Last day of NECC. Wow! What a great learning opportunity. I am in total overload. It will take me quite a while to process the great amount of information and ideas generated by this conference. This conference was definitely about making connections for me. I had traveled by myself over 2500 miles to come to the conference, and yet, I don’t think I went to one session where I did not meet up with someone who knew me through connections with Discovery Educator Network, Google Teachers Academy and of course, Twitter. I met people who I have collaborated with on Science, Social Studies, Language Arts and Math projects. I met people who have inspired and informed me through blogs and Twitter posts. Even with over 13,000 people in attendance, I felt like I knew and recognized people around every corner. Not only did I know these people, these are people that inspire and encourage me. These are people help me get over my feeling of being a Lone Ranger. This has been a very exciting and powerful experience. My first session was filled with Twits and DEN STARS. Wesley Fryer, Darren Kuropatwa, Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach and a host of others shared their experience with the K12online conference. This is a great model of professional development where great ideas are shared over the web live and then also archived. The possibilities of how to use this resource and get involved with K12 online are endless. Lots of neat ideas of how to use these resources for face to face professional development and conversations. I was inspired enough to even consider perhaps submitting a proposal. (Proposals are due July 11). I then was entertained by our very own Hall Davidson who shared some fun ways to play with html code. He encouraged us to share code with our students. Once they understand just a little of the code behind the pages, they will start creating and problem solving and come up with things we might have never thought of. In that spirit, as Hall was demonstrating how you could post Steve Dembo’s qik feed onto your webpage. Someone asked if you could paste that code on GoogleEarth. Hall had never tried this before. So he called Steve and asked him to send video to his Qik feed. And with a little pasting of code, wallah! We were able to see Steve talking in real time on Google Earth. Fun and lots of great possibilities for innovative ideas in class. For example, have students from different locations phone in what they are eating for dinner and then take a culinary tour. As always, Hall was very entertaining and had lots of great ideas. Those ideas are shared here. My last session of the day and of NECC was my own. Tim Fahlberg was presenting on Mathcasts and asked me to share my experiences using Mathcasts in elementary school. Tim, his sister Linda and had lots of great ideas about different ways to create Mathcasts including using Jing, VoiceThread and Camtasia Studio. I sat in a little of the closing keynote with Dr. Idit Harel Caperton. She was talking about how important it is for students to be creating their own learning activities online. She shared several innovative projects showing how teachers are providing opportunities for students to create their own learning and to collaborate globally.
On a side note, after leaving NECC, my husband and I headed out on our 3 week road trip back home. Our first stop was a beautiful spot on the Guadelupe River in Historic Gruene. We had a great Texas meal in beautiful old gristmill. We then headed for the great city of Austin. (Many call it the Seattle of the South.) We are staying right by the Congress Ave. Bridge. The cool thing about this is that the world’s largest urban bat colony lives under this bridge. People gather at dusk each night to watch the Mexican Freetailed bats leave their roost in swarms to go feast on insects. Erik and I got a great view of the bats from the bridge as they took off from the bridge. Very cool to see the swarms of bats against the sky in the distances as they made their way to their feeding grounds. If you ever get to Austin, make sure to check out the bats.
Interesting Bat Facts
- The bats provide a valuable service to the Austin community by consuming between 10,000 to 30,000 pounds of insects nightly!
- Bats can live to be 30 years old.
- Mother bats give birth to a single pup each year. The pups birth weight is nearly 1/3 that of its mother.
- Bats are mammals and nurse the pups from mammary glands. Each female recognizes her pups voice and smell and will nurse only her pup.
- During migrations to Mexico and back, bats may reach an altitude of 10,000 feet and velocities of 60 miles per hour.