Technology Conference

Thanks to WPTV Channel 5 here in West Palm Beach for covering the Palm Beach Technology Conference! Hey, our fearless leader even gets into the act with a short on-camera appearance.

We’ve had a lot of ongoing conversations about the Palm Beach Technology Conference held this past Friday and it’s great that so much of that is happening via Twitter. In the widget below you’ll see results of a search done for our “official” hashtag from the Tech Conference: #pbtechconf. You can keep the conversation going by using that tag when you post and your posting will be added here. Fun!

We have a few teachers covering our district blogging platform as we ramp up the scale of our service. It’s pretty exciting and our annual Technology Conference is a great place to get some new teachers started.

Of course, being a public school district we have plenty of rules and policies that have to be followed as well as solid practical advice from the time we’ve spent watching students and teachers interact with blogs.

If you’d like to see how we handle some of the common issues that come up with blogging and glean some ideas from our policies feel free to download our Acceptable Use for Classroom Blogs here.

It’s just a few days now until the 2010 version of our annual Technology Conference. It’s hard to believe how far we’ve come in the 12 years that our team has been putting on the conference!

This year we’re featuring our first completely interactive conference with an on-line component featuring social networking tools that make it easy for you to plan and participate in new and exciting ways.

To help you navigate the interactive portion of the conference Brian Dawson from Emerald Cove Middle School has put together a series of videos that you can view below to help you make the most of the online component of the conference. Take a few minutes to check these out then head over to the 2010 Palm Beach Technology Conference and get interactive!

How to Connect to TrainU at the Technology Conference 2010

How To Navigate the TrainU Mobile Site

How to TrainU on the Conference Wall

TrainU Technology Conference 2010 – Edit Your Profile

This is one of those “two-fer” postings where you get two news items for the price of one. Cool huh?

First off, we’re compiling information right now about our own Palm Beach Technology Conference and we’d love to hear from you! In fact, we’re so anxious to get your feedback that we’re giving away an iPod Nano to an individual who completes our survey and provides us with their contact information. We’ll be using this information to plan next year’s conference and we can use all the feedback we can get. So, if you haven’t done so already, run, don’t walk, to the Particpant Survey for the 2009 Technology Conference and let us know what you loved, and maybe didn’t love so much, about this year’s show.

FETC Virtual Conference 2009

Next up is news from the Florida Educational Technology Conference, otherwise known as FETC.

FETC is launching its first-ever virtual technology conference to be held this Thursday, April 23rd with a keynote presentation kicking things off at 11:00 am, followed by some interesting presentations from a wide range of speakers. I’m curious about the panel discussion that will take place in the afternoon, titled “Impact of the Federal Stimulus Package on Districts and Schools”. Other topics may speak to you, so be sure to check it out and visit the schedule of events and list of speakers that you’ll find on their web site.

Registration is required, but the virtual conference is free, so head on over and sign up here!

As always, this year’s Educational Technology Conference was a blast and a lot of work for members of our team. When you’re buried in the details of the day it’s easy for us to get lost as the conference organizers, and not get the opportunity to be teachers. That’s why I always make it a point to give at least one presentation at the conference so I get the opportunity to engage with our teachers and talk about some of the big ideas that we see shaping the use of technology in the classroom.

This year the title of my talk was “Digital Literacy in the 21st Century”, but the more I prepared for my session the more drawn I was to having an interactive experience with my group. As a result, I decided to just open with some broad ideas, including the main idea that even in 2009 we still have trouble defining just what 21st century skills our kids really need. We talk about it a lot, but in the rapidly changing landscape of technology and education it’s mighty hard to pin down what the critical skills are. 

Still, we thought we had a pretty smart group of teachers in our session, so using a free application that allows you to create mind (concept) maps on the fly from, we set about mapping what we thought were the critical skills our students need. You can view the online version of the concept map we created here at, or check out the image below that is a screen capture of our ideas.

It was a great session with some awesome teachers. If you’d like to add to our ideas please submit your comments from the link just below the article title. We’d love to hear what you think are the required skills our students should have as we continue forward into the 21st Century.

21st Century Skills

There are 11 days left to our annual Technology Conference and things are really shaping up! We’ve had more folks pre-register than ever before and we’re expecting to have well over 2,000 teachers, media specialists, and school administrators in attendance. As always, it’s been an awful lot of work getting to this point but it will all be worth it come March 27th when people start to stream into the conference site. (Even though pre-registration is over you can still attend the conference. Just show up on the day of the show and look for the “On-Site Registration” signs.)

Now that the heavy lifting is over the conference web site has been updated with lots of information for those of you who plan to attend. Look for the Plan Your Day link on the right side of the page and you’ll find lots of files to download, including the Sessions at a Glance, conference map, and more.

And if you’ve never been to one of our conferences you can get some flavor of the show by watching the video slide show below. You’ll see lots of happy, engaged teachers in these photos. Just what we’re after every year and what we expect to see on March 27th of this year!