July 28th was the first Edcamp launched by a team of Old Orchard Beach educators. Over 100 area instructional technology, media/library and classroom teachers gathered to share ideas and learn from each other. The structure of this Edcamp was the usual plan of an open board that becomes a set of sessions when teachers put stickies up and organizers move them around to combine ideas and place sessions.
I attended sessions on "Genius Hour", Makerspaces and apps for early learning. I have a new set of resources to share from each of the sessions. Alice and I both attended the Makerspaces session, the notes on this shared doc. Mike and I went to the session on implementing the Genius Hour concept. I would like to work with teachers on the possibility of implementing a spring fourth grade unit, Billy Corcoran share his doc that describes what his 4th grade classroom did last year along these lines. He used his literacy block on Friday mornings.
I spent the 3rd session with Libby Corcoran who is a special educator who is also an app developer. I will be reviewing her app The Reading Train with our Kindergarten team. The app allows for individual logins and is organized into leveled books. Students can hear the books, read on their own or record themselves reading. Libby also has .pdfs of the Level 1 books that can be printed and sent home with students. I was very impressed by her story of becoming an app developer and I think this app may well be just what we have been looking for as a way to support literacy learning with the K iPads. Libby also shared a list of apps that she thinks are of value; this will be helpful as well in getting started with our second year of iPads in K and our third year in first grade.