Thursday, June 28, 2018

Takeaways from ISTE 2018

ISTE 2018 in Chicago, Illinois was absolutely phenomenal. Although I had the opportunity to enjoy being a tourist by visiting the Willis Tower, John Hancock Building, and Museum of Science and Industry, I was also able to attend eight sessions, explore a few playgrounds, volunteer in the digital Storytelling playground, peruse the Exhibit Hall, and co-lead my very first poster session with Danielle Abernethy.

A few years ago when I attended ISTE 2016 in Denver, I wrote about my takeaways, so I have decided to do it again. I feel like this reflection will benefit me as I plan for my next group of 5th grade scientists and 6th-8th grade Technology Club members (and even my Brain Bowl team to an extent). I am extremely excited for a few new beginnings; I am ready to take some risks this coming year and am ecstatic to re-emerge in the online educators' realm.

  • #booksnaps from Tara Martin was one of my favorite sessions this year. When Tara explained the scientific relevance, the awesomeness of her hashtag struck me out of nowhere. As a person whose right side of the brain dominates, I was suddenly intrigued by how something so simple and fun to create unites the two hemispheres of the brain. Since her workshops, I have created six of these-- five of which I am about to debut with a bit of a different (original!) hashtag. Of course, I am going to attribute a great deal of credit to her awesomeness
  • I was intrigued by how much I learned about AR and VR in 360. On Tuesday, I attended a workshop hosted by Andy Mann called "Learning in 360". The day before, I attended Jaime Donally and Rachelle Dene Poth's session called "Immerse Students in Learning: Bring AR and VR into the Classroom!" Although I already knew about CoSpaces, I did not realize its full potential. 
  • I had the opportunity to attend the first-ever Questathon, hosted by Classcraft! I almost delved into Classcraft last year, which is a gamification platform where educators can add a storytelling element to their lessons and incorporate elements from games to increase student engagement. The Questathon event focused on adding to their narrative, which invigorated me beyond measure. Although I didn't accomplish much while there besides random sketches, I was still drawn in to their rationale and innovative approaches. I really hope to collaborate with them more. 
  • I was so infatuated with attending the #booksnaps session that I was out there over an hour early. I wound up attending the session beforehand as well, which was led by Kasey Bell from Shake Up Learning. This is embarrassing, but I never realized the full power of Google prior to this year's ISTE. However, after listening to her speak about the flexibility of Google Sheets/Slides and how other Google tools can transform one's classroom, I feel empowered to delve more into the Google realm this coming year. It also helps for my students that last year's fourth grade ELA teacher delved quite a bit into Google Classroom! 
  • I realized how my loyalty to my absolute favorite tech companies paid off! I was very specific when I visited the Expo Hall this year and learned something new when I visited many of their tables. Chibitronics debuted the ChibiClip (which was also at SparkFun's table), Sketchup is looking better than ever, the littleBits Code Kit is phenomenal, I officially decided I am going to purchase an Oculus, and there are many educational uses for an Ozobot
  • Last, this is not ISTE-related, but I got to see the Science Behind Pixar Exhibit at the Museum of Science and Industry. It was one of the very best exhibits I have ever seen at any museum. Plus, I got into the museum for FREE and had to pay for just this part! 
If you were at ISTE this year, what were some of your biggest takeaways? Of course I had more experiences and takeaways, but these were the main ones! 

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