Wednesday, July 2, 2014

ISTE 2014 on my Mind

While ISTE 2014 is fresh on my mind I wanted to post a few impressions.

The conference organizers did participants a big favor by organizing presentations into “strands” allowing us to more easily identify topics of special interest to our roles.  For example, my Becoming a Digital School Administrator presentation was tagged for the "Leadership" strand.

The Leadership sessions were packed— in fact oversubscribed.  It was a shame that some folks were turned away from mine and others.  Perhaps tagging the presentations by strands was too successful, but . . . .

It was clear that the administrators at the conference were hungry for information on technology.  As more and more school districts implement 1:1 plans it is clear that the administrators— especially principals are eager, even desperate, to get up to speed.

My presentation implicitly demonstrated the value of curation.  I am not an awesome creator of content, but I collected some terrific stuff from elementary principals like Curt Rees, Melinda Miller and Brent Coley.  They were the “stars”, and I was proud to bring their videos into a room of 150 people.  In fact I was less nervous than I otherwise might be because their stuff was so good.
My audience of admins pre-preso

All of the “leadership” sessions I attended were full.  I am sure glad I got to hear East Leyden principal Jason Markey.  He is a bright guy and a true visionary. Like the best innovative teachers, he is a risk-taker and never forgets school is all about the kids.

My favorite session was about the MOOC invasion.  I agreed with Anissa Vega that MOOCs are an ideal method of providing professional development to educators.  She remarked that she was surprised that there was relatively focus on this at the conference (probably because MOOCs are strongly associated with higher ed).

On the other hand, when I visited the exhibition hall, I was intrigued to see two vendors whose products were aimed specifically at online course creation.  The first provided products to create a mini studio with a green screen and simple control board for producing rich instructional videos.  The second was a software system for verifying the identities of online students, allowing for remote proctors to visually identify test takers and examine their products as they work on them.

Note to presenters:  Attendees at large conferences like these want the presentation content to deliver as advertised.  They make their choices very carefully and the venues are vast, making it hard to switch choices.  I was in a couple of presentations with interesting descriptions that disappointed because the presenter digressed or resorted to his/her old presentation boilerplate.

And lest you think I take myself too seriously, you can see below that I also found time for some valuable networking (with BrainPOP’s Moby).

Photo by my old 2009 ADE buddy Robert Miller (who totally rocks BrainPOP)

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