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


It was busy.

Music – Music and Tech:  Harmony in the Making
Links – and

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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3 thoughts on “ISTE Day #1

  1. Thank you so much Doug! Neat to read and congratulations on attending your first session (I think praise is due when you push out of your comfort zone).


  2. I am so glad I got to meet you in person finally! Thanks so much for your kind words and attending our session. Seeing you there made me nervous and reassured at the same time! Glad the session made sense 🙂

    I learn a lot from how and what you share with teachers. Thanks for modeling such passionate learning daily!


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