New Hampshire’s Best Known Secret

There are two event websites I use for niché groups and networking – Meetup and Eventbrite. These sites are useful to finding activities in your area. This week I attended a 3½ hour NH Salesforce User Group (via Eventbrite) held at the FIRST headquarters.

I will gladly use this time to capitalize on “New Hampshire’s best known secret.” So you know those segways that public safety officers and annoying tourists scoot about on? The Human Transporter was invented by Dean Kamen of DEKA, and noted friend of inventor Ray Kurzweil. In an effort to get students (ages 6-18) more excited about STEM careers – engineering, robotic design, and animation, Dean Kamen started the nonprofit FIRST. Inspired students plan and then construct working renditions of moveable models with LEGO® Robotics, and often work with scientists to solve real-world problems. Competitions aspire students to gain 21st Century skills including creative problem solving and fosters lifetime exploration of science and technology for children, our tomorrow’s leaders.

Back to the User Group…

A user group is essentially like-minded people gathering around a table of donuts and coffee (sadly no NY bagels) sharing ideas, tips and tools of the trade. I listened, I shared, I observed. We discussed best ways to use Salesforce to attract different audiences, how we can bridge the gap with mobile communication and by using the CRM platform to its greatest potential, see substantial ROI. As an audience member, I was most impressed with Southern NH University’s College for America demonstration as I saw first hand the student portal, paying close attention to how the organization optimized the system for their user. An opportunity to see inside some of New Hampshire’s most promising companies and a chance to learn about SF best business practices, this was an event I will have to wait until next February to attend again.

Creativity abounds with SXSWedu 2014

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Who would like to buy me tickets to SXSWedu in Austin? Going once, twice, three —

SXSW looks like an amazing festival, held every spring featuring film, interactive, music and conferences with panels of speakers, workshops, Meetup events and a trade show. There is also SXSWedu, an expo for educational innovation, SXSWeco for those environmental conservationists and SXSW V2V for techie startups on the prowl.

This year’s conference has a few discussions I’m interested in:

Permission Engines: Facilitating Creativity (SXSWinteractive)
What do Googlers and Burning Man have in common? Find out here (hint: it’s in the title)

STEM Challenges for Digital Citizens
Amazed by Amplify, I’d definitely drop in.

Apple for Teacher: Education Ripe for Disruption
This interview may make you redefine the status quo.
Just think of the opportunities we can unlock by making education as addictive as a video game.

iStories: Teaching with Social Video Self-Modeling
Learn how to demonstrate a concept, create step-by-step instructions and showcase prompt as a student video with social stories.

Rethinking Teaching and Learning: Competency-based
Every discussion poses questions; some pertinent like these.
What system changes must be made for students to have coherent and goal focused educational experiences?

Interactive Chocolate
Because everyone loves chocolate.

Tickets may be a stretch and I’ll try to make it there at least in spirit. Until then I’ll seek out PanelPicker to vote for the content I want to see (whether as a virtual attendee or a real one).

My first Meetup event

I spent this evening at my first networking event for EdTech in Boston. Organized by LearnLaunchX, I joined maybe forty guests in a hot, no AC room on the sixth floor of the PayPal offices on Oliver Street, walking distance to the aquarium.

We mingled, we exchanged business cards, we awkwardly looked at each other wondering who would crack the ice first, and we all probably had wished it went on for a few more hours… After our initial meet & greet session, we broke into groups to discuss topics that we previously chose on mobile, adaptive learning, MOOCs, flipped classrooms and ‘others.’

In the alotted time, there was only an opportunity to meet twice in small groups. For my first discussion on adaptive learning, we defined this method of using technology to adapt to different learning techniques, and shared ideas how to blend adaptive approaches and individualized learning. Everyone who contributed brought their own unique background and knowledge into the conversation.

The second discussion I sat in on was about MOOCs, or massive open online courses. We identified ways they are disrupting traditional pedagogical approaches — no more brick and mortars. (We now have face-to-computer interaction with virtual teachers.) Conversly, MOOCs are furthering our idea of a competency-based curriculum and everyone agreed with my point, MOOCs can become influential in the K12 market if used as a supplemental learning device. And we also talked briefly about the number of class enrollees verses those that actually completed the course. To no surprise, the number of enrollees far surpasses the latter.

What I learned about my first event: Butt in, but be polite, don’t drink the beer unless you want a bad breath (no I did not indulge, I needed to be an observant pedestrian taking public transportation back home) and print those business cards. I walked away with a small pile of business cards and if you can make at least one really good connection, you are all set.

Oh, did I mention the beer? There was Coors Light and some other generic brew. Now that’s where my entry fee went…

UPDATE: FB photos from the event

This week’s cleaning house

Inspiration is from Carrot Creative for the following post.

On Monday, I learned Ruby from HacketyHack and SQL from Lynda. Duolingo taught me German and by the end of the day, I could say Deinstag.

Networking is going viral and Meetup drinks their own koolaid, see Bucket List Babeskareer.me proved to be the better way to resume, while LinkedIn stayed strong acquiring Pulse.

Wednesday brought news to my fingertips with flipboard. But Currents, Pulse and Reddit also competed for my attention.

Thursday became my foodie day as my quest for good food ended with Guy Fieri’s yellow mop. Not to say, Eat St. didn’t offer the best roadside dog. TripAdvisor showed me the best Nepalese cuisine in town and the best (free) Sam Summer to quench my thirst.

And on the last day, Friday, I read about the organizations I support in the news. Bill is uniting STEM and the girl scouts. The NY Times Learning Network blogs about CCSS and Neil Young announces Farm Aid ’13.