I am sitting in the opening Keynote address from Professor Mitch Resnick at the ACEC conference 2008 in Canberra Australia. His presentation is based on the idea of creativity and the need to continue to allow our students to be creative, be passionate and follow their interest. One of the tools he talked about is Scratch - a great software tool that can be used on both Mac's and PC's. Scratch is a great tool to allow students to develop multimedia presentations, games and whole range of different applications. The great thing about scratch is it introduces teachers and students to the basic concepts behind programming without being too involved or specific with commands; in fact scratch simply allows users to drag and drop programming components together like Lego to make your presentations/applications.
Attending this conference is also a great way for me to catch up with a wide range of people that I have not seen for a long time, it is also a great way to catch up with the great group of people I attended NECC with earlier in the year. Sometimes it is easy to get caught up in your work and forget to make those physical connections that help reinforce your networks. I am not sure that the conference as whole will challenge or excite me but I will enjoy meeting new people and re-connecting with friends and sharing stories, developments, experiences and ideas.
One thing I did pick up directly from Glenn (who I am sitting next too at the Keynote) - is an interesting visual search engine called Boolify. The search engine allows users to experience visually the creation of Boolean searches - as you construct your search requests you can see the changes in the number of results based on the different search terms you use and the different Boolean terms you use. Have a look at the site, a great little tool to help our students/teachers understand some of the key elements about searching.
More to come on the conference and experiences.