On September 16, 2008, I stayed home from school to participate in a webinar entitled Global Online Visual Thinking Workshop, presented by vizthink.
A Visual Thinking workshop is all about the visual, including seeing who the presenters are, so I hope the folks at vizthink will not mind my copying and pasting of the above graphic. The workshop was WONDERFUL, but before describing the sessions, I want you to have a sense of what my digital day was like.
I teach middle and upper school Flash animation electives, and due to the timing of the vizthink sessions, it was possible to teach my classes from home. Thanks to iChat and screen sharing between my Mac at home and Mac in the computer lab, we had two “teacher in the box” classes.
Dave Gray’s session, which conveniently had technical difficulties (not a problem as I was able to view his presentation after the fact), allowing me to spend time with my Mom, who was here to see our older son who was home for a few days (after living in Japan for four years) before he headed off for school in Olympia, Washington
upper school Flash class – answered questions about their current animations and showed them how to post their swf files to our class wiki; we ended 10 minutes early
David Sibbet’s session
grabbed a quick lunch and ate at my computer while checking emails
middle school Flash class – explained how to scrub the playhead through frames, answered questions about their first animations, and reminded them to have someone post the Daily Scribe to our class wiki
Karl Gude’s session
whew, took a break from the digital!
Nancy Duarte’s session
I found the day rather exhilarating for its uniqueness, as compared to a typical school day, yet also rather tiring for all the time I spent sitting in my chair. All of the digital experiences were fully engaging, but by the end of the day I was more than ready for a break from my computer.
An idea floated by my husband (who is the Director of IT where I teach) is to have our school’s professional development day be a simulation of how we might carry on school if there were a flu epidemic requiring everyone to stay home. He thought this would not only be useful for seeing that school could, indeed, take place without everyone being in the same physical space, but would also be a way to introduce folks to a wide range of collaborative digital applications.
Faculty and students already use a number of such applications. However, a simulation would both allow exploration of a number of programs not currently part of most teachers’ toolboxes, and provide an opportunity for ideas to emerge regarding distance learning, and use of digital tools in the process of schooling.