ISTE Day 1: A Day of Heros and Ideals

This morning could not come soon enough for me.  I was like a kid on Christmas eve waiting for all the gifts of learning to come the next day.  ISTE did not disappoint.  We trekked over to the Conference Center, and by 7:45 a.m. we had registered, sorted out some housing issues, shopped ISTE Central, and earned a few points in the ISTE Networking Game. Then, it was time to really begin the day with three things on the agenda:  Hacked Education, Mobile MegaShare, and the Hacked Education After Party.

Hacked Education: Makerspaces & Gamification

Cybrary Man: My Hero!
\The first session of Hacked Education started at 10:00 a.m.  Hacked Education runs like an unconference or Edcamp, with no presentation, but lots of great conversation.  I chose the Librarians' Makerspace group to attend first.  What a fantastic group of librarians!  We talked about Design Thinking, the need for a framework, and rigor to go along with the creation process.  Biggest thrill: Jerry Blumengarten, Cybrary Man, joined our conversation. He is such a generous person, which you have to already know if you have visited his website.  Check out some of his pages to get you thinking about makerspaces:
We also had a robust discussion about how schools became factories for learning over the traditional hands-on way. Kevin Honeycutt recommended reading, John Taylor Gatto's, The Underground Story of American Education. Stay tuned... we swapped contact info and plan to organize a Google Hangout to keep this conversation going.

The second discussion I attend at Hack Education focused on Gaming.  To be honest, this group was just too big. It was hard to hear all of the good ideas people were sharing.  I heard advocates for Genius Hour, which definitely fits with the Makerspace movement, too.  Major takeaways here:
  • Historia - students work in teams to lead a civilization  
  • - crosses multiple curricular areas
  • Kahoot - don't just use it to quiz your kids, let them create quizzes for each other

Mobile Mega Share

Four sessions in 4 hours!  Please forgive me for the overlap here, but games and makerspaces are major focuses for me this year.  So...

Makerspaces and Mobile:  The Perfect Combination

Laura Briggs has been running maker camps for her students and maker nights for families for the last two years.  She shared some great resources:
  • MakeDo - awesome construction tools, including clips, hinges, and even safe saws for creating with cardboard.  
  • Zoob Bots - create your own robots
  • Q-Ba Maze - combine marble maze run fun with creative building
  • Cubelets - magnetic robot blocks
  • Play-i - a robot that you control with your iPad
At this session, I also met Alefiya Bhatia, Founder and CEO of Crescerance. They have developed a promising platform (Mad-Learn) for kids to create their own apps.  You can read about an elementary student whose Mad-Learn created app has already been downloaded over 60,000 times!  I want this for my students!

Augmented Reality in Education

Paul Hamilton's enthusiasm and creativity really inspired me to give this technology another go.  I think it's evolved a lot since I tried it over a year ago, too.  He was able to walk away from the image after scanning it with Aurasma and it continued to play the video. That was always one of my biggest challenges using it with K-5 students.  He talked about using AR to personalize the learning, giving students the control over creating auras, and focusing on works generated by real people, not computers.  He also shared some research and some observations from his own small groups that indicate students retain information they learn through AR exposure longer than when exposed to the same video via QR code or URL links.  Pretty astonishing! Other key takeaways from his session:
  • Chromville - use it to tell a story
  • Topia - world building game
  • Post pictures of teachers outside their classroom with an Aurasma link to short video of teacher giving bio, or information about the class (this would be fun for Open House events)
  • Science AR - an app created by Paul using Aurasma

I encourage you to follow Paul Hamilton's blog, twitter, and AR channel.  He will motivate and inspire you!   

Games, Gamification, Quantification, and More

There was some early emphasis on games for high school age students that didn't apply to my students.  I like the ideas they had for creating Alternate Reality Games that don't rely on a platform to play.  They used the D.B. Cooper investigation to draw students into a real-world unsolved mystery.  (Aside:  I may be the only person who never heard of D.B. Cooper, so I'm glad to finally be in the know).  They also did an entire Game Camp PD for their teachers that seemed like a fun idea to shake up things for everyone.  Other game sites they mentioned that I want to explore:  Chore Wars, Scavengr, and TagWhat. These aren't what I would consider out of the box games for kids, but there are definitely possibilities there.  I also got another recommended reading here:  Lee Sheldon's Multiplayer Classroom   

Transforming Education with Mobile Tech

Robbie Melton may have my next dream job.  She tests new technology products for her state and shares what she learns.   You will want to start following her new account on Twitter   TBR Mobile Tester and be in the know early, too! 
I couldn't even keep up with all the amazing tech gadgets she was sharing. So, I'm just going to give the highlights from my favorite things:
  • Virtual Firefox Browser for iPad - yes, we've tried Flash enabled browsers for the iPad and been disappointed, but if she likes it, I'm trying it!
  • Eye Tribe - control your devices with your eyes!
  • 94Fifty - basketball with built in sensors that tracks performance features and practice time; they are making baseballs and soccer balls, too
  • iSense 3D scanner - clips onto your iPad to create 3D printable designs from physical objects you scanned.

Hack Education After Party

We wrapped up the evening with a great after party hosted by Classflow and Hack Education. Great food, fun music, and nice people made this a perfect end to the evening. I will definitely be gathering more information about Classflow at ISTE. Meanwhile, here's a brief intro to what they offer:

Finally, I'll leave you with a tiny clip of Kevin Honeycutt's iPad band, Tweetwood Mac!  Please overlook the vertical iPhone filming error.  It's been a long, tiring, but still inspiring day!


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