Sunday, June 23, 2013

ISTE 2013 Here I Come!



Well...here we are again on the annual trip to the ISTE conference! As of this writing, I’m on the plane to San Antonio, Texas writing this on a Chromebook Pixel with offline Google Docs. Despite the misnomer, there are many things you can do on a Chromebook without Internet access. To be fair, the experience would be far better with web access (come on United! Get wifi on all your planes!), but I would argue that even my Macbook Pro is mostly useless without wifi as I primarily live/work/play on the web--not with offline, desktop-based apps. But I digress...


I love travelling to ISTE because I nearly always run into someone I know at the airport on the way there. This year, I ran into Bill Selak (a 2013 ISTE Emerging Leader award recipient!). We both checked in on Foursquare and I received a notification that a friend of mine was nearby as a result. It turns out we were actually on the same flight! It’s always fun to connect up with other educators in unexpected ways through these tools that we’re now taking for granted. I look back and even five years ago most of this would have been a pipedream. That’s what makes tech--and, specifically, edtech, so much fun. We get to experience the future now.


I’m really looking forward to seeing many people I haven’t seen in some time now along with meeting new friends. My schedule isn’t too packed this year so I’ll have more time to chat and visit than I have in the past. I’m leading one half-day workshop Android App Inventor Bootcamp with fellow Google Certified Teacher, Brian Van Dyke. I look forward to helping guide educators through getting started with App Inventor while Brian reglales them with tales of working with the Google CAPE program and his conversations with Hal Ableson of MIT’s famed Media Lab.


I’m also spending a bit of time at the Google booth where I’ll be presenting on Google Tools and Creating Presence in the Online Classroom. It’s a 30 minute session in the teaching theatre at the Google booth on Tuesday at 12:00 PM. Hope to see you there. If you can’t make my session, then be sure to check out all of the amazing educators who will be presenting on various topics for 15-30 minutes each. Some standouts include:


  • Jim Sill - Making Movies with YouTube
  • Jennie Magiera - Google School Makeover- 10 ways Google Apps for Education will revolutionize your school
  • Monica Martinez - Three Easy Ways to use Google Drive in the Classroom
  • Julene Reed - Google+ for Personalized Learning and Collaboration
  • Jason Markey - Leverage the Web with Chromebooks
  • Dan McDowell - Collaborative Essays with Google Docs
  • Molly Schroeder - Chrome Ninja Tips and Tricks


As usual, I’ll spend quite a bit of time in the vendor hall walking the aisles and talking to old and new friends as well as checking out their wares. Particularly, I’m very interested in cost-effective iPad and Chromebook carts, storage cases for Chromebooks, blended learning solutions for grades 3-6, and the list goes on.


My final thought on ISTE before landing in San Antonio is that I’m really wondering when ISTE will truly be international and host a conference outside the United States. In the past year of hosting Google in Education Summits both in the U.S. and internationally, I’ve had the fortune of travelling to New Zealand, Australia, and Canada. I have found the practice of getting outside of the United States helpful in reshaping my perspective on the education landscape and I do think that’s hard to do when you’re on familiar ground--even if you’re among like-minded peeps. What I learn from my travels and visits to other locations and schools I bring back to my school district in the form of new ideas for learning spaces, instructional strategies, and different thoughts about student learning and assessment. It’s refreshing. I look forward to the time when ISTE truly goes international.

Note: all hyperlinks and images were added in after I landed and had wifi connectivity.