Saturday, February 9, 2013


Today, I went to the first ever PLAYDATE13 conference. PLAYDATE13 was conceived by teachers because they wanted time to learn, practice and discover new technology to use in school, without all the sitting and just listening part of conferences. Imagine, time to play with the tool as you are introduced to it! It was invigorating!

We gathered at National Teacher's Academy in Chicago. Registrants were told to register for certain sessions based on interest, then asked to explore and download all the tools before the conference. Then today, we gathered in sessions, were briefly introduced to the tools, then we played with the tools. We talked about the application of the tools and where and when it could be used. It was great to have the time to play with the tech right then as you heard about it.

Top Take Aways

 1.  A digital portfolio for teachers. A place to showcase student work and what is going on in your classroom. Blog like, with a vertical feel, with spaces for comments. It could handle images, files, audio, everything but links. So, pretty cool. Plus it was lighting fast, and the  app for the iPhone and iPad was great too!

2.    Pronounced "School- ogy". Edmodo like, but so much more powerful in the way it deals with student work that is turned into teachers. Teachers can scroll through student work, with the whole class in one window and comment on it on the right hand side of the screen. It is just a more advanced classroom management system.

3. Paperport Notes App   First, its free! Bring in documents of any kind into the notebook, students can annotated it with text, audio or post it notes. It can be drawn on, highlighted and then emailed. Like GoodReader but better!

4. Subtext App  Also free! Bring anything into subtext, especially webpages, online articles or whatever text, and it strips down the graphics and images, and makes the text into a digital book. It reads like an ebook. I need to play with this one more, but it seems like it would be very powerful for close reading of articles that are online.

5. Doctopus   A script that is run inside Google Apps for Education that allows teachers to assign documents to small groups, large groups, individuals all without going through the tedium of sharing with each student. A super time saver...but complicated! I have NOT mastered this one, but I am determined to figure it out. I am sure it will be a super time saver for sharing documents in our middle school.

Here is the link to the PLAYDATE13 resource page. It has all the tools that were explored today in Chicago and Portland, Oregon and will also include Boston after their conference on March 16th.

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