As I dusted off the old Macbook and packed for the Coetail@Earcos pre-conference I was a little apprehensive. I knew little about the two people who were going to be guiding us through the next year as we embarked on a journey through the digital domain. I had been told about Kim Cofino and Jeff Utetch and that they were both top notch. I had been following them both on Twitter for a bit and could tell they were the real deal. They knew a lot about technology and moreover they knew how to apply it in schools.
The part that made me apprehensive was that just because a person has a deep knowledge and understanding of something doesn’t mean they can engage someone or a group of people and convey that understanding in an interesting and meaningful way. Usually you know in the first five minutes whether or not the session your attending will be awesome or… not so much.
I knew in the first five minutes that this was going to be time well spent. Not only did they give us what we needed but they actually made it sort of fun. They kept things light but focused. What I think was nice was that they didn’t get bogged down by the details. They both assumed that we could figure things out mostly on our own. They introduced something, let us take a look at it, and then moved on. They trusted that we either could figure it out or that we would get help if we needed it. The day went by rather fast. I didn’t feel overwhelmed even though things kept moving along at a brisk pace.
You could tell that Kim and Jeff both not only talk the talk but they can also walk the walk. They had plenty of real world in classroom examples of what we were talking about. They were very patient with us and at the same time kept things moving along nicely. There were a couple hiccups along the way but for them they were merely speed-bumps and didn’t seem to phase them in the least.
What’s even better is that we are using the very things that we could be implementing in our classrooms. Google Doc’s is something that my school as just started using. We’ve migrated to a Google Apps environment and we couldn’t be happier. Here’s a little video which gives an overview of Google Apps:
I have to say that not all of what was presented was new to me but I don’t think that was the point. I haven’t had the motivation to dive in and really use these applications to their fullest potential and this course is the perfect structured and supported environment to do just that.
One thing I had never before used was a Reader. And to that end Google Reader seems pretty sweet. I have also never used bundles within Google Docs before which I found rather helpful as well.
I left the day feeling pumped and ready to go. I was especially excited to meet so many top notch teachers with whom I have the opportunity to work with and learn from over the course of the next year. So right now I’m very optimistic and feel lucky to be involved in such a professional and relevant program run by two engaging and knowledgeable professionals.