Got to give it up

Ending ISTE 2011 listening to Steve Hargadon speak on open source brought me home. Steve said 20 years ago at ISTE teachers used to swap disks and programs because that’s the way it was. I remember those days well. That was the day of Al Rogers, FredWriter, Apple II & IIe. There was an altruism among teachers and tech coordinators. That’s been supplanted in many cases by vendors hawking their wares. There are still some like Apple, Microsoft, & Google who provide free services but for most vendors schools are markets to be monetized.

That is why I find open source so refreshing. I’m an entrepreneur and enjoy the fruits of success but I try to put people first. I do a lot of pro bono work and open source figures into that model well. I regularly use open source and recommend it. Why not use Open Office? I wrote all my papers in a recently completed masters degree with I blog on WordPress, teach students using Moodle, build other websites with Drupal. I use Ubuntu and recommend it to my students. It has so many free tools and as Steve Hargaddon said in his talk ISTE a student can get a job right out of high school with a working knowledge of PHP, MySQL & Apache. I saw a billboard advertisement yesterday from looking for people with Linux experience. Just sayin.

The Last Day

Our final day at ISTE 2011 was as fulfilling as any of the previous three. My first session with Steve Hargadon and open source, open content and Web 2.0 was like taking a warm bath. I love open source and Steve is a great spokesman. I took notes and came away with some new information and some ideas for teaching students the LAMP stack. That is Linux, Apache, MySQL & PHP. Steve suggested that those skill can get a high school grad a job and later in the day a billboard on I-95 indicated just that. I also learned more about Open Educational Resources and specifically Flexbooks. I also heard a really good discussion of Creative Commons and lots of encouragement to continue teaching about that and encouraging teachers and students to use share and share alike licensing with CC.

My second session was at ISTE Unplugged and the presenter was Lisa Nielsen, (@innovativeedu) whose blog I read regularly. She gave some good tips on using cellphones for teaching, learning and assessment.

In all I got a lot out of ISTE 2011 and I’m grateful to all the presenters, sponsors and ultimately taxpayers who made our trip possible. Thank you all! I got a lot of great ideas and leads to use in my classroom and to share with students and members of my personal learning network.

ISTE Day 2

Another great day at ISTE 2011. In the picture above are two of my colleagues. We had a great day and a great conference. My wife is a veteran of many conferences but this is her first ISTE Conference and she is thrilled with all that she has learned. Tonight at dinner as our group discussed today’s activities there was a palpable excitement. Everyone present related at least one very positive event or learning that they were taking back with them.

This morning’s keynote by Stephen Covey really began the day on a high note for me and gave me one piece of the puzzle and question that lived in me prior to attending the conference. It’s part of the change that I envisioned for our students. Following the keynote I purchased Stephen Covey’s, “The Leader in Me,” and began to read it. I also learned great deal on the display floor following my colleagues around. The picture above of Dave & Scott with Mobi was part of that journey. I learned a lot at the Microsoft booth and got a chance to try some mathematics simulations that use Kinect & Windows 7’s new Kinect SDK. Those new tools will give educators some really amazing capabilities. I also learned about Dreamspark from Microsoft which gives students and schools some amazing new tools, I learned so much today that my head hurts. I’m really grateful that I got a chance to come and I have much of tomorrow to learn some more.