Sunday, September 18, 2016

EdTech Adventure: Family Style

Over the course of the last few years, my children have watched as I have attended conferences. They get excited about the swag I bring home and always want to hear about what I've learned. They also love to talk about what they learn at school and what new tricks and tips they have. Close to two years ago, my son and I started to develop an idea for a conference. Then, earlier this year, as I traveled to make some connections at schools in Alabama, I introduced him to Google Hangouts. A few months later, he joined me as a watched one of my favorite podcasts. More ideas bloomed.

Within the last week, we finally took a step and made our idea happen. We sat down and did a Google Hangout together and recorded it thanks to Google Hangouts On Air. Here I will share some of what we learned and what we discussed.

First, as of September 12, Google Hangouts On Air is no longer available. Google has redirected people YouTube Live. We recorded on September 10, so we used GHO (On Air) but mentioned at the beginning that we would transition to YouTube Live for the next discussion.

We conducted our first conversation "interview style." I wrote the questions and we had a brief discussion beforehand. Then, we set ourselves up and got the conversation going. The only addition was my six-year-old daughter who decided to participate as well. That added more time to it and we will adjust in the future. Our hope is to have these typically be 10 to 15 minute conversations that allow a teacher and student perspective, but also a parent and child perspective as well. This first conversation focused on the use of technology in education, specifically in the classroom and focused on the child/student perspective.

Our conversation offered many thoughts, but it was a closing thought of my son's that I think is an important thing for us to all consider, and remember. In his closing thoughts, he talked about how some students lack Internet access at home. Connectivity is definitely an issue and I think it puts things in perspective for students to be aware of it as well. At a time when some fourth graders are asking for the latest iPhone, others would simply appreciate accessibility for the sake of looking at the homework for the week on their teacher's website. A discussion has started in some circles, but we definitely need to keep the conversation going about connectivity and accessibility.

Other highlights include my fourth grader sharing about Chromebooks, Google Classroom, and Google apps in his classroom. My first grader shared some about iPads and her favorite apps/activities. Her most favorite is Starfall.

Our first EduAwesome Adventure conversation took almost 40 minutes and we will work to keep them shorter in the future, but this was a fun kick-off to something new from our little EdTech family. Want to hear some for yourself? The video appears below.

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