Monday, November 02, 2009

Conference Attendance: MAME 36

My annual MAME conference roundup, which also happens to be the means by which I now keep notes. The keynote speaker was Christopher Harris, a library leader from New York state at a level comparable to our ISDs or REMCs. Harris's talk, similar to David Warlick's themes, revolved around enhanced communication via the new digital methods, the keywords I took down include:
The irony of such talks is that, frequently, school librarians desire to be the place for innovation, the destination for digital nativity, the new means of reaching and teaching students, but are hindered by a variety of factors: infrastructure, policies, politics, sheer depth of schedule, and now, even job reductions. So, until we solve the obstacles within our organizations and our state through self-advocacy, we'll continue to only desire to be the innovators, rather than the actual change students can use.

Other sessions, in order, include:

Web 2.0: Judy Hauser, Oakland Schools
  • RedZ: Search engine that shows home pages in search results. Has potential, perhaps for special ed or visually-impaired students.
  • Wordle: Website for creating word clouds, seen it before and like the visual opportunities it provides.
  • Doodle: An online scheduling tool, but I'll stick with Evite for personal, or Google Calendar for organizational scheduling.
  • Big Huge Labs: Creative photo tool for creating badges, posters, etc., that can use Flickr or one's own photos.
  • Pics4Learning: A copyright-friendly image library for teachers and students.
  • Flickr Creative Commons: Freely-available photos, with attribution.
Information Literate: Inquiry Research Unit
Using Surveys to Find Out What Students Know: Using clickers to conduct student surveys.

Making a Difference in Your District: Barb Fardell
  • MMC digital content is coming soon from Florida Virtual High School, purchased in perpetuity for $850,000?
  • 24 two semester courses (Algebra I & II, Calculus, Geometry, American Government, American & World History, English I, II, III & IV, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, and Spanish & Latin, among others).
  • Much potential here, will plan to share this information with out curriculum director.
Media Center Coffee Shop

Other observations
  • In the old days when there were competing sessions that I wanted to attend, I would simply slip in to retrieve a handout, then fly off to the other concurrent presentation. Now, thankfully, to concentrate on the chat and keep from taking detailed notes, or to access sessions other than the ones attended, people's presentations are posted to the MAME website for later digestion.
  • Thursday night dinner was at the Mackinaw Brewing Company, an excellent Bleu Cheese Burger and an above average pint of Peninsula Pale Ale and a mediocre pint of Beadle's Best Bitter. A delicious Friday lunch, too, with my aunt and uncle at the Bayview Inn.
  • The weather was crummy, no other way to describe it: gray, low clouds, only short periods of non-rain. Unfortunately, this was my opportunity to take the opportunity to golf a resort-style course. Went for a run instead, and found the Grand Traverse area hilly.
  • Attendance seemed way down, as I looked around the keynote opening speech. Which leads me to my concluding thoughts...
Starting out for Traverse City on Thursday at 4 A.M. to drive the 200 or so miles before the conference start worked out well again, and saved me the money of a hotel room the night prior, which is important since my district doesn't reimburse for mileage, food, or lodging. But, the Traverse City location in the Lansing-Grand Rapids-Detroit-TC rota is notable, again, as it turns out that we're here for business purposes. It seems that MAME has been to Traverse City three times in the last 5 or 6 years, and it's curious that Lansing is no longer in the mix for the annual conference. (And, I've blogged about my thoughts on Traverse City already.) Apparently, MAME is settling some sort of debt for previous conferences, and MAME members are forced to trek all the way up north to make amends. I would like to take this opportunity to have it noted that as much as I enjoy the Traverse area, it's not only time to get more regular conferences downstate where the majority of the population lives, but a MAME Conference in Lansing is long overdue.

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