Tag Archives: ISTE

ISTE Guide for Beginners!

It’s ISTE season yet again! Shortly, thousands of people will descend on the city of San Antonio to talk about education and technology. There will be old timers (“I remember when ISTE was…”), vendors (have you seen how Sprocket intends to innovate education), and newbies. If this is your first ISTE, no doubt you are excited. However, it can also be a bit intimidating. If you’re not ready for it, it can eat you alive! Here are some of my tips for surviving as an ISTE newbie:

Get on Twitter

There will be two prominent hashtags on Twitter: #iste (for conference attendees) and #notatiste (for those that didn’t make it). Both will feature amazing content and ideas. Be sure to check in on Twitter a few times a day. Better yet, share your own reflections and experiences of the conference!

Set 2 or 3 Goals

It’s easy to go overboard at ISTE. However, there are so many sessions, playgrounds, posters, happy-hours, etc, that it can become information overload. Instead, in advance, set 2 or 3 goals that you want to accomplish. Are you rolling out a new digital storytelling program? Does your maker-space need a makeover? Perhaps you want to update your digital citizenship program. Whatever your projects, there will be multiple sessions, speakers, and vendors geared towards your objectives. Focus on those!

Watch the Screens

The lines for keynotes can get overwhelming and your favorite ignite! session might conflict with another activity. There are always screens everywhere around ISTE. If you don’t mind not being in the same room, hang out in a lounge and watch the presentation on the big screen tv.

Network

Being on Twitter will really help you here. Meet people, go to happy hours, or just randomly introduce yourself. You will meet many like-minded educators in this world. Say hello, hand out and collect business cards, and follow one another on Twitter. Speaking of Twitter, don’t hesitate to reach out to your favorite super stars if you run into them. I once got quite star-truck over running into Vicki Davis a couple of years ago. Now she follows me on Twitter and has even invited me on a podcast!

Wear Comfortable Shoes

If you listen to nothing else that I say, listen to this: wear comfortable shoes. You will walk… a lot. ISTE is a very large convention and there are events all around the area. You need comfortable walking shoes. I once made the mistake of wearing heels when I was presenting. Never again. Comfortable shoes will be your friend.

So if you’re at ISTE, pop over and say hello if you see me! I’d love to hear what you’re working on. Have a great trip and see you soon!

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5 Tips to Get the Most out of ISTE

This is reblogged from my post on Daily Genius.

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This summer, thousands of teachers will be descending on Denver to attend the 2016 ISTE Conference. ISTE, the International Society for Technology in Education, is the largest, and sometimes most intimidating, tech conference due to its sheer size and the volume of attendees and vendors. I have been a regular attender of ISTE for many years and have learned a few things about how to get the most out of the conference. Here are my top five tips for getting the most out of ISTE:

Download the ISTE App

ISTE has a robust conference app that is free for users. There is a lot to navigate at ISTE: calendar, locations, vendors, and more. The app will have the most up-to-date information at all times – speakers drop out of the conference at the last minute, a room change may happen, or you may want to track down a vendor whose tool you saw featured in a talk. The app will tell you everything you want to know. You can look up workshops and presentations by speaker and topic. It is the best tool for sorting througheverything about the conference.

Single Out 2-3 Topics to Explore

One thing that I have learned is that it’s easy to get overwhelmed with the sheer volume of poster sessions, workshops, and presentations at ISTE. To prevent information overload, go to ISTE with a goal in mind. What are the topics or ideas that you want to learn about most? Do you want to bring Digital Storytelling in your classroom? Build a robust Digital Citizenship program? Want to up your Google Apps game? Is your district or school rolling out a new tech initiative next year and you need more information? ISTE is a smorgasbord of teaching and learning, so focus on two or three topics that you want to explore. This is not to say you should avoid attending an off-topic session that grabs your attention, but having a clear focus at ISTE will help you to get the most out of your conference learning experience.

Vote with your Feet

Not every session will fit your expectations. If that is the case, you should feel free to “vote with your feet.” In other words, if you aren’t getting what you want out of a session, then you should leave and go to another one. Time is your most valuable commodity at ISTE, so use it wisely and explore as much as possible. Move around, enter a session late or leave early, and learn all that you can!

Go to Networking Events

ISTE has a lot of opportunities to network with like minded educators and leaders. If you are a member of an ISTE Professional Learning Network, be sure to check their bulletin board to see if they are hosting an event. By the way, PLN’s are open-enrollment, so you should feel to join one last minute and engage with your peers at the conference! In addition to PLN’s, many vendors host happy hours or networking activities to help educators come together and engage as professionals.

Take Breaks

It’s easy to get lost in your ISTE conference and not realize how much physical and mental energy that you’re exerting. For example, one day last year I clocked over 27,000 steps (almost 14 miles) on my Fitbit! Don’t let conference fatigue get you down. Take regular breaks, both physical and mental. If you’re staying in a conference hotel nearby, take a break in the middle of the day to reflect on your morning. You can write a blog post or a journal entry if it helps you to process; enjoy a long lunch (perhaps with a new networking friend); or just take a walk or a jog in the city. Taking regular breaks will help you to stay on your game throughout the conference.

ISTE is the mother of all tech conferences, but you can easily tackle it if you keep these tips in mind. Instead of coming home a little lost and exhausted, you’ll return to your school excited, brimming with new ideas, and ready to tackle the near year!

ISTE 2015 – Day 1

So after flight delays, I finally touched down in Philadelphia for the 2015 annual ISTE Conference. However, I did make it in time to enjoy the networking dinner with my colleagues and peers for the Independent School Educator’s Network. It was good to see old friends, meet new people, and to connect some faces to Twitter handles.

This week, I’m especially excited to see what is on the exhibitor’s floor, explore new concepts for digital citizenship, digital portfolios, and more innovative ideas to take back to my school. I’m excited for the next four days!

Reflections on ISTE 2014 Atlanta

Last night I came back from ISTE 2014 in Atlanta. As ISTE always is, it’s empowering, inspiring, overwhelming, and exhausting. This year, I had the privilege of becoming a board member of the ISTE Independent School Educators Network  (new twitter hashtag #isteisen) and Co-Chair of Professional Development with Kelsey Vrooman. If you want to join us for our first Professional Development event, we will be discussing Danah Boyd’s book “It’s Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens” (available at book retailers in print and eBook form and as a free download here) with the author on October 7 at 3:30 EST. This event is free and open for all via this link.

It would be impossible for me to discuss everything I took away from this conference – there was just too much! However, I can highlight a few things. Google, as we have seen at ISTE’s past, has really raised the bar with free professional development and resources for educators and schools. You can learn more about Google Apps for Education (GAFE) here. Google expanded on its release of Classroom, that will hopefully be available this fall. The Google Playground also presented several cool features. One of my favorites is fusion tables, Moss Pike of Harvard Westlake School demonstrated how you can use this in conjunction with Google Forms to delve deeper into your data (e.g. using a school survey and then analyzing collected data by age, grade level, department, etc).

Courtesy of Deviant Art

Courtesy of Deviant Art

Gamification was a big theme at the conference as well. Numerous educators and students held poster sessions and talks demonstrating the power of Minecraft in their classrooms. Douglas Kiang of Punahou discussed the power of games in his presentation “From Minecraft to Angry Birds: What Games Teach us about Learning.”

Vinnie Vrotny, the new Director of Technology at the Kinkaid School, organized and hosted the Maker Playground. The Maker Movement has become a key theme in education and the role it can play in children being innovative, inventive, and invested in their own education.

Overall my take away from ISTE is that technology is quickly revolutionizing education and encouraging discussions and change.

Day 1 at ISTE

Today was my first day at the 2014 ISTE Conference. If you have never attended ISTE, it’s often awe-inspiring as well as overwhelming. It’s an exciting and exhilarating time for educators – especially those of us passionate about the role of technology in education. I spent much of the day catching up with my peers that I only see on the conference circuit, including my old classmate Moss Pike, Ph.D. from the Harvard Westlake School, my friend and mentor Larry Kahn (soon to be Tech Director of the Iolani School), and Vinnie Vrotney (the new Tech Director of the Kinkaid School and new chair of the ISTE Independent School Educator Network).

There is so much that I am looking forward to this week – seeing what Google has up its sleeve (especially Classroom), learning what other schools are doing, the Maker Playground on Tuesday 9:00 – 1:00pm! It’s going to be an exciting conference!

ISTE 2014

I’m heading off to ISTE 2014 in Atlanta. I had the privilege of presenting an Ignite session last year on Digital Storytelling.

My experience with ISTE is that it’s busy, dizzying, overwhelming, and exciting. I will try to post while I am there but don’t be surprised if I have to wait until I return to post a reflective piece.

If you will be at ISTE this year, let me know. I would love to meet up with my peers in the field.

Share My Lesson – a Collaborative Teaching Resource

While visiting ISTE this past July in San Antonio, I was introduced to the website Share My Lesson.

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It’s not only a repository of lesson plans, but a social media site that allows educators to share their own content and then build off the lessons and ideas of others. It is a cooperative space to help teachers around the world build the most dynamic and innovative lessons they can by collaborating with their peers. To learn a little more, check out the video below:

So join up, share with your colleagues, and help to improve education!