Thursday, March 31, 2011

NCTIES:The Experience

I know that I may be a little bit behind on this post but I was lucky enough to get to attend the NCTIES Conference at the beginning of the month of March. While there I got to see a number of people that I have not seen since last years conference. I also got to showcase a couple of years of work on my part into concurrent and technology fair sessions. For the better part of the past three years I have had a little side project within our school district separate from my normal everyday activities. This side project has been on Document Cameras(doc cams).
How it all came about was that one day while at a school I was teaching a workshop at one of the teachers came to me and said that her doc cams was not working and would I be willing to take a look at it to see what might be wrong. Well with it being me I said sure why not I will take a look at it, I know a few things about doc cams. When I went into her classroom I immediately realized that I was not as smart as I thought. The reason was that the doc cam that she had was not one that I knew about. You see our district has normally used Lumens doc cams, but this was one by AverMedia. I knew nothing about AverMedia products so I spent some time in there working on the issue she was having all along making mental notes about what I was doing along with saying how many other types of doc cams are in out there in our school system.
It turns out there are many different types of them in our schools. If you want to get really technical we have doc cams from four different companies and almost 15 different model types. It took me a while but over the three years I have learned as much as I can about these products and what makes them tick. I have contacted companies and technical departments regarding issues that I have come across. I have researched many different ways that you can use doc cams in Education and for instructional use. Well armed with that knowledge, a comprehensive Livebinder and another member of our Instructional Technology Staff I came to NCTIES2011 to present "The Three C's of Document Cameras." This was a culmination of three years of collaboration, getting dirty, tweeting, blogging and talking with as many technicians and people that I could.
Now I have to admit this was the second conference I have ever presented at. The first one was about two weeks earlier. Although both made me nervous the NCTIES one was more nerve racking than the first. I kept wondering if I had everything, if the preso would be enough, if I was going to be able to get the points across to the attendees and most of all I was worried that when I turned around in the room to present there would only be a handful of people made up mostly of my co-workers showing their support. To my surprise there was close or maybe more than 50 people in the room. I immediately started sweating and all the fears of what might happen flooded into my mind. So it was time for the session to start and it was time to put up or shut up. Well in my normal ADD fashion I started off with asking the audience what types of doc cams they had by asking what the colors were of the units they had in their schools. Of course I got responses for all of the colors I asked about and even a few colors that I did not ask for which made me kind of laugh a little bit. That was enough to break the ice and make me feel just like I was back in one of my schools teaching our in district teachers. Then I began to think, hey this isn't so bad, oh and what made it even funnier was that my boss was snapping pictures from the back of the room while we were teaching and I kept wondering if I was moving around to much.
So all in all my experience at NCTIES was not nearly as bad as I thought it would be an of course I also know that it could have been far far worse. So will I do it again and take that plunge into the conference presenting realm? Sure, now that I have gotten to see what it is like to be a presenter I no longer feel of it as something that I have to do but rather something that I look forward to doing.

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