Sunday, July 10, 2016

ISTE 2016 Recap

Hello Friends,

I'm happy to report that once again, ISTE did not disappoint.  This conference is by far my favorite of any conference I have ever attended anywhere.  It's also the BIGGEST conference I have ever attended anywhere.  I don't know the actual count but I heard that there were over 20,000 educators in attendance.  That's 20,000 people that love what they do, love technology, and love to take what they learn back to their districts, classrooms, colleagues, and students.  That's just amazing to me!
My favorite sessions are the BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) workshops.  Being a very visual learner, these workshops allow you to learn by seeing and master by doing - that's right up my alley. So I thought I would highlight a few that I REALLY loved.

First up is a workshop called Tech Infused Writer's Workshop.  It was taught by a phenomenal teacher called Jake Lee.  I'm telling you, I think I would've paid money to have my own children in his class. Except he's from Hawaii, I'm from may have been tough.  :)

Jake's session didn't start until 4:30.  It had already been a mentally exhausting kind of day and I didn't have time to grab dinner.  I was hungry and tired...not a good combination.  I confess that I had already planned my escape before the session even started but I was willing to at least give it a chance.  After all, I did pay extra money to attend.  Friends, it took less than 5 minutes and I was hooked.  He had us write a really quick 'first grade' writing piece and then showed us four ways to use it with tech integration.  His first graders do this stuff. - FIRST GRADE!  If you ever get the chance to attend one of Jake's workshops, you must jump at it.  In the meantime, click on one of the links to his blog and check out his stuff.

Next is another BYOD session called Pear Deck: Sweet Student Engagement  presented by Alyssa Davidson (aka - Mrs. Geology). This 9th grade science teacher is truly passionate about what she does.  Although she was sharing a tool, it was much more than that. I had been struggling with a Pear Deck vs. Near Pod decision.  Both tools are similar.  Both tools offer something that the other does not. Both tools are a subscription.  I had to pick one.  After Alyssa's session, I was convinced that Pear Deck was it.  She showed us the potential of taking your lessons way beyond substitution with tech (SAMR). She showed us the huge impact Pear Deck has on student engagement.  She showed us the HOW to use it and more importantly, the WHY use it.  Alyssa's passion and excitement was contagious and I can't wait to get my students excited about learning.

Finally, I'd like to end with some google updates that got me really excited to be a teacher.  Google has added a quiz function to google forms.  Yay! While it's not quite up to par with Flubaroo (after all, it is still just a baby), this feature will definitely simplify my teacher life and I am ALL for that!  I'll write a separate post on this later.

Google also announced the release of Google Cast for EDU.  This is a game changer, my friends.  A follow up post will be coming on this as well but basically, it's a way for students to wirelessly share their screens while the teacher maintains control over who is sharing.  Simply amazing!

If ever you have the chance to attend an ISTE conference, please take it.  It's huge.  It's overwhelming.  It's incredible.  You will not be disappointed - I promise!