Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD in the Dallas area is sponsoring a one day conference on November 3, 2006 titled “Beyond4Walls: First Annual iPods and Podcasting in Education Users Group Conference.” The conference description is:

Successful educators realize that teaching techniques, which appeal to the learner, are ever evolving. Identifying novel and enticing teaching techniques requires educators to acknowledge and exploit student interests, which make learning more appealing and efficacious. Recent trends suggest that students have developed a fascination with iPods and Podcasting. The use of Podcasting allows teachers and students to create authentic audio and video material, while the mobility of the iPod allows for anytime, anywhere learning. The combination of these two technologies has prompted a greater interest in learning than could have ever been expected. The Beyond4Walls Conference will focus on using iPods and Podcasting in Education.

The keynote presentation will be shared by Dan Schmidt, who spoke on podcasting several times recently at our state Encyclo-Media conference. Hopefully Dan’s presentation at Beyond4Walls will also be subsequently podcasted!

Here in the state of Oklahoma, the state department of education is requiring all school districts to re-write their technology plans to address the 13 components of tech plans required for grants under Federal Title II programs. Of those 13 components, podcasting projects involving ESL classrooms (like those piloted in Carrollton-Farmers Branch) address at least the following components:

1. Strategies for improving academic achievement and teacher effectiveness
3. Steps to increase accessibility
4. Promotion of curricula and teaching strategies that integrate technology
8. Integration of technology with curricula and instruction
9. Innovative delivery strategies
10. Parental involvement

More school districts need to be piloting innovative projects like the ones highlighted in this conference, and also sharing their experiences with others. As your school district completes requisite technology plans for the next 2-5 years, you might consider innovative teaching strategies like these which NOT ONLY deliver instructional content from the teacher to the student in novel ways, but also EMPOWER THE STUDENT to author multimedia content and share it back with the teacher as well as others.

The conference is free, and an online registration form is available. Thanks to Maria Henderson for this tip.

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