Thursday, July 30, 2009

Leaders with iPods!

I had the opportunity to present at the leadership camp for administrators in our county this week. All school and district level administrators were asked to come to the week-long camp to learn about leadership, procedures and, of course, technology! I was asked to present 3 sessions on iPods and Podcasting. I took enough iPods for everyone and also borrowed a Macbook cart so we could use GarageBand for podcasts.

As the participants entered the room, it was fun to see their reactions to ipods and laptops on each desk. "Ooh, this one looks like it will be fun" and "Oh, I'm glad I signed up for this one" were common remarks that I heard in each session. All that before they even knew what we were going to do!

The first part of the session was dedicated to ipods. We talked about apps, cost, student involvement, etc. and I allowed lots of time for them to "play". I stopped at one point in the first session to see everyone totally involved in the apps they were studying and I asked them to take a look around and see how engaged people in this room were (funny, no one did because they were too busy with their apps). I explained that this engagement was also evident with the students and part of the reason I believe this is true is because they are working at their own pace with their own personal tool. It was fun to see their reaction to what, for many of them, was something brand new.

After the iPods, we went to the Macbooks and opened GarageBand. I had showed them a few podcasts and explained what a podcast was, but now they were going to create their own. Of course I got a few looks like I was insane to ask them to make a podcast with only 15 minutes left in the session. We kept it very simple. We recorded their voices from a script with fill in the blanks, then we added music in the form of the podcast jingles included with GarageBand. I was going to have them add pictures, but in the end opted to just talk about the fact that you could. Only one person in all three sessions had ever made a podcast, so I really didnt' want to overwhelm anyone.

Interesting, but not surprised by it, many of them wanted to buy a mac after they left! I think a few of them would have stayed and played with GarageBand all day! I was also very impressed that I didn't hear any comment all day that they just couldn't do technology (a response I am learning to get used to). I had a wide range of age and skill levels and impressively, they were all interested in what I had to share with them. It was a really fun day and I was glad I had the opportunity to be involved with such a great group.

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