It had been a year since I first went to a summit like this, and it was very different this year. It felt like I was on the other side. Since I went last year I've attended ISTE 2015 in Philadelphia, completed my Google Certified Educator Level 1 and Level 2 course and have tried so many new things I can't even remember all of them. Though I definitely don't consider myself an expert, I do feel like I've moved closer to the cutting edge of what is happening in schools. I'm not quite on the tip, but definitely getting there.
So most of the things being presented were not new things to me. I chose the presentations I did not because I wanted to learn fresh things, but because I wanted more detail on them. The first presentation was all about Genius Hour (20% time, Passion Projects). I heard this idea last year and got some good tips at ISTE and absolutely fell in love with the idea. In practice, it kind of fizzled and there was no end to projects (probably the result of me trying to do too much, too soon). But I was able to get some good ideas through this presentation and will be bringing it back to my students for next term. It's absolutely imperative that my students get to try this in term 2. That way when we fail, we can do it the right way in terms 3 and 4 :D
I later went to a presentation on Google Cardboard and using Street View in the classroom to see different things. At this point, I'm storing this info in the back of my brain. It has potential, but at the moment I'll let it go. I do have two cardboards and my phone, so no doubt it will make an appearance in my classroom this term (I'm thinking I can show them my house back in Canada).
During the last session of the first day all of the PHS teachers went to a workshop on using stop motion on chromebooks. It was fantastic. I've always been a fan of stop motion and have used it as a learning tool previously. Now that I know how to do this without the iPads, I'm sure I'll be using this for a few different things. I just need to make some playdough (or get the students to do it!) so that we have some more things we can use.
The next day started with a talk about using CS First to do coding. I've already started setting that up. I went to a Code Club Aotearoa meeting last term, so this is something of a priority. I'm going to start in week 2, to give me some time to sort the details out and get students interested (which also helps me earn my money as eLearning Leader). There's not much else to say here, but the lessons are super easy to follow - you don't need to be a coding expert. There will definitely be more on my blog about this.
The next session I went to was all about the things you could do with Google Drawings. There were several of these at the conference. Funny enough, I have started using these a bit more recently. So the timing is good. We were given a lot of examples of ways to use Google Drawings. Very impressive list, though a bit fast. I'll definitely be trying to use some of these ideas in class (I've been having some fun with my own lately - see my last post).
The final session I went to was about BreakoutEDU (LINK!!!). Having done some escape rooms in the past, I really like this concept. The actual session was difficult because we had too many people, but I would be interested to see it in class. And guess what? A friend of mine has bought and put some kits together (It's all open source) and has offered to come to my class next week to give it a go - so exciting!
The biggest change for me this year, though, was actually presenting. I was very nervous about this. I guess it's hard for me to think that anyone actually wants to listen to what I've got to say or try my ideas in their own classrooms (hmmm, I wonder where I got that idea from?). The first presentation I did was on spreadsheets. I may have gone a bit fast through some things, but the audience was very polite to me. I got some good questions and some good feedback. I tried pretty hard to give attendees something to do and it wasn't a complete disaster, so that's good.
The next day I was presenting on my Math Problem Solving with Google Slides. Wow! There were probably about 80 people there. I definitely improved my delivery, but I get nervous easily still. I got a bit muddled in the order I shared stuff (forgot to talk about the context of how I do the lessons), but for the most part this went well. No one wanted to share when they did their problem solving, but I was alright. I was smarter this time and prepared a form for feedback, some of which was helpful (never thought I'd be told I was too quiet!), so I can improve next time.
I think the biggest thing I got out of presenting was that I need to keep the participants active. My favourite presentations were the ones where I got to do something (Coding, Stop Motion, BreakoutEDU). It made me think of what I would do for next year. Not sure who is reading this so I'm not going to spill the beans, but I've got a fantastic idea. Will have a go at practicing that at some other events in the near future.
Another, subtle thing that happened here was that, as a presenter, I got to go to the presenters dinner. It was very good to get out there and meet some people who are the ones shaking things up at a bigger level. I think I hope to be among them one day - maybe not doing exactly what they do, but being on their level. Again, big plans, but keeping some of those to myself.