SocialEdCon Ed Tech Unconference Attendees Share Conversation, Web 2.0 Tools

Hundreds of educators attended SocialEdCon, the fifth annual unconference held before the ISTE annual conference and exposition at the San Diego Convention Center earlier today. SocialEdCon is organized onsite based on the interests and expertise of participants. Topics at this year’s event covered a wide range of issues, including social media and student bullying, building online courses, professional development strategies, effective blended learning, and organizing virtual conferences.

“It’s just a really engaging day. It’s about conversations and not presentations. You get to talk about what you want to talk about,” said Steve Hargadon, who developed and organizes the annual event.

Formerly known as EduBloggerCon, organizers changed the name of the event this year to indicate greater inclusiveness of all social media tools used in education.

Jena Sherry, a middle school teacher from Viola, Wis. and first-time ISTE attendee, had the following to say about her SocEdCon experience: “There are lots of things to think about so far. I’m so excited to just ponder things that I do, things that I could change or improve, or try out and share with others.”

The afternoon sessions of the unconference kicked off with the popular Web 2.0 Smackdown, hosted by Vicki Davis. The following is a selection of the apps, websites, and social media tools shared by attendees:

Kid’s Journal: This iPad app uses a very simple interface that enables younger students to combine visual elements and text to create journal entries on a variety of topics.

Educreations: Available through web browsers and as an iPad app, Educreations turns your computer or iPad into a recordable interactive whiteboard that can be shared online.

TEDEd: This website enables teachers to turn any video on YouTube or the TED website into a lesson with discussion questions, short quizzes, and additional information. There are plenty of math game websites out there, but MangaHigh taps into students’ natural competitive nature by pitting them against groups of students from schools around the world. Users earn points by completing progressively difficult math problems.

TodaysMeet: This cross-channel backchannel app allows users to create an online space for conversation and discussion. The interface is so easy that a user can create a virtual meeting room in about 30 seconds.

ISTEQuest12: This unofficial conference game is billed as a mixture of The Amazing Race, a scavenger hunt, a flash mob, and Improv Comedy. Good luck!

WhatIsYourEduWin?: Teaching can be a thankless job. Using Twitter, this website facilitates the sharing of education accomplishments.

GoogleFight: A fun distraction that can teach a bit about search engine optimization, GoogleFight pits two search terms against each other to show which has the most mentions.

Smore: Still in Beta, Smore users create posters online that are embeddable on any webpage. With lots of styles and themes to choose from you don’t need to be a graphic designer to create professional looking posters for the web. Commercials aimed at children often use blatant gender stereotyping to sell products. This media literacy website mixes up the audio and visual content of ads to create absurd juxtapositions in commercial content.

Slidewriter: This iPad app makes editing text much easier. Instead of scanning within text, Slidewriter adds a bar above the keyboard that can be used to move the edit bar within your text.

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