Serendipity Strikes Again

Sometimes you get lucky and happen to be in the right place at the right time. For me the place was Twitter and the time was this morning right about 8am Pacific time. It was there I saw this message…

I clicked on the link and there I was, watching the Discovery Pre-Conference Event live from the FETC Conference in Florida. Problem was it didn’t look like anything was happening. People were just sitting at tables talking and working on their laptops. Maybe they were taking a break and the real session would be starting in a few more minutes.

I decided to check out the chat and see who I might be able to “talk” with while I waited for something to happen. I saw my friend Jen Wagner (JenW in the chat) and tapped out a quick “Hey Jen!”. Funny thing is, where Jen would normally respond quickly with a greeting and a “smiles”, I got nothing. Strange. I read backward through the chat and noticed JenW, nsharoff, derrallg, pgeorge, dduray, and a few others were all busy chatting about gathering pictures, adding slides to a presentation, and posting links on Twitter. In a few moments it was clear what was going on. I had just dropped in right in the middle of a…

Virtual Project

All those people at the tables in Florida were not just having conversations. They were working on a project for the DEN Pre Conference. And so were we. Before I knew it I was part of Virtual Table #7. Our project was about the weather. An appropriate topic considering the blizzard that was crippling most of the country right now. Jen had created a Twitter form asking for your location, the temperature, and whether or not schools were closed in your area because of the weather.

At the same time, the group was collecting pictures uploaded to Flickr from around the country and bringing those images and weather information into a Google Presentation.

I quickly got to my Google Docs, opened the presentation, and observed a presentation forming right before my eyes. I SO wanted to be a part of this. Grabbing a camera from our library media center I quickly ran out front and snapped a picture of the front of my building being sure to frame the shot so it showed off the warm California sunshine. A quick Google search gave me the current local temperature and daily forecast. I added an new slide to the presentation and alerted the chat room that I was claiming slide #13 for myself.

Over the next 30 minutes we worked to build resource pages, links to Discovery content, weather maps, links to the survey results and more. Nancy Sharoff even linked to a Youtube video of snow falling right outside her house. She had just shot and uploaded it a few minutes earlier. I put my own creative touch on the title slide.

By 9:15 am we were just about done and pretty proud of what we had accomplished. About 2 hours later the projects were shared. Even though I had 4th graders in the computer lab with me, I watched live as groups presented their projects. Then Porter Palmer, who was running the live feed for us in the room in Orlando, shared the project that Virtual Table #7 had created. What a thrill to see our work displayed on the screen in Florida and to hear the Oooohs and Aaahhhs from the pre-conference attendees. I think my self-esteem just went up a few notches.

Thanks to all who participated in the virtual project and to Porter Palmer and the rest of the DEN Team at FETC for making something like this possible. It was a blast.

CLICK HERE to see our presentation.

8 thoughts on “Serendipity Strikes Again”

  1. It was fun — wasn’t it??
    I was at work, manning the front office phones — which is probably why I missed your entrance into the chat….. and then I had to go fix a printer on campus….. and do other duties…..but am still amazed at what we all accomplished in just a little bit of time with a lot of talent. It was grand to see strengths and creativity and “oh, I can do that” emerge ……

    What has made me sad — is that when I tell people HERE what happened, no one is impressed…..or even in awe.

    Not that what we did was life-changing….but then perhaps it is. We came together, at an unexpected time, to work as a team, to build an idea, with no other thought than to be able to smile at the end and say “We did it.”

    And that — could easily be done in the classroom. Hope Hope Hope someday.

    Thanks for the post — it was fun!!!

    So glad we both saw that tweet that said “join us”


  2. Thanks Jen. And thanks again for assuming the role of team leader for this. I’m so glad this was all happening during my prep time so I was able to follow along and participate. Don’t feel bad that others, I assume you mean teachers & admin, are not impressed. When I try to explain things like this, it’s sometimes feels like showing my 99 year old grandpa pictures on my iPad and having him ask me where they pictures go when I move them off the side of the screen. It’s beyond the scope of their experience. I bet if you told the kids, they would think it was pretty cool. Perhaps we’re just one generation ahead of everyone else.

    Now I just have to figure out how to embed a Google presentation in WordPress. It doesn’t seem to like the “iframe” tags.

  3. I downloaded it to a PowerPoint and am going to upload it to slide share.

    Will send you the link when I have time.


  4. Sounds great Dennis- what a cool experience. I love that you shared it with your students- great “real world” demonstration of how networking, the web, the cloud, etc works.

    Have you tried uploading the presentation to SlideShare and getting the embed code there?

  5. Sounds like such a wonderful experience. What a day to miss the Twitter feed (was working on Board preso). Maybe we could do a CA DEN event like this since we’re so spread out across the state – landforms? flora and fauna? habitats? hmmm …..

  6. DENnis, this was a terrific experience for all of us–and a fabulous example of the immediacy of learning–I had never posted to Flickr from my phone, so I asked and got an instant answer from one of our group and learned a new tool because I needed it right then. We need to figure out how to take an experience like this and give the same to our kids. We owe them that. Oh, and by the way, Virtual Table 7 Rocks!! Glad you dopped in to join us! Thank you, Porter for facilitating on the live end for us-you are AWEsome!

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