Sunday, August 24, 2014

Blogs for Reflections

When I started this blog, the plan was for all of us to use this platform to reflect on how we are using technology in all our different areas. I knew I was going to use it for reflection, but I never thought about translating that into a plan for my students.

This semester (one of the takeaways from ISTE), I plan to have my students blog about their experiences instead of writing a reflective journal. That way, they have a platform that feels more natural to them, and we all have a way of sharing and building our PLN. Also, it will help reinforce the notion of confidentiality with undergraduate candidates. We will be using Blogger, since we are already using Google Docs for our tests and lesson plans. This is just another tool I want them to have in their tool box, the building of reflective practice. They seemed to be excited about it when I announced it in our first class, and we will see how it goes.

Now if I can just get all the other Taylors' on board with developing reflective practice.....

Sunday, July 6, 2014

ISTE 2014 Takeaways

Hello everyone. I know this blog was created two years ago, and that was as far as it got. However, I just rediscovered Twitter, so I thought I'd pick this up again, as well.

I returned from the magical world of ISTE a few days ago, and have been processing ever since. This was my first trip to ISTE, and it was overwhelming, but in a good way! After the first two sessions, I needed to go sit somewhere quiet and process all the great information I had just learned. However, there was no time to rest. It was a whirlwind of sessions, expo visits, and great meals with like-minded individuals.

So, now, after a week of processing, here are my top takeaways...

1. Become familiar with Twitter and use it. Twitter is full of great ideas and more like-minded people than you can ever meet in person. Like anything on the web, you have to be selective, but Twitter gives short doses of ideas and feedback. There are chats you can join that discuss various topics like UDB and standards-based grading. I am now an avid Twitter user, mainly for re-tweeting ideas from others and lurking on the chats. I'm getting there, though. I sent tweets from several sessions when someone else said something brilliant that I wanted to be able to access later.

2. You can bring any device you have, but be prepared to wish you had something you did not bring during sessions. At one point, I had my laptop open with Tweetdeck going, I was taking notes on my phone and following along with the presentation wiki on my iPad. I'm not to the point yet where I can juggle all three items on the same device, and I found that ideas were coming so fast that I needed all three to keep up.  (I think I need a better system for organization, but I'm not there yet!)

3. Plan ahead for the sessions. For ISTE 2015, I will be spending more time reading the descriptions of the sessions and really deciding what will further my learning. I had 20 favorited for the first session, and had trouble deciding where to go at the last minute. A couple of times I found myself moving to another session at the last minute because I had not planned ahead. It was fine, but many sessions closed due to meeting capacity.

4. Plan time for the Expo. I went three times for a few hours each, and I still did not see it all. There are many opportunities for learning even within the Expo, so be aware that it takes TIME. Google was having sessions within the Expo, Classflow was having the Ron Clark Academy host classes there, and everyone wanted to demo something. It was great, and I got some pretty cool swag, but be prepared that you could spend an entire day just in the Expo.

5. Investigate all the sessions going on at ISTE. On the last day, one of the people who was traveling with me found an entire Apple session list that we were not aware of. This was major training that we missed most of. Glad we found it at the end, but wish we had known about it all along.

6. Take everyone you can. Next year, I hope to take as many of our faculty as are willing to go. The things that you see and the ideas that are generated for your organization are huge, and well worth it. If you are looking for the professional development to ignite change in your organization, ISTE is it.

I will be blogging about specifics that I learned for ISTE and ideas that I am using for the fall semester as I use them, so stay tuned...