Debrief: Vermont Fest 2013 EdTech Conference, Killington, VT

Mike Beardsley presenting a basic math lesson in MindcraftEDU

Mike Beardsley presenting a basic math lesson in MindcraftEDU to about 70, standing room only, attendees. 

Just back from the Vermont Fest conference up at the Killington Grand Lodge. Here’s a breif report.

  • Our own graduate students Michael Beardsley, Sally Bisaccio, and core faculty Jane Wilde, had the most popular, standing room only, session with about 70 folks! They presented on the stunning effectiveness and potential of MindcraftEDU in the classroom. Here’s the Presentation materials.
  • Attendance was down a little bit, no readily apparent reason why. As a VITA-Learn board member, I can report that we’re excited to revitalize the next VITA-LEarn conference, Dynamic Landscapes (DL), with a Maker room (Rasberry Pi, Arduino, etc), and more workshop type presentations vs. stand and deliver. There’s also a possibility of housing at DL this year, we’ll see. Make sure to come up to Burlington this May 15 and 16 for DL! Also, keep your eye on the upcoming 1:1 Conference. See VITA-Learn events.
  • The VITA-Learn party was fun, great food, went late, and had a sauna. The heated outdoor pool is salt water now and a great break after a long day of sessions.
  • Hapara.com, the software company started by teachers in New Zealand to organize Google Docs for Education was the most exciting vendor for me. Our own Elizabeth MacCarthy showed it off to me. It’s excellent, as I had heard. We’re to the point with Putney Central School’s Google Apps for Education that we need it. I think we’ll have it installed soon! I’m excited to set it up, and manage the change management that will come with it.
  • The tools I ran into around the conference that keep getting better are: GoAnimate, Toontastic, Story Arc, Shelfari, Voice Thread, MindcraftEDU, and using Chromebooks for 1:1 programs that need  to have prioritize low IT support time and offline editing.
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