Thursday, May 14, 2015

ICE TECH 2015 in Springfield

On Thursday, May 7th +Michael Saracini and I took 2 students down to the Illinois State Capitol Building in Springfield. Mike applied months ago for the opportunity and the day was finally upon us. It is a 3 hour ride from suburban Chicago to get to Springfield. We left early and the children were anxious to get there. When we got there one of our students remarked that they had never been through a metal detector before. That's when I realized this was a very new experience for both of them. We got there early, so we set up our table in the south hall on the 1st floor. I have recently broken my leg, so I watched our stuff while Mike and the kids looked around the Capitol Building.

The visit is set up by the Illinois Computing Educators (ICE). The goal of TECH 2015 is two fold, the first is to spotlight the use of technology in the classrooms as a vital tool for students. The second is to shed light on the need for increased funding for Illinois schools.

$3.00 green screen!
Our goal was for the kids to use the +TouchCast app to create a news video about our visit to the Capitol Building that day. It was Mike's ideas and it was brilliant. I was just there for moral support and to schmooze with the legislators.  I have been doing a lot of Touchcasting lately. It is such a versatile app, as I have said before. Natalie and Angel went around and interviewed participants in our area. They interviewed the president of ICE, Charlene Chausis, a teacher from Murray Elementary Language Academy in Chicago and Senator Napoleon Harris.  They had been practicing and developing their interview style for quite a few weeks and it showed. They both did a great job of creating and asking questions spontaneously of their guests. I was so impressed with their skills. 

Angel interviewing Charlene Chausis
Natalie showing Senator Landek how to use Touchcast
These kids were fearless and they did such a wonderful job interviewing different people with different perspectives on being at the Capitol Building. Sometimes it is hard to believe they are only 5th graders! 

If you are from Illinois and you want to apply to have your students attend, it is really easy to fill out the application form and send it in. The applications open around the first of every year and close in early February. Schools are notified in mid-February. The event is always in May. The ICE committee and its members did an outstanding job organizing and running the event. Thank you to all of them.

Here is the link to their final product! Great job Angel and Natalie! We are so proud of you! 

For more information on the use of Touchcast visit their website or read this blog post

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