Friday, July 29, 2016

ISTE Insights #5- Everywhere and Nowhere...

The opening keynote address was from Dr. Michio Kaku.  His presentation was highly entertaining and mind expanding, to say the least.  One of his catch phrases during his talk was,  "The internet is everywhere, the internet is nowhere".  This phrase was meant, in my understanding of it, to emphasize the amazing impact that the internet, and the technologies developed from it, have on our lives.  So integrated has it become that we hardly think about how we are using the web in general.  He made an interesting comment, as a futurist, saying that as the music industry has become digitized, (think the remarkable transition from record players to iPhones) so to will medicine and education become digitized.
This point has stayed with me since the conference has ended, and I think barring a nuclear or natural disaster, the notion of a digitized education landscape is indeed in the future.  While education always seems to embrace change warily, I do think that in 10 years digital devices and content will reign supreme.  And the proof is in the conference itself.  The major players in the technology industry, namely:  Google and Microsoft made a huge imprint on the conference.  As I walked the session hallways, all too often I would see Google Based or Microsoft based presentations with standing room only lines.  Google's Apps for Education as well as Microsoft's Office 365 apps and tools are certainly getting lots of attention, and for good reason.  While many of these tools are being used on the substitution level of the (SAMR) Spectrum, the future of their use along the redefinition model can be predicted.  For example, students using these platforms to create multimedia performance assessments, taking notes digitally, collaborating seamlessly, is an easy reality to imagine.
The SAMR Model (Puentedura)
In other words:  Schools truly changing the model of education to achieve, anytime, any place learning with schools becoming hubs for support, engagement, and collaboration.  Sports teams using technology on the sidelines to keep track of live time data or video analysis, etc.  So many other possibilities.

As a quiet sidenote...while Microsoft and Google seemed to be everywhere... Apple seemed to be nowhere.  Perhaps I just missed them, but I really didn't come across many sessions with their logo as highlighted tool or project.  When I walked the vendor floor, I didn't see any Apple exhibitors or people with Apple t-shirts, etc.  (Not to say there weren't plenty of participants with Mac Computers and iPads)  I found it interesting, and as someone who likes Apple and their educational endeavors, somewhat sad.  Where WERE they?  Why have they left education?  Or.... Have they?   It is my hope and theory that Apple is in development with something really big and bold.  So I am holding out hope.  They certainly are one of the biggest "digitizers" in the game.  Fingers crossed that  something new is coming.  
As a last sidenote, I did notice a company that is certainly familiar to most of us, make a big splash in the educational market.  Amazon had a wonderful booth at the vendor floor with lots of energy and traffic.  They are getting ready to release full scale the Amazon Inspire- Education Platform.  Still in beta, from what I saw this should open up some interesting new tools and ideas for the future of digitizing the educational system.

ISTE as always, inspired me.  This year though... it made me think deeply about the future.  And the Future looks.... digitized!

Monday, July 11, 2016

Coffee with a Geek Interview with Sarah Thomas July 13th, 2016, 4pm

Sarah Thomas and Me at ISTE 2016

I had the wonderful opportunity to meet amazing teacher, Sarah Thomas at ISTE 2016.  I came across Sarah's work through.... Twitter!  (Please educators, you don't need to post on Twitter, just follow, follow, follow)  Sarah's Twitter handle is:  @sarahdateechur

Sarah's blog (sarahdateechur) is such a wonderful read because it provides interesting anecdotes, teacher tested ideas, and thought provoking narratives on teaching and learning.  I am really looking forward to interviewing her and asking her about her experiences as a teacher, her ISTE Conference presentations and highlights (Especially CUE Rockstar), and More.  I would love to have you watch and participate with questions.  You can check into our interview by clicking the video link below.  

Saturday, July 9, 2016

My Takeaways from ISTE2016 #4 Machinima is Educational. Please don't discount it.

Know a child that loves video games?  Of course you do!  Why do they love them?  They are highly engaging, personalized, collaborative, they provide opportunities for success through trial and error, and have fantastic narratives, they are creative and thought provoking.  Need I say more?  So the challenge over the years has been:   How do we as educators harness the power of gaming, by making sure we are hitting on quality curriculum objectives?  One answer is to embed curriculum into video games.  This is known as Tangential Learning.  Want a better understanding of this phenomenon?  Check out this video:  Extra Credits *Warning, there is 1 four letter word in the video, so best not watch it around little ones.
Anyway, another way to harness the potential of video games is to have students create Machinima.  In a nutshell, Machinima is the process of using screenshots or screenvideos of gaming to create movies.  So for example. a student creates their own movie using scenes from their gameplay in Minecraft.  So students can write the script, narrate the action, learn how to make a movie using movie based programs, learn perspective, dialogue, history, storytelling.... need I say more?
If you are in Edtech, you have probably heard about the SAMR model of educational technology evolution.  The R stands for Redefinition- Redefining how we teach, assess, and learn.  Machinima can do that!  It truly combines the power of gaming and the essentials of curriculum all the while embedding creativity and collaboration.
On Tuesday evening at ISTE2016 we had an Edumachinima Night.  Sponsored by the Techsmith Company, this was an evening where student and teacher created machinima was presented.  Below are the winning entries.  Please take a look.  I think it will make the case that Machinima can be a powerful way to redefine education.

(The section below is from the Showcase notes from Kae Novak, Tanya Martin and Chris Luchs.

1.  The first machinima in our showcase is titled Invent-It: Open Sim Student Inventions and was submitted by Mrs. Mary Howard. This Machinima was created by students in Mrs. Howard’s 6th grade class. Celia , Edward, Ryan, Ashley, Joshua, Eleah, Elaina, Grace, Gia, and Hannah. In this Machinima you can see how the students literally attempted to Make the Future! They imagined, designed and then constructed futuristic machines designed to solve a myriad of problems faced by society. As you see their solutions, you'll see future inventors, engineers and designers. It was created in Open Sim. (total Length 6:34)

2. Our next machinima was a creation by Ross Dorfman, Bayley Schaefer, Joseph Royster, Jacob Meyer from North Carolina. It is titled The Infinite Loop and was created in Minecraft. This takes place in a future world where everyone lives in connecting biomes.The students ranged in age from 5-10 and worked together to bring you their original story. (total length 13:44)

3. The Rise of Zenix is another Minecraft machinima created by Robert Burdsall, Carter Hall, Ben Ziegler and submitted by their instructor Mrs. Patricia Cloud. It takes place in the future and past showing us some time travel.  (total length 1:31)

4. Finally we have a teacher submission. This machinima shows a poster area created for the VWPBE conference that has always focused on exploring future uses of virtual environments. Narration is by Mary Howard, Music by Kevin Macleod, and created by Andrew Wheelock. 

 ISTE VEN Poster Exhibit for VWBPE (total length 4:14)

Thursday, July 7, 2016

My Takeaways from ISTE2016 #3 Games and Simulations/ Virtual Environments Playground

Games and VEN Playground Schedule
We had an action packed Games and Simulations/ Virtual Environments Playground this year.  As you can see from our schedule we had some really trend setting presentations along with some corresponding table displays.  Some big ideas from this session:

Lyman Missimer showing Google Cardboard and Expeditions

  • Our playground was very active!  The playground location was ideal because there was lots of traffic and interest.  Thank you ISTE Planning committee!
  • Some new technologies that are breaking into our playground consciousness.  Virtual Reality.  I saw lots of session and vendors promoting VR.  I had a demo from the Nearpod group and was surprised but quite fascinated that they are investing in VR.  
  • Along those lines, Lyman Missimer from Google gave a great presentation on Google Cardboard and Expeditions.  (Can't wait to find out about Google Daydream)
  • Bitcoin and its newest extension Block Chain are concepts and technologies that everyone should keep an eye on.  They are touted as the next disrupters.  I need to learn more about these concepts. 
  • Second Life still has so much to offer for educators looking to push boundaries and connect.
Barbara Seaton Talking about Second Life and Education

Mary Howard showcasing Future Virtual World Projects
  • Classcraft provided some wonderful water bottles to hand out to playground attendees.  Thank you Classcraft.  This platform is definitely worth a look for educators looking to engage their students. 
  • Lastly, but not least. great work from PLN Chairs, Scott Merrick, Kae Novak, and Chris Luchs for making a magical playground.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

My Takeaways from ISTE2016 #2 ISTE Standards for Students

The ISTE Standards for Students. Over the years, in my role as teacher, tech integrator, and professional developer, I have used and aligned the ISTE Standards for students and teachers. They have provided a guiding roadmap for my work and thinking as it relates to Educational Technology.

This year at ISTE the new 2016 Version of the ISTE Standards for Students was released. This group of standards is particularly meaningful because I was selected to be on the standards committee that helped craft these standards. I have never been through a process to develop a set of standards that would have such far reaching publication and usage. I must say it seemed like a daunting task which I thought would involve a lot of debate and discussion. We did have some debate. We did have lots of great discussions. And yet, the process was incredibly rewarding because we talked, listened to viewpoints from across the world, and then worked, refined, revised, and in the end produced some high quality work.

We had an incredible leadership group that guided us through the process. Namely:

Dr. Anna Baralt, Shorecrest Prep School Inc
Wendy Drexler, Independent
Jim Flanagan, ISTE
Dr. LeeAnn Lindsey, Arizona State University
Dr. Yolanda Ramos, ISTE Staff
Sarah Stoeckl, ISTE Staff
Carolyn Sykora, ISTE Staff

I can't tell you how impressed I was with this incredible group. They gave us lots of work to do, but also some really powerful guidance and support. It was truly one of the most rewarding processes I have had the honor of participating in.

I would encourage all educators to take a look at the final product of these standards. My hope is that you will find them to be a great guide for your lesson development, and student learning.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

My Takeaway's From ISTE 2016 # 1

There are so many great insights and  posts about #ISTE2016, that I will try to keep this brief and to the point.  Much of my time was spent getting ready for our playground that I didn't get as much time to see as many session as I wanted but I did come away with 5 key insights.

INSIGHT 1.  The TeachMeet Session was really great!  Basically, you can sign up to present something, in 2, 7, or 20 minute time slots.  Then the organizer's post the sessions and participants contribute, tweet, and share.  It was really well done and informative.

Session posts and info are here:  Teach Meet ISTE

Friday, July 1, 2016

Humbled and Grateful

This year's ISTE 2016 Conference was unbelievably successful, (which I expected) yet incredibly humbling, (which I hadn't expected)

My hopes going into ISTE2016, where pretty similar to my past conference objectives.  

1.  Connect with new amazing educators
2.  Connect with the many friends and colleagues, I have cultivated over the years.  
3.  Learn about the upcoming trends
4.  Generate new ways of thinking about Edtech based on the various sessions, keynotes, playgrounds, poster projects.
5.  Make this year's Games and Simulation/ Virtual Environments Playground better than ever.

Well, without a doubt, I can say "Mission Accomplished" for my goals going into the conference.
However, things changed drastically on Monday Afternoon! (for the better)

For those who aren't familiar, there is an awards ceremony, hosted by ISTE CEO, Brian Lewis, and ISTE President Kecia Ray. It is a wonderful event where you can see, meet, and applaud amazing educators from all over the world.

There are individual Teacher Awards (i.e. Young Educator Award), School Awards, The President's Volunteer Award, and lastly, the "Oscars" of Edtech awards, the Making IT Happen Award.
It is such a fantastic event to be a part of because within an hour and a half see and meet some of the most engaging and energetic leaders in educational technology. As the Making IT Happen Awards were being announced Mila Fuller (ISTE's Upcoming President) from started to talk about, "The Department of Wild and Ideas" which has been my Motto for quite some time. I was literally in shock as she started to read off a list of my accomplishments. I have never considered myself in the same league as all the others I have seen win this prestigious award. So when I went to have my jacket put on the stage, I really was unbelievable nervous. I can't even remember to much of my mumbling acceptance speech. I tried to convey that what has made a difference for me was the project that involved the Diary of Anne Frank. Anne's inspiration gave me the mindset that I needed to start my educational endeavours with the focus of helping others and not myself, that put me on the trajectory to start doing innovative and creative projects to empower students and teachers.
There were so many great leaders in the audience that have directly inspired me, and I really should have thanked all of them.  It's so rare you get such an amazing collection of educators in one place. 

I am so grateful and honored. While the jacket is such a great recognition, wearing it makes me feel like I have so much more to do!

Thank you ISTE, Thanks so much everyone for inspiring me.
Good buddy Scott Merrick

Kathy Schrock and me!

The Jacket!

ISTE President Elect Mila Fuller, who introduced my award.

Kari Stubbs from Brain Pop