Tuesday, June 28, 2011

ISTE 2011 - Day Two

As I mentioned in yesterday's post, I am fortunate to be attending my first ISTE conference this year in Philadelphia.  Yesterday was my first full day, and I wanted to share some of the insights, resources, and information that I learned as a way to "pay it forward" to those who aren't attending.  The volume of information that came my way was so overwhelming that I cannot possibly share all of it, so I'm passing on what I found most illuminating.  If you want more info from the conference, those attending and tweeting the conference are using the hashtag #ISTE11.
  • My first session was on the Common Core (CC) and Project Based Learning (PBL).  We all know the CC is coming in a few years, and I've been heavily involved in my district's integration of the CC math standards into our curriculum.  At the same time, PBL is a philosophy that I believe in strongly.  The presenters were from the Buck Institute for Education.  They shared some great student work and their website seems to have some decent resources for PBL.
  • I really enjoyed browsing the poster sessions throughout the day.  There's great information there, and I love being able to talk shop with the presenters instead of just listening.  One of the highlights of the day was when a 3rd grade student from Alabama came up to me shaking with excitement, handed me a beaded necklace to put on, and asked me to come over and see how her school uses Web 2.0 in their classrooms.  Her enthusiasm was contagious, and it made me think of how incredibly powerful engagement and passion can be.
  • I learned some new tools for creating bibliographies:  EasyBib, BibMe, Noodle Tools, and Zotero.
  • A flash mob broke out in the afternoon near the Blogger's Cafe.  That was fun.  
  • The Follett software company put together an amazing panel during their reception that resulted in some great conversation:  Kevin Honeycutt, Dean Mantz, Diane Cordell, Steven Anderson, and Shannon Miller.  The topic was "Rethinking Education."  There were so many points that were made that resonated with me.  Here's the one that hit me the hardest - If you have a blog, you have a voice.  Those of us who understand the devastation that the culture of standardized testing is bringing to our children have a responsibility to make others aware of it.  It's our moral imperative to do so.  This blog is my voice.  Please help me make it louder by passing it along to others, whether they be educators, parents, legislators, businesspeople, or anyone else.
  • I went to my first "Digital Jam" last night, and it was a great experience.  20-30 teachers singing at karaoke together at the top of their lungs, playing every kind of instrument from tambourine to xylophone on their iPads, and showing how technology and music can inspire people (and students) to find their passions.
  • Spending time with members of my PLN, meeting new educators, and being surrounded with people who are as passionate about the need to change education in ways that put our students first has been simply incredible.  I can't wait to see what Day 3 brings.