Thursday, July 7, 2011

ISTE Reflections

What an amazing and exhausting experience! I feel healthier after 4 days of extreme walking at the largest conference I’ve ever attended. The exhibit hall had 32 rows and took 6 hours to navigate – and that’s not visiting with everyone or participating in most of the give-aways! What are the big themes I noticed? Social networking, everything in “the cloud,” 3-D (printers and interactive video/web sites), iPads, and QR codes.

Here are my highlights from the conference sessions.

Tammy Worcester ( – Tammy’s Top 20 Favorite Free Web Tools!

You can get her handout here: Many of her favorites are familiar to me. New ones include:

  • Jam Studio ( where you can create your own music.
  • BibMe ( an incredible bibliography tool that links to Amazon to pull book info and even generates the bibliography page for you in the style (APA or MLA) of your choice
  • Evernote and Dropbox I’ve heard about before, but haven’t started using them.
  • She also shared some tricks on Google Spreadsheets, which I plan to research and play with to figure out applications for teacher professional development.

Heidi Hayes Jacobs ( – Curriculum 21: Essential Education for a Changing World

Her focus was using the right tool for the job – what function does the tool do best. She also emphasized that new genre were developing and we need to definite quality for each. What is a quality podcast? Wiki? Blog? She emphasized the non-linear process of learning and how tech tools match it. She strongly encouraged participants to replace one assessment in every grade level with a tech based product.

Jerry Brueck (@brueckj23), Chris Craft (@crafty184), and Jon Becker (@jonbecker) - #teach w/ #tweet

This session focused on Twitter in the classroom. The emphasis was on connecting your classroom to others globally via Twitter – especially for world events in real time. Best thought came from Chris Craft who indicated Twitter is to connect with others without having a pre-existing relationship as is required (or best practices) with Facebook. They also described using Dragon Dictation, Audio Boo and (all iPhone apps) to allow PK students to Tweet. Fascinating idea!

They have developed an intro to Twitter course that they share with all:

  • USER bei.guest
  • PASS innovate

Karen Fasimpaur ( – Open Educational Resources: Share, Remix, Learn

In this session, we reviewed a number of open resources. Most are under the Creative Commons BY license so they are very adaptable, or as Karen put it, they can be remixed. Her presentation is available here:

Copyright legalities were emphasized. Be sure to always give credit for works you are using – even with Creative Commons BY copyright. It is the lowest level – giving the most access – you only need to credit the source. The source is the person who created it, not the web site, though providing and URL is recommended. Karen also recommended using CC BY on all your creations so that others can use them for remixing.

Here are some highlighted tools/sites:

A New Kind of Conference and Models of Effective PD – Discussion Session

This was a small group of folks who primarily provide professional development. The discussion centered around ways to evolve conferences and professional development. How do we preserve what we like about face to face conferences in digital environments? The big idea that came out of the discussion for me (which I admit isn’t new) is to provide webinar follow-ups for face to face training or conferences. It would be a way to extend the experience and provide the on-going professional development that makes far more of an impact that one shot workshops or conference sessions.

Social Networking in Education – Discussion Session

This was a very lively discussion in room with a large number of social media devotees. There were a number of great thoughts that came out of the discussion which primarily focused on the limited use of social networking in education.

@baldy7: poor behavior on SN is a behavior problem... not a technology problem. #socmediste11

@RGriffithJR: Students can say something inappropriate in real life just as easily online- @InnovativeEdu

@jessievaz12: Build the community that supports the use of soc media. Don't focus on the tools. #socmediste11

@davidwees: Here's the presentation I gave to parents on social media. #iste11 #socmediste11

@jessievaz12 Stdts need good soc media role models to learn how to use those tools appropriately. @davidwees #socmediste11 #ISTE11

@RGriffithJR: Great advice from @InnovativeEdu teach a stu to b a responsible citizen, not just a digital citizen. #sbisd #socmediste11

@jessievaz12: There is value in our learning how to articulate value of social media in ed @Stevehargadon #socmediste11 #ISTE11

Leslie Fisher ( – Gadgets for Everyone

This was a fast paced smorgasbord of web sites and gadgets. I couldn’t tweet because we were moving so fast and I wanted to really take notes. I knew about VERY few of these. It was my favorite conference session. You can get Leslie’s presentation here: (click on the pdf under “Gadgets!”).

I’m having trouble deciding what to list because I was so blown away! Here are the ones I’m going to check out first:

  • Rockmelt ( – it’s a browser that pulls in social networking and RSS feeds along the side – seems like a good one stop viewing
  • Wunderlist ( – it’s a to do list that is stored in the cloud and syncs to all devices
  • Type With Me ( or Primary Pad ( – they are tools for real time collaborative document creation
  • Evernote ( – Like digital bookmark, but for all your other digital stuff. After hearing about it twice (also from Tammy Worcester) I figure I need to try it out!
  • Livescribe ( – it is a smart pen! It records while you are taking notes on special paper. Then you can post your “pencast”. It has so much potential for the classroom and for personal use!

I think the most amazing thing about the ISTE Conference is that there was something for everyone. In reviewing a number of ISTE reflection posts (found by searching #ISTE11), there was a wide variety of takeaways. Some are lists of tools, applications, and web sites, others are focused on big ideas, and then there are those that focus on the equipment/roll-out/support. And if you weren’t fortunately enough to go yourself, you can have the vicarious experience by reviewing the keynotes on YouTube and searching the hashtag. Love this digital age!