Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Technology Bootcamp II

Technology Bootcamp II

On May 7, 2011 we finished our second round of Technology Bootcamp. We had 10 participants for this academy. We learned somethings from the first Technology Bootcamp and were able to make some changes to how we ran the second. One of the things we changed for this Bootcamp was having a third meeting day in the middle of the sessions. This helped field any questions, take care of problems, and showcase more applications.

During our the Technology Bootcamp II we focused on the Voicethread application. We continued our work with Wikispaces by adding our Voicethread projects to our SJVWP wiki. Anyone can visit the projects we created at We spent time exploring the Wiki and how to add information to it. We also learned about the application Evernote. We learned how to create an Evernote account, add it to our smartphones, and learned how the application workes.

We also read several articles and discussed their importance related to teaching technology in this time of change. During the last session we discussed a chapter from the NWP book Because Digital Writing Matters. For our article discussion we posted our thoughts and comments on our wiki.

One thing that we did not accomplish during this academy was an open program. We had planned a technology open program for our last meeting. Unfortunately we did not get enough people sign up for the day and had to cancel. We are looking at doing things differently for our next technology open program. We may look at planning for a smaller group in hopes it will build interest for future open programs.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

2011 Web Presence Retreat

Kathee and I missed our connecting flight in Denver because of airplane maintenance problems in Fresno. We were split up and forced on two different airlines. I ended up with a ticket on our original airline a couple of hours later, but Kathee got a ticket to fly out of Denver at 8:00p.m. I felt horrible that she would miss all of the evening events and would get in really late. As I was entering the plane she texted me saying that she was on standby for the next flight out. Luckily she got the only ticket on that flight and actually arrived in MO a few minutes before me. We made it on time to the Opening Gathering.

We are working and staying at the Kansas City Marriott Country Club Plaza in Kansas City, MO. My roommate for this retreat is Kevin Hodgson who has an awesome blog at The purpose of the Web Presence Retreat is to build a community site through the new NWP Connect site. We had a great evening of talking, eating, and learning. We discussed what draws us back to a website. As a group we found we go back to sites if there is:
  • interesting information or conversation
  • information that engages us
  • humorous or light
  • has different points of entry
  • has layered content
  • something or a place takes you there
  • has artistic aspects
  • commonalities that afford agency
  • being able to control stream of information
  • Needs dynamic content and static content
  • has a context in which interaction takes place
  • different spaces/needs addressed via access - utility; personal interest and the overlap of them (efficiency)
We then discussed our own sight and built an analog site using chart paper and paper widgets. We went to our rooms for the night because we had an early morning.

Most of our day was spent "playing" with the new connect site. We learned about each of the widgets and how to place them on the site pages. Kathee and I became frustrated about some limitations of some widgets. We expected the wiki widget to work differently. We had a vision in our head about how things should work and became bogged down by the restrictions. Although frustrated, we did overcome this and moved on. I think anytime we work with a new technology there are bound to be times we become frustrated, but the good thing about technology is one can find ways to work around the problem. Or as @pauloh put it, "Jeromy and Kathee, bent the program's will."
    At the end of the meeting day on Saturday, Paul explained how to invite people to our community. 
    • If a person has an NWPi profile have them log in at credentials (username and password). They will automatically be joined to the National Community. We need to get their primary email address at and invite them into our community via Manage Community>User Management>Invite Users.
    • If a person does not have a profile then have them login at They need to click the Sign Up link. After they finish registering they will be sent to the NWP connect profile. We need to get their primary email address at and invite them into our community via Manage Community>User Management>Invite Users.
    Valorie Stokes had us watch a video. She discussed how we have been creating and need to be consumers now and watch the video (

    This morning we were able to see other projects' websites. This was beneficial because we derived new ideas for use on our own site. I would like to keep watching these other sites grow and gain more ideas for our site. This morning was great because I felt we were able to accomplish more than the previous day. We gained some ideas from seeing the other websites.

    Kathee, Beth (from the University of Maryland Writing Project), and I walked the Plaza. It is a beautiful shopping district. I am told that if you cross the river about 8 blocks up you enter into Kansas. We walked the river which had several fountains. It was a short walk as we had to catch our shuttle back to the airport.

    Our trip back was uneventful. Kathee and I had a 3 hour layover in Denver so we got a chance to discuss life and SJVWP tech stuff over dinner and drinks.

    This was a great weekend with great people.