Saturday, July 06, 2013

THE BEST ISTE EVER: Day 5, Wednesday, Reflections

Another up-early morning and I had to finish packing and stow my luggage at the front desk before hitting the Hyatt Ballroom A yet again for EdTech Leaders' annual Online Learning Institute. My plan, which worked well, I may say, was to take a cab out to the airport and pick up a reserved rental car then return to the hotel for my bags before driving to Lake Conroe, north of Houston, a 3 and a half hour or so drive, in order to spend several days relaxing and fishing with my brother, Ed. Ed does important work with The Augustus Group, his consulting company focused on risk analysis and compliance in heavy industry.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again--though this eats up all day (8-3) the final day of ISTE, it's time well allocated if one is in the distance learning field. You can see why if you check out all the available round-table sessions at the online agenda, and I'll just elaborate a bit here and we'll be done.

The program began with welcomes and agenda by the dynamic and capable Barbara Treacy from ETLO and moved right into David Rose's keynote. David's organization, CAST, serves students with disabilities with technological support for their learning experiences and is the source for UDL--Universal Design for Learning. If you are not in tune with UDL, you really should pop out and read this. From that website:

Universal Design for Learning is a set of principles for curriculum development that give all individuals equal opportunities to learn.
UDL provides a blueprint for creating instructional goals, methods, materials, and assessments that work for everyone--not a single, one-size-fits-all solution but rather flexible approaches that can be customized and adjusted for individual needs.
His keynote did not ring my bells the way Dr. Chris Dede's did last year, but his message was well taken. That said, it ran over a bit into the scheduled time for the first roundtables, causing us to play catch-up the rest of the morning.

My team and I presented our session at Table 3, right up front, and we had interested and interesting participants there. Our 45 minutes went by quickly as we shared our development of policies and procedures toward scalable best practices in K12 online learning at MNPS Virtual School. I look forward to seeing our evaluations, since it was so very informal, but I think that we made contact with some new colleagues who we will value over the next couple of years.

Andy Wheelock, participant in a 2 million dollar grant just awarded in New York to deliver Advanced Placement courses online, took notes for the table at this Google document. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions about the notes or the presentation.

For the second session I honestly wanted to visit Georgia Virtual School's presentation on their new teacher education tool but that table filled up immediately. That was fine, because the three of us from MNPS Virtual School sat down at the iEarn/Global Nomads table and learned a great deal about their global outreach in the form of project based learning and collaboration. I can promise that we will be learning more. This is just the thing for a capstone project option in our Freshman Academy, under development, and it could be an option in just about any of our courses. Learn more at http://iearn.org/. Since no one at the table was assigned to take notes, I'm going to pop in the session description here so we all have the info. Thanks to Kristyn and Syed for an engaging 45 minutes.

Exchange 2.0 Advocacy and Implementation – Using Technology to Create a Global Classroom

Our Michael Terry attends the iEarn Global Nomads roundtable
Join this roundtable discussion with co-facilitators, Global Nomads Group and iEARN, to learn more about creating a global classroom. Modern technology has made the world an undeniably smaller place; in order for our students to be successful in this inter-cultural world, educators and administrators must look for ways to create accessible global classrooms. Physical international exchanges that involve people meeting face-to-face are widely acknowledged as being among the best ways to foster cross-cultural respect and understanding. Exchange 2.0 allows face-to-face, cross-cultural connections to take place virtually in a traditional classroom, making the interactions a part of the classroom routine and allowing more students to participate and gain a deeper understanding of the world. Exchange 2.0 describes curriculum-based, virtual international exchange programs that focus on cross-cultural awareness and critical thinking skills. The aim of Exchange 2.0 is to increase the number of young people gaining cross-cultural experiences in educational settings, turning local classrooms into true global classrooms that can help students develop 21st century learning skills. Through the use of technology, Exchange 2.0 allows this type of international exchange to occur without the expensive costs of traditional physical exchanges. This session will give educators and administrative professionals the tools and resources to implement Exchange 2.0 in their schools, and advocate for Exchange 2.0 on the public policy level. Global Nomads Group (www.gng.org) Founded in 1998, Global Nomads Group (GNG) is an international NGO whose mission is to foster dialogue and understanding among the world’s youth. GNG engages and empowers young people worldwide using media, including: interactive videoconferencing, webcasting, social networking, and participatory filmmaking. GNG operates at the intersection of international and peace education, striving to serve as a vehicle for awareness, bridging the boundaries of cultural misconceptions, and instilling a heightened appreciation and comprehension of the world. GNG Facilitator: Kristyn Mohr, Program Associate, collaborates with colleagues on GNG programming in the Middle East and North Africa and manages GNG’s largest program in this region, Youth Talk. Youth Talk is a yearlong civic engagement program which harnesses the power of virtual exchange, an online platform and a project-based learning curriculum to build cross-cultural awareness and global citizenship among high school students across the United States and high school students in the Middle East and North Africa. iEARN (www.iearn.org) Since 1988, iEARN (International Education and Resource Network) has pioneered on-line school linkages to enable students to engage in meaningful educational projects with peers in their countries and around the world. iEARN empowers teachers and young people to work together online using the Internet and other new communications technologies. iEARN is a non-profit organization made up of over 30,000 schools and youth organizations in more than 130 countries. iEARN Facilitator: Syed Muhammad Abdullah is a YES Program Alumna and currently employed at SIE/iEARN-Pakistan as a Project Manager. Among other work, he was an organizer of the 2012 Youth TechCamp in Islamabad, and is the Editor in Chief of Youth Voices International - a blog created by YES alumni for all State alumni http://youthvoicesinternational.com/. He also is the founder of Karachi Tips, a social venture.
- See more at: http://oli.etlo.org/content/oli-agenda-2013#sthash.4fUClbM1.dpuf
We had a sit-down lunch in the adjacent ballroom, which was good though my chicken was a bit dry (great spicy ranch dressing on the salad though); and the cheesecake dessert was universally devoured. My neighbor said "I never finish desserts, but I am finishing this one" just as I was about to utter words to the same effect. Kecia flitted in (Ms. President, you'll recall) and asked me to have dinner with her after her required Pearson meeting, which she anticipated finishing up by 5 pm, as I understood. Then we adjourned (before anyone at our table was served coffee, which we all needed) back to the room for a panel discussion. There's that hurry-up thing again.

The discussion was interesting--featuring Julie Evans, Project Tomorrow CEO, Angela Smith, Texas Virtual School Network Operations Director, and Winnie Bracco, iLearn NYC--





  • Julie Evans, Project Tomorrow CEO
  • Angela Smith, Texas Virtual School Network Operations Director
  • Winnie Bracco, iLearn NYC
  • - See more at: http://oli.etlo.org/content/oli-agenda-2013#sthash.4fUClbM1.dpuf
    but I have to agree with someone I heard while exiting say "sit and git--they should have just gone straight to the roundtables and finished early enough for everyone to make the Adam Bellow closing keynote." I agree, and I hope conference organizers hear that here and in my evaluation. It's a particularly sensitive area for me, since we are looking at my school at re-configuring our student and teacher orientations to steer away with lecture type experiences. It's practice what you preach time for all of us.

    As is is, my party had to leave even before lunch to make it to the airport by the brutal flight time of 3 pm, and I caught one roundtable (about Texas' implementation of Intel's teacher education courses) and headed for the door without catching the final roundtable (along with what appeared to be about half of the attendees. I felt bad for the roundtables scheduled at the end and I made a note to request the first session next year, should I decide to apply to host a roundtable.

    Brian and Kecia introduce the closing keynote by Adam Bellow
    I made my way to the convention center, hit a restroom and changed into my shorts and New Orleans House of Blues tee-shirt, and hit the main hall just in time to see Kecia and Brian opening up the closing keynote. When Brian announced a surprise ad hoc "speed panel" preceding Adam's talk, I confess that I headed out, got my cab, and had myself delivered to the airport. The good thing is that Brian's keynote (plus the excellent ad hoc panel) is archived and I have enjoyed reviewing it at my lazy leisure. If, like moi, you missed Adam's live talk you MUST catch it right here, right now:



    I had to drive back into the city anyway to get my luggage from the Westin Riverwalk, so I did so and found a parking space on the street down from Kecia's hotel, the Hyatt. I was amazed to find that for 5 quarters I could get a 2 hour parking meter just a block away from the hotel. You certainly can't do that in downtown Nashville!

    I headed to the bar. I sipped one beer for over an hour waiting for Kecia and once it became apparent that her meeting was going long with no end in sight, I finally decided to book it. I was tired and not really looking forward to driving through Houston at night anyway. By chance, I had sat at a high table in the bar with a young entrepeneur (he was at the table with the electrical outlet and my iPhone was threatening to die) and had a wonderful conversation with him. John Marcato is the dynamic techno-force behind Poindexter Technology in Marina del Ray, California. He had some Starbucks cards left over from the vendor booth and handed me a 10 dollar card as he left: People can be so nice, and if it's true that I can "have a conversation with a rock," as Dr. Witty said at one point in the conference, it's because I believe that at an event like ISTE, you need to take advantage of networking possibilities, and they are legion. Start a conversation with anyone you sit or stand with. That's why you're there. You're also here to collect ribbons for your name badge:
    ms.harris.the.math.genius has quite a collection

    My annual Me and Dave pic!

    Thanks, ISTE and thanks to all my ISTE friends and family for THE BEST ISTE EVER. We're done here.
    See you in Atlanta, where I just may take my much admired buddy David Warlick's advice and choose not to present. How fun might that be?



    Exchange 2.0 Advocacy and Implementation – Using Technology to Create a Global Classroom

    Join this roundtable discussion with co-facilitators, Global Nomads Group and iEARN, to learn more about creating a global classroom. Modern technology has made the world an undeniably smaller place; in order for our students to be successful in this inter-cultural world, educators and administrators must look for ways to create accessible global classrooms. Physical international exchanges that involve people meeting face-to-face are widely acknowledged as being among the best ways to foster cross-cultural respect and understanding. Exchange 2.0 allows face-to-face, cross-cultural connections to take place virtually in a traditional classroom, making the interactions a part of the classroom routine and allowing more students to participate and gain a deeper understanding of the world. Exchange 2.0 describes curriculum-based, virtual international exchange programs that focus on cross-cultural awareness and critical thinking skills. The aim of Exchange 2.0 is to increase the number of young people gaining cross-cultural experiences in educational settings, turning local classrooms into true global classrooms that can help students develop 21st century learning skills. Through the use of technology, Exchange 2.0 allows this type of international exchange to occur without the expensive costs of traditional physical exchanges. This session will give educators and administrative professionals the tools and resources to implement Exchange 2.0 in their schools, and advocate for Exchange 2.0 on the public policy level. Global Nomads Group (www.gng.org) Founded in 1998, Global Nomads Group (GNG) is an international NGO whose mission is to foster dialogue and understanding among the world’s youth. GNG engages and empowers young people worldwide using media, including: interactive videoconferencing, webcasting, social networking, and participatory filmmaking. GNG operates at the intersection of international and peace education, striving to serve as a vehicle for awareness, bridging the boundaries of cultural misconceptions, and instilling a heightened appreciation and comprehension of the world. GNG Facilitator: Kristyn Mohr, Program Associate, collaborates with colleagues on GNG programming in the Middle East and North Africa and manages GNG’s largest program in this region, Youth Talk. Youth Talk is a yearlong civic engagement program which harnesses the power of virtual exchange, an online platform and a project-based learning curriculum to build cross-cultural awareness and global citizenship among high school students across the United States and high school students in the Middle East and North Africa. iEARN (www.iearn.org) Since 1988, iEARN (International Education and Resource Network) has pioneered on-line school linkages to enable students to engage in meaningful educational projects with peers in their countries and around the world. iEARN empowers teachers and young people to work together online using the Internet and other new communications technologies. iEARN is a non-profit organization made up of over 30,000 schools and youth organizations in more than 130 countries. iEARN Facilitator: Syed Muhammad Abdullah is a YES Program Alumna and currently employed at SIE/iEARN-Pakistan as a Project Manager. Among other work, he was an organizer of the 2012 Youth TechCamp in Islamabad, and is the Editor in Chief of Youth Voices International - a blog created by YES alumni for all State alumni http://youthvoicesinternational.com/. He also is the founder of Karachi Tips, a social venture.
    - See more at: http://oli.etlo.org/content/oli-agenda-2013#sthash.4fUClbM1.dpuf

    Exchange 2.0 Advocacy and Implementation – Using Technology to Create a Global Classroom

    Join this roundtable discussion with co-facilitators, Global Nomads Group and iEARN, to learn more about creating a global classroom. Modern technology has made the world an undeniably smaller place; in order for our students to be successful in this inter-cultural world, educators and administrators must look for ways to create accessible global classrooms. Physical international exchanges that involve people meeting face-to-face are widely acknowledged as being among the best ways to foster cross-cultural respect and understanding. Exchange 2.0 allows face-to-face, cross-cultural connections to take place virtually in a traditional classroom, making the interactions a part of the classroom routine and allowing more students to participate and gain a deeper understanding of the world. Exchange 2.0 describes curriculum-based, virtual international exchange programs that focus on cross-cultural awareness and critical thinking skills. The aim of Exchange 2.0 is to increase the number of young people gaining cross-cultural experiences in educational settings, turning local classrooms into true global classrooms that can help students develop 21st century learning skills. Through the use of technology, Exchange 2.0 allows this type of international exchange to occur without the expensive costs of traditional physical exchanges. This session will give educators and administrative professionals the tools and resources to implement Exchange 2.0 in their schools, and advocate for Exchange 2.0 on the public policy level. Global Nomads Group (www.gng.org) Founded in 1998, Global Nomads Group (GNG) is an international NGO whose mission is to foster dialogue and understanding among the world’s youth. GNG engages and empowers young people worldwide using media, including: interactive videoconferencing, webcasting, social networking, and participatory filmmaking. GNG operates at the intersection of international and peace education, striving to serve as a vehicle for awareness, bridging the boundaries of cultural misconceptions, and instilling a heightened appreciation and comprehension of the world. GNG Facilitator: Kristyn Mohr, Program Associate, collaborates with colleagues on GNG programming in the Middle East and North Africa and manages GNG’s largest program in this region, Youth Talk. Youth Talk is a yearlong civic engagement program which harnesses the power of virtual exchange, an online platform and a project-based learning curriculum to build cross-cultural awareness and global citizenship among high school students across the United States and high school students in the Middle East and North Africa. iEARN (www.iearn.org) Since 1988, iEARN (International Education and Resource Network) has pioneered on-line school linkages to enable students to engage in meaningful educational projects with peers in their countries and around the world. iEARN empowers teachers and young people to work together online using the Internet and other new communications technologies. iEARN is a non-profit organization made up of over 30,000 schools and youth organizations in more than 130 countries. iEARN Facilitator: Syed Muhammad Abdullah is a YES Program Alumna and currently employed at SIE/iEARN-Pakistan as a Project Manager. Among other work, he was an organizer of the 2012 Youth TechCamp in Islamabad, and is the Editor in Chief of Youth Voices International - a blog created by YES alumni for all State alumni http://youthvoicesinternational.com/. He also is the founder of Karachi Tips, a social venture.
    - See more at: http://oli.etlo.org/content/oli-agenda-2013#sthash.4fUClbM1.dpuf

    Exchange 2.0 Advocacy and Implementation – Using Technology to Create a Global Classroom

    Join this roundtable discussion with co-facilitators, Global Nomads Group and iEARN, to learn more about creating a global classroom. Modern technology has made the world an undeniably smaller place; in order for our students to be successful in this inter-cultural world, educators and administrators must look for ways to create accessible global classrooms. Physical international exchanges that involve people meeting face-to-face are widely acknowledged as being among the best ways to foster cross-cultural respect and understanding. Exchange 2.0 allows face-to-face, cross-cultural connections to take place virtually in a traditional classroom, making the interactions a part of the classroom routine and allowing more students to participate and gain a deeper understanding of the world. Exchange 2.0 describes curriculum-based, virtual international exchange programs that focus on cross-cultural awareness and critical thinking skills. The aim of Exchange 2.0 is to increase the number of young people gaining cross-cultural experiences in educational settings, turning local classrooms into true global classrooms that can help students develop 21st century learning skills. Through the use of technology, Exchange 2.0 allows this type of international exchange to occur without the expensive costs of traditional physical exchanges. This session will give educators and administrative professionals the tools and resources to implement Exchange 2.0 in their schools, and advocate for Exchange 2.0 on the public policy level. Global Nomads Group (www.gng.org) Founded in 1998, Global Nomads Group (GNG) is an international NGO whose mission is to foster dialogue and understanding among the world’s youth. GNG engages and empowers young people worldwide using media, including: interactive videoconferencing, webcasting, social networking, and participatory filmmaking. GNG operates at the intersection of international and peace education, striving to serve as a vehicle for awareness, bridging the boundaries of cultural misconceptions, and instilling a heightened appreciation and comprehension of the world. GNG Facilitator: Kristyn Mohr, Program Associate, collaborates with colleagues on GNG programming in the Middle East and North Africa and manages GNG’s largest program in this region, Youth Talk. Youth Talk is a yearlong civic engagement program which harnesses the power of virtual exchange, an online platform and a project-based learning curriculum to build cross-cultural awareness and global citizenship among high school students across the United States and high school students in the Middle East and North Africa. iEARN (www.iearn.org) Since 1988, iEARN (International Education and Resource Network) has pioneered on-line school linkages to enable students to engage in meaningful educational projects with peers in their countries and around the world. iEARN empowers teachers and young people to work together online using the Internet and other new communications technologies. iEARN is a non-profit organization made up of over 30,000 schools and youth organizations in more than 130 countries. iEARN Facilitator: Syed Muhammad Abdullah is a YES Program Alumna and currently employed at SIE/iEARN-Pakistan as a Project Manager. Among other work, he was an organizer of the 2012 Youth TechCamp in Islamabad, and is the Editor in Chief of Youth Voices International - a blog created by YES alumni for all State alumni http://youthvoicesinternational.com/. He also is the founder of Karachi Tips, a social venture.
    - See more at: http://oli.etlo.org/content/oli-agenda-2013#sthash.4fUClbM1.dpuf

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