Friday, June 28, 2013

ISTE 2013 'Where the Energy is Palpable'

This was my first time attending ISTE and I have to say that the tagline fits. It was energetic. After four days my brain was pretty fried. I thought TCEA was big, and it is one of the biggest state edtech conventions, but ISTE really was overwhelming. I mean, seriously, take a gander at the program guide. It's the size of a textbook! Fortunately they had a mobile app, which was much lighter to carry around!




THE OPENING KEYNOTE

First of all, Jane McGonigal was the opening keynote speaker. I heard her at a previous conference about a year ago and loved it, so I was looking forward to seeing her again. I was tweeting back and forth with another conference goer about how she involves the audience with a game. We wondered if she would do that again. We were pleasantly surprised when Jane herself tweeted us back saying that she did have something planned. We tweeted back a forth for a few more minutes, which was totally cool! Then when she asked for volunteers, I ran on up to the stage. The point of the matter is that - I got to go on stage and demonstrate massive multi-player thumb wrestling in front of 6500 people with Jane McGonigal. Plus, the keynote was great! I needed the reminder about the potential positive influence of gaming. Yep. The conference was off to a great start! (That's me in the denim capris)

THE PLAYGROUNDS

I really appreciated the "Playgrounds" they had each day. The were sponsored by different special interest groups within ISTE. The one I visited on the first day was the librarian group (or media specialists, as we're often called). There were several librarians doing mini-presentations. They were great. I got to meet rock star librarian and someone I admire very much, Gwyneth Jones, aka The Daring Librarian. She showed us some innovative tools that she uses. I can't begin to describe all the creative goodness she shared, but you can see many of her tools on her website, which is awesome with a side of awesome sauce HERE.



More fun times ensued at the virtual environment playground. I got a thorough explanation about World of Warcraft from a patient gentleman. I watched people interact in Second Life, and realized that students are having a ton of fun in those classrooms where teachers have incorporated Minecraft. (My son would thrive in one of those classrooms!)


THE EXPO

The expo hall was pretty intimidating. And I've been to ALA. So, I know a big expo hall. This shot below is only half. I had to turn around to get the other half. No joke. Anyway, it was kinda weird not seeing authors and ARCs all over the place, having gone mostly to ALA and TLA conferences. But anyway, this was pretty cool.

And there were lot of gadgets and other nifty items to gawk over.

THE SESSIONS

Of course, the sessions are where the bulk of the practical learning takes place for me. There were many, many great ones to choose from (I'll direct your attention again to the program guide above).  Below are a few of the highlights from the many sessions I attended. Feel free to visit the links to glean some great tidbits!

  • Design Your Digital Tattoo: Helping Students Build Their Digital Image with Adina Sullivan
  • Your School Library: Mobile, Flipped, and Curated with Joyce Valenza, Brenda Boyer, Gwyneth Jones, Michelle Luhtala and Shannon Miller 
  • How to Choose: iPads, Androids, Chromebooks, Laptops? with Rushton Hurley 
  • Tech That! Extending Student’s Digital Environment into the Classroom with Robert Craven

I also went to a few workshops to get more familiar with some Adobe software. Those were great too! Overall, my brain is full. I'm really happy that ISTE is in the summer, so I have time to explore this new learning before school begins. I'm inspired and filled to the brim with ideas!

Final nugget for you - Go HERE for the ISTE Youtube playlist of videos from the week.