Short Takes on this Year’s International Society for Technology in Education Conference, Day Three
ATLANTA, July 3, 2014 — This year’s ISTE Conference set a new attendance record, drawing 16,000 people from 73 countries. According to ISTE CEO Brian Lewis, over 500 vendors, including Extreme Networks, demonstrated their products in the adjoining 150,000 square foot expo hall. Here are some of my take-aways from the last day of the conference.
Teach every child as if they are a member of your family. Someday they may be!
Jeff Charbonneau, the 63rd National Teacher of the Year has taught high school chemistry, physics and engineering at Zillah High School in Washington for the past 12 years. He delivered an inspiring send-off keynote with the theme of What If? His envelope-pushing teaching activities have included wild pacific chorus frog-tagging, rocket launching, robot building, drama coaching, yearbook advising (which is really an engineering project), and taking kids on 14-day camping trips in the mountains. Through it all, he strives to teach courage and self-sufficiency. Rather than always executing flawlessly, he encouraged the audience of teachers and information technologist to fail. “Then you can show your kids what it’s like to fail and get right back up.”
Charbonneau told the story of how as a 6th grader he had gotten into a fight with his best friend (because he was an eighth-grade boy). The vicious fight (neither sustained so much as a bruise) was abruptly broken up by Fred Bauer, a substitute teacher (of course). Years later, after he had mustered up the courage to ask Monika, a friendly classmate, to the junior prom, he went to pick her up at her house. After ringing the doorbell, he found himself face-to-face with Mr. Bauer, the former substitute teacher. He should have had an inkling, since the name of his prom date was Monika Bauer. Her name is now Monika Charbonneau and Jeff is Fred Bauer’s son-in-law. The moral of the story is teach every child as if they will become members of your own family.
Jeff recommends that teachers start by building relationships with students, to keep them coming back. Deal with the content second. And remember these are the folks who will be funding your social security.
Making a brief appearance at the ISTE 2014 keynote was Jessica Rosenworcel, one of five FCC commissioners. She reassured the audience that the FCC agrees that more eRate funding is needed and that she does support net neutrality, although the courts do not.
Heart of a Hall of Famer
Football Hall of Fame linebacker Chris Doleman visited the Extreme Networks booth to deliver a Lesson in Character to attendees and students. It is still not too late to learn more about participating in this free Extreme Networks/Hall of Fame program. The lessons are available at no cost for grades 4-12 via live video feed, or where a Hall of Fame member is available locally, they can be delivered in person. Use this form to request more information.
This Year’s Hot Sessions
One of the most popular topics at ISTE 2014 involved the maker movement. This is enabled by new amazing tools, like 3D printers, laser cutters, easy-to-use design software, and desktop machine tools, often at low prices, and the desire to foster creativity in our schools. There were 21 sessions on this topic, including “Designing Your Makerspace, Interactive Electronics Without Programming, Merging Mobile, Makers, And Science Education, Think Different: Computational Thinking And The Maker Revolution, Making Sense Of Maker Education, Creating A Maker Culture, and Hack Your Space To Create A Maker Culture At Your School. Last Month, President Obama gave the maker movement extra momentum by hosting a Maker Faire at the White House. The Maker Faire concept, a festival of invention, creativity and resourcefulness, is driven by Maker Media, who launched their first Maker Faire in the San Francisco Bay Area back in 2006. Teaching maker skills is a path to creating upwards of 100 million micro-entrepreneurs, as predicted by Brian Chesky CEO of Airbnb.
The concept of using augmented reality for education was also trending at the conference. There were no less than 14 sessions addressing augmented reality, including Creating Special Environmental Memories Using AR Digital Storytelling, Better Than Real: Launching Augmented Reality In The Classroom, Walking The Augmented Reality Line, and Augmented Reality And QR Codes: Classroom Learning Or Fun Technology? It is now relatively easy for kids themselves to create images that come to life when viewed through the tablets and smart phones. You can try this yourself by downloading the Aurasma app and visiting their web site where Robert Burns comes to life when viewed through your smartphone or tablet.
Heard at ISTE 2014
“Kids loved Facebook, but it’s said they are abandoning it now that it is popular with adults. Looks like there is a market for a new social app that bans everyone over 22.”
“Open source is more like free puppies, than free beer (it takes a lot of care).”
The investment in digital content drives school districts to implement a mobile device program, so students can view that content. According to Neilsen, 70-79% of students own a smartphone. Kim Leblanc of Calcasieu Parish public Schools (CPSB) in Lake Charles, La., learned that WiFi coverage alone is not enough to provide a good student network experience. They also need a network that can handle their device density requirements.
Battery life of students’ mobile devices during the school day can be a major issue, especially if the issue is unanticipated.
Follow Bob Nilsson on Twitter: twitter.com/RHNilsson