We often hear that we need to find our passion in education, that one thing that helps you get out of bed each morning excited to head off to school for another day. For some that can pose quite the challenge. For others, they seem to find their purpose in even the most trivial of tasks. At UCET 2016, we asked 18 educators, students, and administrators to share one of their educational causes – in 5 minutes or less. They were up to the challenge! The Ignite! sessions proved to be some of the best of conference and we want to share them with you! Below you'll find a playlist with all 18 videos – what a great way to ignite your passion this week!
I hate when a particular technology tool or service I have come to rely on and love decides it has to shut down. The only thing worse than losing one well-loved tool is losing multiple tools and that's exactly what's happening within the first few days in May!
The excellent Katch, which was designed to allow you to "catch" your Periscope and/or Meerkat live stream videos so they could be watched later than the 24-hour limit, will be closing shop on Wednesday, May 4th. Although I was still new to using Katch to save my Periscope videos, I was really looking forward to creating a nice backlog of some excellent experiences. I do have a couple of videos uploaded there so I'll have to do something about them soon! And what about the video we took from #UCET16, what will happen to those? We'll pull them off and save them another way.
If you go to the Katch.me homepage you are greeted with the announcement as well as a link to the Medium article they wrote explaining the reason for the shutdown. There is also a timeline of when you need to take care of your videos currently stored on their site. The team has created two options for you to either export your videos to YouTube or just download them to your hard drive.
Either option just makes me more and more sad, especially since we used Periscope at #UCET16 and then used Katch to save the video. We will probably just pull them off and then upload them to our UCET YouTube channel instead, so don't worry too much about those videos being lost. But on a personal note, I'm saddened because the #PassTheScopeEDU event I participated in last week, and hope to continue with into the future, was based on using Periscope and then Katch to save the video. I'll be working with those folks to find some other way to save those videos now.
So why is Katch shutting down? According to their Medium Post:
We always saw Katch as a Hulu for live streaming. But if we were going to get there, we would need more resources (money, people, servers, time) that would enable us to move quickly to adapt to the increasingly competitive landscape and to mature the features for a wider group of users. We simply haven’t been able to secure the capital to do that.
And if losing Katch wasn't enough, I will also be losing the excellent Copy sync tool on Sunday, May 1st! I've known about the ending of Copy for a while longer than that of Katch, but I think Copy closing is hitting me harder because I have been using it for longer. Copy was a great syncing tool similar to Dropbox except that it offered more initial space for free. For example, I had 25 GB for free simply because I followed their onboarding tips. Such a waste!
According to the Copy.com homepage, the reason for the shutdown has to do with the need to reallocate resources to other areas of the company.
Copy and CudaDrive have provided easy-to-use cloud file services and sharing functionality to millions of users the past 4+ years. However, as our business focus has shifted, we had to make the difficult decision to discontinue the Copy and CudaDrive services and allocate those resources elsewhere.
If you have been to any of my training sessions at UCET, SUECON, or URSA, you will know that I have been a proponent of using Copy for a while and now I will have to look elsewhere for recommendations. While I do you Dropbox, Box, and Google Drive, I liked that I had another great service that offered a free-tier to recommend to educators. I guess it's back to the drawing board for what other tools can I use.
I guess the moral of the story here is that if you love a service or tool then you need to find a way to send them money to help support the developers or else this is a possible fate. That's why I try to pay for services I find absolutely imperative to my workflow. Would I have paid for both Katch and Copy if given the chance? Possibly, but I guess I'll never know now.
Isn't that the question we always ask ourselves when we get done with a conference or training. I learned all of this great stuff, now what do I do with it? How do I implement it? Where do I start? What's the best way to incorporate this?
Going to a great conference like UCET often provides us with a lot of resources, but sometimes it often leaves us with a lot of questions. When I go to a conference I always feel so overwhelmed with so much great stuff that I want to start in my classroom, but for some reason or another I tend to falter and I put those ideas on a shelf for another day. Here are some tips that may help you implement some of the ideas you learned about at UCET.
1. Try to focus on one thing that you could implement today and do that thing. I know there were a lot of great sessions, but focus on the one that would be the biggest boost to your teaching right now. The problem we sometimes have is that we want to do everything. That burns you out and you end up not doing any of them. A great mentor teacher of mine once said, "Every year you should add one thing to your teaching that pushes you to become better." I've taken that advice and it's changed my teaching for the better.
2. Don't let perfection interfere with progress. Kevin Honeycutt presented at UCET one year and he mentioned one thing that has stayed with me. Don't feel like you have to be an expert at something before you use it with your class. Half of the time your students will be able to figure it out despite you. Also, it's good to show your students that you don't know everything, but that you are learning all of the time just like they are.
3. Don't go at it alone. Stay in contact with teachers you met at UCET, the presenters, and share your ideas with teachers at your school. It helps to work with others so that you can bounce ideas off of each other.
Awards were announced during the Opening Session of the #UCET16 Conference on Thursday, March 17, 2016, at the University of Utah.
Crystal VanAusdal – UCET Outstanding Teacher of the Year (Math Department Chair, Mountain Heights Academy). "Crystal is a dedicated math professional intent on leveraging technology’s promise to improve education…. Comments from her teachers center around Crystal’s ability to calmly solve problems, competently lead the department, and dynamically innovate in a high-tech online setting. While in this role Crystal has organized multiple professional development opportunities for her teachers. She also leads department meetings twice a month via Google Hangout where brainstorming on how to improve the math courses occurs. Whenever Crystal finds a new pedagogical technique or technology tip that works she quickly shares it with her teachers. She is a beloved leader and colleague who collaborates and seeks win-win solutions."
Guy Durrant – UCET Outstanding Leader of the Year (District Technology Director, Dagget School District). "Guy is a modest and earnest educator who has earned an excellent reputation throughout the state and the education technology community for his strong leadership and support of technology use in public education. He is a valued mentor to many….Guy selflessly shares what he has learned from experience and is truly an expert in the field. When technology directors in the NUES region or the TCC post a question to the listservs, Guy is among the first to respond with a suggestion or solution. Guy is also an advocate for small rural districts and is not afraid to stand up and
Maria Jones– UCET Outstanding Young Educator of the Year (Educational Technology Specialist, Canyons School District). "Maria is an inspirational leader. Having led several critical projects for the Canyons District, she consistently exhibits leadership for digital citizenship and a positive attitude toward using technology that supports collaboration, learning and productivity….Without question, her high quality work as an Ed Tech Specialist has positively impacted every teacher and interested parent in the Canyons District, demonstrating that Maria undoubtedly understands, selects and uses applications effectively to design, develop and evaluate authentic learning opportunities and projects."
Carl Lyman, Making IT Happen (USOE , Information Technology Specialist) “For a decade, Carl has organized and conducted IT training around the state and effectively advocated for student involvement and certifications in IT. He personally has 4 industry IT certifications. He was an advocate for computer science before it was "cool" to code. Utah's economy will benefit from his leadership to help students get interested, get skills and get jobs in IT. He's a great collaborator with his peers nationally, at the state office, and with universities, LEA and charter schools. He has navigated around all the inertia, brought people together, and did the hard work to get Utah public education on the path to building an in-state IT workforce. This patience, perseverance, advocacy and can-do attitude are the hallmarks of Carl's career in Utah..”