Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Refections on ISTE 2013 San Antonio

This was my first experience at the International Society of Technology in Education. It was an awesome opportunity and I am thankful for the chance to attend. There was more than 13,000 people in attendance. And with over 500 exhibitors, everyone was running around attempting to make the most of everyday. Daily seminars and sessions provided multiple opportunities to discuss and learn new information as it pertained to educational technology. And, it was mainly NOT about the hardware/devices.
Who Owns the Learning
Alan November & Angelique Moulton

A great part of the ISTE conference is to spread the use of technology as a way to inspire creativity, motivate learners, teach problem solving and processing skills, assess new knowledge, and many other unconventional ways to teach and learn. The conference also brings passionate educators together that have similar interest in the use of technology. Connections are made, ideas are shared and progress in educational technology improves. ISTE was a bee hive of what #edtech looks like in action.

Here I will highlight things that caught my interest (not in any particular order):

  • DigitalStorytelling - This is not new to many of us, but I was introduced to the StoryTellers and StoryKeepers (SIGDS) group. There is a ton of resources related to digital storytelling, even a page dedicated to apps.
  • Flipped Learning/Screencasting- I went to a lecture that detailed how a school in Arizona flipped their elementary classrooms. It was really a lot of the same we already know about flipping. However, the primary grades are the least likely to participate. So, I attended not expecting to learn much new. And I didn't.  I am not sure what I am looking for in the area of flipping a classroom, but I will know when I hear/see it. Here is one of the presentation handouts from the multiple classroom flipping sessions. ISTE Screencasting and Flipping
  • Blogging in the Classroom - I did not discover this during ISTE's, but it was affirmed there. I am a believer in blogging. For me it is therapeutic. But, it can be a valuable tool in getting students to develop good communication and writing skills. I attend the poster session: Creating Student Blogs. Edublog was highly visible at the conference. Here are a couple of articles you can read.
  • Global Collaboration-Flat Classroom® Projects - Home - I love the idea of a partner school/classroom of learners who can share learning opportunities while developing cultural awareness and global collaborative/cooperation skills.
Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World
Keynote speaker Jane McGonigal
  • Gaming in Education - Now this was a complete surprise to me. I had heard that games in eduction was on the rise, but I never knew to what magnitude. Wow is all I can say. The opening keynote speaker, Jane McGonigal, truly sparked my curiosity. The 10 emotions hooked me. This is probably an area I will find great interest this school year. I must make it an enrichment after school class. Students creating ode is also on my list of exploration. Scratch is one computing curriculum I will spend time researching.
  • Student Technology Clubs - I sought out this topic for a fellow teacher. We have some very tech savvy students in our building and would like to utilize their existing skills while teaching new ones by creating a tech crew. Their jobs would be to problem solve in the effort to assist teachers and peers when in class minor tech issue arise. This will help avoid delays in getting district tech support (which can take days). Jessica White, the presenter of the session, has a web page with many resources and tutorials to help get us started. We will need much more, but it is a start.
And just as Shirley Caesar sings, 'I Wouldn't Take Nothing for My Journey,' I do not regret any time I spent at ISTE. Whether the sessions were informative or not. The energy felt in the convention center and discussions I had with random educators inspired me to plan a year of exploration. I will not promise to try all the above ideas, but I will share and recommend when an opportunity presents itself.