Well over a week has passed since ISTE 2011 and I’m finally writing a post on my experience. It is not like I haven’t had time these last few days to sit and blog…it was that I needed time to think. For the last few days I’ve had all of the ideas, experiences, thoughts, learnings rattling around in my head trying to make some sort of sense of it all. The theme for this year’s conference was Unlocking Potential and I needed to figure out what had been unlocked within me that had the potential to become more than just an idea or a thought. Some little seed that with the right conditions could grow into something more. I asked my self several questions over and over again…What did I learn? How will I use it? How is everything all connected? That last question was the one that finally led to everything falling into place for me…connection!!
I know think that my biggest take away from ISTE 2011 is about the importance of connections. Connections between ideas, connections between technology, the NETS and curriculum, connections between people…it is all about making connections!!!
Here are just a few of my most powerful connections:
- Music and Tech: Harmony in the Making by Kyle Pace, Michelle Baldwin, Yoon Soo Lim, and Elizabeth Peterson helped me to rediscover the importance of connecting multiple subject areas into student led inquiries. They expertly modeled connecting music with social studies, science, art, language arts and mathematics. These connections were powerful, and inspiring. The student created Math Dance video was wonderful.
- Curriculum 21: Essential Education for a Changing World by Heidi Hayes Jacobs . In this session the connections were many but my biggest take away came when she said “What do we cut? What do we keep? What do we create?”. I immediately connected this with the work I do with professional development supporting teachers in curriculum, technology, and instructional practices. There are always so many possiblities…too many sometimes to manage them all but that statement will be a guide in my work and one I will use often with teachers. What do we cut (from the current way we do business everyday)? What do we keep (that works well and is important)? and What do we create (that can facilitate student learning in a powerful way)?
- Math 2.0: Scenes from the Dynamic Math Classroom by Ihor Charischak and Embed Technologies into Language Arts–Read, Write, Think, Learn by Gail Lovely. In both of these session I witnessed the seamless connection between technology and curriculum. Both presenters used technologies to enrich and enhance their chosen focus in a way that relate to NETS Standards and good teaching practice.
- I-Imagine: Waking Up a Generation to Their Own Greatness by BernaJean Porter was nothing short of AMAZING!!! In this session BernaJean shared her work with students on Narrative Storytelling in such a way that connected with my heart and soul as an educator. I laughed, I cried, I walked away with a renewed sense of my purpose as an educator and a renewed committment to the “sacred promise” I made when I became a teacher.
- Dr. John Medina’s keynote on the “Brain Rules of Education” helped me to see connections between how the brain learns and how we should or should not teach. He talked about how learning can be categorized into two equally important ideas; the ability to memorize to create a richly structured data base of information and the ability to improvise off of it as soon as possible (creativity). My connection here was immediately with math and how we teach it. We often emphasize the data base, the memorization of facts and under emphasize the creative side of it. In so doing we deny students the opportunity to truly learn.
- Face to face connections with my PLN were powerful. I so enjoyed meeting people I talk to often via Twitter. I feel now that these connections with people are now more powerful, meaningful and hold the potential for great learning.
All in all, I learned much from my connections and hope to drawn on these connections in my future work and learning.