Today I hosted our first ever Digicafe. Staff were invited to come to an informal session where they would have the opportunity to play with this week's featured "toys", chat to others about what's happening in their classrooms and the potential of different digital tools, ask questions about their ICT Certificate/ Pedagogy Licence portfolios. The real kick back was - food was provided. Teachers love a good free feed and our catering ladies do an awesome afternoon tea.
This week's featured toys - the Pulse Livescribe Smartpen, Diigo and Delicious.
I really enjoy seeing people's faces when I first show them the Livescribe Smartpen - the disbelief, the awe, the inspiration and the ideas. The idea that something which looks remarkably like a "regular" pen can do so much, so simply, just blows people away. What I particularly loved about this afternoon was the discussion that happened between teachers from different subject areas and contexts (middle school and senior school were both represented) about the potential of the tool in each of those situations. Everyone's immediate reaction was to ask how we go about getting enough to be able to use 4-5 for different groups to work with and share their sessions with the whole class later. Some fantastic cross fertilisation - and I've just got an email calling for "dibs" on it first up in the morning to use with a class. Awesome stuff!
Diigo and Delicious were received too - even the idea of being able to access their bookmarks regardless of location and which computer they were on get their attention. The ease of searching, organising, managing and accessing these sweetened the deal. What sealed it? Diigo's annotation/sticky note ability. They immediately saw potential for using with students and with colleagues to share resources and ideas. Winner!
I love days like today, they make up all the times I've felt like I'm not making much of a difference. Especially because the Digicafe wasn't our only digital win for the day! Staff who have been resistant and negative in the past about heavily digital units today got excited and enjoyed themselves playing with some of the tools they will need to be familar with for our next Year 11 English unit. For the final assessment of the year students will be produce a slidecast or video incorporating images, footage, music and a recording of themselves delivering their oral presentation. The recording of themselves can be video or audio, or they can do a little of both. While the team was talking about what the final product might look like we showed them some options (using Encoder, Audacity, and MovieMaker). Lots of laughter, lots of "Ohhh" moments, lots of happy staff = happy Mobbsey.
Today was a great day in so many ways - I think I'd better ride the wave of positivity and do some more work on my Belief Statement!