NECC – June 25, 2007 – Why I want a GPS Unit!

Wow! Every once in a while you attend a workshop that really makes a difference – or at least rises above the usual standard of conference workshops. Dr. Alice Christie is this year’s bomb. This was by far the most effective, impressive education workshop that I have attended in a long time.The workshop focused on GPS technology and the practice of geocaching. Geocaching is a kind of treasure/scavenger hunt that uses the GPS as the primary tool for finding the hidden treasure or “cache”.Dr. Christie put the participants of her workshop in teams of 4-5 people and gave us all the task of finding several destinations, or “waypoints” in Atlanta’s Centennial Park using a GPS accompanied by a clue. The key to completing the activity was to function as a team, share responsibilities and collaborate to solve all of the clues.After completing the exercise, we reflected on the activity and performed another activity that situated the GPS “game” in contructivist learning principles.If you are interested in GPS or geocaching (or educational technology in general), visit Dr. Christie’s excellent website at links tomorrow! Report from NECC – June 25, 2007

NECC – June 24, 2007 – The First Day

Today was our first day at the NECC site. We registered and toured the Georgia World Congress Center to get our bearings and decide where the best places to hang out were.The scale of NECC is massive, yet it operates like a well-oiled machine. Shuttle buses ferry the thousands of attendees from their hotels to the conference site. The sheer number of people is a site to see.After getting a feel for the place, the LEARN “delegation” (consisting of myself and Director of Operations, Patrick Bérubé) attended a special reception for international attendees entitled, “Putting the ‘I’ in ISTE”. We hooked up with a couple of other colleagues from Canada and met some other people from as far afield as Australia and Singapore.Tonight, NECC delegates got a special treat: A private tour of the brand new Georgia Aquarium, billed as the largest aquarium in the United States (if not the the world). The skills of the organizers was apparent as they managed to get what appeard to be a couple of thousand conference participants into the aquarium and fed without incident or complaint. The aquarium is beautiful and highlighted by two very large tanks containing a “pod” of beluga whales and tropical fish (including several species of shark and stingray) respectively.Back at the hotel, it’s time to wind down and to start thinking about tomorrow’s activities. The day starts early with an orientation, followed by a few hours exploring the massive Exhibition Hall and then two consecutive hands-on workshops in the afternoon. More updates tomorrow!