CUEBC Conference – Oct. 2011

I quite enjoyed my CUEBC  ProD Conference, despite the fact that I was coughing, croaking with a frog voice, and burying my face in my elbow in an effort not to spread germs like crazy! David Warlick, our keynote speaker, is a high tech wonder who can still relate to even the most “newbiest” of us.  He is always both entertaining and stimulating. He does like to play on his North Carolina accent, but it definitely adds flavour to his humorous anecdotes.  I was delighted to hear that he recommends “Edublogs” as a first choice, knowing that I would be jotting down my notes here.

Looking around the audience, I noted that almost half the transcribers seemed to be using mobile phones and similar devices, at least a quarter had their laptops clicking away, and a scant few used pens and paper.  Warlick posted four images on the screen and asked us if we knew who they were.  When he suggested that we could check around with our neighbours , the fingers were really flying as people tried to put Google images to the test.     He made an interesting statement (paraphrased):  “We have become a question asking culture with 150 billion questions an hour recorded by Google.  What did we do ‘BG’…  Before Google???  We didn’t ask the questions!!!”

He also asked (paraphrased): “Can we in traditional education make learning more fun? Can we allow some ‘distraction’?  Can we be playful enough to give ourselves permission to get it wrong.  In a world where teachers don’t know what their students will need to know, knowing how to learn and adapt is of the utmost importance. The guiding questions you should ask yourself are: DOES YOUR LESSON… Inspire personal investment, provoke conversation, increase responsiveness, and let the students be guided by safely-made mistakes.”  As teachers we need to focus on “how to find answers to questions” rather than “knowing content”.  He emphasized that the world today has no ceiling to a student’s potential accomplishments.  They can publish to www world, which gives them a sense of hyper connectedness. When we close the doors on peripherals (like cell phones), it is like cutting off the tentacles of an octopus. The student of today is a different being altogether, and we need to embrace that rather than try to confine to the old ways of learning.   

Warlick suggests teachers take a “Gardener’s Approach to Learning.  Learn how to grow your own learning network and knowledge garden by connecting with other professionals, mining the greater global conversation, and mapping out libraries of ideas and content. Topics may include blogs and micro-blogging, social networks, social media networks, RSS, and publishing and data visualization techniques.” source:

In his “Tech Literacy” article (with Sara Armstrong), Warlick states that the three R’s are now being replaced with the 4 E’s:  EXPOSING KNOWLEDGE – Reading, EMPLOYING INFORMATION – Arithmetic, EXPRESSING IDEAS COMPELLINGLY – Writing, ETHICS – right and wrong on the information highway.  You can read all about the 4 E’s at:

Other ‘tidbits’ that I noted were:
Gravatara – gives an avatar you can use other places
Knitterchat is a backchanneling tool designed for engaged learning. The audience can post comments, questions, answers, and concerns and collaborate during a presentation.  (I wasn’t fast enough or clued in enough to figure this out during the conference… maybe another time!)
Doodlebuzz – Draw lines to find news stories that are related!
Youtube – It’s playful, interesting and is now the 2nd largest website!

I got my own example for “BG and AG”…  In my notes I typed: “Cognitive Surplus – Author – sherke? and then later on wondered what this was… so I “googled” what I had and immediately came up with a synopsis of the book Warlick mentioned!  Talk about “just in time” access!

My Session 1 – Paul Klintworth
Technology Integration Teacher at Collingwood Private School, West Van.
Paul has much experience at the Primary levels as well.  He gave us an overview and examples of some technology programs that he has used at his school. Be sure to check out his tech site and blog!

Gmail:  Paul suggests setting up free Gmail email accounts for students whenever a student email is required for use in a program.  Website and blog tool which he uses.  Can be free, but paid accounts are secure   These are educational programs that Paul highly recommends.

Art – 2Paint a Picture: (somewhat similar to KidPix) In his example, they scanned real leaves and then reduced the size to make a tree picture with copies of the real leaves falling off it. Another example had a background collage of leaves in one color which looked almost like tessellations

2Create – (somewhat similar to HyperStudio or Inspiration) A non-linear presentation, in his example, a dart frog report.

2Investigate  – Does a data base, Does Venn diagrams

Psykopaint:  This is quite different from the “KidPix approach”.  Use photos to make your own artwork in different styles (impressionism, cubism etc.)

Luapic: – photo editing

Plasq: – A “not free” comic maker

Toondoo:  Another “not free” comic maker, but you can have a free trial.

Kerpoof:   You can make a free picture or movie.  Teachers can sign up for a free account.

Microsoft photo story 3: Paul uses this one a lot! (It is like Imovie but for PCs.) He used it for a field trip.  Students picked the pictures and put them on a timeline. Then he had the students narrate the pictures.  A second audio track was used for music background.

Animoto: – A Free presentation vehicle for pictures or 30 sec. clips.  Animoto has replied to Paul and said kids under 13 should use an account under the teacher’s control. Each student has own email….   Eg. will be student #1 in the club.

Storybird: Short art-inspired stories

Photovisi:  Free Photo collage maker- place photos in a ‘poster’ and add labels, text etc. but you can’t save it.  Paul suggests taking one session to collect photos and a second to create poster.

Tagxedo:  Takes the words like wordle but puts them into a shape (eg. nice words in a heart shape  for valentine’s day).  It exports as a jpeg so you can save it. Good, but you can only print it out, not save it

Capzles: Puts photos into a timeline. You add text and Teacher/students can comment on the work. It saves it online… so don’t use personal photos

Glogster:  Exciting way to present reports with photos, text, video etc.  Free teacher accounts available.

Prezi:  Like a poster, but it zooms to different spots on the poster… a presentation tool
NOTE:  did you see the Prezi that Brian Kuhn emailed us?


 Session 2 – Phil Macoun
IT Teacher from Vancouver Island
Be sure to check out his blog at:

Phil is an Information Technology Teacher and Facilitator, a Math Teacher & course writer, ThinkQuest & Google Apps Coordinator  and more!  He has put together a great Wiki on Scratch too!

I had already attended a Scratch workshop in the past, but by the time I went to use it at school, had forgotten what to do! I only see my Gr. 5 Computer Club for one 35 minute “club meeting” a week, so it’s not surprising that I never got to do it with them. I know that many of the Gr. 5s are trying Scratch on their own. This was a great opportunity for me to try on MYown again.  To me, Scratch is like a modern version of the old Logo Writer turtle.  I remember putting together a book of activities for my Gr. 2 students starting with learning how to move the turtle to travel in a line, turn corners, make a box, make increasing stairs and so on.  The instructions for moving the turtle had to be precisely done and required focused attention.  Working out your mistakes took a lot of thinking too!  The students were SO excited when they were able to control their turtles!   Scratch is that and SO much more!  The characters are called “Sprites” and allow for many choices, including very personal adaptations like adding a photo of your own face.  Not only do they move, but you can add multiple characters that interact, you can change the backgrounds, add sound, music, and even recorded audio!

It was great to follow through Paul’s lessons and then to have free time to explore and actually work with the program.   With a serious sense of commitment, I managed to finish a little scene with a cat running from a flying bat.  The bat was supposed to swoop down and “echolocate” at the cat so that the cat meowed.  Sadly, when I proudly showed it to Paul, he said, “Wow! You got the bat to poop on the cat!”  Hmmm… back to the drawing board for me!

A few little tips from the session:

 *You don’t want the sprite to go off the side and disappear!
Start your sprite where you want it to be.
Click the sprite again and it will have a spot located.
Click it to the other side and have that as the go-to (Go to a specific coordinate).

 *Move 10 steps versus glide
Glide is handy but it is not the best choice as you can’t add other details later on.

 *To get them to look like they are walking 
Use “costume”.  Costume 1 is a pose, and Costume 2 is a second pose.
Costume 1 & 2: Do copy…. On your sprite…. Edit…. Change one of the legs
In the color box, the bottom right (looks like white) is virtually nothing so you can import a picture and get rid of the white square around your sprite by “erasing” the white around it.
Move 10 steps, move to costume 1
Add a pause NOTE: the transition can be as little as only .1 seconds!
Move 10 steps, move to costume 2

Show and hide buttons. 
When making a Digital Story, you may hide a character at the beginning and have it show later
When making one sprite do something then another sprite do something
Bad way:  e.g. Cat crosses screen for 5 sec, then dragon blows fires at 10 sec
Good way: e.g. Cat does set of motions and you choose broadcast…fire
                               Dragon now breathes fire when cat is finished


CONTROL BLOCKS: Check out your “Forever block” and  “Repeat block”

Repeat forever if….   Eg one character touches another

You can choose “Play note”… has a drop down piano!
Record sound….   Wow!  You could record in French!  e.g. on audacity…. Record as sound files

My sincerest apologies to Paul if I have misconstrued some of the directions!  He was an excellent teacher, but in the short time allotted, some of we “challenged students” need a little extra time to follow the instructions properly!  Kudos to Paul, however, for having encouraged me to “keep on trying”!


3 thoughts on “CUEBC Conference – Oct. 2011

  1. Wow, what a thorough debrief on your CueBC sessions Nora. Great job capturing the essence of what you learned and sharing the links to the various tools you learned about. Sounds like you had a very productive PD experience.

    One of the prezis you referred to that I sent out is: by Maria Andersen in case your readers want to check it out.

    So I’m wondering what the #1 thing you learned at CueBC that you will apply in your classroom this year?


  2. Thanks for your comments, Brian,
    I’ve had to take some time to consider my reply! Today I thought I had it… from David Warlick, I was reminded that children today are so much more able to deal with technology. It made me brave enough to have my Gr. 2’s attempt (with the help of their Gr. 5 Buddies) to upload their own post on our Edublog website. In fact, the Gr. 2’s were more familiar with the actual technology simply because I had already exposed them to it. From Paul Klintworth, I was reminded that there are always new and exciting programs coming out that add their own twist on learning. For example, our district has gone with KidPix, but Paul’s school has been investigating 2Simple software. I had used Wordle before, but Paul inspired me to try Tagxedo in a recent blog. From Paul Macoun, I was reintroduced to Scratch, and given enough of a boost to decide to try it out with my Gr. 5 Computer Club. Several of them had already done some personal projects in Scratch (of course! the kids are always ahead!), but Paul’s “How to” Wiki gave me a way to introduce it to the uninitiated (and also to gain more “How to” experience myself!)

    On reading over your question, however, I realize that you actually asked what was my NUMBER 1 thing was that I would apply in my class. I think I will go back to David Warlick for that one! Technology IS HERE and the children are already immersed in “techno un-educational activities” in their home lives. When I bring educational technology into my classroom, I am extending their learning outwards to the world. There have been times when I wondered if my own passion for technology was overriding more sensible “old school” teaching and learning. I am convinced that they ARE doing IMPORTANT learning, maybe not exactly the same things as in previous years, and maybe not in the same way. What will I do in my class?… CONTINUE investigations into how technology can enhance my students’ learning!
    :-) Nora

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