ISTE Day #3


I was kind of worried going into Day 3 at ISTE.  For some reason, my iPad didn’t charge itself overnight and was sitting at 31% battery.  Would that get me through the day?  Nope.  Sad to say but I ended up taking notes the old fashioned way with paper and a pen.  How quaint.  It was like NECC of days gone by!

At the end of the day, my scorecard looked liked this.

Music 1
Web Development an Applications 1
Google Spotlight 1
Infographics Spotlight 1
Research Paper

1

Mobile Computing

1

Best Ideas

1

Portfolio Development with Google

1

Change

1


Student-Centered Interactive E-Portfolios with Google Apps
Doug and I attended this session to see what the possibilities were for portfolios using the Google Tools.  The session was indeed a winner both from a philosophical approach to portfolios and then the actual function using the Google products.  There are a number of players in the online productivity suite field but only Google currently offers all of the pieces to truly make the process rich with opportunities.  I like these comments that I recorded during the session.

  • portfolio in education- document accumulation of human assets
  • personal ownership over one’s accomplishments
  • active participants in their own personalized education – reflections, technology and collaborationdigital archive for life
  • begins it begins before birth – ultrasound pictures are posted to Facebook and other media
  • digital tattoo instead of digital portfolio – sometimes it never goes away

From both a pedagogical and a technical perspective, I’ve always liked the concept and have included artifact collection in every course that I’ve ever taught for student reflection.  This nicely ties it all together.  I’m going to dig deeper at Helen’s website at http://electronicportfolios.org/academy/.

The Yeah, Buts: Answering the Top 10 Arguments Against Change
Will Richardson and Rob Mancabelli presented an interesting interactive session about change and offered some of their own thoughts as to what the biggest barriers were.  We started in a theatre and brainstormed a number of reasons and put it to an interactive poll.  The typical barriers were identified:  time, money, fear, access and from there Rob and Will dug into the content sharing their own thoughts as to what  the blockers were.  When will we stop coming up with excuses and just do it to the best of our abilities?  It’s so frustrating to hear the same silly, lame excuses for not moving forward as an entire educational community.  Will it take presentations to the US Congress and formal legislation to move the lethargic elephant in the room?  (OK, my thoughts but come on – classroom computer technology has been around as long as ISTE – 32 years and we’re still having this discussion?)

Then, it was back to the exhibit hall to try and cover the rest of what I had previously missed.  I failed.  There was lots left on the table.  If there’s a complaint that I have about the exhibit hall, it’s the trend towards amplification and the carnival-like presentations where people scream and holler for a lousy t-shirt.  I boycott those automatically.  I had discussions with some folks who had headaches as a result of their visits there.  There doesn’t seem to be any limit over what is allowed and it makes for an increasingly annoying experience.  But, I did get to the Tech4Learning booth and got a really nice demonstration of Pixie 3.  With the OSAPAC licensing, this will be a terrific addition to the early years / primary multimedia editing suite.  I really like the online collaboration part of this.  It was great fun.

We also spend a considerable amount of time at the IPevo booth looking at their very affordable document camera.  At $60, this could be a real game changer as opposed to the hundreds and hundreds that the other products are selling.  If all that you want is to quickly attach to a USB port and get up and running, this is for you.  Doug bought a couple.  I didn’t think that sales were allowed on the floor but I guess anything goes.

Before long, the conference was over.  As Harry noted on the escalator, our feet were reminding us that the conference is a day too long and our minds are telling us that we need a couple more days to see everything.

The closing session by Chris Lehmann was to serve as the inspirational push out the door.  One of the quotes that were part of his speech was noteworthy “you can’t ignore the wisdom in the voices of children”.  But, isn’t that part of the problem?  Look around and see how easily they use technology and network and communicate.  Yet, we still ignore the potential.  While Chris did his best, the show was stolen by students from the Science Leadership Academy who expressed their thoughts.  What an opportunity to be in front of so many teachers and have us all hanging on their every words.  Why is education funding cut while two new penitentiaries are built?

We’re done!

But, the night is young and Doug and I had tickets to the Phillies’ game.  We travelled the Philadelphia subway system from downtown to the ball park.  It was a matter of maybe 15 minutes and that was that!  You step out into the venue for football, hockey, basketball, and of course, baseball.  The design is so intelligent.  And yet, there were acres and acres for those who prefer to fight traffic.  We say a really close interleague game with the Boston Red Sox with the Phillies winning 2-1.

The highlight though will go under life’s most embarrassing moments.  It’s become customary to throw back the ball when the opposing team hits one out of the park.  Philadelphia hit a home run right into our section in the outfield and the ball bounced around the aisles and landed in the row literally exactly in front of us.  A gentleman in front of us literally dove and was climbing around to get the ball and succeeded and then threw it back on the field!  Our section went silent as we all had a “what the heck” moment.  Then the poor guy got a roasting.  I’ve always heard about Philadelphia fans but got to see it first hand.  His wife refused to talk to him and his daughter looked up the replay on MLB.com!  Those were the nicest comments.  Even the usher came over to admonish him as he would have taken the ball and got it autographed for him!

While we had outfield seats (the game was a sellout), the view was spectacular.

Picture of the day?  If it wasn’t for the overhang, I could have had the Liberty Bell in motion.  But we were packed in leaving but this bell that rings when the Phillies win got it for me today.

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OTR Links for 06/30/2011


Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

ISTE Day #2


I found it interesting, upon reflection, that the second day of the ISTE Conference was a day of networking.  There were more opportunities to talk and make new connections and sharing ideas.  My score card, at the end of the day reads ….

Music 1
Web Development an Applications 1
Google Spotlight 1
Infographics Spotlight 1
Research Paper

1

Mobile Computing

1

Best Ideas

1

Mindsets for the 21st Century: Unleasing Leadership Potential in Students
The conference was in for a real treat with a simulcast presentation by Dr. Stephen Covey.  He gave an inspirational talk about unleashing the potential that exists within all students and how to set them up to be leaders.  The talk focused on three of his seven habits and it tied very nicely to the classroom.  Normally, simulcast presentations don’t fully engage the audience but that wasn’t the case here – at least in the area that I was located.  He summarized his presentation with the following challenges:
1.  empower students with effective mindsets
2.  to help students to see their worth and potential

If everyone in the audience is capable of doing this, remarkable things are possible.  Dr. Covey definitely had the quote of the day "Seeing students as test scores is the worst form of identity theft". 

Then, it was back to the exhibit hall.  I’m wondering if it’s even possible to cover the entire floor in the three days.  The proliferation of interactive white boards continues.  There were so many new players onto the scene.  I do find that the application is definitely much shallower than with the two big companies.   Without a proprietary software, the other offerings just become display screens.  I hate to say if but the original premise of this technology seems lost.  I did get a chance to spend some time at the Microsoft booth with @alfredtwo and chat about their offerings and to find a sympathetic shoulder for the lack of Computer Science sessions.

Then, it rained.  Man – did it rain!  It definitely killed the prospects of a long walk for lunch.  Oh well.

Back to the conference, I wanted to get into a session dealing with infographics but it was full so it was back to the exhibit hall for some more wandering.

What Teachers Are Doing with Mobile Learning in K-12 Classrooms
I’ve been a fan of Elliot Soloway’s work for a long time.  My initial steps in portable computing were inspired by his work at the University of Michigan with Palm devices.  We bought a number of those alone with probeware for science investigations by students in the past.  I was interested in his current thoughts as he paired with Cathleen Norris.  They presented results from their research into the effectiveness of portable computing devices and asked us to think ahead five years to see how pervasive these things will be.  It’s not a difficult task.  Where I disagree with them though, is in the mode of connectivity.  I still think that these devices need to be connected to the school network and not to a wireless provider.  There are legal implications of allowing connections to just the telco not to mention that the remoteness of some locations and thick school walls does lead to a lack of connections quite often.

The Best Educational Ideas in the World: High-Tech Learning Adventures
A visit to ISTE would not be complete without an opportunity to hear the most recent thinking of Dr. Gary Stager so I settled in to get a grounding in reality.  Much of Stager’s thoughts are driven by Piaget and Papert and their words of wisdom were sprinkled thoughout.  The Computer Science teacher had me nodding about the thoughts of constructivism and having students do tasks worthwhile and creating projects of substance involving thinking and creativity.  His handouts are online at:  Stager.org/handout.  The biggest takeaway for me was Stager’s thoughts about people who make the comments "It’s not about the technology".  He affirmed that it absolutely is about the technology and that the trite comments minimalizes the potential of effective use in the classroom.  People need to think about this and use it as a focus.  Otherwise, all the money is just wasted.  He challenged us to think of our computer skills and compare them to desired literacy skills.  In that context, are we really computer literate?  Hmmm?

Then, it was off to wander the poster sessions but I got sidetracked for a fascinating discussion.  There was a gentleman at the conference from the US Department of Trade.  He was working the floor for vendors who might be looking for assistance in promoting their products and services abroad.  I spent at least an hour talking about the possibilities and the reality of marketing in a global climate.  Great discussion about unionized work and outsourcing.  It was particularly relevant given the news of the Bay Bridge construction in San Francisco.

As I waited for my partner to go head out, I had a chance to talk with an Apple rep in the hotel lobby.  I was sharing my thoughts about Soloway’s presentation and comments about the lack of probeware for the iPad.  He indicated that he had taken his 10 year old probes and connected to a bluetooth bridge and was able to use them with his iPad.  I need to explore this further.

Then, in all this heat and humidity, it was time to put on a tie and sports jacket and head to the reception for Canadian innovation.  This year, this event was held at the Union League and it was a chance to talk with other Canadian educators and technology leaders.  The Canadian Consulate was one of our hosts and it was a wonderful chance to have some great discussions way beyond the ISTE beaten path.  Lots of friends, old and new were there.  As you can see from the image, we were in the Abraham Lincoln room.

It was the perfect setting and I got an opportunity to have a discussion about the Canadian efforts to export our products and services to a wider audience.  At our group shot, we were inspired to have a group singing of "Oh Canada" and a sharing of Canadian trivia with our American friends.

Oh yeah, supper.  About 7:30, it finally clicked in that we hadn’t eaten yet!  So, it was off this time to a Brazilian steakhouse where you couldn’t possible leave hungry!

Picture of the day…from the opening presentation before Dr. Covey’s speech.  Robots are always a crowd favourite…

Day 3 begins shortly.

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OTR Links for 06/29/2011


Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

ISTE Day #1


It was a long day of professional learning today but wow.  As noted previously, I’m keeping score.  Here’s where I stand.

Music 1
Web Development an Applications 1
Google Spotlight 1
Infographics Spotlight 1
Research Paper

1

It was busy.

Music – Music and Tech:  Harmony in the Making
Links –
http://bit.ly/iste11musictech and http://bit.ly/istemusiclinoit

It’s been a long time since I’ve been in a session that leads off with a soloist.  Actually, I can’t remember ever — period.  But today was a first for me.  We were immersed in the sense of music in education with a wonderful solo lead by Yoon Soo Lim.  From there, she took us on a ride through the arts and music, in particular, in the classroom.  As she noted, she uses technology with her students to make REAL connections.  Thoughout, we got a glimpse of what happens in her classroom regularly.  It was exciting to try and visualize just what it might look like.  She pointed us specifically to a blog post – Sing Imagination – Songs for Japan as an example.  Between this, and using Piclits for a unit on slavery, she has used music as the medium to make the connection for the students.  Buried in the middle of all of this was a memorable quote “You can’t teach empathy from a textbook”.

The session was actually a panel with others following Yoon to the front.  Michelle Baldwin and Elizabeth Peterson shared similar stories about what they were doing in their classes.  We experience a storyboard about an African study unit which attempted to address the misconceptions that students might have about African countries based upon the media that they deal with regularly.  I can’t help but marvel at the power of music to address the issues.  Throughout, they talked and described their efforts to blend the arts into all instruction with conversations from classroom teachers.  They were podcasting; researching and viewing YouTube videos for inspiration.

In fact, this whole presentation stole the day for me.  The whole topic area was a little out of my comfort zone going in and so I was a little worried as I’ve been to music presentations in the past that had us all drumming and learning about MIDI and the like.  Not so here – this was plainly and clearly about good teaching.  While the topic was Music and Tech, you could substitute Music or Language or Science in the title and not miss a beat.

The fourth member of the team, Kyle Pace, wasn’t a music teacher but rather provides support and resources for teachers in his district.  It was his inaugural presentation on his iPad and it went very nicely.

Going Google:  An Exciting Journey
This was on the agenda.  It was a story about integrating Google applications within a district but I never made it!  Instead, I met up with @markwcarbone and @rbrousse for a coffee that lead to a wonderful discussion about solving all of the ills of the world.  I miss the opportunity to talk with Mark regularly and so we made up for lost time.  It was a great couple of hours.

Google to the Max;  The Power Users Guide
I made it back to the Convention Centre in time to sneak into Howie Diblasi’s session about power using of Google.  I figured that it might well make up for missing the session above.  Howie’s resources are located here and he took us through a whack of examples from classroom teachers using the various free tools that Google offers.  I was particularly interested in some of the Map and Earth examples that were shared and I hope to get the presentation from the link about in a couple of days when it gets posted to his website.

Infographics in the Classroom as a Creative Assessment
Infographics are hot right now and Kathy Schrock attempted to take us though a session about tips and trick for using infographics in the classroom.  I like the angle of doing structured research and churning out an infographic as a result.

Amidst all this, while waiting for some friends, a flash mob broke out…

I had a chance to spend some time in the exhibit hall.  For my money, the highlight was seeing the current stage of development for VRSpot.  It has always been in a position for storing and sharing student created videos safely away from the YouTube type of warehouse.  FTC Publishing supports the use of the product with contests and challenges to subscribers which is pretty exciting.  But, the current over the top aspect is the cloud based video editor.  I was really impressed with the state of this.  Imagine the power of iMovie or Movie Maker but it’s hosted elsewhere than on your local hard drive.  All the high power processing resides on the host end and you’re just the user and editor.  In particular, the ability for students to continue their work at home makes this an interesting product that everyone should take a look at.  In many cases, video editing and creation can be a bandaid solution affected by local processor and at school storage.  Imagine removing that completely from the equation and just turning students loose to be creative.  Wow!

Taking the PULSE: Content Analysis of an International Online Community
I am so glad that I dropped into the PLP Network booth today.  I had a quick chat with Cheryl Nussbaum-Beach.  A couple of years ago, we had two teams go through the PLP process and it was a great experience.  However, the process of the designing end has not stopped.  In an attempt to dig into the mechanics of learning online, a research project from Australia has Cheryl and Sofia Pardo giving us all kinds of findings from a recent four month project.  They were analysing where and how people in this unique learning situation participating.  They had fascinating statistics to report on their results.  Even more impressive is the development of the PULSE browser plugin to help analyse blog content and discussions.  When released, it will be free.  This will be an exciting and powerful tool for teachers who are using blogging in their classroom and really don’t want to spend hours and hours assessing manually.  Look for the release of this tool.

It was a very informal roundtable discussion with a make do data projector stand.

Time for a break.  It was off the International Attendees reception for a snack and refreshment and an acknowledgement from a number of speakers.  We had a nice table of Canadian educators including many of the usual Ontario suspects and others from British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Newfoundland.  Great discussion.  On the way out, I met Lauren from Australia.  I hadn’t seen her for a couple of years since ISTE in Washington.  We did have a nice chat and hopefully will continue at some point this conference.

As you can imagine, a full day like this works up an appetite and so a big contingent of 13 Canadians plus one other descended on this poor little Korean BBQ Restaurant for an incredibly tasty dinner.  I had the Dae Ji Bulgogi.

Picture of the day?  Here you go…

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OTR Links for 06/28/2011


Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Off and Running


I’m in Philadelphia for the ISTE 2011 Conference.  It was a day where all the travel plans fell nicely into place and @sadone and I got a personal drive in a LIM-ousine by @doremigirl from the airport downtown to our hotel.  What a nice bit of local hospitality.

At the conference centre, it didn’t take long before the groups of Ontario educators found each other and started to share some great stories and get reacquainted.  I’m always impressed with how easily and smoothly this works.  Most of us sat in a row for the opening festivities and keynote address by Dr. John Medina, author of “Brain Rules”.  It was a little tough to take notes squished into place but thankfully, the hashtag of #iste11 or #iste or #iste2011.  Guess we’ve got every permutation covered!  I’ve added a search to my Flipboard application so that I can easily follow at least part of the discussion.

The big news for me from the opening ceremonies is the pending release of a white paper on technology coaching.  It will be good reading to get and take for a read.

But, it was great to meet up with some folks and a small group of us walked around in circles before stopping to enjoy supper!

This place is just ripe for some great photo opportunities.  To quote my friend Peter, I regret not bringing my good camera.  Nonetheless, I got some nice pictures from our walk.

The work of conferencing starts tomorrow.  I’m looking forward to a great deal of learning and meeting friends, old and new.

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OTR Links for 06/27/2011


Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Two Apps to Fly With


It may well be that, when you read this, I will be on my flight from Detroit to Philadelphia for the ISTE 2011 Conference.  When I fly, I like to have a device to play with – preferably one that also plays music while I’m interacting with it.  I’ve got lots of music so that’s covered.  In the past, I’ll open up Mahjongg or Backgammon to keep me busy.

But, for this flight, I’ve got a couple of new applications.  The first one is the official ISTE app.  While it works best with some sort of connectivity to pull in live data, I switch on airplane mode on my iPad and there’s enough there for a little browsing.  While I still hold with my planning schema that I shared yesterday, I may do a little browsing around looking a what I can read offline.  It appears to be a very comprehensive application and it may well prove to be invaluable throughout the conference.

But, that’s truly serious and almost like work.  So, I’ve also include a game to take along with me.  There’s a new game application that hit many people’s radar recently.  It’s called Boogie Woogie.  When I first read about it, I downloaded it and loaded it to play and see what all the hub bub was about.  After about 30 seconds, I gave up.  It seemed too simple and the blocks on the screen reminded me of graphics programming on the TRS-80.

However, from boredom the other night, I decided to give it another shot before deleting it.  I made a commitment to myself to at least complete a level.  And, I did.  Now, I’m hooked on this silly game.  It really does have a silly premise – aim, fire, climb, try to get around the bad guys.  But, after a couple of levels, I’ve got the body language going and thinking bad words to myself as I try to get over the next level.  Translated – this is a really interesting and engaging application.

My only fear is that the person sitting next to me on the plane may end up with an elbow to the ribs as I work to improve scores on the “Level of the Week”.

Both applications should keep me engaged for the flight and, but if you’re looking for a couple of new ones yourself, give these a shot!

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OTR Links for 06/26/2011


Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.