Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Thank you, ISTE. . .

Though Jimmy Fallon writes his "Thank You" notes to be funny and silly, mine might have just a bit more sobriety. And so. . .


Thank you, ISTE, for enabling me to reconnect with friends and colleagues, to discover new friends and colleagues, and to share that moment of delight when putting names/Twitter handles to faces.

Thank you, ISTE, for having a large number of sessions at any given time which might allow me to get into a session, provided the sessions are not at opposite ends of the GWCC earth.

A corollary thank you, ISTE, is for helping me get in my 10,000 steps each day. And then some.

Thank you, ISTE, for having table sessions, oases, and other learning options throughout the conference location. Participants had to work hard NOT to learn something.

Thank you, ISTE, for having a lovely actor with a moving story and a passion for human rights. Next time, however, please have someone who is really more connected with education or whose work helps shine a light on the power of education.

Thank you, ISTE, for the opportunities to learn and connect with people in all capacities of education and with so many who are truly passionate about doing the best things for kids.

The energy for learning and sharing learning was palpable, and it didn't stop for many. Some of us just needed to stop up our ears on the last day because there was already too much going on: we were brain and body weary!

But what I loved LOVED was the sharing. So many who were anxious to learn from others and so many who were generously willing to share their learning, their strategies, their work. It was fun to watch @donwettrick record some of his shows for InnovatED: Tomorrow's Classrooms Now! And it was great to watch @coolcatteacher, Vicki Davis, record some of her shows for Every Classroom Matters. You'll want to check out the interviews with Ashley Hurley (@ashleyhurley) and with Rachel Sniff (@Tchr_RachelM) and Tiffany Carter (@tpizzie1). You'll want to look for sessions from these ladies at next year's ISTE! She also recorded an interview with Mark Weston (@shiftparadigm), one of the few representatives I saw from higher education. And I was delighted that Vicki invited me to record a show, too.


I'll wax philosophical for a moment because there was a lot of conversation about standardized tests and how some of this newfangled learning might be measured or might impact student results on standardized tests. There was also a lot of direct and indirect conversation about the Maker Movement, inventing to learn, tinkering, genius hour, passionate curiosity, passion-based learning. Some of it might seem a little too touchy feely for some, but that might be because of where we've gotten in our education system. I need more time to process some of my thinking, but a quick upshot: standardized tests have never indicated what students really know and can do. While grading can be subjective, the better educators get at creating rubrics and the more educators offer students opportunities for project-based learning that are exercises in authentic learning, the better we will know what students really know and what students can really do. And, perhaps most importantly, students will begin to discover what they're good at and what they enjoy doing. More to come on that.


So thank you, ISTE, for the opportunities to learn and grow because that's what education is supposed to be all about.

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