Thursday, June 30, 2016

ISTE 2016: A Reflection

My favorite thing about ISTE is #NotAtISTE16. This might sound a little strange...because I'm at #ISTE2016 so let me explain.

Some background:

Being my first time at ISTE, I'm glad to have learned from others who had tips and resources. One thing I know from my experience connecting face-to-face and attending conferences locally is that it is the starting off point, the beginning of a journey. When the conference ends, it's up to you to keep it going.

Last year, I was #NotAtISTE. I watched and learned from afar as people I knew (in "Twitter only") had a blast connecting. I made the decision that I would attend the next ISTE no matter what. It is a decision I stood by even when it meant paying my own way and figuring out how to make it work financially. Even when it meant I was the only person from my district. It is a decision I am glad I made.

I attended alone, but I have not been alone. I volunteered several hours in the Welcome Experience, handing out ice cream and encouraging aspiring DJs on the Mash Machine. I met many members of my PLN in person for the first time. I rubbed elbows with Edu Rockstars and generally had the time of my life.

The #NotAtIste16 hashtag led me to pay it forward to those who were learning from afar. As a (former) special education teacher, I also see this in a more powerful way to continue this connection after week leave. While many tweeted #ISTE2016 with things they learned, I also tweeted #NotAtIste16 with intention, adding nuggets of information as well as links to presentations so those #NotAtISTE16 could be part of the action.

I love the idea behind the concept and hope you will pay it forward as well. If you tweeted resources, consider retweeting your favorites (or all of them) with #NotAtISTE16. So yes, my favorite thing about ISTE has been #NotAtISTE16, because it doesn't have to stop here. Remember that while you were #ISTE2016 this week, next week we area all #NotAtISTE16.

Friday, June 10, 2016

I want to have a funeral for "We've always done it this way"

I want to have a funeral for "We've always done it this way."  I want to write it on a piece of paper, light it with a match, and watch it burn until it is no longer recognizable.  I won't spread the ashes in mourning, but as a reminder that our students deserve better.  We deserve better.

There isn't really a story with this one.  Just something I've been thinking about a lot lately.

When I first sat down, I thought I'd have more to say here, but I think anyone reading this will get the point just fine on their own.  This is a post more for me than anyone else, because I don't ever want to be a person who is ok with maintaining the status quo.  So for me, for you, for us...Let's stop making excuses for why the world isn't the way we want it to be.  Let's just go out there and do it differently.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

LAUNCHing a maker project

A rock shattered the rear window on my car today.  It was an awful thing, but it doesn't mean I had a bad day.  It was inconvenient, but it doesn't mean I let it ruin my afternoon or week for that matter.

My students began working on a maker project building Roller Coasters from cardboard (and various materials) yesterday.  It's a design thinking lesson from Launch, a new book out by AJ Juliani and John Spencer.

The part I have enjoyed the most so far is seeing students who are quiet during academics come alive and get involved during this activity.  Our casualties so far have been: 2 X-acto knives, 1 hot glue gun, and about 38 egos.  The former two wore out due to continued use.  The latter is for the better.

Yesterday afternoon, one student moved up to me to ask a question, but hesitated.
Student: Is it ok if it's probably not.  Never mind.
Me: Just ask the question.
Student: Is it ok if we work on this at home and bring pieces in?
Me: Absolutely.  Any specific ideas you were thinking?
Student: We might do some welding.


WHAT?!  (A few things while I let this sink in)
1. Student wants to work on something for MY class outside of class?!  That's a rarity during the school year.
2. Student is interested in welding and is thinking outside the box, literally metal not cardboard.
3. How awesome is that?!

Yeah, it's been kind of an amazing week.