Sunday, July 07, 2013

Undercurrent of Blessings

It's Sunday morning as I prepare to re-enter the workaday world after a fine ISTE conference, a relaxing weekend fishing with my brother Ed, then a week at home catching up with writing, hanging out with family, and prepping a cubic yard of cables and archaic tech gear for next weekend's yard sale. I'm ready for it.

Kind of surprisingly, I miss my team at MNPS Virtual School and I am very much looking forward to the hard work ahead as we address the closure of Summer Success 2013 and the beginning of the 2013-14 academic school year.

As I prep for re-entry, I've been listening to some of my dear brother (from another mother) James Morrison's music on YouTube, as well as his "Son to the Boy" CD, and in doing so I stumbled across a lovely little interview he did a couple years ago for  a YouTube series called "The New Media Artist." It's worth a watch, both because it's Jimmy, and because his musings remind us of some important things. Watch


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

    Thursday, July 04, 2013

    THE BEST ISTE EVER: Day 4 Reflections

    I'll get a start on it. Day 4 was the bomb. Here's the "moneyshot" again  to prove it:

    Tuesday morning I actually slept in until 7:30, had a good workout, and dressed smartly for my photo shoot at 11:20. I'd been asked by ISTE to be a poser and you know me, I couldn't resist. But that did mean I was in slacks and had to haul my blue blazer around all day. That's okay though, I look forward to recognizing myself in some upcoming issue of Learning and Leading with Technology. If you check out last month's issue you'll see Andy Wheelock's personable self gracing the inside front cover--like that. You should also catch Andy's article from the May L&LT: http://www.learningandleading-digital.com/learning_leading/201205?pg=5#pg28

    I actually had a sit  down breakfast at the Hilton's Riverwalk restaurant, and the breakfast wrap was good but I never had a coffee refill and no one actually checked in with me at any time. I had to flag down a waiter for a check after waiting patiently for 10 minutes. Food=4stars, Service=1.

    Off I went, hiking to the Expo floor for my one and only pass through it. I was looking for ProctorU, a remote proctoriing service, but I never found their booth. I did find Atomic Learning and had a nice chat with a young rep who shared just what I was looking for--hundreds of tutorials on Microsoft Access. I have a new mission. I'll spend an hour or so every work day working through Access lessons until I can use that powerful database program to automate as much of my work @ MNPS Virtual School as possible. Right now we're spreadsheet-driven, and I want those spreadsheets to talk to one another. As we scale up to tens of thousands of students, that will be absolutely necessary. I will become an Access Power User, compliments of Atomic Learning.

    robin henson..."i shoot people"
    The photo shoot went great, with Robin Henson putting me at ease and taking dozens of shots to which I will have access once they are put up on a private flickr account for me. I sat for a video
    interview with the gracious and professional Aaron Ragen-Fore, who asked me questions about my volunteering for ISTE and my involvements with the communities therein. I hope any of my responses will be helpful to the organization.

    Then it was off to the Playground!

    My plan, developed over the course of the past several months, was to host a central presentation area, run by incoming Lowly High Grand Poobah Kae Novak, featuring a rotating focus on the six learning stations, per this description from the program:

    Outline
    Current plans are to run a learning station for each of six platforms with two experts in person and at least one "inworld." Each station will have a poster highlighting its contents and a display-connected computer and all stations will be connected to the main presentation display via an ongoing Google Hangout. We'll rotate featured presentations at the main display in 25 minute sessions throughout the playground's time. All this will, of course, be piped into Second Life for an audience of avatars representing participants who are educators from around the globe. The Google Hangout Live feature will make our featured sessions available globally via YouTube and also archive the entire thing. We are still accepting recommendations and applications to share, but as this event has in the past run as long as 3 full days we are certain that there will be no shortage of content. This work is so dynamic that we will be working right up to the start of the event to optimize it! Current planned stations (subject to change): Second Life, Minecraft, OpenSimulator/Kitely, QuestAtlantis/Active Worlds, World of Warcraft/Games, and Madly Miscellaneous (wildcard!).

    ISTE SIGVE Virtual Environments Playground 2013, a set on Flickr.
    1005409_10152593700562619_1024406656_n(1)2013-06-25 14.27.142013-06-25 14.27.212013-06-25 14.27.292013-06-25 16.04.472013-06-25 16.05.52
    2013-06-25 16.06.122013-06-25 16.06.282013-06-25 16.07.442013-06-25 16.51.312013-06-25 16.51.432013-06-25 16.53.57
    2013-06-25 17.28.462013-06-25 17.28.592013-06-25 17.30.192013-06-25 17.30.332013-06-25 17.31.452013-06-25 17.33.14
    2013-06-25 17.33.332013-06-25 17.33.372013-06-25 17.37.492013-06-25 17.37.541005409_10152593700562619_1024406656_n
    As you can see from the photos, we had a good deal of traffic as our volunteers shared non-stop. The makeup of the Playground did not hold its shape though. Kae delegated her presentation work station to the capable Chris Luchs, and the audio of the Google Hangout just could not handle the room configuration. Jimi Hendrix was in the room from the start, and feedback ended up being our biggest enemy. Chris at various times fell back to Livestream, and I took over the second presentation station with my Second Life piece (hosting a 30 minute video of students sharing their perspectives about working in Second Life with David Deeds of Mexico City and a long interview with  Gord Holden, who is up to amazing things in Vancouver, British Columbia.

    Cynthia Colongne personed the Madly Miscellaneous station, and she held forth on everything from Scratch to Moses to Cloud Party. Andy Wheelock shared his OpenSimulater build of the Anne Frank home, and immersive experential field trip for students and teachers, as well as Kitely. Peggy Sheehy was a gem on World of Warcraft in Schools, taking over the main presentation stage for a substantial piece on that, Marianne Malmstrom, of course, had ringers in the form of actual live students sharing their spaces in Minecraft, including Zoe, the lovely daughter of the lovely Malinda McCormick, whose avatar was among the first I met when I dedicated my Second Life explorations to ISTE. Bronwyn Stuckey presented Quest Atlantis Remixed and then hosted an hour long Minecraft Meetup over at the Second Life stage. And over in a corner Rosie and Bob Vojtek were mad at it with interviews and features on the release of the new 194 page Virtual Education Journal.

    Once our time was up, we held a brief annual meeting, raising Kae to her primary leadership position and sharing new initiatives, such as a MOOC focus, Minecraft research and development, and more.

     After the Playground, several of us headed over to a SIG Reception, where we enjoyed a nice spread of food and chatted with volunteer folks at ISTE, meeting up with Lauren and Heidi, the two dynamic ladies who had done so much over the past months to shepherd us through to this day. I was back at the hotel early that night, in an attempt to catch up on some rest before tomorrow's all-day ETLO Online Learning Institute, at which we were to host a round-table discussion on MNPS Virtual School. So you see, we are not yet done. But we shall be soon!

    Thank you for staying with me as I work out some reflections and share my great excitement about ISTE 2013 in San Antonio, Texas. I'm going to hit "Publish" here but may well come back with some more detail as it sparks in my old brain. Day 5, the final day of ISTE2013, coming up next.




    Wednesday, July 03, 2013

    THE BEST ISTE EVER: Day 3 Reflections

    Where are we? Monday? Yes, Monday, June 24, 2013. My Day 3 of ISTE13.

    Up early and down to the Westin Riverwalk's fitness room to get fit. Or at least fitter. And maybe a little less fatter.

    My schedule this day looked like this:
    Monday, June 24
    Presenter's World Hours conflicts with SIGOL Forum: Connect, Collaborate, and Create with a MOOC!
Presenter's World Hours conflicts with An Integrated Model for Teacher Evaluation and Professional Learning
Presenter's World Hours conflicts with SIGOL (Online Learning) Annual Meeting
Presenter's World Hours conflicts with Volunteer Leadership Lunch
Presenter's World Hours conflicts with Innovation in Teacher Education Playground
Presenter's World Hours conflicts with Maintain Academic Integrity in the Cybersphere
Presenter's World Hours conflicts with Happy Hour at AWE
Presenter's World Hours conflicts with SIGVE Machinima Fest 8:00am-6:00pm Presenter's World Hours
    Location: Registration West

    SIGOL Forum: Connect, Collaborate, and Create with a MOOC! conflicts with Presenter's World Hours
SIGOL Forum: Connect, Collaborate, and Create with a MOOC! conflicts with An Integrated Model for Teacher Evaluation and Professional Learning Speaking Engagement 8:00am-9:30am MSIGOL   SIGOL Forum: Connect, Collaborate, and Create with a MOOC!
    Location: SACC 103A

    An Integrated Model for Teacher Evaluation and Professional Learning conflicts with Presenter's World Hours
An Integrated Model for Teacher Evaluation and Professional Learning conflicts with SIGOL Forum: Connect, Collaborate, and Create with a MOOC! 8:30am-9:30am An Integrated Model for Teacher Evaluation and Professional Learning
    Location: SACC 001B

    SIGOL (Online Learning) Annual Meeting conflicts with Presenter's World Hours
SIGOL (Online Learning) Annual Meeting conflicts with Volunteer Leadership Lunch Speaking Engagement 11:00am-12:00pm SIGOL (Online Learning) Annual Meeting
    Location: SACC 102

    Volunteer Leadership Lunch conflicts with Presenter's World Hours
Volunteer Leadership Lunch conflicts with SIGOL (Online Learning) Annual Meeting
Volunteer Leadership Lunch conflicts with Innovation in Teacher Education Playground 11:30am-1:30pm Volunteer Leadership Lunch
    Location: San Antonio Conference Center, Lonesome Dove Room

    Innovation in Teacher Education Playground conflicts with Presenter's World Hours
Innovation in Teacher Education Playground conflicts with Volunteer Leadership Lunch
Innovation in Teacher Education Playground conflicts with Maintain Academic Integrity in the Cybersphere 12:30pm-4:00pm Innovation in Teacher Education Playground
    Location: SACC Park View Lobby

    Maintain Academic Integrity in the Cybersphere conflicts with Presenter's World Hours
Maintain Academic Integrity in the Cybersphere conflicts with Innovation in Teacher Education Playground 2:00pm-4:00pm Maintain Academic Integrity in the Cybersphere
    Location: SACC Tower View Lobby, Table 28

    Happy Hour at AWE conflicts with Presenter's World Hours
Happy Hour at AWE conflicts with SIGVE Machinima Fest 5:00pm-7:00pm Happy Hour at AWE
    Location: Esquire Tavern
    Hello, Thank your for RSVPing for the Happy Hour at ISTE in San Antonio!

    SIGVE Machinima Fest conflicts with Presenter's World Hours
SIGVE Machinima Fest conflicts with Happy Hour at AWE 5:30pm-6:45pm SIGVE Machinima Fest
    Location: SACC Lila Cockrell Theater


    7:30pm-8:30pm FlipSwitch Dinner
    Location: Barriba Cantina with 1 guest
    It should be clear as mud by now that I populate my schedule at ISTEs with conflicting events, so that in some cases, where my attendance is not required, I can choose from events of interest without resorting to the online Conference Planner or the app, which was a much hyped new feature of this year's conference. I couldn't miss the events highlighted above because I was committed as a co-presenter in some way. It's an interesting aside that I missed everything I was not committed to in that way.

    So. SIGOL Forum: Connect, Collaborate, and Create with a MOOC was a hoot. Korean television was there, y'all. Really.  I was a bit late so I missed our Kae Novak's introduction, but I heard my friend Jan Zanetis's and Scott Garrigan's. These three shared perspectives on MOOCs, Massively Open Online Courses, from three very different perspectives.

    Kae Novak, an Instructional Designer at Front Range Community College in Colorado, created and oversees, with Lucas Gillespie, the GamesMOOC. The details she provided to her breakout session were invaluable--everything from badges, to levels of engagement to her own philosophic take on churn rates. She comes from the higher ed plane but hobnobs with a whole bunch of K12 educators and her work there will certainly be of value as we shift focus from standardized testing to authentic games-driven assessment.

    Jan Zanetis is Education Advocate at Cisco, Inc. in Australia. I've been a friend of Jan's since working together in the mid 90's at the Vanderbilt (University) Office of Science Outreach. Her share session and breakout table both consisted of informative overviews from the perspective of a highly placed corporate education resource person (she is National Education Advocate for Cisco Corporation in Australia).

    Scott Garrigan, from Lehigh University in Pennsylvania, has worked with MOOCs at a university level almost since their inception. He shared some predictions about where all this is going and I can tell you it's disruptive. That's a good thing.

    The camera crew from South Korean television, gathering material for a 60 minute documentary on MOOCs, gave our Scott Garrigan beaucoup attention, as he is likely the one of the three panelists with the most experience creating and leading them. His breakout table also gathered the most attendees for both sessions, including me for the 2nd one.

    SIGOL Annual Meeting 2013
    As the SIGOL Annual Meeting got going, outgoing President/Chair Anita Harris welcomed the good-sized group and quickly passed the torch to incoming President/Chair Mike Gormans, who after a few words introduced moi, incoming Vice-President/Vice-Chair, and we got straight on into our breakout sessions, and I was on-the-fly assigned to host the Professional Development breakout. I briefly described the bi-monthly series I had put together for 2012-13, "Priceless Professional Development in Less Than 59 Minutes." I think the assembled were underwhelmed, but that could be a good thing. On my lonesome, I threw all that together on the fly and it worked, sort of. Input from the table attendees told me:
    • A survey of PD needs is in order. We should be delivering Professional Development opportunities "just in time" instead of "just in case."
    • We could look at offering 3 or so strands or themes and alternating them. Perhaps the offerings should be monthly instead of bi-monthly.
    • Data. We need data. 
    • Promotion is important. We had light turnout almost uniformly last year. Promotional announcements went out over the SIGVE ISTE listserv and Twitter and Facebook, but a systematic approach should be instituted and followed.
    So all these notes I pass to our new Chair of Professional Development. Mike, our Chair, and moi, our Vice-Chair, are here for you. I do have to mention that when I tossed out the ask, "Okay, so who's going to drive the survey of PD needs?," there was sustained silence. I followed that up after applying admirable teacher wait-time with "Boy, I sure know how to silence a room, don't I?"

    Never mind, we'll get it done!

    After the meeting, Andy and I headed straight down to the Riverwalk Level to the lovely Lonesome Dove room, where tasty boxed lunches, foot massage machinesISTE Core Volunteers. I took advantage of all of them. Wow. Thanks, ISTE!
    , a real live back massage, and a goody bag awaited invited

    I then headed down to the Innovation in Teacher Education Playground, which SIGOL was nominally co-hosting, and enjoyed a long talk with Jay Heap from Georgia Virtual School. I discovered that his team has been working on an online teaching certification program, a 30 hour online course, completion of which they are going to require before even looking at a teacher application. I'm fascinated and will watch this development closely, because I know we need to develop a more extensive teacher training program and this may well be it. I also admire his institution's Open Source commitment.

    I set up around 2:00 to share MNPS Virtual School's teacher education work but by then things had slowed down so much in the Playground that I had little attendance. Still, duty done. I believe that SIGTE's Chair, Randy Hansen, from National Louis University, did a great job of lining up his learning stations and putting on his first Playground and that this one deserves space next year in Atlanta.

    I made my way then to the ISTE SIGVE EduMachinima Festival at the 2500 seat Lila Cockrill Theatre to help get things started there. Yes there were a few seats left over (attendance counted right livestreamed audio and they watched the same things we were watching via youtube links.
    at 20 of the stalwart) but we had another 20 or so in Second Life, into which I

    We had an absolute blast. One day we hope to fill a theatre like this one with people who actually want to partake of the entries for this, the third year of the young film festival's life. You can view the judge's awards right off this page, seriously and solidly worth your time!

    ISTE SIGVE EduMachinima 2013 Winners*

    People’s Choice

    A Real-Time Interactive 3D Virtual Retail World by Konstantin Lakic, Dragan Lakic -https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sLvpZuW7558 Length: 3:34

    Judge’s Awards

    Best Overall
    Invitation to Dance by Kae Novak- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TMQ3QvWZKfQ Length: 0:51
    Best Special Effects
    rgMOOC Trailer by Kate Guthrie Caruso, Sherry Jones, and Stephen Getter - http://youtu.be/XORjygrnzk8 Length: 2:38
    Best Editing
    It's never to late to start something new by Christel Schneider - http://youtu.be/iQfA7AyQDvA Length: 1:41
    Best Sound
    Red Barn Door - By Tanya Martin, Original Muisc and Lyrics by Woodsong Zapatero in Second Life set design by Bluebarker and Gridjumper
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nn2KSHityks&list=UUUT1UrqlEV79TraMafVfX5Q
    Best Machinmatography
    Annabell and the crocodile by Christel Schneider http://youtu.be/WQO9TLdBTVM

    Following the EduMachinima Fest I headed "home" to the hotel and changed into casual wear and took out with Michael to Pat O'Brien's for the Gaggle Party. I can share the invite now the party's over:

    It was fun, and I found my MNPS Virtual School crew, or at least James and Adrienne, perched up high at bar tables overlooking the wild open courtyard below. I was tired though, and after one local beer I made my exit, or attempted to.





    Kecia Ray and moi







    The aforementioned (yesterday) trio of young teachers from our district stopped me and bade me stay a bit. I'm glad I did because Kecia stopped in and I got a great pic with her (or at least I think so):
     
     
     
    And here's us with the Antioch Gang of 3 and colleague Doug Renfroe:

    After that one more brew, I did head "home," getting an early to bed for the big next day. Here it comes, Day 4, and soon.

    Monday, July 01, 2013

    THE BEST ISTE EVER: Reflections Day 2, continued


    Okay, this is taking longer than expected, but I have made a promise and I intend to keep it.
    When last we saw one another, we had just finished up the amazing and action packed EPIC LEADERSHIP: Beyond the Hype of Gamification. I’ll continue Day 1.

    We moved out of the Hyatt Ballroom A and into the Ballroom next door, where a lovely buffet awaited us in preparation for the “Making IT Happen” awards ceremony. Several folks were awarded this in-our-circles-prestigious pink or black jacket, actually kind of a lifetime achievements award. This year they were:
    Lisa Perez
    Mike Lawrence
    Julie Lindsey
    and Kecia Ray 

    Jane McGonigal and Andy Wheelock
    Congratulations to all of the  recipients this year! I was so-honored in Philadelphia two years ago, so I clearly I do have a vested interest in its being accepted as prestigious. Think of this, though—ISTE Has over 20,000 members, and the affiliates’ and vendors’ connections number tens of thousands more human beings. Each year at an event like this one, only three or four of these awards are handed out, through a nomination and approval process, out of that pretty vast pool. This year, my dear pal Dr. Kecia Ray finally got hers, after years of dedicated service and in the year that she steps into the presidency of ISTE, arguably the most powerful EdTech organization in the world. Lunch was great, and we had a chance to line up for pictures with Jane McGonigal. Unfortunately she had to leave before we got ours, but we were issued VIP passes for the keynote address later. We were also told that we could jump to the front of the after-keynote book signing for that photo opp with Ms. McGonigal. I never got mine, though Andy did. I hate him.
    Just kidding. Andrew Wheelock, salt o’ the earth, is a brother to me. He rocks. 


    Straight from the Making IT Happen awards, it was me and Andy trucking  down to the main staging area to line up in order to accept the “President’s Volunteer Service Award.” Dear friend Helen Crompton handed them out backstage in the opening ceremonies and we marched out with the certificates in hand, posed, and smiled for the camera. When I arrived backstage, I’d had my own Black Jacket on for over an hour and when I took that off I felt, and looked, like I’d taken a shower with my pink dress shirt on. I cooled off over the hour or so introduction and welcome and I marched out onstage with a fair level of confidence, mostly dried off and proud to have received this award in front of 5 or so thousand people (seating capacity in Hall A of the Convention Center is officially 5,500.
    I obviously did not take a photograph at that event, but I later tweeted out asking for one and thanks to Anita Harris for this pic:

    From that event I had to book it again, once offstage, for the SIG Open House. Thankfully, Anita and Mike were responsible for the SIGOL one and Bob and Kae and crew had set up for SIGVE. The place bustled just as soon as the Welcome event let out and we hope that we inspired some new members to check out both SIGs. I had a fun reminder of the old days as I commandeered the Smart Board which was for some reason turned on, directly across from our poster session. I shared our Flickr stream, our Weebly and our Wiki with the steady stream of passersby. As a side note, I accepted this year's Vice Chair role in the Special Interest Group for Online Learning, ISTE's oldest and I believe largest SIG, at ISTE13. What am I thinking?
    BEST LAID PLANS
    I had determined that after all the above I was going to catch the opening Keynote from a monitor at some quiet lounge in the Convention Center, but what with the VIP pass Andy and I headed on over and found our way to row three center. You must understand. There are perhaps 200 rows in this huge Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center’s mainstage. The only people in between us and the star presenter were two rows of Board Members. To sweeten the experience, old blogger pal Ann Truger (left) popped in the seat next to me.
    Aside: This is one of the very best things about ISTE annual conferences. I see Ann only at ISTE. I could say that about many many of my personal/professional learning networks. But at least I get to see them at all. For me, always and forever, it will be about hugs and sharing appreciation and encouragement. For the first time in ISTE history, there was a “house band.” Check out the band's website and pick up their CD at http://daraniemi.com/. Wow. these talented highschoolers from several schools in San Antonio performed masterfully and entertainingly for all the keynotes. Just wow.
    After some warm welcome remarks by ISTE CEO Brian Lewis and President Kecia Ray (a dynamic and personable team if ever I saw one), the beautiful Jane McGonigal took the stage. Calm and self-possessed from the outset, she proceeded to win over the ISTE keynote record crowd with her charm, her humor, and her story. Toward the end of the session, entitled "Learning is an Epic Win," she bade everyone stand and after brief background and instructions had everyone in the hall play what was the second largest record setting game of thumb war. Now there's a way to engage a room!
    Here are some brief clips from her talk:
    As the session description states, "Her book, Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World," is the definitive book on gamification."  I have read this one cover to cover and I'm currently listening to it via a checkout from the Nashville Public Library. I highly recommend it, especially if you are in the majority (though its numbers are dwindling, certainly) who simply don't get this convergence of game design and instructional design. McGonigal has done her research and it's compelling. If we imagine every convincing presentation, book, or celebrated activity as putting another chink in the wall of denial, Jane McGonigal's work is a roadside IED of immense impact and effect. Her TED Talks continue to receive millions of views and once you've seen them you'll understand why.

    I've described in an earlier post McGonigal's moving answer to our Rosie Vojtek's question requesting a description of her greatest Fiero Moment, and if you haven't seen that, click on over and then come back. There's more the first day, but we're almost done.

    Heck, I'll give you the first one right here. Save you some clicking:
     
    With the Good Dr.. Helen Crompton
    Following the keynote I headed over to the hotel and changed clothes for the President's Reception, an invitation only bash for a few hundred of my closest colleagues. It was an open bar, and I had a tequila or two while hobnobbing with other invitees, including a fun (and dedicated) young group from Nashville's Antioch High School and our own math teachers, Anna Harris and Christine Van Loon. Doug Renfro and his lovely wife Jeannine (wrangler extraordinaire for the immensely overbooked ISTE President, my dear dear friend Kecia Ray). I also ran into my friends Helen Crompton, Shannon McClintock Miller, and many more dedicated and very very smart people I  for the most part only get to see once a year. 
    My MNPS Virtual School crew were heading out for a late dinner and they texted me the location so I could join them. Once I met up with them at "The Original Mexican Restaurant" I realized I was starving so I ordered a quesadilla, joined them in a tasty adult libation, then headed back to the hotel with them, parting and collapsing for a bit of rest. 
    There. I have achieved closure on reflections from the first day of ISTE13. Yay.
    Only three more amazing days to go! Stay tuned!