ISTE10: What did you learn about helping students?

Credit: Dean Shareski's Flickr Stream

I like a good edtech conference just as much as the next geeky educator. I’m all about which iPad app is best for Twitter, and becoming the Mayor of the ISTE Mansion. But all that aside, at the end of the conference, I want to be able to look back at what I can share with the educators I work with.

It’s taken me a few days as I divide my time between my family (priority #1) and both preparing for work next week and reflecting on work from last week. I’ve divided my comments on ISTE into two sections. There are some resources I’d like to share as well as some concepts I’d like to highlight as they were the highlight of the conference for me.

Here are some resources I’d like to share:

I presented 3 sessions in the yolink booth on the conference floor this year. I thought I knew about yolink until I saw the resources from the other presenters. They blew me away. Each of their lessons and slidedecks are shared on the site we created for the conference. If you are not familiar with yolink, watch Ken Shelton and Richard Byrne discuss it’s benefits or come see me at BLC10 as I present it again along with some other great, free and useful tools for students and teachers.

Critical thinking and Internet literacies wiki
I believe this wiki is organized by David McGavock and I’m hoping it is going to continue to grow with it’s ideas on how to teach Crap Detection to students. The wiki currently has links to video resources as well as a vocabulary list that I know will be helpful to many educators I work with.  The concepts presented here are based on Howard Rheingold’s teaching of critical thinking and Internet literacies. You can learn more about and from Howard from his vlog at

Released in Beta just before the conference, SweetSearch4Me is recommended for students in kindergarten through 8th grade. Similar to SweetSearch, this search engine searches only Web sites that their staff of research experts, librarians and teachers have evaluated and approved as high-quality content appropriate for young users. Only the best sites directed at elementary school students are included, and many of the results on the first page were created exclusively for kids. The final site is anticipated to be released in September.

Here are some concepts I’d like to share:

I’m combining my thoughts on two sessions I attended. The first was a conversation at EduBloggerCon facilitated by Scott McLeod and Sylvia Martinez. The second was a session during ISTE facilitated by Rushton Hurley. Both, for me, had in common the traits of how to work with people effectively.

  • Anyone can use technology; we don’t all have to be gurus
  • Everyone has an expertise; we can all learn something from each other
  • A good teacher doesn’t need to know the indicators, they just need to know the content and how to understand how to get a student to learn it.
  • Communication is key
  • Be compelling
  • Being aware of the culture
  • Get a clear conversation going
  • It’s always about the people, whether it’s students or adults

Most importantly, the discussions reminded me of something that I find myself chanting in the car sometimes late in May when the end of the school year is near. I want to help children learn. I’m passionate about it. I enjoy it. I have fun.

We all can agree that there is a population of educators out there that don’t want to teach, don’t want to use technology effectively, and don’t want to have fun. The question is, how can we get a conversation going with them? We can try. We can only do our best. I didn’t walk away from ISTE with a miracle cure for any of those issues, but I did walk away with a renewed sense of commitment to children and helping them learn.

10 thoughts on “ISTE10: What did you learn about helping students?

  1. Thanks for YoLink and Sweet Search information. I need to take a closer look at these two because I think they can be of great value to my elementary students. I barely made it to the exhibit floor at ISTE but feel I really missed out after reading your post about YoLink. Thanks for sharing the resources. BTW, it was also fun hanging at the Mansion, too!

    1. I onl made it to a few booths myself Chad. There were so many sessions, events and lounges to visit. I’m glad we got a chance to visit at the #ISTEMansion and let me know what you think of yolink and SweetSearch as I plan on sharing these sites with many more teachers this year.

  2. What a great post! I hope to begin my teaching career in the next three years. Yo Link seemed like a very useful website to use. I think a site such as Sweet Search Information is great for elementary students. It’s important for student’s of that age to have a website that is suitable for them.

  3. As someone who didn’t attend ISTE, it’s nice to be able to read through the reflection posts of several people who did attend to get a flavor of the important concepts and tools related to educational technology. Thanks for contributing your impressions!

    1. Thanks for your comment John. I really benefit from going back to my notes and processing what I thought about during sessions. I also appreciate what virtual attendees have to add to the conversation, so I go back and sift through the #ISTE hashtag looking for Tweets related to sessions I attended and I subscribe and contribute to the #ISTE Diigo group.

  4. Joycen Noren says:

    Thanks Lisa for keeping us updated on the latest tools for the classroom. It helps us to keep in tune with the digital learners we face each day in our classes. Joyce

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