Play by play and ramblings of the snow day PD.

So I have found more ways to use Ustream.

Snow Day PD,

A “big storm” came Sunday night and dumped enough snow to cancel school for Monday. After building an igloo with the kids I realized most of the snow would still be hanging around on Tuesday. As a result, school for Tuesday would likely be cancelled.
I am always looking for opportunities to share tech with other teachers. I got the idea to do a Ustream broadcast to share tech with teachers.

I had a little experience using Ustream with students for evening test review sessions. A friend of mine Brian Caine @brian_caine showed me a feature called Ustream Producer that allows the user to show their screen as well as their face. This option was perfect for conducting an online pd for teachers. Dean Mantz @dmantz7 made a screencast demonstrating how to use Ustream Producer that was very usefully in my preparations for the snow day PD broadcast.
Monday evening when it was announced school would be closed. To get the word out I sent an email to the principals in the district.

Day 1 Tuesday, we shared typewithme, and Google Docs . It went 30 min or so and we had 10-12 participants. Tuesday night school closed for Wednesday because roads are not clear yet. So again, an email went out to the principals. (Schools were closed the rest of the week because of ice on the roads.)

Day 2 Wednesday we shared mindmaps and screencasting 12-15 participants.

By Wednesday afternoon, some of the higher-ups in the district got wind of what we were doing and said the sessions could count as district PD. Fortunately, we had been using a g-form to list participants and their emails. This allowed us to give credit for sessions on Wednesday and Tuesday.
Wednesday afternoon, Steve Anderson @web20classroom, suggested using ustream to teach students online on snow days. Almost immediately I tweeted a message to all my students that we would have class online Thursday. (Most of my students have accounts they use for my classes.) Joe Bass and Noelle Mashburn in the communications department for MNPS liked snow day class idea so they called the media.

Day 3 Thursday we discussed wallwisher, google forms and 54 participants. Again found out school is cancelled for Friday.

Day 4  Friday we talked about the amazing WECN (World Educators Collaboration Network) Aka Twitter. 30 participants – Not sure why we didn’t meet the same numbers as the day before but we will had a great time.
I use the name WECN because so many people role their eyes and shut down before you can share the benefits of the wonderful tool of twitter.
That morning before broadcast time I got a call from Rodney Dunigan of Nashville’s Channel 5 News. Rodney and his crew came down right before the teacher tech broadcast to do an interview for the news that night. They also recorded part of the broadcast.

Since then our school has decided to use Ustream to broadcast school events. This is great because we have many students with family across the country and the globe. Now, those same families can watch live during the event or watch the recording later. The school Ustream recordings also help to build a positive digital footprint for students who participate.

Side notes

The idea for using Ustream for broadcasting with students and teachers came from two sources. The first answer is TeachMeet. What is a TeachMeet? TeachMeets are a type of Un-conference which are free and informal. Typically sessions at a TeachMeet consist of 15-20 minute presentations. The first TeachMeet I went to was run by Jason Bedell @jasontbedell at the Nashville downtown library. By the way Jason is hosting TeachMeet New Jersey March 5th and is the brain power that brought TeachMeets to the US. Check out his story behind TeachMeet

There are other un-cons as well, ex. Edcamp. These un-cons broadcast the presentations live via Ustream or other online streaming programs allowing some in another part of the country to participate. I realized I could use this with my students in the evenings for test review. And so I did.
The second answer to the question is WECN aka Twitter. With out twitter I would never have known about TeachMeets. If you do not know the power of twitter as a personal PD tool then you must learn now. Check out –    Twitter is the best tool for keeping up with the changes in tech and education!

By the way, there is going to be another TeachMeet Nashville June 7th and 8th. Here is the participant sign-up and presenter sign-up. Participant form Presenter form

If any one reading this would be willing to help me edit grammar for my future posts I would be very grateful. Obviously my writing is not a skill of mine.

Comments are welcome


About 2footgiraffe

High School Science Teacher Dickson, TN
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2 Responses to Play by play and ramblings of the snow day PD.

  1. Philip Cummings says:

    Your snow day PD is an excellent idea, and I appreciate your sharing your experience. Any positive press related to school and teachers committed to professional learning is also a boon for all of us. Thanks, Adam, for sharing and for all your hard work. Let me know how I can help you with TeachMeet. I’m going to do my best to be there in person.

  2. Tyler says:

    Great idea on the snow day for PD.

    I use and Procaster (like Ustream’s Producer) to broadcast my class when a child is out due to illness/injury etc. It’s a great way for the students to maintain connection. I recently used it to broadcast my class for all parents to see our students working on their triangle structures as well as the final days for the testing/judging of those structures. A couple of weeks ago I held a “Webinar” using Livestream/Procaster to introduce my student’s parents to our Ning. Started witha broadcast of a Keynote and followed it up with a live demo of the site followed by Q & A. The whole session lasted about an hour. The parents were able to ask questions in the chat room as well during the presentation. Very much a participative environment. We are now starting to use Google Sites for our students’ eportfolios and we’ll be hosting a “webinar” for our parents on that as well.

    Keep up the great work Adam.

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