ISTE Day 1 – A First for Everything

Today was my first day at the ISTE conference – I skipped Sir Ken Robinson’s keynote because I had seen him a few months ago at the ACTE conference. I wasn’t sure what I should expect from ISTE, but the day contained a few surprises.

Every session was full so get there early. I have been to conferences where there are one or two sessions that are full during the entire conference. Today, I attended five sessions and all five sessions were full. For the first time attending any conference, I had a perfect record of picking sessions. I  went to five great sessions where I picked up something new or was inspired at each session.

Session 1: Are You in Top Form? Google Forms for Administrators – I use some Google Forms at school and our administration uses them as well. When I left this session, I was impressed by the templates and the formulas that make them work, the amount of data that was collected in these forms was incredible, and I realized that our school and myself do not use Google Forms enough to collect data.

Session 2: Becoming a Mobile Learner – Two years ago, the iSchool initiative video was shown at the Nevada ACTE conference. From the minute I saw the video, I was texting my principal and CTE coordinator that this is what we should be doing at our school. Two years later, I work at a school where 10th-12th grades can opt-in for an iOS device and was recognized for being an Apple Distinguished School. It was great to see how the iSchool initiative has developed over time. It was also great to get some apps to look at including: iStudy Pro, Cramberry, Meal Snap, and TourWrist (which I heard about 4 times today).

Session 3: Google Slam: GCTs Share New Tricks for Some “Old” Tools – I use Google products frequently and think that I am pretty good at most Google products. I learned several new “slams” that I will be able to use in my classroom including Google Voice for receiving questions from students, Form Emailer Scripts, and YouTube annotations.

Session 4: There’s an App for That! Finding Real Solutions with Today’s Apps (Version 2.0) – I was looking forward to this presentation all day because some of the educators on the panel were some of the first people I started to follow when I joined Twitter and I subscribed to their blog RSS feeds. While they did take some criticism in the backchannel for they way the technology was working, I was actually impressed how smooth it was going. It is difficult to alternate and project six different iPads using Apple TV and I thought they did a great job. This session was all about apps and I got a few that I can use including Mindo, Green Screen, and Tapose. The only thing that I wish was added to this session was that each panelist could have stated their favorite app.

Session 5: Beyond Googling: Using Technology To Build A Culture of Inquiry – Another session that I was looking forward to all day for the same reason as above. I have seen other presentations online from Chris Lehmann and this one did not disappoint. At my school, we do some similar things to the Science Leadership Academy and it was great to hear the stories from Chris and be inspired to do more with our project-based learning projects.

I have several other take-aways from today’s sessions and will post those once I fully absorb them. It is getting late and I am looking forward to day two of ISTE.