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:

yolinkhttp://www.yolink.com/education/
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 wikihttp://critical-thinking.iste.wikispaces.net/
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 http://vlog.rheingold.com/.

SweetSearch4Mehttp://4me.sweetsearch.com/
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.

#ISTE10 Where to go, What to see, What to do

If you are attending ISTE10 next week, you have most likely been flooded with e-mails regarding events, booth #’s, Tweet-ups and every imaginable social gathering. I’ve assembled a list of some of the highlights of what I’ve received with some of my notes as I thought it might be helpful for those that have not attending ISTE before or are looking for some guidance as to how to manage their time. (I’m sure I’ve missed something. Please feel free to leave additions in the comments.)

Are you deciding where to go and what to attend?

  • Drop past the ISTE Bloggers Cafe to meet Sue Waters, The Edublogger and leave your contact details with her to WIN one of 10 twelve month Edublogs Pro subscriptions per day. (This is also a great place to meet folks from your PLN and have those more informal, yet priceless, conversations that make the trip to ISTE so worthwhile.)
  • The recently announced Global Education Conference will be at the Global Collaboration Session Sunday night from 7:00 – 8:30pm  in the Convention Center Lobby A, table #P19.
  • Visit ISTE’s Social Butterfly Lounge to learn about Twitter, FourSquare, Facebook and more. (Stop by to see me on 6/29 at 2pm)
  • Don’t forget to use your conference planner to keep your self organized (make sure to schedule a visit to booth #2419 – the yolink booth to visit me)

Are you looking to present something?

  • Sign up to present at ISTE Unplugged.  This is your chance.
  • Participate in the Classroom 2.0 LIVE! broadcast of their show live from the Blogger’s Cafe / ISTE Unplugged area on Wednesday from 1:30pm – 2:30pm.

Are you looking to stay connected?

  • For instant conference updates, visit ISTE Connects. Here you’ll find blog posts, Twitter and RSS feeds with links to everything and everything having to do with ISTE10.
  • Visit the ISTE 2010 Ning to connect to other conference attendees.
  • The official conference hashtag is #ISTE10.
  • Check out the folks blogging about #ISTE10.
  • Go mobile with the new ISTE app (hey ISTE! – where’s the one for the Droid?)

I hope this has been helpful.

I’m looking forward to ISTE10 and reconnecting face-to-face with many from my PLN that I only get to see this time of year as well as meeting those of you that I have only yet to communicate with virtually.

Budgets, Filters and Students – Oh My!

Tomorrow I’ll be presenting at the annual New Jersey Educational Technology Institute (NJETI)  conference. With the way politics has been going in New Jersey and the percentage of districts whose budgets were defeated, I chose my words carefully, yet passionately. I’ve linked below to my deck and here are the resources that I will be sharing:

I’ll be Tweeting from the conference, I’m sure, so if you are there follow the hashtag #NJETI and even if you aren’t, join in on the conversation.

5 Changes To Education Meme

Image Source: http://www.medicalpracticetrends.com
Image Source: http://www.medicalpracticetrends.com

I have been tagged by Beth Knittle for this meme. TJ Shay began this meme with the following rules.

List FIVE changes you would like to see in the educational system.  Your responses should represent your perspective and your passion for learning and students.  If you have been tagged, tag as many people as you choose, but try for a variety.

This is the first semester in many years that I am not taking a graduate class in the evenings. I decided to take a break so that I would have more time with my family and to devote to the astonishing amount of professional development offered through the folks in my PLN via distance. Last semester, as I sat in a room without wi-fi listening to the class discussions, I found myself really feeling like I could spend my time more wisely participating in EdTechTalk events, the DEN or ISTE in Second Life or even some of the impromptu gatherings that happen via UStream or Skype. I just wanted to make sure that I was putting myself in an environment where I could learn.

One thing that stuck with me from one of my recent classes in supervision was that when you go into a school or a district as a new administrator, you should not make immediate change. You should observe and learn the culture before you can make decisions as to what would make improvements.

So, though a part of me wants to make changes in education, the other part of me knows that these things take time, and I’ll keep working towards making improvements within the districts that I have come to know the culture and populations of. The teachers that I work with know that I believe in “taking baby steps” and that things take time.

Here is my list. There are a few that are a bit more achievable, but I can dream big, right?

1.  I would like teachers to view themselves as professionals so that the portion of the population that doesn’t, that sees teachers as working from 9 to 3 and having summers off, will know how much we are devoted to our profession. There are so many devoted educators that put in countless hours to improve teaching and learning in their classroom and to make sure that they meet the needs of their students. Let this be known.

2.  I would like all educators to see the positive in each and every student. I know it’s difficult, but they are all someone’s child and they all need love, understanding and sometimes extra assistance or compassion.

3.  I would like students to play a larger role in the writing of curriculum. If we give our students more opportunities to take ownership of their education, then maybe there will be more success stories. Students need to invest in their futures as well and this is one way for them to do so.

4.  I would ask that administrators find the needs in a district before taking on an initiative to fix something. There is always more than one way to look at something. Let’s make sure we are addressing the right issues before determining what we think are the right solutions.

5.  I would like all teachers to “be teachable“. Mandated professional development is not always the way to go. Educators, and people in general have to WANT to learn in order to truly learn. I would love it if all teachers were open to trying new things, open to doing what they already do well – more, and willing to share resources. How do we accomplish this? Well, I do believe that enthusiasm is contagious…

If you are reading this post, you most likely have thought about this list of 5 things to improve in education. Perhaps you’ve even implemented changes to make these improvements. I’d be curious to know what other things you are looking to change. I therefor tag the following bloggers, but anyone is welcome to leave a comment or post the meme on their site.

Clif Mims

Chris Craft

Cheryl Oakes

Liz Davis

Bud Hunt

netTrekker Scholarships to NECC 2009

necc09netTrekker d.i. is awarding two $1500 scholarships to assist educators with the NECC registration fee and travel expenses this June. To be eligible for this scholarships you need to be a current netTrekker subscriber as of April 29, 2009 and you must submit a project using the My Portoflio feature of netTrekker.

Details of the project can be found here. The deadline for submissions is April 15, 2009.

So some of you may be asking the question what is NECC?  The National Educational Computing Conference is presented annually by ISTE , the International Society for Technology in Education. This year’s conference is in Washington, DC from June 28 – July 1. In addition to boasting the largest ed tech hall in the nation*, there is also a Bloggers Cafe, Second Life Lounge, free and paid workshops to attend and a chance to meet and network with other educators with a passion and interest in using technology to improve teaching and learning.

You can check out what some of the people who were new to this conference in 2008 had to say by visiting the NECC “Newbie” Group on the NECC Ning.

I’ll be there. I hope to see you too. Visit http://center.uoregon.edu/ISTE/NECC2009/registration/ to register.

*http://center.uoregon.edu/ISTE/NECC2008/exhibit_hall/default.php