The Techie Teacher's 2018 ISTE Conference Adventures

The Techie Teacher's 2018 ISTE Conference Adventures

The Techie Teacher's 2018 ISTE Conference Adventures

Have you ever been to an ISTE Conference? Last week was my first time attending and I had been awaiting this adventure for several years. I've always heard wonderful things about this conference and it took me awhile to save up so I could finally attend.
What was it like? Well, I've been sitting here for a long time trying to find the words to capture my experience. I still haven't found them yet. I had read so many blog posts about how high-energy, transforming and overwhelming the conference would be, especially for newbies who didn't know what to expect. It was exactly that.

I have to be honest. Initially I was floored at the amount of time I had to wait in lines to attend sessions. Everyone had told me to get to sessions 45 minutes to 1.5 hours before in order to get a seat. That's no joke! Therefore, I averaged three sessions a day. However, most of the sessions I attended were worth it. At the time I thought it was absolutely absurd to have spent that much money to sit in lines for a large chunk of my day. But isn't it amazing there are that many educators in this world hungry to improve their teaching practices? Incredible!

Best Keynote

I absolutely could not wait for Rabbi Michael Cohen's keynote speech, Teaching Creativity Begins with a Mindset. The man did NOT disappoint! His speech was short, sweet and left the audience begging for more. He was introduced as a Creativity Instigator. I WANT THAT TITLE😂So clever!

Rabbi Michael Cohen mentioned that "our creativity is purged by the fear of being judged by others." He then went on to say that sometimes the biggest critic of our own creative minds is ourself. Isn't that the truth? We limit ourselves when we question every move. Creativity involves risks and messy situations. Let's focus on the journey rather than the end result. ☝I will be working on this!

Best Session

This is truly a hard one to pick! Each session I went to deserves its own blog post. However, I have to say the biggest takeaways I had were from the Set the Stage to Engage with Apple Clips by Karen Bosch, Kristen Brooks and Cindy Herren. I have used the Apple Clips app  to create videos for my social media pages; however, I have never used it with students. This session was filled with wonderful ideas to help students "make their learning visible" through video creation.  The presenters shared examples of using the clips app to make newsletters, lab reports, book trailers, language videos and so much more. I really liked how they mentioned the why behind video design. It is the medium of this generation! Students want to be the next famous YouTuber and YouTube is where many of them spend the majority of their time.

I shared this take away on my Instagram and Facebook accounts, but here it is again! These green foldable cloth storage cubes that many educators use for recording booths can also be used as mini green screen backdrops. Brilliant!

You can find them at IKEA for $4.99 or on Amazon (affiliate link).

Speaking of green screen, I learned that the Apple Clips app has Selfie Scenes available for iPhone X users. Basically, it places users in 360-degree scenes and has all sorts of different backdrops. No green screen required! Snap photos or videos. Here is an example of the emoji backdrop😎

I can't forget to mention that I won a 3D printed Apple cookie cutter! Wouldn't it be fun to get students to design and print a cookie cutter? That would make a great Mother's Day or Valentine's Day gift😀 

Best Playground/Poster Session

We have a tie, folks! Yes, I know these two educators who presented at the Playgrounds; however, they totally ROCKED IT. Anita, from Goodwinnovate, ran the DoInk Green Screen table. I loved checking out her mini green screen on a budget ideas that you can read more about HERE.

Mary, a 2nd grade teacher who is transitioning into a Media Specialist here in Saline, Michigan, presented on using Scratch Jr. to support reading and writing instruction. It was a hit! I've been telling Mary to start a blog so she can share all of her fabulous ideas with the world (I think she might be working on it!) 

You can read about Coding and Interactive Story Telling that my friend Jennifer Kimbrell is incredibly passionate about by clicking HERE. She also has THIS great post about Back to School Coding Activities that relate to literacy!

Technology in Action Award

My friend and roomie, Mary Ledford (mentioned above), WON ISTE's Technology in Action Award and was honored at a small ceremony Monday evening. Way to represent Saline Area Schools, Mary!

I had gone into Mary's classroom earlier this year to help her students create their iMovies for this project. However, the entire project didn't come alive for me until Mary sent me the video she was planning on submitting to this contest. After seeing all of the thoughtful and well planned components to this project, I was blown away. This was the first time I had ever heard of the Technology in Action Award but I just KNEW she was going to win after watching her video. You can see what I mean by pressing play below:

Wasn't that incredible? Mary had a vision and she made it become a reality by involving different members of her community. Yaaaaaaas!

Consider submitting a video for next year's contest! First place winner receives a FREE ISTE Conference Registration. Second place winner receives a $100 Amazon gift card. The top five winners receive certificates, ISTE books and are honored at a red carpet event! Read all about it HERE.

The Expo

WOWZERS. This was something else...HUGE, BUSY, & MIND BLOWING. Coding, STEM/STEAM, robotics, augmented reality and virtual reality were hot topics that many of the vendors addressed. I've never seen so many different kinds of interactive boards in my life.

I shared several pictures I took in the Expo Hall on my Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts. Wipebook's erasable anchor charts was by far the most popular. It reminded me a lot of the Rocket Smart Notebook but in anchor chart form! They have a free app that will scan your completed charts, automatically crop the image and upload to Google Drive, Dropbox or OneDrive!

I was also excited to receive Google's updated Be Internet Awesome Digital Citizenship Curriculum in a spiral bound notebook (download a free copy HERE). Check out all of their online resources HERE, especially the Google Slides presentations with interactive Pear Deck add-ons.

My Favorite Part

Aside from all of the ed tech goodness and the glitz and glamour that was occurring in the McCormick Conference Center, my favorite part of this entire experience was meeting all of my "virtual" friends and connections! The beast that many of us refer to as social media brought these beautiful faces below into my life and I couldn't be more grateful.

Fun in Chicago

Of course I had to have a little fun while I was in Chicago! My husband, Tim, and I went up a few days early to meet some friends for the weekend. We visited the Field Museum, Magnificent Mile, Eataly, and had a blast exploring Navy Pier. The beach parties were hilarious. Who could pass up a 90s Beach Party?

In the evenings after the conference I went on several adventures in the city. We visited The Bean, Apple Store and went on the Architecture Cruise which was AMAZING.

Such a fun city!

Will I Attend Another ISTE Conference?

Like I mentioned above, it took awhile for me save up in order to attend this conference since I was paying out of pocket. Did I learn a lot? Absolutely. Do I learn a lot at home reading articles and interacting with my virtual PLN? Absolutely. Therefore, if presented the opportunity to attend another ISTE Conference I would definitely take it. However, I'm not sure if I will be able to swing it on my own next year. For those of you who don't know, many of the vendors are given 10 registration tickets to giveaway a week or two before the conference. I actually won one from MERGE but couldn't use it since I had already registered. My friend Anita attended this conference thanks to HUE document cameras. So if your district can't send you, start trolling social media feeds a week or two before the conference next year! Just know that you will need to find a place to stay and transportation at the last minute. ISTE 2019 will be in Philadelphia next year. Maybe I will see you there😉

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