Friday, August 2, 2013

Our First Tech Camp Adventures (how we did it and survived)

So if you know me well, you know I love technology! I love learning about it, using it, sharing what I've learned and teaching my kids all I know about it. So when my girlfriend Kacie asked me in March if I was interested in running a Tech Camp this summer, I was ALL OVER IT.
So in May, we briefly talked about it again and decided we were going to do it "for sure".  What do you know, this year we got out of school on June 6th, so around June 1st we decided we better get out some information if we were planning to have a camp.  No procrastination there at all.   I fully believe it was because the end of the year just "snuck up".  So we decided to whip up a flyer, a form and start spreading the news.  I used S'more to create the flyer and Kacie used Google Docs for the form (man, she is a pro with Google Docs) If you haven't used S'more before, it is so worth a few minutes.  Kids love it and Teachers too!
Now back to our story, we only had a few days left but we work really well in crunch time. So we begged our co-workers to send out the word and we emailed all the parents we knew and POW~ by the time we left on June 7th, we had about 12 kiddos (Not Bad).  So TECH CAMP was on.  We had an idea what we wanted it to look like and had plenty of time to plan for our July 29th date.
So June passed, we relaxed, ate, swam, read, relaxed, drank, relaxed... you get it.  No Tech plans yet!
Then July rolled around and yep, we did the same thing we did in June.
So around the week before Tech Camp we decided to get together (I mentioned we have a procrastination issue right).  The thing I like about Kacie & I is that we can get together and  knock out some pretty amazing ideas.  Most of the time we know how we are going to go about them and the rest, we are just willing to take the risk and give it whirl. So Tech Camp 2013 was planned and ready to go! My daughter even got to spend the day swimming with Kacie's daughter so it was an added bonus for her.
JULY 29th arrived and by this time, we had 16 kiddos signed up (yeah us).  We were so lucky because Kacie's parents let us hold camp at her house and they let my daughter hang out all week too! (her parents are AMAZING).  We broke our camp up into 2 groups am & pm.  Our am group was from 8:30 - 11:30 (K - 2nd) and our pm group was from 12:30 - 3:30 (3rd - 5th).  We were ready.  Our week was so busy with ipads, pc's, Mac's, apps, coding, embedding, posting, commenting, sharing. You name it and I think we did it. We used apps that we loved, apps we just learned and apps that we had absolutely no idea how to use before camp (but we knew we wanted to try them).  Our kids left every day so excited to return and arrived every morning ready to go.  I loved it! They loved it! We loved it! I have to admit, it was exhausting but in a good way.  We were going non-stop (no recess, planning time, library) just full throttle but I would not have wanted it any other way.  Did I mention yet, how happy I was to have Kacie as a partner in this, we work so well together it's seamless.
So Friday rolled around, it was our last day, we had made it. The best part was to hear so many kiddos say "Can we come back next year" , "Tech Camp was so great" or "Man, why does camp have to end".
YEAH KACIE & NAT!  We did it. That is how we survived our first of many Tech Camps to come and LOVED IT!  Until next year.

PS.  I didn't mention all the activities we did in much detail as this was just "the story" but I promise to write all about it this weekend!

Here is a picture of our kiddos -

Ethan's thoughts on Tech Camp

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Tune Into Technology Thursday Linky - QR Codes

What an exciting week I have had.  It's Friday so I am only one day late on joining the Linky today from I Teach 1:1.  I have some excitement to share but will of course share my QR Code tidbits as well.

This week  one of my dear friends and I embarked on our first ever TECH CAMP.  We were lucky to have a group of  6 K -2 kiddos and 11 3rd - 5th kiddos attend our camp. It was all week long. Nothing better to prepare us for the upcoming school year. We taught them how to set up a Kid Blog, add posts, comment and learned to embed.  That was on Monday!  The rest of the week was filled with learning Pic Collage, Explain Everything, Educreations, Hopscotch, Scratch and so much more.  Stay tuned for the full details of the post.  Here are a few pictures of the kiddos, which will lead me into my QR ideas.

So back to the Linky, Here are 5 of ideas for using QR codes.  I hope some of them are new ideas for you.

1.  DON'T FORGET - If you notice in the pictures above the kiddos are holding a picture frame.  In that frame is a certificate for attending Tech Camp and a QR code.  The QR code will take them to their blog. Now they will never forget the website that their blog is on and what a great way to share it with friends and family.

2.  EASY WEB - How many times have you had to tell your students a web site link?  I cannot tell you how frustrating it is to say go to and 17 kids say "whaat???", "I didn't hear you", or "it doesn't work.  Well Google Chrome's extension saved my day.  Their extension URL Shortener  will not only shorten a URL but also provide a QR codes.  So you can just project the code on your screen, or iPad if you don't have a projector and they can scan it! AMAZE!!!

3.  AS A GIFT - For Christmas, we decorated cd's for our parents as ornaments but it was the back of the ornament that was the best.  We recorded a video of each child describing their favorite "family tradition" or "What my family means to me".  We turned the videos into QR codes and glued them to the back of the ornament.  A life long gift that they can scan and play every year.

4.  INTRODUCING - At my school, each teacher recorded a short message about themselves, turned it into a QR code and attached it to a picture of themselves that hung outside our doors.  When visitors would come or future parents, they could scan our code and get to know a little about us.

5.  SO MANY USES - A simple code placed into a spreadsheet can do wonders.  If you paste this code (=image("" & A2) into box B2 of a spread sheet, you can write anything in A2 and it will create a QR code for that. Here is a screen shot.

You can just drag the code down into each box under it and it will work for each one.  SOOOOO fun.  I'm thinking you can leave a cute message on a students desk for them to scan.  OR how about a kiddo who is off task, you drop the QR code on the desk, they scan it and it say "Get Back To Work" (hee hee).  The possibilities are endless as you can see in A3, you can put websites in as well.  What an easy way to create a quick quiz, or math problems around the room.  Give it a try, I am sure you will be able to find many more things to do with it.

Have A Great Weekend
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