I latched on to a comment a friend made yesterday about how conferences like ISTE are really about the time spent in the halls, in connecting with others. Today, I didn’t formally attend any sessions. Instead, I focused on opportunities to connect with other educators, and it paid off!
I woke up at 4:45 AM to make it to #coffeeEDU and it was worth it. I was worried that getting up so early would throw off my day; I mean, I’m on a summer schedule. Then I sat down with these guys.
We came from all across the continent: Vancouver, Florida, Colorado, Arizona, and Massachusetts. I loved our discussion, from questions, to advice, to debate, to sincere empathy, and genuine interest. I walked away feeling more confident that the relationships between students and teachers as well as the relationships between teachers and other teachers are the backbone of education.
We contemplated how to share strategies and technology with those who don’t feel ready, how to establish relationships with those who resist, how to motivate others, how to bring in new technology, and how to let others fail. The common thread was that in order to move forward, there needs to be a basis of trust and respect, as well as a relationship that opens the door for failure and reflection.
I have seen a lot of Twitter posts about what people are reading this summer. After today’s discussion, I would encourage you to add Daring Greatly by Brene Brown to your list. To be open to new technology, to student-centered learning, and authentic instruction, you have to be comfortable with some level of vulnerability. No ones does vulnerability better than Brene.
Leveraging Instagram for Learning Environments Poster Session
Today was my very first ISTE presentation and I was thrilled to share the experience with one of my 9th grade EArth Science students. While our poster session wasn’t until, she came in at 8:30 AM so we could get her registered. Did anyone else see the awesome bags that student presenters got?!
We also had time to explore the poster session prior to ours so that we knew what to expect. I think that the time to speak with other presenters about their projects and see how their posters were set up put us both at ease. We also had time to explore the digital storytelling playground and a few sections of the Expo Hall. My student was excited to recognize some of the strategies that teachers were sharing, the new technologies that are becoming available for education, and to recognize a few of the exhibitors in the Expo Hall. It was fascinating to see the overwhelming ISTE experience through the eyes of a student.
We had a wonderful time sharing our experiences with Instagram this year and sharing our hopes and plans for Instagram next year. If you want to take a look at our class Instagram account, follow @earthsciedu. If you want to see the slides, including information from this year, plans for next year, and additional resources, click here.
Tomorrow’s goal: Eat lunch before 2 PM. This is important for 2 reasons. Firstly, the convention center cafes started to run out of food. Secondly, I’m hypoglycemic and tend to feel faint and terrible if I don’t eat every few hours. ISTE has been so excited that I keep forgetting to eat until I feel ill. Tomorrow, I’m setting alarms to remind myself to eat.
Corwin Focus Group
When I saw that Corwin was looking for focus group participants, I jumped at the opportunity. They were an edcamp Denver sponsor, and our attendees were most enthusiastic about the Corwin books. The books were chosen before edtech subscriptions, toys, and swag.
The focus group discussion questions focused on the type of professional development experiences that teachers are seeking and this led to an organic discussion about the pros and cons of different formats and resources used in professional development. The discussion actually helped me to clarify the type of professional development experiences I enjoy and learn from.
I love to read for professional development. I enjoy that I can work through a text at my own pace and pause to do additional research, create something based on my learning, or implement an idea at any point. I also like that I can refer back to the text whenever needed.
Passion points: Books that walk the line behind theoretical and practical, while being based on solid research. I want to know the why and see the how. I want to get some ideas, but examples that I can make my own rather than prescribed plans.
Frustrations: Books that are labeled K-12 and when the book preview is the introduction rather than a chapter.
I want a educational email newsletter similar to theSkimm. I would like a daily or weekly rundown of recent research articles in education (including the methodology, source of funding, and results), reviews of popular texts, and current information about education policy at the state and national level. In addition to professional development, I want to be informed about current issues and research in education.
Edcamp Organizers Dinner
I was very late to the dinner, but glad to sit down with my fellow edcamp organizers and enjoy some pizza. It’s always nice to sit down with few familiar faces at the end of the day and unwind. It was also great to be introduced to passionate edcamp organizers, many of whom are working on multiple edcamps.
I was excited to learn that the Edcamp Foundation has opened applications for impact grants. If you attend an edcamp and discover a project that you need additional resources to implement, Edcamp is ready to help. Each month, they will be awarding up to $1,000 to 25 individual who are committed to implementing their edcamp learning. Applications for the first round are due June 30th!
Post-Conference Action Items:
- Reread Daring Greatly and try to better articulate the importance of vulnerability for educators and students.
- Keep thinking about Instagram. Is it better to have students working on independent accounts, or on collaborative group accounts? Should I encourage them to use their personal accounts or accounts creating separately for school? What kind of assignments and collaborations would be a great fit for Instagram?
- I briefly attended a session on sharing feedback with students digitally and would like to pursue this in my own classroom particularly with writing assignments. I want to further research the tools that I could use to provide digital feedback in my classroom.