Power Up 2015 with Excited, PDST and CESI


On Saturday 21st March I attended Power Up 2015, the first Power Up presented in collaboration between Excited, the PDST and CESI.
In this free-to-attend professional development opportunity, five workshops were on offer;

  1. Using social media for professional learning
  2. Finding and selecting information
  3. Capturing and using images on mobile devices
  4. Assessment tools and applications
  5. Managing classroom information
I was faced with the usual dilemma of wanting to attend all five but being only able to chose, in this case, three.  I chose 2, 4 and 5.

Finding and Selecting Information was presented by Sioban O’Sullivan (@0812Siobhan). Siobhan is an advisor for the PDST and has an obvious passion for helping teachers learn new and innovative approaches to classroom teaching.

Siobhan’s presentation focused on a selection of Google tools that I’m sure teachers would find useful not just to assist their teaching but also useful for student independent work. I particularly liked the research tool in Google Docs which had previously slipped under my radar. Siobhan also introduced social bookmarking tools including Diigo (particularly excellent) and Feedly. Download her presentation here.
After a short break I headed on over to Assessment Tools and Applications presented by David McMahon (@Davidmcma) and Mark Finlay (@Finlayma). David and Mark focused on 4 tools for collecting assessment information in the classroom; Mentimeter (govote.at), Socrative, EdPuzzle and Blendspace. 
EdPuzzle is a fantastic app that allows teachers to add questions to videos at various points along the timeline. There is a sample here. The app even provides direct links to videos from a variety of sources such as TED, Vimeo and of course, YouTube. Yum!
Teachers will particularly like Socrative. It allows teachers to create a variety of quizzes. However, particularly useful is the ability to download student quiz results in excel format (among others). David and Mark’s presentation is the third in the list here.
I hardly noticed the time go. After an hour I headed over to my last session on Managing Classroom Information with CESI stalwarts Bianca Ní Ghrógáin (@bnighrogain) and Mags Amond (@magsamond). Mags and Bianca focused on three tools – Plickers, Edmodo and Kahoot. If you haven’t tried Kahoot yet, give it a go. It is eh, a hoot!
Edmodo is an invaluable tool for teachers. It looks like Facebook and works a little like it, except teachers have complete control over how they use it. It can be used to set up classes, make and set quizzes and assignments, provide a library of resources and generally keep student learning on its toes.
Think of Plickers as giant QR codes. You can print off one per student, unique to them. It allows a students to provide A, B, C, D answers to class assessments. What make Plickers attractive is that several codes can be scanned at once, from a distance, by the app on your smartphone or tablet.
Overall, it was a well attended, fast paced morning and a nice reminder of the range of tools available to teachers, the commitment of teachers to give up their free time on a Saturday to upskill and of the dedication of presenters from CESI and the PDST.
The revolution is well under way.

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