Wow! I am so energized with ideas, I can hardly wait for summer school to start on Monday, so I can try out some of the new things that I learned.
The main idea that has really resonated with me is how simulations, video games, and animations can be used to energize student learning. The Key Note speaker was Curtis Chandler, a Kansas Teacher of the year, who kept reinforcing the idea that humans are hardwired for 2 things: FUN and LEARNING. He explained that it is our job to make learning more fun. The fast-talking, energetic speaker was full of ideas on how to make boring lessons more engaging with games, music, dancing, but most importantly, video games. I'm not a huge gamer, but he has convinced me that video games can be a very important motivator and a great resource for product-based instruction, when students have a lot of options available, a video-game might be an incredible tool if we can just figure out how it will work in our classroom.
Throughout the keynote address, and the breakout sessions that followed, I made use of a new-to-me program called EverNote. It is an app that allows you to organize your notes and add photos. My favorite thing about the app is that it is available on my iPad, iPhone, and MacBook. So to records all of my notes, but I can access them on any device. Also, I took photos of the various handouts from each session, and put the handout right in the middle of my notes, so that I don't even need to keep the paper....let's face it, most of my handouts and notes from previous conferences are long-lost....in a pile of notebooks, not easily available at any time....I am so excited to use Evernote at conferences and meetings in the future!
I learned about a lot of fun apps and websites at the conference, almost all of them are free. Keep reading this blog, as I will be sharing many of them in the coming weeks as I create new content for my classroom in the fall.
Do you use Evernote? Do you use video games in your instruction? I would love to see what you are doing in your classroom, please leave a link in the comments!