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Saturday, July 01, 2006

LCTI/LCCC workshop

I just returned from doing a workshop at Lehigh Carbon County College (LCCC) and Lehigh Career and Technology Institute (LCTI) in the great Schnecksville, PA. There were about 50 attendees, mostly a mix of college and high school teachers.

In the morning, Beth and I gave some general talks introducing RSS and some applications of blogs, wikis, podcasting, vodcasting and games in education. The attendees were very active in asking questions and I didn't get to finish my slides. That's actually a good sign that there was some real interest and knowledge transfer.

In the afternoon the attendees split up and rotated between our workshops. Beth ran the one on blogging, Marc Bonanni did wikis and mine was on games. That was a lot of people to train in 2.5 hours and we were all exhausted afterwards.

My objective was to have them learn to navigate one of the EduFrag mazes, create at least one bitmap door with Paint then import it into a room using the UnrealEditor (free version, no weapons). There were too many people for me to assist individually in that amount of time so after I trained the more tech savvy attendees I asked them to help the others. It was not possible to do it "lecture style" because people were rotating on their time. I think most attendees who were interested in creating games at least acquired an understanding of how the EduFrag system works to create their own content for their classes without much additional help. I also asked them to create true and false doors based on what they learned in the workshop. If I collect enough, I'll pool the best of these together in one common maze to teach educational web technologies.

Beth discussed a problem in her talk that I ran into directly during my workshop: the blocking of blogs in PA high schools. I was unable to access the EduFrag blog to show the attendees how to download other maps. Luckily, for now, access to Wikispaces was unobstructed and the computers in the workshop room were pre-loaded with the educational version of Unreal Tournament with Beth's grammar and one of my chemistry mazes.

Beth ran her workshop in LCCC, which is a college, and thus was not subject to the blog blocking.

Overall the response was very positive and I look forward to following up on the implementation of some of these technologies.

Here are the workshop blog and wiki.

Here are the recordings of Beth's and my talk.


  • The blocking of blogs is part of the Pennsylvania Department of Education's solution to the Deleting Online Predator Act (DOPA). I encourage our K-12 colleagues to advocate for a reconsideration of blog technology. Hopefully, we demonstrated the many positive uses of blogs in the classroom. There is more information about DOPA and the folks trying to fight it at www.digitaldivide.wikispaces.com

    By Blogger Beth Ritter-Guth, at 11:32 PM  

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