this summer, I was one of two). I am still showing Glass to a lot of people seeing it for the first time, but it is growing.

BYO is Coming into its Own 
I was cherry picking the opening night of the vendor fair, but there were a lot of web-based applications and if there were native apps, they were chrome, android, and iOS -- oh what a difference a year makes.

This is not to say that there are not a lot of iPAD only vendors or that there aren't a lot of "LOCKDOWN IS GOOD" opportunities. My favorite pitch along this line was a vendor who said: "it doesn't matter if they use a Mac. They will still be using Word...WINDOWS WORD!" -- This was the same vendor who was selling a lockdown experience that took every computer, tablet, and form factor and gave you the same Icons, Desktop, and user experience. "can you imagine how easy it is when everybody is doing exactly the same thing at exactly the same time" -- Wow. It is 2014

INTERLUDE from @jcasap "It wasnt that long ago that we had to call the internet...from our home phones...and the internet was would hang up on you" END INTERLUDE

What I am thinking about - Vendor Style:
Hapara -- an LMS overlay for Google Apps for Education w/ a remote chrome viewer. Teachers can quickly share documents, view and edit documents without permission issues, and administrators have more control over viewing drive contents (a need I have rarely, but when it is there, it is usually important).

Ladybug from Lumens -- Ok, i dont often get excited about document cameras, but how about this for a feature set:

  • USB port to hold pictures
  • Attach a mouse and you can annotate WITHOUT a computer
  • HDMI Passthrough (plug your laptop into the camera and you can use the same source to the projector -- ooh
  • A gorgeous picture
  • Under $550
Program in SCRATCH (or other languages) and have it actually control a robot...even a robot made from cardboard. The $200 kit comes with sensors, motors -- you provide the imagination (and the cardboard as required).
You Knew I was going to love the Dragon
WeVideo is one of my favorite products. It was awesome to hear that they had added call outs and more text-overlay capability. It was more exciting to hear that they are predicting video screen capture and better web-cam integration for Q2 -- Clearly this chromebook friendly web-based video editor is aiming squarely at TechSmith -- it might be time for them to release a Camtasia for Chrome. 

Ok, I think that is what I have for today. 

I will be pretending to be an Extrovert while presenting "CLAIM, ANALYSIS, AND CONTROVERSY" -- our #digcit unit where we begin the process of tackling infowhelm and echo-chambers with our Freshman.  2:00pm is S320B

Questions? Comments? Drop me a line. - JD (Getting back to blogging)

JD's Day One Swag - The rubber Yo-Yo is a blast