NYSCATE Ten Years Later

I’ve been following the NYSCATE Conference on Twitter using their conference hashtag #NYSCATE22. This has become an annual event for me to attend via the Twitterverse. I last attended NYSCATE as a presenter in 2012 when I talked about how we had published a book in our digital citizenship class using Moodle and Lulu. The idea for that activity came from a presentation I had seen the year before by Adam Bellow at NYSCATE 2011. I reported on that conference for Opensource.com

Sometimes it doesn’t seem like ten years and at others it seems like an eon ago. I didn’t realize it then but that 2012 conference would be my last. I retired from public education the following year.

Attending via Twitter is an incomplete experience but from it I’ve learned that some of the buzz this year is around augmented reality and virtual reality. I’ve seen many examples of interactive whiteboards. This morning there was a talk about cyber-security by FBIjohn. I’m sure that would have been very interesting and certainly timely too. One of the presentations that got my attention was connecting classrooms globally with digital pen pals. That resonated because we did that once in the 1990’s when Franklinville Elementary connected with the Dalkey School in Dublin, Ireland. Another session that got my eye was “Promoting an inclusive and accessible learning environment.” Accessibility has become more important for me as a person with whose hearing and sight aren’t what they used to be. Here is a presentation that I would like to have seen in person but learned about on Twitter and it involved some of my favorite topics: STEM, veterans and computer science.

I recognize the names of some of this year’s presenters too. Some were colleagues at one time. Last year our family attended MakerFaire Rochester which is part of the conference too. An active life precluded attendance this year but I got an update from a new follower on Mastodon in addition to following the event on Twitter.

Thank you for the learning NYSCATE!

What next?

Conferences are great and this years NYSCATE was no exception. Opportunities to meet other professionals eager to educate children. Educators are an overwhelmingly idealistic community. That’s what makes me glad to be one. These are challenging days in education as educators everywhere seek to implement the Common Core. There is a great deal of stress generated as teachers and administrators are being evaluated more stringently than ever. Politicians, the public and corporations are demanding more accountability. Children face more of this pressure too to succeed on these benchmarks.

Everywhere in the vendor area I saw sales people exploiting this new trend. Company after company selling software designed to assess learning. The emphasis today is using the web and iPads or other similar I-devices. Regardless of the platform the emphasis is clearly on assessment. In stark contrast to all of this I attended Dr. Gary Stager’s presentation which emphasized authentic learning and authentic assessment of the learning. Gary Stager offers a clear choice between the view that everything can and/or ought to be measured and what might defy measurement.

Are we educators who enlighten or merely trainers who impart knowledge. You can easily assess training. You cannot easily assess enlightenment and transformation. Enlightenment which is marked by flashes of insight defies measurement. Ironically enlightenment and transformation are at the highest levels of Bloom. The Common Core despite its lofty goals might actually be frustrating education with its emphasis on measurable goals.

Can we we combine the two? I’m interested in what you think.


Tonight I’m spending an overnight with our son & lovely daughter-in-law. They’re taking good care of the older generation. It’s my first stay with them since their recent marriage. I’m in the area for the 2011 NYSCATE conference. I had a great day at the conference a great meal at Dinosaur BBQ with friends and fellow Ed techers

Tonight I’m sleeping in a lovely home owned in part by a son I once held in my arms. Life is like that isn’t it. God has been good to me. Thanks to Devin & Mandi for welcoming me into their home.


This has been a very busy and productive week. It’s been a week with a full range of emotion. On Monday of this week I received an email from a doctor with whom I worked at the Naval Air Station Dispensary in  Albany, GA thirty-five years ago. We were re-introduced on LinkedIn.  The power of social networking is incredible. What an experience and I’m very grateful that we had the chance to exchange news and updates on the progress of our lives. Thirty-five years seems like a life time ago. I shared this news with my colleagues at work, most of whom had no idea that I worked in an Ob-Gyn ward, assisted in the delivery of newborn babys and worked in the newborn nursery.  I’ve had such a rich life and I’m not as grateful as I ought to be.

Add to that I’ve been working on a Ubuntu Linux terminal server and getting ready to attend the New York State Computer and Technology Educators Conference in Rochester, New York tomorrow through Tuesday of next week. I’ve been re-reading some books that I  haven’t looked at in years and going back to basics in my life.

The sudden onset of winter weather too has been a change. We’ve had overnight lows around 10F and nearly a foot of snow in our yard. Add to that I’ve been recovering from a chest infection. In all it’s been a very rewarding but very busy week and though I’ve written a lot on my professional blog, I’ve not felt ready to write anything here until now. This morning I’ve been reading Huffington Post and some other blogs and listening to music. I want to share a beautiful clip from one of my favorite artists, Bill Douglas, it’s entitled Angelico. There are always angels in my life and this is a week when I noticed them.



Tomorrow will mark the day most folks in the United States celebrate Thanksgiving. It’s the official holiday. I try to remember to be grateful more often than once a year. I don’t remember to give thanks everyday, but when I do I remember that I have much to be grateful for. Continue reading “Thanksgiving”