Then there was UCET... This was my second UCET conference to attend, but my first to present. I presented a session on using Garageband for the iPad. I think I was one of 25 presentations offered that dealt with Garageband, but I still had a few folks show up. Prior to this presentation, there was the preparation with my awesome band of friends, Ed Tex. We worked with a stunning interpretation of You Are My Sunshine. The difficulty I was worried about was not necessarily the content, but the potential technical difficulties. There was real reason for this concern. When I attempted to mirror to the Apple TV, it wouldn't work, there was no way to have sound AND the iPad displayed. I had a cart with speakers, but it wouldn't play as long as I was mirroring to the iPad. QUELLE NIGHTMARE! Then the participants in the session began to weigh in on potential reasons for this failure. "You need to tap the button twice. Just plug in the speakers. It should be working. Are you connected to the network? Is the Apple TV connected to the network? Do you have the app? Let me try." If you've ever been in a class full of trouble shooters, it's not an enjoyable experience. They were trying to help because it looked like I obviously didn't know how to project or possibly use an iPad. This felt like a major blow to my credibility. So, my friend Chandra had an iPad dongle (something that I don't use often) and we were able to hard wire the iPad to display to the projector through VGA. I was able to plug in a speaker into the headphone port at the top of the iPad. I couldn't move around as I'd hoped with the iPad, but it worked.
Aside from there being an extremely intense 5 minutes at the beginning, I was able to calm down and soldier through the presentation. I think the participants got something out of it. The experience reminded me of how high stakes technical difficulty can seem when we are teaching something we find to be very important. I had anxiety before this fiasco occurred and it was not about being able to present this great tool, but was about "what if the presentation technology doesn't cooperate?" You can feel the credibility points fall. Whether it be a room full of teachers or 7th graders, I know that my confidence is critical to being credible. The UCET technical difficulties reminded me that I can adapt if I have contingency plans, like Chandra's dongle. The more I learn about technology the more I can adapt. I also had to adapt how I addressed the class. I am used to standing in front and moving around the room with the iPad (that's the point of having an iPad right?). I had to adapt this practice to what was logistically possible. If I wanted to move around, I couldn't take my super tool with me. The facility we were in had huge bandwidth demands during the conference- every Apple TV running, nearly all participants using iOS devices, and 50+ simultaneous technology-based presentations! It's funny how when WiFi isn't working, it's like you'd use whatever magic words or motions that you can in attempt to get it to work.
So, UCET was my Parent Teacher Conference this year. I took away some really cool things, but I felt exhausted at the end. Here's some of the stuff I took away from this year's conference.