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 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!