2015 PBS LearningMedia Digital Innovator

2015 PBS LearningMedia Digital Innovator

Monday, June 30, 2014

ISTE: This Just in: There is More Good!

I know I promised the Ugly in this post, but after today's Keynote Address, I just had to write a new post.  Don't worry, I've got plenty of snark in me; I'm just not ready to unleash it yet.

Christina and I were almost ready to skip the Keynote today after the debacle of opening day, but the Universe steered us toward getting to the conference center just in time to walk in and find a good seat.  I would like to take this moment to thank the Universe for that manipulation because HOLY SHMOLY!

Kevin Caroll opened the conference today, and let me tell you, he makes up for every minute I sat and stewed and endured Ashley Judd.  He was incredible.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="640"] Kevin Carroll, founder of Kevin Carroll Katalyst, pointing to what got him started[/caption]


Kevin Carroll is a consultant, the most dynamic, positive, and non-specific consultant you can imagine.   Nike paid him for seven years to just be himself.  During that time, he created his job, the position of "Katalyst," someone who serves as a creative agent for change.  I'm not going to copy his whole biography here, but I will give you the link to his page so you can learn about him yourself.

In yesterday's post, "Yesterday was the Good, Today is the Bad," I wrote that ISTE should have considered three requirements of its Keynote Speaker: 1) good public speaking skills, 2)knowledge of education issues, and 3) knowledge of education technology issues.  In my post I wrote that the Keynote Speaker should meet at least two of the three requirements.  Mr. Carroll is a stellar example of someone who was able to tailor his brand to fit the needs of his audience.  He talked about the importance of education--in and out of school.  He talked about embracing play as a way to learn.  He talked about embracing curiosity and the joy of life.  I could go on and on, but I won't.  I encourage you to check out his sources and come to your own conclusions.

Mr. Carroll made me laugh and cry, sometimes at the same time.  Most importantly, he made me proud to be an educator and reinforced my desire to strive to be a better educator and leader.  Thank you Kevin Carroll, and thank you ISTE.


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ISTE: Yesterday was The Good. Today is The Bad (and Still some Good).

Quick recap:  Atlanta is beautiful.  I love pie.  Read yesterday's post here.

Let's get right to it, shall we?

THE BAD:  I'm going to try to be as kind as possible with this one, which is so unlike me, but I'm writing this after my first two cups of coffee, so just roll with it.  THE OPENING KEYNOTE.  Were you there?  'Nuff said.  Ok, not really because apparently somebody has to say something since ISTE has NO IDEA who would be appropriate as an opening speaker.  Really, we only needed to fulfill two out of three requirements:  1) Good speaker, 2)  Involved in education, and 3) Involved in education technology.  ISTE is zero for three on this one.  To be fair, I blame ISTE for the choice of speaker, but I blame the speaker herself for that trainwreck of a keynote.  We can't fault ISTE for assuming that a professional actress would be on her A-game for a speaking engagement.  Ms. Judd did not do her homework, and I think that is insulting.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="511"] She looks so poised and professional here. What happened?[/caption]


By the way, ISTE, you had a Keynote Speaker right there the whole time:  Why no LeVar Burton?  Judging from the Twitter-clamoring to get into his small session (not to mention my own starstruck wishes), I'm betting that not one person at this conference would have left that hall before the time was up.  We love you, Mr. Burton.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="275"] Look at that man. LOOK AT HIM and tell me he shouldn't have been the Opening Keynote Speaker![/caption]

I am snarky, but I am not a heartless bitch, so I am going to finish this post with a bit of the good.  Yesterday I attended a double session  on using Twitter to engage students.  Adam Taylor gave us some tips on teaching students to connect with professionals through Twitter.  I use Twitter quite a bit, and while I've thought about having my students "interview" writers and other professionals in the language arts field, I've never really thought about how and why I should do it.  Mr. Taylor was very engaging and knowledgeable, and he gave me a lot to consider in teaching my students to leave a presentable "digital tattoo."  Shannon Wentworth led the session on using Twitter to collaboratively write stories, and this is something that I honestly never thought of doing.  I love this idea, and I plan to use it as part of my icebreaker exercises.  I think her session really started me thinking of ways to creatively teach students to use Twitter in my class.  I also love that both sessions emphasize that we need to model professional digital citizenship to our students.  Thank you, ISTE, for giving me the opportunity to participate in these sessions.

Next Post:  The Ugly.


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Sunday, June 29, 2014

Days 1 and 2 at ISTE: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

I had a decision to make, and it was tearing me up inside:  Should I go to Blackboard World in Las Vegas, or should I attend ISTE in Atlanta?  Before you hit me over the head and scream, "LAS VEGAS, YOU MORON!" in my ear, hear me out.

I have attended Blackboard World in 2012 and 2013.  In 2013 (Las Vegas, also) I was a co-presenter and a VIP blogger, so I felt hyper-involved in the whole conference.  I loved the conference both years.  This year Blackboard decided not to go with bloggers, and I didn't prepare a presentation, so I felt like maybe I should try something different.  I had heard lots of buzz about ISTE, and I was very interested in the posted sessions, so I thought I should attend.  After all, I often complained that I didn't get a chance to really see the sights in either of the cities because Blackboard does a fabulous job of keeping attendees busy from early morning until late at night.  I started my days at 5:30 am to work out and get to the first session by 8:00, and my nights usually ended around 11:00 pm because of Blackboard social networking events, all which were included in the conference fees.  Why should I choose the conference in Vegas if I don't get to see Vegas?

Anyway, I arrived in Atlanta yesterday, and I've experienced two days of ISTE, so I have some ongoing observations, which I have sorted into The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.  In today's post I will focus on my good experiences in the first two days.  Let's get to it, shall we?

The Good:  First of all, Atlanta is a beautiful city.  Last night I strolled through Centennial Park where I saw the Olympic torch and a gigantic Ferris wheel.  Children laughed and splashed in the dancing fountains.

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="640"] Centennial Park[/caption]


My sessions were informative and engaging.  I learned how to use games to engage my students (Brain Pop and Minecraft), Twitter to link my students to professionals and each other, and video to tell stories.  I will write about what I learned from these sessions and others in future posts.

The best part of my first two days in Atlanta has been a surprise.  Christina (the Technology Integration Coach on this blog) and I were tired and cranky, and we wanted pie a la mode.  After walking to a diner to find out that it wasn't a diner but a bar, we came back even crankier than before. . . until we saw the counter of pie in Sway restaurant at the Hyatt Regency.  Sway is a nice place, and we weren't sure they would want to sell us pie a la mode to go, but boy, were we wrong!  The hostess offered us the Bucket of Love, which was a box that we could fill with any dessert we wanted.  It was only nine bucks and it came with enough ice cream for both of us.  Click on the link to see  our Bucket of Love .

While I have enjoyed the Bucket of Love, and I highly recommend that you get one if you ever come to Atlanta, the absolute best part of ISTE so far has been spending some time with Christina, whom I don't get to see as often as I would like.

I will leave you with a happy thought because remember, today is The Good.  Tomorrow I review The Bad.


Like what you read?  Follow me on Twitter @itibrout.