Since we’re already halfway through March this is the time of year that we start planning for next school year. Naturally, a significant piece of planning for next year is reflecting on what we were able to accomplish since August. As I reflect on this year one of the most exciting projects my team has put together is our district Promethean Learning Plan. Tomorrow we reach milestone for this year’s plan with our final ActivBoard User Group or ABUG meeting. Four times this year 100-150 teachers have met on Saturdays for day-long ABUG workshops designed to improve both technology skills and instructional practices. With the idea that our best teachers are often the phenomenal storytellers, tomorrow’s event is built around the guiding question: “How can teachers and students use digital storytelling for multimedia teaching and learning?” Using Chapter 7, “Better on the Big Screen,” from The Interactive Whiteboard Revolution by Betcher & Lee our teachers will take a look at how software like Google Earth, Skype, and Gapminder, combined with an interactive whiteboard can envelop students into classroom lessons. One of my teammates, Michelle, will kick off the day with an amazing keynote presentation using images, video, music, and Google Earth to introduce the setting, plot, and background for Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men. This week she allowed me a couple of sneak-peeks and I can hardly wait to see the final product! After what will undoubtedly be a rockin’ keynote, participants will break out into mini-sessions where they can learn more about Google Earth, Jing, Skype, Dipity, and Keynote. I am facilitating one of the Google Earth sessions and this time, unlike at CUE, I will try to Ustream for real. Finally, over lunch teachers will collaborate in grade-level or subject-area teams to build their own story-telling lessons. It’s going to be a great day!
If you are interested in learning more I would suggest checking out our ABUG website. We also have videos from the first and second ABUG keynotes (with the third to come) posted online. Finally, should you be in the Sacramento area and interested in stopping by leave a comment and I’d be happy to send you the directions.