Friday, July 3, 2015

I Just Went to ISTE and Barely Used My Technology

I'm still recovering from the week of intense technology and yet, the only technology I truly used during the five days was my phone. Even then, it was mostly to tweet about the amazing things I was learning. If you are unaware, ISTE stands for International Society for Technology in Education and each year, they host an annual conference for teachers to come and connect in person. This year, the conference was in my home city of Philadelphia so of course I had to take advantage. I put up a request for professional development on Donor's Choose and thanks to a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation I was able to fund my conference registration along with materials purchased during the conference.

The official conference began on Sunday night with a Keynote but I took advantage of already being in town by participating in a pre-conference training through Microsoft. I spent Saturday and Sunday in full day professional developments. I had brought my own computer, however Microsoft provided Surface Pros with all the required software ready to use so I never took my own computer out. At the end of the two days I received a certificate starting that I was a Microsoft Innovative Educator (MIE), also known as a trainer. Following the two day training I also took advantage of Micosoft's offer to take their certification exam for free, receiving the Microsoft Certified Educator (MCE) certification.

Besides Microsoft, I also spent a good amount of time at the conference at events sponsored by Google. First up was a special breakfast for Google for Education Certified Innovators (the new title for Google Certified Teachers) and developers. This breakfast gave me a chance to hear about upcoming projects from Google and third party developers for Google add-ons. During the following days, I attended two more special events and learned about some amazing features that all teachers will appreciate once they become public. I wish I could share now, but I was sworn to secrecy. Just know you will love it when Google releases these new updates for Google Apps for Education.

The best part of volunteering at the Google booth in the expo hall, was when a professional sketch note artist drew my presentation on simplifying communication. I was able to take the artwork home. I then spent two hours answering questions and talking to people about Google tools. I meet some really cool educators from around the world including a group of three ladies from Guam. I also finally meet a ton of educators I have known online for a while. The best meeting was Nick, a theater teacher that encouraged me not to give up after being rejected from GTA on my first try.

On my last day of the conference I went a little overboard in my attempt to win a new Acer Switch. The person that tweeted the most would win the notebook. By the end of the competition, I had almost 200 tweets. The guy that won had over 400 so I had no shot. While trying, I sat down in Acer's display and had a caricature drawn. Even cooler was that the artist used a tablet instead of a traditional paper and pen to draw the sketch. I'm not sure about you, but I think it looks just like me. While I didn't win the Acer Switch, I did get lucky with one of the expo hall's raffles. I won a new laptop, mobile hotspot, and 12 months of data from Mobile Beacon, a company that helps bring high speed Internet to non-profits for reasonable costs. I'm not sure what kind of laptop yet because they are mailing it, but it's still awesome that I won something so cool.

  • How to use Microsoft OneNote
  • Upcoming releases for Google
  • How to correctly use features from Study Island
  • Warrior Tech - a concept for a student run computer science program
  • New (to me) websites and programs I didn't know about

  • Google Cardboard
  • Google portable phone charger
  • Google Certified Innovator pin and bag
  • IPEVO Interactive Whiteboard System
  • Tshirts from multiple websites I use in the classroom