ISTE 2010: Extreme Makeover

by Dean Mattson

Steve Dembo is one funny guy. He kinda resembles John Belushi and has the same blustery-with-a-wink personality. He had the participants laughing throughout this hour long session.

It was called Extreme Makeover: Education Edition and the idea was that he was going to teach tech newbies how to use some Web 2.0 tools. I was there to see which websites he chose and how he would introduce each one.

Most of the websites he went through were ones I was familiar with – he went over Blabberize (why didn’t we do anything with that last year?), ipadio (which I wrote about in May) and how to start a blog.

He spent the most amount of time on Wallwisher, a very simple website which lets you create a virtual corkboard on which you or your students can add their own notes, and has lots of possible uses. I’m definitely going to have to find ways to use that next year.

The funniest one was Let Me Google That For You, for those colleagues who email you questions they could very easily find for themselves if they’d only take a minute to Google it themselves.

Steve’s approach to these websites was very similar to the one Tammy Worcester uses in many of her sessions: He would show the basics of each website, explain how to get started and give ideas on how to use it in the classroom. It was very fast paced and enjoyable for the inexperienced tech teacher as well as the experienced ones.