I've heard about quite a few exciting things today at TappedIn Summer Festival. A non-stop set of short courses to entice you out of your comfortable chair and give that kickstart to press on. Even when no one understands why you want to do something.
I learned about Skype and talked to people from one corner of the country to another. I was disappointed to realize that I can use it for webcasting unless I have my own dedicated server. I can't see that I'll be given permission to have that within my district. But it's great that I had the chance to see how it works and talk to others. Jeff LeBow, from WorldBridges, hosted the session. He has a heart for getting digital kids tools inside their schools that they experience in their "real" lives.
Sandy Gassner led a math integration discussion that blew me away. She has created a set of links that will help her teachers in general, and then another set for them that directly link to their curriculum. When this district implements something, they considered ALL the kinds of professional development support their teachers were going to need. They didn't do everything about the implementation and then turn to technology to fill in the gaps. It's there from the get-go.
I also heard about a newly forming group CLIME. It's a birds of a feather group...math teachers who want to integrate technology into what they are doing. It sounded as if lots of them use Geometer's Sketchpad. I know about it, but don't know how to use it. My district only uses it at the HS level. While some of these folks know how to use it to make things comes alive for middle schoolers as well. I also found some interest in Microworlds as a thinking about math modeling software. You don't find that crowd very often. What is about Math Forum that just draws the best out of teachers?
The best part of this day was how freely everyone shares. There's not a $500,000,000 conference fee plus traveling expenses to get together and talk about how to collaborate. Just the time and connectivity. TappedIn captures the spirit of teachers helping each other out for the benefit of their students. It's a very cool place to professional challenge yourself. No matter where you are in the spectrum of learning.