What I Learnt From ISTE – A Brief Overview

Whilst I intend to post in a lot more detail about what I learnt at ISTE2013 in San Antonio, I am going to start with a brief overview that I am also sharing with my staff about the main “takeaways” I had from this experience.

So where to now…


Lots and lots of resources to check out!



  • First and foremost the must see video from the conference is the final speaker, Adam Bellow and his keynote entitled You’re Invited to Change the World. It was a very moving and inspirational keynote and I feel very privileged to have been in the room to witness it and to meet Adam throughout the conference. If you weren’t there though it is well worth the watch.
  • The Ignite Sessions that happened before the opening keynote were fantastic – 10 speakers with only 5 minutes each to present their ideas. It was fast paced and full of great ideas!
  • ISTE also have a great YouTube playlist that showcases a wide range of presentations on topics from iPads, Digital Image, BYOD, Storytelling and much more. I know I will be going back here to view some things I wanted to see but just couldn’t get to.


DSCF9714Keynote 1 Jane McGonigal

Her website can be found here

Her Twitter account is here

See some of the games she has worked on here

TED Talks

Jane McGonigal: The game that can give you 10 extra years of life

Jane McGonigal: Gaming can make a better world


DSCF9764Keynote 2 Stephen Johnson

His website can be found here

His Twitter account is here

TED Talks

Steven Johnson: Where good ideas come from

Steven Johnson: The Web as a city


DSCF9904Keynote 3 Adam Bellow

Adam’s Keynote from the Google Glass POV

Adam Bellow’s Educational Tech Commandments

His eduTecher website can be found here

His Twitter account is here




My earliest email newsletters from Kathy date back to the early 2000’s and she was one of the first education technology gurus that I followed. That is why it was such a thrill to meet her at ISTE and to see that, all these years on, she is still sharing fantastic resources to a wide audience.

Kathy Schrock’s iPads4Teaching resources

Kathy’s Website http://www.schrockguide.net/

Another website with resources for iPads

The One iPad Classroom by Jennifer Bond


Other People’s ISTE Resources

While I haven’t necessarily had the time to go through all these resources myself – here is a whole host of resources tweeted out by other educators during the conference that cover a wide range of topics. A miscellaneous treasure trove of resources just waiting to be explored!








I Don’t Want To Be A SeaWorld Educator


On my day off in San Antonio, while I was attending ISTE,  I was really looking forward to visiting SeaWorld. I had seen my husband’s photos from his visit the previous year to San Francisco and I couldn’t wait to experience the amazing orcas. Through the power of the internet, I had spent time researching how I was going to get to SeaWorld and what I was going to do to make the best of my time there and I was very excited to be going there.

After a long bus ride, which was made rather pleasant by the great free WiFi on the bus, I was finally at SeaWorld.

I excitedly made my way to the huge Shamu Stadium with many, many other people and followed my husband’s advice of not sitting anywhere in the splash zone if I wanted the camera to keep on working for the rest of my trip!

The show began and it was truly amazing to watch these beautiful creatures move so gracefully through the air and water. I loved watching them swim close to the glass so I could observe so clearly how they were moving.

But this was where my admiration of SeaWorld ended. What was really disappointing for me, and for the whole premise of SeaWorld was that this show was purely about watching these amazing animals perform tricks. There were absolutely no learning opportunities available, no explanation of why the animals might exhibit these behaviours in the wild or how they had trained them to “perform” these tricks.

The saddest testament to this is that when I returned to my school and was sharing my overseas experiences with my students, I wasn’t actually able to answer any of their questions about these creatures. I had experienced their show (twice in the one day in fact!) and didn’t actually know anything about them outside of the knowledge I brought with me.

I worry that educational technologies and education in general could go down this path though. That we are so in awe of the amazing things we can do, that we forget to go deeper and actually develop a greater understanding of what we are actually learning about and acquire the skills that allow us to continue to develop our learning. I would hate to see my students only learning amazing tricks that allow them to put on a show – I would much rather see the deeper, richer learning that only comes once the gloss is stripped away and the messier undertaking of real learning takes place.

I definitely don’t want to be a SeaWorld educator!


No Power, No Worries!

It never ceases to amaze me how resourceful and creative teachers can be.

As I write this post I am listening to the fascinating and well spoken Ryan Brown present on how he uses a Web 2.0 tool, Edmodo

Ryan Brown Presenting

While it is not unusual for me to be listening to IT professional development, it is unusual for the presentation to be done in a semi-dark room without the assistance of any electrical technology.

CEGSA2013 is currently in blackout mode – there is no electricity in the few suburbs around us and we have lost all access to IWB’s, data projectors, wireless access and desktop computers!

Has the conference been called off? Has there been a massive walkout of disgruntled delegates. The answer to this is a resounding NO!

What I am seeing is people with wireless data points or mobile Internet access sharing their facilities, presenters and delegates clustered around a single iPad which is showing a presentation originally intended for a larger whiteboard screen. Websites are being drawn on “non interactive” whiteboards to explain how to access different things at a later point in time.

Everyone is still engaged in the learning process. We are still upholding the conference theme of connecting with people and sharing the learning.

While it might be easier with the benefits of electricity and technology – teachers are still experts at making sure these essential elements of engagement and sharing occur!

Why Blogging is Like Teaching in the Country

cc licensed ( BY ND ) flickr photo shared by mtneer_man

Something that George Couros shared with us today at his Masterclass really resonated with me.

As an ex country teacher, an aspect of teaching in a small country town that I really loved was that you saw your students in situations other than the classroom and they saw you outside of school too. There were no Junior Primary beliefs that the teacher lived in the classroom and slept in the sickroom. Students in the country know that their teachers are real people who have lives, families, sports and interests outside of school.

George spoke today of the professional effects for him of sharing important happenings from his personal life with his school and professional network. We heard how he has seen people, who only saw him in his role as a principal, change their attitude to him when they understood that there was more to him than just his work. They knew from reading his blog/twitter feed that he was a whole person and their attitude changed when they were dealing with a man rather than an administrator.

For me, this seems very similar to the regard with which teachers, on the whole, are given when teaching in the country. To use technology which is so often seen as a barrier to human connections, to open up people’s view to the fact that teachers are not emotionless bureaucrat, but rather professionals with passions and concerns of their own, can only be a benefit to our profession and our cause as a whole.

George shared this video with us on how one person has been recording online aspects of his child’s growth from baby to young child which brought tears to quite a few eyes.

Wouldn’t it be great if we could all be seen as whole people and regarded as such, rather than just a 9-3 professional


How to make a teacher feel old!

I originally shared this post on the CEGSA blog but as it is still an “ageing” problem that I am facing, I thought I would place it on my own blog too!

Floppy Disks

Photo Credit: Anita Hart via Compfight

I thought I would share this interesting anecdote from a discussion I had with one of my classes today which made me feel much older than my 36 years!

I have the privilege of working in ICT with all the students across my school -right down to our newest junior primary students. Today we were looking at some of the basics of word processing and towards the end of the lesson it came time to save their work. Without thinking I said “Click on the picture of the disk” and I was greeted with looks of curiosity.

“What’s a disk?”

These 5 and 6 year olds honestly had no idea what this strange icon was nor what its purpose had been way back in the dark depths of history.

My first thought from this was perhaps it is time for Microsoft to change their icon for saving, even the government’s Stay Smart Online Budd:e has a USB as their saving icon. However I was then led to think more seriously about all the changes I have seen in my time working with technology. I had another class truly boggled by the idea of using a camera which didn’t have a screen on the back which you could see your photos on, not to mention my own two year old who wondered why the digital photo frame wouldn’t change photos when she swiped her finger across it.

This reminiscing then led to awe and wonder about what changes these children, who are the same age as my own son, will see in their lives. The idea is truly beyond the scope of my imagination.

It really brings home the Dan Pink quote “We need to prepare kids for their future, not our past.”

Despite this though, I will be taking in some of these old fashioned things next week for a quick history lesson – I might even show them why floppy disks were called floppy!

Have you had a moment like this – that made you wonder at the marvels of technology and change that we see everyday?
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