ISTE Day 4 - Tired But Still Inspired

First Thing of the Day:  FIRST LEGO League
Walnut Grove created a FIRST LEGO League at the end of last year, so I was thrilled to find a LEGO team setting up their display in the STEM Playground area.  Linda Pham, FIRST Senior Mentor for Georgia, was tremendously helpful.  She emphasized the importance of printing the project and competition rubrics out early and referring to them throughout the process.  She cleared up my confusion about progressing through the competition process, too.  The Ask an Expert conference calls from last year can still be accessed, which is a great place for me to start understanding the kinds of issues our team will face before this season gets started.

Easy, but Powerful App Creation

Since meeting Alefia Bhatia at the Mobile MEGAShare on Friday, I've been eager to see MAD-Learn in action. Alefia showed how easy the program is to use with drag and drop features for quickly creating apps.  It creates native apps that can be published to the apps stores for iOS and Android.  Of course, it's not financially feasible to submit every students' app to the stores.  I liked Alefia's suggestion that teachers create a competition to choose the top app to submit. Students can share their apps with each other without going through the app stores, too.  This will be a great addition to my Makerspace.

"Future Ready Schools Campaign and Teacher Microcredentials" - Edsurge and Digital Promise

EdSurge, Digital Promise, and Verizon are working together on a project to provide 1:1 tablets and 24:7 data plan access for students in 8 lucky schools. Teachers will all receive professional learning for best practices and a technology coach will be hired for each school.  EdSurge is particularly interested in how this project can be expanded to additional schools, but they aren't asking for takers yet.  Too bad, my hand was already half way raised. They are also working together to create a microcredentialing system which involves awarding badges to teachers for demonstrating competency.  

Digital Promise announced a new program today, too. The Digital Innovation in Learning Awards designed to identify the best teachers, administrators, and EdTech Companies around the world. I am eager to see who wins the first round.  You can send in your application this summer!

Maker Knowledge

I visited more Maker poster sessions today.  Jennifer Miller at Dublin ISD in Texas, was demonstrating FabLab to help students get started.  She also recommended having students design in 2D first, and purchasing a 2D printer, like the Silhoutte, to create drawings with scored folding lines.  Another great addition for my Makerspace. 

Mrs. Miller is also putting together a guide book and MOOC for creating Maker Camps.  She wants to connect with schools embarking on the Maker experience so that she can collect data as this movement gains momentum and spreads. 

I spent a good deal of time at a second poster session comparing 3D printers, learning about how to program the Arduino, and getting recommended reading for the Maker movement.

LEGO Story Starters

I attended a LEGO Story Starters workshop at the end of the day that gave me some powerful ideas for integrating making with writing and a lot of Common Core analysis and communication skills.  I learned great ideas for writing projects based on students building models for retelling a story, documenting a process, creating a math story problem, or summarizing a historical event. I'd love to have the Story Starters software, but I could do this with the LEGOs we already have, too.

Inspiring Mentors

It was also a day of meeting more mentors and impressive students to inspire me to dig a little deeper and be better every day.

EdTech Karaoke 2014

Kathy Shrock is not only one of the smartest people I have seen present, she is funny, kind, and very friendly.  It doesn't matter that I will never be as good as she is, I will always be better for following her and trying to keep up!

I spent a little time with the PBS LearningMedia staff and Digital Innovators at the EdTech Karaoke tonight, too. It is such an honor to be working with each of them, and a real joy getting to know them better.  This is going to be a great year!  


Abraham Corona may be the best teacher in the Western Hemisphere.  You should have seen his 8 year olds present how they used Scratch in their classroom to build animations that demonstrate what they are learning in science class.  He said that his students would love to Skype with ours, which creates a great global collaboration project for me next year. I can't wait because I need another mentor!

You may argue that Curious George doesn't belong in the Mentors Category just don't say it in front of me. "Be Curious" is the motto of my school library, and I owe it in part to George.  His inquisitive nature leads not only to adventures, but often problem solving and creativity.  I will never outgrow Curious Gorge and was so glad to finally find him on the Vendor Hall floor for a photo op.

More Cool Tools:

I learned about a lot of other cool tools and strategies that I plan to review in more detail later.  I'm just too exhausted to do them justice tonight!

  • Stile - an interactive digital lesson software
  • NetSupport School
  • Grok
  • GenYes
  • Compedia
  • Penveu
  • NOVALabs
  • NASA MMS Mission



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