April 17, 2014

CUE 2014

It has been a couple of weeks since I have attended the Annual CUE conference, and I’m finally having the time to process all of the learning that occurred. This was my first experience with the CUE conference, and my overall opinion of it is positive. There were plenty of options so I felt like I wasn’t going to see the same thing over and over again. I was able to find areas of education technology that interest me and offered resources to help me implement them into the classroom.

I don’t think it is any secret that I am favoring Maker Education these days, and was pleased to discover that there were a few sessions dedicated to this kind of learning and teaching. I was kind of surprised that there weren’t more of these sessions offered. I realize that the movement is still gaining popularity, and I imagine that the sessions offered will grow in the future.

After thinking about it for some time, I realize that the two most parts of the conference that had the most impact on me were the resources that were shared and the connections to other Computer Using Educators that I made.

With that in mind, here are the resources that I found most valuable and intend on looking into with more detail.

Geogebra – Dynamic mathematics & science for learning and teaching. Watch it in action.

Knotplot – This software allows kids to create 3D knots and then print them.

MeshMixer – A free tool for making crazy 3D stuff without too much hassle.

Sculptris – A free 3D modeling application, that is unusual in that anyone can pick it up and play without any technical knowledge.

Logo – Logo is a computer language that was created in 1967. It is a fantastic way to teach computer programing. Turtleacademy.com is a fantastic site I found that teaches kids how to program in Logo.

One session I attended had slide after slide of different apps that teach computer programming. I thought they were fascinating. Here are a few of the highlights.
Light-bot – programming puzzles
Kodable – Kodable gives kids the skills needed to learn any programming language later in life, and adults the tools to help them.
Tynker – Tynker makes it fun and easy to learn computer programming.
Daisy the Dinosaur – Learn the basics of computer programming with Daisy the Dinosaur! This free, fun app has an easy drag and drop interface that kids of all ages can use to animate Daisy to dance across the screen. Kids will intuitively grasp the basics of objects, sequencing, loops and events by solving this app’s challenges.
Alice – An educational software that teaches students computer programming in a 3D environment.
Touchdevelop – Create your own game! Take our interactive tutorial. TouchDevelop lets you create apps on iPad, iPhone, Android, PC, Mac, Windows Phone.
Another standout session that I attended was given by Rushton Hurley. Rushton is a fantastic presenter. I probably learned as much about presenting as I did education technology. Rushton’s presentation was on using digital media for learning. Since I have been given access to iPads, digital media has been a popular way for me to assess my students’ learning. His website, Nextvista.org, has a plethora of resources for creating digital media. One of the resources that I am really happy to know about is Narrable.com. I have a feeling my class will really enjoy this story telling tool.

Sylvia Martinez has been a source of rich resources for me for some time now, and her session at CUE did not disappoint. Here are some of the resources that I have collected from her.
3ders.org – This is the best place to find news about 3D printing.
MakeyMakey – MakeyMakey blew my mind when I saw it. I think it is one of the coolest things out there and can’t wait to get one to play with.
K12makers.org – A site for maker-teachers.
Fablearn – A venue for educators, policy-makers, students, designers, researchers, and makers to present, discuss, and learn about digital fabrication in education, the “makers” culture, and hands-on learning.
Sparkfun – SparkFun is an online retail store that sells the bits and pieces to make your electronics projects possible. They also have an excellent selection of tutorials.
Overall, I really enjoyed my experience at CUE 14 and I am excited to start implementing all that I learned. I am sure that my students will benefit from this experience as much, or hopefully more, as I have.

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