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Monday, July 4, 2011

ISTE 2011 - Final Day !

Now it’s time to say goodbye…

Well, the conference is finally over – I am tired and my brain is full! What a great way to start my summer break.  Philadelphia was showcasing all that is good about it this week. We learned so much, took in some local sites, sounds, and food, and made some new friends… I am the eternal student!
Today we started early with a workshop on Copyright Clarity-Using Copyrighted Material for Digital Learners with Renee Hobbs (founder of Media Education Lab at Temple University). I admit, this was most interesting for me since I am hyper aware of what I am teaching the kids on how to use digital media. I felt so free after this session--there is so much mis-information out there about use of digital media, not only in the classroom, but in general.  

After absorbing all we could about Copyright law, Marcie and I headed over to a Promethean session on Partner Created Resources.  One of the sites we visited was MyVocabulary – a great interactive site dedicated to building vocabulary skills, as well as VocabularyCity—both free resource sites that work really well with interactive boards.  We also visited the Georgia Aquarium—there’s so much out there!
We took a few minutes to tool around the Exhibit Hall to visit with some of our favorite vendors and... 

Back to work…next up was a very interesting and enlightening session: “Yeah, But…Answering Top 10 Arguments Against Change.”  The presenters were authors of a book called Personal Learning Networks: Using the Power of Connections to Transform Education, Will Richardson and Rob Mancabelli.

The session focused on the changes we face moving into the 21st Century classroom and the reasons why people are resistant to those changes—and more importantly how to overcome the “yeah, but” response.  The audience used FluidSurveys (an online instant feedback response site) to report the major reasons that people give for why —Time (lack of it), Tradition (we’ve always done it this way), and Fear (teachers don’t want to their students to know what they don’t know) were leaders n the list. 

This was an eye opening session! I hope to bring the strategy back to my colleagues (and maybe use it as a possible tool for planning some personal goals) when we meet again.
We also forgot to mention another workshop—Math 2.0: Scenes from a Dynamic math Classroom. Ihor Charischak, the moderator, said that math must be engaging to be successful. “It must be a ‘Wanna Do curriculum, instead of Hafta Do,’ where teachers create a dynamic classroom.  He noted that in order for that to happen, teachers must move from drill and practice to a Math 2.0 model. Once again, we heard the theme for multimedia textbooks and the use of Cloud resources – creating a collaborative environment that is based on the standards.  Some of the resources he demonstrated were Geogbra, GoogleDocs, Sketchpad (for drawing shapes and measuring angles, and Greenglobs (for x,y coordinates and graphing equations).  

He focused on interactive projects that connect math with tech integration and collaboration (another big buzz word). A shout out to Marcie as the Stock Exchange game was one of the tools mentioned—also a Traveler Activity (used on the audience) and a Shopping Spree activity which used spread sheets.  

All in all, the conference seemed to have a connecting thread—interactivity, global awareness and connection for our students. And more than once we heard the importance of FUN being part of the successful learning environment. 

Well, it's time to rest, and to disseminate all the great information now that we’ve said goodbye to ISTE2011! We hope you will check out some of the links provided and offer some feedback.

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