Thursday, July 7, 2016

Reflections of #ISTE2016

A few weeks ago I was fortunate enough to attend and present at the ISTE Conference in Denver (thank you Westlake Academy!). Over 14,000 people involved in education attended this conference. While at first this was VERY overwhelming (trying to choose which lectures and speakers I wanted to hear), I found being surrounded by like-minded educators and technologists like a slice of home!

I led a poster session with my fellow ADE's Dr. Layne Morsch and Maggie Mabery called "Lights, Camera, Science Action!," a session on student authored videos in science middle school through higher education. (See our poster session documents here). I really enjoyed leading and visiting many of the poster sessions. These sessions are scheduled within a two-hour window. As you visit, you can stay for as long as you like at a table to hear about a particular topic and ask as many questions as you want. I love this style of presenting because it allows you to have personal conversations with others!

By far, the biggest theme that I could hear across the convention center is the need to shift the focus on supporting our students and teachers in this technology driven future. Often, we get wrapped up in the device itself, but forget to consider the why (don't get me wrong, proficiencies are very important for students and teachers!). 

A few great talks along this theme were:

  • Genius Bar: Promoting Student Leadership
    • Alicia Johal and Mari Venturino have really developed an amazing club to help students develop as leaders and teachers develop as learners in their technology skills. Utilizing iTunes U, their student club has become a support system for teachers and students to navigate their devices. Their program is inspiring and a needed support for so many 1:1 initiatives!
  • ITPD3 In Action
    • Dr. Cynthia Vavasseur has developed a professional development model that provides technology and lesson design support to teachers by using a 3 tiered system:
      • Determine what level of adoption you have in your staff on a given topic (novice, advanced, etc).
      • Provide teachers choices of technology use on that given topic. 
      • Provide professional development-teachers are split into 3 groups (depending on level of adoption) as one technology leader (often teachers) leads a group. Professional development has a pre-PD, face to face, and post PD component.
        • Pre-PD: a how-to piece that prepares the teacher for the face-to-face PD.
        • Face-to-face-teachers break into their appropriate group with a leader that guides the teachers through the skill by mentoring and guiding teachers through something they are currently working on in class.
        • Post-PD: The leaders of each group curate all of the work the teachers have done and post it somewhere public for other teachers to use as a tool.
    • WAY COOL!
Lastly, I was fortunate to start the conference by hearing from Rushton Hurley, of Next Vista, on his session called "Fostering Success for Students and Teachers." The crazy thing is, in his session, our focus was not on technology in the classroom. We discussed barriers to success of students and teachers within the school. His session moved me to think about what I bring to the table for my school and my students. Rushton challenged us to go beyond what we "need" to get done and to look at our communication, how often we dream with our students and co-workers, and to identify the barriers to student success. We create the environment for success of our students, and we need to celebrate that frequently. 

Cheers to a great ISTE conference!

No comments:

Post a Comment