ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education) took place June 23-27, 2018,and I had the wonderful pleasure of attending with a group of my colleagues, thanks to my wonderfully innovative principal. I flew into Chicago on Sunday, not knowing what to expect, but new that there were about 20,000 teachers around the world attending, so I knew this was a big deal.
ISTE took place in the massive McCormick Place West Convention Center. There were 3 levels that housed various activities. There were key notes speakers, learning sessions by various company (Apple, Google, Microsoft, etc.), mini sessions, and a large expo center with more than 5,000 industry representatives. There were so many things to see and do, I think it would take over a month to see everything. We had the freedom to go and explore the venue and select items that seemed interesting and relevant to our grade level.
I started by attending the keynote by David Eagleman, Ph.D. Eagleman is a neuroscientist, author, professor, and speaker, that discussed how the brain works and how the brain can change thinking to find more creativity in one's daily life. A panel of students also presented at the keynote from various parts of the country, that represented a range of grades. They basically talked about the creative things that they have done to reach out into their community and support other students in their learning.
I was given many tips and ideas of what to do at the conference, but when I attended, all those tips went out the window. This place was so crowded with people, that I couldn't really plan my day, I had to go with the flow. I tried many times to wait in lines to see a presentation by Apple or Google, but the lines were massive without guarantee that I'd get in. They had a ticket system that you have to preregister for to guarantee a spot in the sessions, a tip that I did not get in advance. I spent most of my time in the expo center getting information and tutorials on various programs.
The first session I attended was at the Adobe Spark area. There was a tutorial / presentation of how to use Adobe Spark by Monica Burns. She is an educator that had many wonderful ways to use the program for presentations in stem, book reports, biographies, etc. There are 3 tools in Adobe Spark (Page, Video, Post). Monica gave different suggestions on how to use each in the classroom. For example, the Page tool is great for writing reports. She suggested starting a report on a google doc in order to go through the correct writing process, then cut and paste to create a report. The Video tool is great for presentations, and the Post tool is good for short activities such as exit tickets or quick class responses / check-ins. This is a link that was given as a resource for additional tips : classtechtips.com.
Google had a classroom setting were it demonstrated various techniques to use in the classroom. One thing that they were excited to announce was that they just added a lock mode screen on a google form. A teacher can now lock a form on everyone's screen while looking at it and work in a pace that the teacher wants, and can stop the lock mode at any time. The presenter also showed how a teacher can cast onto a class screen what a specific student is working on like chrome cast. Google also showed how to create virtual field trips, add images and points of interest. The presenter sowed how to use the explore tab to ask a question on a google spread sheet, and demonstrated an add on named Jamboard as a great tool. This presentation was intense and interesting , I wish I would have seen it twice or recorded it because there was so much to remember.
I went to presentations for Scratch, G-suite, Pear Deck, Near pod, Scholastic, and Microsoft. I recommend that everyone gets a chance to go at least twice in their life. The first time you go, you have to just go with the flow, get a feel for the conference and just explore. I think that the second time you can be a bit more targeted with what you will be learning. I'm so glad I had the opportunity to meet amazing teachers from around the world, and be a part of the tech community. This was the best conference that I have ever participated in.