|Ron Clarke at ISTE 2014|
There was a lot of information to be gained just walking around visiting the different poster sessions. I had to get over the fact that there were so many people crowed around to see and hear. I just needed to be patient - or get there early. Actually those sessions gave me an opportunity to speak directly with presenters to discuss what they were sharing. That's where I met Lindsay Brown, a 4th grade teacher from Virginia.
She shared how she uses iTunesU in her classroom. Megan also uses iTunesU, but with last year being my first year having 1:1 iPads, I was definitely not ready to tackle an iTunes course. After listening to Ms. Brown's presentation I felt more comfortable, so I went home and started creating my first iTunesU course for my class; with a little help from Megan I was good to go. It was good to know that I didn't have to have a Mac to create the course; I only needed to use Chrome. Students however, do have to use Macs or iPads to consume the information.
Enough about vendors and poster sessions. It took me a minute to realize that if I wanted to get in to a session, I needed to be there early . . . real early. For my first regular session I attended a panel discussion with some of my favorite tweeps: Angela Maiers, @ToddNesloney (a fellow flipper turned administrator), Two Guys and some iPads, and Steve Lesler. It was great to actually meet people I follow on Twitter. They had a powerful message about the importance of students and adults believing they matter. It's such a small, but powerful thing. I know I saw Angela at iSummit, but I knew the message
I also saw Aaron Sams and Jon Bergman, the pioneers of the Flipped Classroom. I know I have seen them (via video) several times, but like I said, it was great to be able to see people that you have know through the internet. Later that day, I even had an opportunity to share my personal journey in a flipped environment with another teacher who is thinking about taking the plunge.
It was at iSummit that I realized I had barely scratched the surface when it comes to using Augmented Reality in the classroom. Well, I had a chance to attend a couple of sessions about that. I will share more about that at another time.
The last thing I wanted to share was the Keynote from Kevin Carroll, CEO (Chief Encouraging Officer). A-Maz-ing! I can't even begin to do him justice, so I won't even try. Read more about Kevin Carroll here. I will tell you that he is what's known as a change agent. He is responsible for the Nike "Tag" commercials and the author of The Rules of the Red Rubber Ball. He speaks about the importance of play; how children often learn to navigate their world during play. He shared that as a child who moved around a lot, the playground and a red rubber ball became his sanctuary. I think as adults we tend to forget the importance of play. Ironically, recess is often one of the first things taken away from children. I will say that if you ever get a chance to hear him speak, don't miss it!
There was so much to see and do, there is no way to even share everything I did. I just wanted to share a tiny bit of what resonated with me. As you prepare to begin your school year, think about these thoughts from Mr. Carroll: What's your red rubber ball? What are you chasing? Who encourages you? Better yet, who are you encouraging? Have fun! Play. . . and don't forget to look up.