Saturday, July 7, 2018

ISTE 2018 Reflection: Day 1

So all I really have to say is WOW!!!!! I have never been to an ISTE before and didn't know what to expect. This place was completely amazing. This year ISTE was in McCormick Place in Chicago only an hour Metra ride from my family home. I need to let you know that as close as I used to live to Chicago, I rarely traveled there. One of many reasons one being anxiety. I get nervous when I'm in a big group and I get such huge butterflies when I’m on a new adventure that sometimes I shut down. That’s why when entering McCormick place I was both overwhelmed and excited. There is something about over 24,000 people in one place at one time. It evokes some anxiety in me. Yet I also liked the idea that the whole place was full of educators, technology gurus, and companies. They were all trying to make education better filled my heart with joy.
When we see a photo booth we have to stop!

Lucky for me (and especially my anxiety) I was not on this trip alone. I was able to attend with two awesome colleagues and one amazing boyfriend. I found the registration to be stress-free. Though with there being so many people it was hard to find an area that wasn’t hustling and bustling. I realized that if you are on the walkway you better move. Otherwise, you were going to get run over. People were committed to getting from point A to point B as quickly as possible. This makes sense since people wanted to make it into these amazing sessions. I remember finding a small wall to stand against and thinking to myself, “Where to?” It is funny to think I had planned the week prior. I made a schedule but at that moment I couldn’t think of one thing I wanted to go to. Luckily I had used the ISTE app to log a few items I really wanted to attend. After that small freak out we headed towards the poster sessions.
AR & VR were very big in the poster sessions

We walked into this huge space, but it seemed so much smaller because of the number of people. It was great to see so many educators share what they are doing in their classrooms or schools. To be honest it spoke to me the most as a 5th-grade teacher. These were people like me who are in the trenches and using these tools to make an impact with students. I was very excited to learn and take in whatever I could. Many presenters had QR Codes that made things even better. I could listen then use my phone to scan the QR code to get the presentation. I ended up storing all the presentations along with notes on my Google Keep. This made note taking and storage so much easier and I didn’t even need to take out any other device besides my phone. One thing I found surprising was the number of students who attend and share what they are learning. Caught off guard by a young boy asking me if I wanted to see his project and I was in awe. There is something about students excited about their learning. So much so that they are willing to explain it to complete strangers. This got me to stop at almost every table. Students taught me about DoInk, PowToon, and HP Reveal (formally Aurasm). It was so sweet to see nervous students approach you to share. Once you listened they got so excited to show you everything. This whole experience is about listening. Listening to presenters, companies, educators, and students. Listen to learn more than you ever thought possible. You have to be open to ideas and resources that might change your school or classroom for the better. I went in with an open mind and heart and I learned so much from so many people.
Kasey was so nice and I loved her positive attitude and her southern accent

After the poster sessions, I went by myself to Kasey Bell’s session on Dynamic Learning with G Suite. My anxiety cranked up. I had heard that many people weren’t getting into sessions not to mention I was going by myself. Lucky me I went about 30 mins early and got a seat! Now I knew of Kasey Bell. I knew she was an author, she was a tech guru, and I was even on her email list, but I knew little else. My goals walking into this session were:
  1. I wanted to learn more about how to better use G-Suite in my classroom. We are a 1-1 Chromebooks district.  I wanted the chance to uncover more ways to better utilize technology in my classroom.
  2.  I wanted to know if Kasey Bell’s book was for me. I had yet to buy her book because I have sooooooo many edu-awesome books that I haven’t read yet. Kasey’s book never made it to the top of my list.

After arriving I was surprised by the kindness of those around me ready to learn, but also by Kasey herself. She spent time before the presentation running around the room talking and passing out stickers. She even took the time to make sure the back row (where I sat) got stickers. Her energy was inviting and once she started her presentation I was hooked. I was engrossed in her ideals and ideas with my fingers typing feverishly on the Ipad taking notes. I am pumped to use Google Slides to create Digital Choice Boards and creating Comic Books. I also got excited to use the Google Keep feature as a way for Students to reflect and track their goals. The one huge takeaway for me was, 

“Start small, think of one way to go beyond.” 
This quote means many things:
  1. Kasey explains that you can use G-Suite for more than typing papers and completing worksheets. It is our choice to go beyond that and find out of the box ways to utilize this tool.
  2. I personally love this quote because it reminds me that you don’t have to do it all right now. I’m a runner when it comes to new ideas. I want to try everything and I’m ready to jump, but sometimes I need to slow down and try one thing.
  3. With that said I know some teachers are scared of taking the jump. They need to know its okay to try something new. Dip your toes in the water and try one new thing because the growth exceeds the fears.
Kasey’s presentation was a great way to start my ISTE experience. It gave me hope that I can take on tech in education one app at a time. And yes I ended up buying her book right after ISTE!
My excitement when I found this was at an all time high!

After that awesome presentation, I ended up playing in the ball pit. Why not? It was nice to have a fun childlike experience between sessions. I challenge ISTE to make more of those happen!
Andi was so down to earth and so nice! So excited to learn from her!

I ended my day attending a Genius Hour Presentation by Andi McNeil. I had done one Genius Hour project with my students this year during our library time. I had very little background knowledge of genius hour and jumped in and tried it. It wasn’t the best but wasn’t the worst. After more research, I realized that Google Slides isn’t the only way to display their knowledge. I need to work on how I present Genius Hour. Needless to say, I was hoping this presentation would help and it completely delivered. Some things that I noted:

  • We need to focus on 4 C’s (communication, collaboration, critical thinking, & creativity) plus Reflection
  • There are 6 P’s to Genius Hour Projects: Passion, Pitch Plan, Project, Product, and Presentation
  • Thrively is a great site to dive into the interests and passions of the students.
  • Wonderopolis allows students to find answers to things they wonder about. Also, having students do this and fill out short google forms helps the teacher gauge students interests.
  • DIY.org is a great site that takes students to future careers. It allows them to practice certain skills that could help them in those careers.
  • Open up the classroom to outside experts. Make a google form for experts to fill out and help students connect. Let students ask questions of experts for the subjects of their research.
  • Trello is a great site to help teachers keep track of where students are in the Genius Hour process
  • Students can present their information in a variety of ways. Such as a Weebly Website, S’more poster, Book in Book Creator, or a community event.
Other amazing people to follow!

These are a few of many notes I took. One thing I walked away with was I NEED to buy Andi’s book. I know, not another book, but if you plan on starting or developing your Genius Hour this book is what you need. I ended up purchasing one right after ISTE. This was based on the great presentation. I knew it would be what I needed to develop my Genius Hour in my classroom.

My first day at ISTE was long and truly a great experience. What have you learned from ISTE or from me? What is one thing you want to try in your school or classroom?
Tweet me your answers @teaching_power and use the hashtag #teachingpower
Stay Tuned for the rest of my ISTE blogs!
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1 comment:

  1. Enjoyed reading your takeaways, definitely so much going on this year. I remember my first experience in Philly in 2015, was amazed at how much there was to explore. Thanks for sharing!

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