Have you ever been to a conference where you walk up to the registration desk to get your id badge and you feel like you have stepped into Cheers? Not because the registration desk is a bar, but because you are greeted in a manner that makes you feel like everyone knows your name. If you have then you might have attended a Mountain Moot.
This Moot can be summed up in one word "Fun". Each year it is put on by Dan Case and Ryan Hazen on the Carroll College campus in Helena Montana. This year was no different. The moot unofficially started Thursday night with a welcome social sponsored by Blackboard. This is a great time to catch up with returning Moodlers and get to know some new Moodlers without the need to figure out the next session you are planning to attend. This casual gathering sets the mood for the rest of the Moot, which is relaxed and friendly. There are pre-moot sessions and I have heard they are very informative, I personally haven't attended them.
Friday kicks off the Moot proper with a 5k run walk and then a welcome presentation and keynote. One of these times I will attend the run walk, but this year it was 94-99 degrees outside and I am not prepared to do that kind of running or walking and then sit inside listening to presentations the rest of the day. This year's keynote presented by Andrew Kenny and was about K12 broadband and what the group the education superhighway is doing to help get broadband to all US K12 students. It was an interesting presentation explaining the needs for broadband for K12 districts and classrooms to provide different levels of educational content. We were then treated to a status of the project and how they have positively impacted k12 student's access to broadband.
There are usually four to five sessions running at a time, which is a solid number to provide attendees with options without making them feel like they have to choose between conflicting options. Jessica Bryant from Montana Office of Public Instruction gave a presentation on the work that OPI is doing to provide free professional development to K12 teachers in Montana and how they are training the teachers who develop the professional development courses. I am hopeful that she will create a blog post about what she presented at the Moot here and talk about the course they have written and their process for learning how to create quality Moodle courses.
H5P was a very popular topic at the moot this year. There was a pre-moot session on it and Jason Neiffer and Mike Agostinelli from Montana Digital Academy presented on how they are using H5P with their educational curriculum. I am also hopeful that they will create a blog post at some point on H5P because they are using it extensively. It is also being used with many different educational techniques. If you get a chance to reach out to them I highly recommend it. They have a very solid strategy for using H5P and keeping it up to date. H5P as a tool is also rapidly evolving, which accessibility becoming a focus for improvements going forward.
Sadly Marlene Zentz got sick and was unable to attend, hopefully, she is feeling better. This also meant that Aaron Page was unable to attend and Andy Braden stepped up to present to those who were interested in Blackboard Ally and the recently released integration with Moodlerooms and soon with Moodle. If you haven't seen Ally in action or talked to Andy or your sales rep about it I highly recommend it. Many of the moot attendees were really excited by the prospect of what Ally could help them do.
Luckily we were able to connect to Aaron Page virtually to the moot attendees to present about the Accessibility MOOC he and Marlene Zentz are going to be running in October. They recently ran a pilot with 93 people and received a lot of positive feedback about it. They are working on improvements before we open it up for anyone to enroll. I am also hopeful that they will find some time to make a blog post to talk about the MOOC and why everyone should attend not just Moodlerooms clients.
This was yet another great Mountain Moot. Ryan and Dan continue to host an event that has a strong community feel while providing a lot of benefit to attendees with a very inexpensive price tag. Minds were definitely blown this week. If you get a chance I highly recommend attending. I also recommend taking a few extra days before or after to explore Montana. It is gorgeous country, hot this year, but hopefully that was a fluke.