Saturday, August 9, 2014

Playdate LA 2014

I hadn't intended to blog about my "excursions" to professional development conferences, but I definitely want to be able to view my own posts later so that I can see my growth and how the twitterverse has grown me in SO MANY unexpected ways, both with my students and apart from them.

I attended Playdate LA this morning.  It was my first time and I was excited to attend after looking at the scheduled sessions.  I thought it was like an EdCamp, but then I saw the schedule and expected something more like the annual CUE conference.  It was like the conference in that the titles/topics of the sessions were already chosen, but like EdCamp in that there were no scheduled presenters.

We had a few minutes to mingle after all the housekeeping information was given out, and it was suggested that if anyone in the room was not on twitter, that they find someone to help them accomplish that task.  Helena (last name unknown) was standing next to me and said "I don't know what to do with twitter, do you?" Well that was all I needed.  I had her signed in and downloading tweetdeck in a flash.  We were fixing her channels and getting #playdatela on it immediately so she could view the tweets all morning.  We got so into it, that we didn't notice it was time to go until one of the organizers interrupted us to ask if we planned on attending the first session.  I felt successful for helping one other person!

So off I went to the first session about non-clicker student response systems.  There was only one other person in the room to start, but after a few minutes a 3rd person joined us.  None of us had any experiences to share, so we all decided to go to our second choice which was screencasting.  Now, I have been doing my videos for a little while and can teach others, but I don't consider myself and expert.  Couple that with the fact that I use Touchcast and I have met no one yet who uses that app.  So I was looking forward to learning about something new.  I was surprised that I turned out to the the "expert" and I did all the talking/describing/answering of other's questions!!  Actually, shocked would be a better description.

Second session, I went to presentation tools.  Someone was taking charge in there and started by asking what presentation tools we each used.  I stated that I used none of the ones listed on the program.  Many of the others had little experience either, but a few had played with Haiku Deck.  I was interested in that one and was hoping we would go in that direction.  It seemed to for a little while, but then took a turn when I said "well I have used Voki and Go Animate to present information to students and they are both REALLY SIMPLE".  This immediately  caused others to say "can you show us?".  So once again, I became the "expert".  I was having so much fun that the time flew by.

Session 3: Using Social Media with students.  A few teachers were already in the room and talking when I got there.  I eagerly listened to the ideas that were being thrown around, hoping we would land on one and I would have something concrete to use when I left.  Well, after participating in the discussion, I finally got into the small group that was looking at "Today'sMeet".  It works like twitter but is self contained and expires after a given time.  So you could use it for a class period and then it would be gone.  Great way to engage students in a discussion though!  I will definitely try it out!

We went back to a large room for closing session and people were encouraged to stand up and share what they learned.  Helena stood up and said "I got so much information from Paula Torres and everyone should be following her!"  I was NOT expecting THAT!!  Now my twitter is "blowing up" with new followers!  I also had earned enough "stars" from everyone that gave me one that it got me a prize for having the most in the room.  HOW DID THIS HAPPEN?!!!  I consider myself to be a beginner!  I guess I have learned/absorbed a LOT more than I even noticed! It was great affirmation!  And I loved being on the helping side!  I hope to get to do more of this in the future!


  1. Sounds like a fabulous event. Do you know when and where the next one is scheduled?

    1. The next PLAYDATE LA will be Aug. 8, 2015. Sign ups are open now at! Hope to see you there.

  2. Next fun day is next Saturday at EdCamp605 in Downey. Google EdCamp 605 and register!