Saturday, November 5, 2011

Friday - Absorbing and Reassessing

I was granted the opportunity to attend the LHRIC Technology Leadership Institute (TLI) Kickoff.
The featured speakers were Lisa Johnson, Kentucky and Wesley Fryer, Oklahoma.

Lisa Johnson described previous projects that she was involved with at her school district. She
discussed their strengths and their struggles. And explained a desire to chart yet another
course in technology integration with a focus on student centered instruction.

A fascinating web tool was employed. ( is described as "Wiffiti
was designed for the "Lean Back" experience of viewing user-generated content from a distance (at
a bar, a public location or a conference) as well as the "Lean Forward" experience online or via
text messaging.

New Wiffiti messages are instantly displayed center screen and are easily viewable from a
distance. Older messages then fade back and move as an animated cloud, providing enough ambient
activity to continually stimulate audience attention and encourage engagement.

Interactivity is multi-modal - it can happen at the location via mobile phones, or online via
easily embeddable website widgets. Incoming content streams and web and mobile messages update
across all instances of the addressed Wiffiti screen automatically."

The audience was challenged to think and reflective on several conversation starters and then
text responses anonymously to the large display screen in the front of the meeting space. A cool
little tool that randomly displays results into focus and sends others to the background. This
facilitates discussion by the group in an unsual way compared to other text your answer sites.

The difference between creation and point and click instructional practices were explored. The
following screen made me wonder though, although teachers and students need these skills should
this be the focus of instruction. Or should we be more content focused? I see the value in "I
can insert, resize, and position graphics". But perhaps the question should really be "How
should I display this to bring digital meaning to the thought behind the image?"

I had the pleasure of having lunch with Ms. Johnson. Her kind heart comes through in her
suggestions for how to help students embrace their learning and create meaning. Listening to her
speak has me looking at our curriculum with a fresh eye. Perhaps there are ways to empower our
students and teachers into finding ownership and becoming "digital content writers".   

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