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.

A nerd a geek or what?

In a few hours I’ll be traveling to ISTE 2011 with my wife and two other teachers. Four of us with over hundred years experience in the classroom. We’re veterans. Diane , Kim & Dave are real classroom teachers. I’m just a wannabe. I’m a full time technology coordinator and I teach half of the time. I think its safe to say that we’re all lifelong learners. Each of them is a technology pioneer. Kim, Diane and I cut are teeth on Commodores and the Apple II and IIe. I taught Kim & Diane’s regular classroom students how to use Apple LOGO as we explored the relationship between LOGO, geometry and critical thinking. David came along a bit later and he and I explored “on-line” political simulations and at one time were in a pilot program with the University of Connecticut.

The three of them are technologically savvy teachers.  They’ve done it all. Some of my colleagues refer to me as a geek and I frequently have deflected that and sought to downplay it. In the past I sought to separate my personal and professional life. I’ve been writing this blog since 2006 and attempting to keep a business or professional blogs separate. Recently I decided to blend everything together. I was afraid that if people really found out that I’m a Secular Franciscan and that I enjoy visiting monasteries and reading the psalms that they’d think I was eccentric. Truth be told I am eccentric and I do enjoy teaching, learning, educational technology, contemplative spirituality and host of other things. I am a geek. I can program computers and I do speak Mac, Windows and Linux and I do build file servers, web servers and virtual machines. I actually enjoy those activities as much as I enjoy visiting monasteries and other holy places. I enjoy sitting alone in the woods, taking long walks and listening to Gregorian chant. I am no longer trying to live a divided life. I see my life and interests as complementary. I’m praying that we have a safe journey to Philadelphia and that we arrive refreshed and ready to learn.

ISTE 2011

Tomorrow morning at around 10 AM a group of us from Franklinville Central School will be making our way down the highways and byways to the ISTE 2011 Conference in Philadelphia. It promises to be an exciting time and I hope one where I for one get some more insights on the use of classroom technology. I pray to keep a beginners mind and be open to all that I see and hear. The older I get the more I realize how little I know and that we are really only scratching the surface with classroom uses for computers, iPads, Androids, Smartboards, projectors and the like.  I hope to see and hear some of the folks I regularly follow on Twitter and whose blogs I read nearly every day.  Two years ago I attended ISTE 2009 in Washington, DC and it was there that I really began to use Twitter. At that time I had about 1200 tweets in the two prior years. Since that time Twitter has become a major part of my repertoire and it’s lead me to some incredible insights and information. My use of Twitter has increased exponentially and by the end of this week I’m sure I will have passed my 10,000th tweet.  I say that not to brag but to offer tangible evidence of the effect Twitter has had on my learning.

I’m traveling light, carrying an iPhone and iPad2. I’m not lugging a laptop around the conference and I’m encouraging those I’m accompanying to do the same. I encouraged them to bring extra power cords. I thought of bringing a solar charger too. I saw a solar charger two years ago at ISTE. It was a novelty item them but they’ve become more mainstream. Most of our crew is bringing either an Android tablet or an iPad. We’ll be reading, writing and tweeting. It simply amazes me how much of an impact mobile technology has had on my own life and upon education and society in general.

I pray that we will have a safe journey, a fun trip, a great conference and that all of the conference attendees have safe travel to and from the conference. I pray too that I will keep an open mind and learn something from everyone there.

Hundred Acre Wood


The hundred acre wood behind our home. Today I got a chance to catch up a bit. I was down with a head cold which is mother nature’s way of saying take a day off and rest. That is mostly what I did today. Nonetheless, with Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin and now the ISTE Ning I’ve been busy writing, reading and thinking.  I’ll be attending ISTE 2011 in Philadelphia at the end of the month.  I was able to attend the NECC/ISTE 2009 Conference in Washington, DC a couple of years ago and it was a watershed moment. I hope I can learn and connect with many folks and that I can keep the beginners mind.

The picture above was taken with my new iPhone which I’ve had for a couple weeks now. I’m still getting used to it. It’s my fourth smart phone in five years. I had a couple Blackberries, a Droid and now the iPhone. They are amazing devices.