What an amazing week in Denver for the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE). Since the action was non-stop, I am going to try to map it out by day.
No sleep...to excited! I kept waking up to add something to my suitcase, check for cords, or write down something that I might want to remember in the morning.
Travel day. Flew from Omaha to Denver. So lucky to be picked up by Sherry. We checked into Comfort Inn Downtown Denver. Unfortunately, it was a fairly small room and there would be 3 of us by the net day. So, we made the executive decision to upgrade to a suite. Much more space, but tiny bathroom. Oh well...shower schedules made.
Spent the day at the Denver Zoo learning from the leaders of the Discovery Educator Network (DEN). We had a full program to keep members up to date with the latest and greatest from the Discovery Network. First I learned how to make paper slide videos with Dr. Lodge McCammon. We also attempted to make a video from one of his teaching songs
I have to say, this was not easy. We had too large of a group and we could not get ourselves in and out of the shots fast enough. I guess that is how students feel when they don't quite "get it".
Later in the day we were lucky enough to have presentations from DEN Gurus. DEN gurus are experts in specific areas of Discovery Education. Traci Blazosky demonstrated how she intertwines Discovery Education materials with Glogster. If you haven't tried Glogster, what are you waiting for? We also were told to get our goggles on by Justin Karkow. This was supposed to be a science preso by Patti Duncan, but unfortunately she became ill. I hope she feels better soon! Finally, we were set loose in the zoo to complete a scavenger hunt. Our teams set out to find animals based on clues and take their pictures. Imagine 100+ educators running through the zoo trying to be first! Unfortunately, my team did not win. We found all of the clues (almost, one of the animals dies before our adventure) but were not picked from all of the teams who successfully completed their hunt. But...I did win a life-size cut out of the Mythbusters! Luckily, it will be shipped to me!
Saturday evening Kim, needed to be picked up from the airport. Sherry could not drive to pick her up. So, it was up to me to do it. I was a nervous wreck. Luckily Karen volunteered to drive. I promised to navigate. Before Kim's arrival we ended up switching places. Soon after we saw an amazing double rainbow. I am hoping that there are no roadside police cameras...I pulled off the road next to a no stopping sign! Sorry Sherry!
Most of the day I spent in the Bloggers' Cafe meeting up with friends from Plurk, Facebook, and Twitter. It was so funny trying to match screen names to real people! This may sound like a waste of time to some. But to me, it was an opportunity to learn from others and possibly expand my professional career path. You never know whom you will meet!
The end of the ISTE convention day included the keynote speaker. Jean-Francois Rischard. His speech was titled: Global Problem Solving and the Critical Role of Educators and Technology for Education. The audience response to his speech was not as expected. Actually it was awful. Rischard's basically read his PowerPoint slides (which were horrible) directly from his teleprompter. Social networking sites were bombarded with negative comments. I myself reported that a man behind me literally crawled under his chair in the back row to escape! Some in the room actually took pictures of his screens to use as examples of what NOT to do in presentations. I have never seen anything like it. So many (including me) left the room. Reflecting back, I do feel badly. I could have kept my thoughts to myself and not broadcast them out to the world. Lesson learned. The evening ended with a brainstorm by Kevin Honeycutt.
The big idea was to put together a Digital Jam Session using iPods, iPads, iTouches, laptops, etc.
We Skyped late into the evening making preparations and sent out Plurks and Tweets to ISTE members to stop by.
ISTE formally begins! Ironically my first session was with Ken Shelton. What great timing to lead a session titled Developing, Designing, and Delivering: The Case for Powerful and Productive Presentations! I do believe that Ken is the only person who uses 90% of his own photos in his presentations. Beat that! Other session that day included visiting the Promethean ActiveBus, and learning how to use Google's Sketchup program (another Ken Shelton preso). I was able to create a 3D dog house by the end of the session! My day finished with a Plurkup (meeting of friends from the social network) at Earl's Restaurant. It was so fun meeting friends from all over the world. At 8:00 pm we kicked off the First Annual Digital Jam Session. Such a wide variety of people streamed in to sing or play along with songs projected onto the wall. I cannot believe how great the Comfort Inn staff was! They had no problem letting us Jam the evening away. You would think I would have slept well after this...but, no. I started worrying about my poster session which was scheduled for 10 am. in the morning.
Destination poster session! I woke up so nervous because I have never presented beyond the state level. Lucky for me, a poster session is a more casual environment compared to formal session which have larger seating capacities. What I didn't realize, is that people started coming up to my table 30 minutes before the start time. When I looked at the clock and it only said 10:20 I was so confused. I wasn't sure I would make it to noon. But, once I got on a roll, I was unstoppable. You would never have known how nervous I was. Friends who came by said I did well. Whew! By the time I was done I could barely speak. I recovered during an amazing lunch at Maggiano's Little Italy. The food and company was amazing! After lunch a headed over to a session titled Computational Learning: Create Interactive Learning Modules for Your students.
I was wowed by how hard the leaders had worked to put together an online repository for teaching students using sequential thinking skills. I am sad to say the day did not end as well. I had signed up for the Haunted Denver tour thinking I would be able to walk around in old houses and/or grave yards. I was prepared to be frightened. Needless to say, I was not. For 2 hours we drove around on a motor coach listening to a tour guide tell local ghost stories. The driver slowed down while we passed haunted spaces, but we did not tour. Occasionally the bus would pull over (illegally) so the guide could continue story telling. What a disappointment. I found myself trading between snoozing and downloading ringtones on my cellphone. The only positive outcome from the evening was meeting up with friends at the Rock Bottom Brewery. The food was so good! Not to mention the company.
The day was started at the Corner Bakery. I met up with many of my Plurk friends. We talked about how it was such a great week and how hard it would be to leave. I teasingly equated it to going to summer camp and having to leave all of the new found friends. (Hmmm...sounds like a possible 2nd blog post) There were only 2 things on my ISTE schedule. The first was a session on on using MIT's Scratch program. Scratch is an animation program which enables you to create interactive stories and games. I think it will be hard to stop messing around with it once I get started! And my last ISTE event was the closing keynote. I was hesitant to go to this keynote after the debacle of the opening...But I had promised myself to be positive. So, I went. I am glad I did! Jeff Piontek's speech Today's Global Learners = Tomorrow's Global Leaders was good. He talked about how every student has potential. Including special needs students. His videos were powerful to say the least. We were amazed that his students produced his video clips. They used Blue Mars online editor to create them. He also proposed the change of STEM to STEAM: Science Technology Engineering Arts and Math. He made many valid points for all to ponder. I hope to challenge students in a way which creates the learners he highlighted.
Well, now the conference was over, and it was time to fly home. My flight was scheduled for 7:10 pm. Plenty of time to get to the airport after the keynote. NOT. We were stuck in rush hour traffic! It was gridlock. My blood pressure must have been normal (I have low blood pressure!). It made me so nervous as each minute passed. When I got in the terminal I was faced with a long line to get checked in. It took 10 minutes or so to get to the kiosk, and when I entered my confirmation number it said there was no record. Holy cow. Luckily the Frontier attendant found it but said I had to get my boarding pass at the gate. Next challenge: security. The line for security stretched beyond 2 moving sidewalks and then out around another hallway. I could not believe it. Finally, after another 20 minutes I got through security. I ran as fast as I could (carrying my computer bag and poster tube) to the gate to get my boarding pass. It was now 10 minutes before boarding. At about that time I realized I had not eaten lunch or dinner. But, the lines were so long at the fast food places I would not be able to eat. Just before giving up, I found a popcorn place with no line. I bought it and then boarded. You would think I would have just shut my eyes and gone to sleep. But instead I talked to 2 educators in front of me who had also attended ISTE. They were so much fun! Even the flight attendant joined in the conversation. It was a great end to a great week in Denver.
I wanted to sleep in. But I had to take my husband to the airport for a business trip. I had not planned on waking up at 6:30 am on my first day back! When I came home I went back to bed. Unfortunately, I slept through my noon dentist appointment. Oops. The rest of the day I took it easy. I admit that I have not unpacked my suitcase and carry on bag. Not quite motivated to do it. I will get to it.
So, that is it. I am sure I left out many details. If you are a part of my PLN that was with me at ISTE please feel free to add details or clear up mistakes. I can honestly say I am in a post ISTE fog! Of course, it is early morning and I need some sleep. I guess I just couldn't leave this incomplete!