Reflections from #iste2014! #summerlearning #myjobisfun

So, last week, I went to my first ISTE Conference. I typically go to ALA, but this year I decided to check out ISTE since it was fairly close to home – OMG! Why have I not been going to ISTE all along?! There is no way for me to share everything I learned (so much), so here are the highlights.

I arrived on Friday, June 27. I registered and attended the Mobile Mega Share. I liked the way this session was set up. There were a number of large tables with various topics on signs in the middle of the table. You could go to whatever table/topic you were interested in and learn more about that topic. The “presentations” were informal and were only about 20 minutes long. After 20 minutes, the idea was to switch to a different table. At this session, I learned more about the app, Aurasma. I plan to use this app to do my Learning Commons orientation lessons with 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade this year. Seems easy and I’ll let you know how it goes. After this session, I went to the Hummingbird Robotics Kit Makeshop. I had heard of Hummingbird Robotics before and I was thrilled when my friend, Dr. Craft, invited me to this event. I got to build a robot and program it to move. Loved it. I also enjoyed the idea of a “Makeshop.” This could be a great model for a family make night or something…good stuff.

My hummingbird robot creation!

My hummingbird robot creation!

On Saturday, I went to a 3D printing workshop. I recently found out that my Donor’s Choose project for a 3D printer was fully funded, so I was excited to go to this workshop, because I need to learn all I can about 3D printing, now that I’ll actually have a printer! While the workshop was interesting, I’m not sure that it was the best choice for me. I did get to explore various software for designing things to print and I got to see a lesson where students print something useful (instead of just something fun). All in all, I suppose I got what I needed out of it, but I was hoping for more? The BEST part of that workshop was meeting Jessica Allen (in fact, the best part of ISTE was making connections and meeting some personal tech and library heroes).

On Saturday afternoon, I sort of wandered around from session to session. I explored the BrainPOP Arcade for a little bit (if you haven’t explored GameUp…you should); I checked out the Global Education Conference; and then I caught the tail end of the first round of the Ignite sessions. LOVE the Ignite format. A speaker has 20 slides and 5 minutes and talks about their passion. I got to hear Nicholas Provenzano (AWESOME) and Pat Yongpradit (more AWESOME). After that, I went to see Katy Perry. Front row. Not ISTE-related 😉

Katy Perry!

Katy Perry!

I got to hangout in a few “playgrounds” on Sunday. The first one was with my people…LIBRARIANS! Librarians doing wonderful things. My favorite takeaway was learning more about Genius Hour from a couple of my heroes, Matthew Winner and Sherry Gick. I also went to a “playground” aimed more for science teachers, where I met an actual astronaut. I stumbled into an early learning playground where Gary Stager was speaking…Gary Stager! I have been obsessed with Invent to Learn since last summer and I knew the authors would be at ISTE, but I had not been able to attend any of their sessions up to that point. I was actually on my way to another session when I saw the sign saying that Dr. Stager was up next. Of course, I stayed. The next few hours were all about making and Invent to Learn because his session followed the playground. READ THIS BOOK! On Sunday evening, I got to spend time with the wonderful FableVision folks. AND I MET PETER REYNOLDS! Best.Night.Ever.



Before leaving on Monday, I got to meet Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and her friend, Erin. We talked about libraries and things we were learning at ISTE and I totally loved spending time with them! I also did one more walk through at the Exhibit Hall, learned a bit about MinecraftEdu and then it was off to home to get the dogs.

ISTE was fantastic. All of my teacher and librarian friends who are a little nerdy like me need to go at least once. It will definitely always be on my summer learning list from here on out.

I’m sure ISTE will sneak its way into future posts – I learned so much to take back to school this year – I’m getting excited for the new year to start!



About Valerie Byrd Fort

I live in South Carolina. I am passionate about libraries, books, and reading. I am also a mom. This is my blog about those things.
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1 Response to Reflections from #iste2014! #summerlearning #myjobisfun

  1. lightwoodk says:

    VBF I have attended two or three ISTEs in the past and am amazed at how much I learned and did not know. Meeting folks from around the country who are trying exciting learning activities is great. I also learned that some in SC are doing some great things too, like Valerie Fort! Too bad more teachers from SC cannot make it to an ISTE when in Atlanta! Bob Noe

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