On my final ISTE Connects blog post I outlined a post-ISTE proposal for how to make sure the learning does not stop in San Antonio. There were five steps:
5. Take five deep breaths.
4. What were your favorite four tools or lessons that you discovered at ISTE?
3. Connect in a personal way with three people you added to your professional learning network (PLN).
2. Talk to two of your colleagues.
1. Find someone in your school who has never attended ISTE and recruit them for next year in Atlanta.
Here is my personal version of the plan:
5. Take five deep breaths. It really took me five breaths and twelve hours of sleep before I could process the entire conference. I fell asleep remembering the best moments of ISTE and I woke up with an ah-ha moment of who I wanted to connect with.
4. What were your favorite four tools or lessons that you discovered at ISTE? There are many more than four, but to follow my own numeric rules, the four I am going to seriously play with over the summer are Graphite, LGeog, Aurasma, and EdCanvas.
I have been writing reviews for Graphite as a Graphite Certified Teacher for the past few months. It has challenged me to think more deeply about the tools and I have realized many of the cross curricular applications. I do not just review something as a Social Studies/Spanish teacher, but I try to view it from all subject areas applicable. Moving forward, I want to use it as a platform or starting point for more tech hesitant teachers. The argument is that there is too much out there. This is true, but Graphite simplifies the guess work by having reviews already done and searchable. Of course, I will also continue to write reviews for educational products.
Learning Geography (@LGeog) was a project done by students: David Arturo García, Raúl Monraz, Gerardo Ley, Luis Castañeda, Álvaro LemmenMeyer, and Jesús Ramírez from Instituto Chapultepec, in Culiacán Sinaloa México. They saw a need for an informational mash up of maps and facts that was simple for students to use and understand. This aligned perfectly with the curriculum and age of my sixth grade social studies class. It was inspiring to see what a group of students could achieve. I hope that our BYOT Club students will feel as motivated to create without the restrictions of a classroom, which is often the only thing holding their creativity back.
I knew about Aurasma before the conference, but I did not see the potential. There were multiple groups that demonstrated creative ways to use augmented reality in the classroom. I want to combine a few of their ideas. A visually pleasing way to display either QR Codes or an AR image is on a dice, with each side having a different trigger. Images from textbooks can be made interactive if you make the image a trigger. My favorite is having some random triggers around the room as part of normal decorations. The excitement of not knowing what or where you will find something will keep class interesting.
I knew before the conference that I liked EdCanvas, I just did not realize all the potential features. That is one advantage of hearing about a product from the passionate c0-founders. Hearing companies described by those who live and dream them has been one of my favorite parts of ISTE the past two years. I am not talking about the big vendors with a sales pitch, but the startups with a big heart. As a teacher, I see their vision and can actually envision it in my own classroom. The quiz feature on EdCanvas would make a great formative assessment to ensure that students understand the learning goal of whatever task was set up for them. I did not realize all the options that the teacher could have from their dashboard after setting up a class. I am really glad I spontaneously starting hanging out with them early in the conference. The fact EdCanvas connects with Edmodo makes life even easier. Our department needs common resources, I am willing to curate, and the other teachers can easily utilize without being overwhelmed.
3. Connect in a personal way with three people you added to your professional learning network (PLN). This was easy, especially since everyone is writing blog posts reflecting on the conference. I’ve left comments for some of my new friends (like fellow ISTE guest blogger Jessica Allen) as well as exchanged text messages and pictures with others. Robert Pronovost (@pronovost) blogged that this year felt different; the connections felt more like instant friendships instead of random colleagues from across the country. I don’t know what made this year different, but it feels even more invigorating.
2. Talk to two of your colleagues. Since I have been home for less than 24 hours, I haven’t actually met up with anyone yet, but I do have a plan. I am moving to sixth grade in the fall, so it is my opportunity to share some easy and great technology tools with my new colleagues. The science teachers use 20% time for their simple machine unit. The STEMbite videos could be a perfect spark for inspiration. JoAnn already asked what wearing the Google Glass was like, so I know she will be interested in the series of videos. For the social studies teachers I will be joining in the fall, there are multiple resources. I knew I was transferring positions when I registered, so my schedule was filled with geography and social studies themed sessions. I already mentioned LGeog and there are other tools, like Geo Games from Reach the World and everything from National Geographic (especially MapMaker Interactive, Geo Stories, and Community Geography). Currently the Map Maker relied on Flash, but in the session they said a HTLM5 version is under development so it would work on mobile devices.
1. Find someone in your school who has never attended ISTE and recruit them for next year in Atlanta. I know I will enthusiastically talk about the conference until people are sick of hearing me. I am modifying this goal slightly: instead of getting one teacher to join me as a newbie in Atlanta next summer, I want to convince five to travel to Philadelphia in 2015. There is a huge difference between a two hour drive and flying across the country, especially if we are paying for it ourselves. So look for me and my newbie friends at future ISTE conferences.