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Thursday, March 9, 2006

Professional Development in Phoenix, Arizona

A couple a of days ago I attended a conference in Arizona that was hosted by a new (to me anyway) and exciting company called 21st-Century Learning. This was a very exciting trip for me as I had a chance to see demonstrations of some very interesting ways to introduce lessons into to the classroom. The main focus of what this company does is deliver live web presentations to schools using a software program called “breeze”. The presentation might be a professional development session for teachers, or a special speaker that talks to students. They have what is called “passports”. These passports are very cool. The nice thing about them is that it is kind of like a field trip, only students don’t have to leave the building. They usually have speakers that are experts in their field (i.e. Astronomy, Medicine, Geology), and the person speaking is visible via live streaming video. Theer are also supplemental resources that are presented by the speaker (such as streaming video/audio). I was very impressed with the demonstrations.


This company also provides professional development for teachers. Our school has been using this service for a few months now. Our teachers are involved with a series called differentiated learning. Just like the passport series, the presentations are live, and involve multiple schools.


What really topped it all off was the wonderful weather. I also had a chance to see a lot of professional athletes that were part of the World Baseball Classic (roster). Many of them were staying in the same hotel as me. Very exciting! As luck would have it the American team was eating dinner right across the hall from our group so we had a chance to see most of the players. The next morning I nearly dropped my coffee as I was walking through the hotel lobby when Roger Clemens walked past me.


The people from 21st-Century Learning gave us a chance to do a little sports as well in between the the wonderful presentations. Another highlight of my trip was that I was selected from one of there drawings to take a chance to win money in on “the putting green” . Well, I have to tell you it has been a while since I played golf last, but I managed to sink the put for $50!  


All-in-all the trip was great!



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