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Wait, what just happened?! (Launching a Conference)

As it turns out, putting on a conference is a whole lot like planning for a wedding. Months of preparation, sleepless nights, and dreams (nightmares?) that make you begin to believe that the world revolves around this one event. And then suddenly it is here, the big day. The culmination of all of the hard work. A strange peace comes over you when you wake the morning of the conference. You’ve done all that you can do. If it hasn’t already been planned for, it will just be what it is. Blink and it is over. Wait, what just happened?! You know it was an AMAZING two days and that the connections were incredible, but going back to sum it up in a few words…that is harder. The crisis of the imminent creeps in (oh yeah, I still have a school to run!) and before you know it a week has passed and you still haven’t put thoughts down on paper. I’ve struggled to neatly sum up the 5Sigma Conference. What I can say is, WOW. The 5Sigma Education Conference was one of the best professional experiences I’ve had. It feels a little arrogant to say since I’m the one who planned it, but really, what happened last weekend impacted me enormously. It wasn’t what I did. It was the connections with others who are innovative and amazing in their education space. It was the stories told, the laughter shared, it was the discovery that others are doing the hard thing in education and we share the same struggles and joys. In a way, the 5Sigma conference was like being in a foreign country and finding someone from your hometown. Only everyone at the conference was that person. Anastasis is a very different kind of school. Even the things we do that share common education language (inquiry), look very different here. It can feel a bit isolating, even surrounded by other educators, because we do things that others don’t. 5Sigma was a great reminder that we aren’t alone. That others know the struggles. They also know the deep joy, freedom, and excitement. It was incredible to be able to share that with so many! I’m still sorting out my thoughts…I suspect they will become several posts. In the mean time, I want to share some words from others who are more eloquent in their reflection of the weekend than I currently am. This gem is from @yourkidsteacher (who many of you supported through the 5Sigma Pay-it Forward program to get to Colorado for the conference): Edu Conferences, Woodstock & Physicists Check out this Storify of Tweets from the weekend to get a taste of the fabulous discussions that happened (Thanks to @rsvoigt for making that happen!): 5Sgima Edu Conference Storify To all who attended the first annual 5Sigma Education Conference: a sincere thank you! Your presence, support, and the conversation your brought was THE highlight. To our awesome presenters: You all are rock stars. I don’t say that lightly. You are incredible people doing important work every. single. day. Thank you for sharing that. To our sponsors: You made so much of what we did possible to do. Thank you for supporting us with swag, donated snacks that made us feel at home, and prizes that put some substantial smiles on faces! To Team Anastasis staff, students, and parents: You are hands down the BEST and my favorite!  

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Widbook: Online Collaborative ebook Creation

Posted by admin | Posted in Analyze, Art, collaboration, Create, Evaluate, Foreign Language, Government, History, Interactive book, Language Arts, Middle/High School, Phonics, Primary Elementary, Science, Secondary Elementary, Social Studies, Teacher Resources, web tools, Web2.0 | Posted on 15-06-2012

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Widbook – Write, read and share! from Widbook on Vimeo.

What it is:  Widbook is a new publishing platform for ebooks.  What makes this publishing platform so neat is the social aspect, it allows authors to collaborate and make suggestions.  Each user also gets their own bookshelf where they can subscribe to other author’s work.

When students start a new ebook, they can choose who can see the book when it is published, choose whether they will accept collaboration for the book, and choose if they want to accept comments for the book.  Actually writing the book is fabulously simple.  All of the onscreen tools are easy to use and intuitive as to their function.  The book can have a table of contents, multiple chapters, and pictures and video embedded right into the book.  When students are finished, they simply save the book and publish it.  The finished book gets a unique url that can be shared.

How to integrate Widbook into the classroom:  Widbook is a fantastic, simple tool for secondary students to use to create ebooks. Students can create individual published works that can be commented on by other students and the teacher.  Students can receive relevant-real time feedback not only from their teacher, but also from other students.  Students not only get practice writing their own works, they also get practice evaluating writing of their peers.

Students can use Widbook to write final drafts of any piece of writing be it an essay or creative writing assignment.  The ability to add video and images easily is wonderful.

Widbook would also be a great place for students to collaboratively create books about their learning.  Each student can add a chapter, or groups of students can create chapters together.  Instead of assigning students a textbook to read for the semester, include them in the creation of a collaborative textbook.  Provide students with a table of contents and put them to work creating a chapter for each topic/unit throughout the year.  At the end of the year, each student will have a book of their learning that they helped to create.  Much more useful than a textbook that one of the Big Six wrote that gets opened only before tests!

Are you having trouble finding a book that matches your classroom learning needs?  Create an ebook that perfectly meets your students right where they are.  Include videos and images relevant to learning.

 

***For younger students be sure to check out BoomWriter!

Tips: Older students who have Facebook accounts can choose to link their Facebook account for easy login (make sure you know your school’s policy on social networking sites being accessed at school, even if it is just to login with).

Please leave a comment and share how you are using Widbook in  your classroom!

Comments (1)

Hi! I didn’t know this! and speaking of collaboration tools, I know one that has worked fine in my classes. It’s called nearpod and it’s a collaboration tool that synchronizes content in ipads and you can launch presentations, assess students live and add interactive activities. Anyone knows it? and it’s free :) I strongly recommend it! their website is http://www.nearpod.com
Good luck edtech teachers! :)

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