I’ve been given a wonderful opportunity to attend the 2015 ISTE Conference. I’ve been hoping to become a member of ISTE, let alone attend the yearly conference. This year’s conference is right in my backyard across the bridge in Philadelphia. I’m going to make the most of the experience and try to blog everyday and add my thoughts and what I’ve learned.
Yesterday was my first day at the conference marked by an inspiring keynote by journalist Soledad O’Brien. In the few hours I was in the Pennsylvania Convntion Center I followed several new people on Twitter, made a new network contact, and gained several new Twitter followers myself.
My first thoughts fall on the opening keynote. The event began for me with a high energy atomosphere created by the talented Big City All Star Band from Winnepeg, Canada. The first presentation was part of the Ignite sessions at ISTE 2015. Presenter Rafranz Davis gave her thoughts on diversity in technology education and set the tone for my thoughts for the evening, how can my school help? How can I get my students envolved with diversity?
This was followed by a short interview by Brian Lewis, Cheif Executive Officer of ISTE and Kecia Ray, Chair with Lord Jim Knight, who was the Minister of State for Schools and Learners in the UK. His contribution to the evening reafffermed me position of support for teachers. One of my favorite parts of my position is backing up teachers and giving them the support they need to facilitate technology in their classrooms. He mentioned also that just the act of purchasing technology does not necessarily teach technology.
Image created using Paper (@FiftyThree) by Matt Miller @jmattmiller
The entertaining and though provoking speech by Soledad O’Brien opened my eyes to so many possiblilties for my school to use technology act in accordance with it’s mission to put minds at work, hearts with God and lives to service. The theme of diversity was continued as Ms. O’Brien talked about her involvement with disadvantaged students through The Starfish Foundation and her role as a journalist documenting the struggle of students stuck in a sometimes broken education system.
She presented her own integration of technology using Expeditions by Google which lead me to my own thoughts on how I could leverage augmented relality with my own students. She uses Google’s latest to introduce high school students to different careers that they otherwise would not be exposed to. This was a really cool presentation and I would love to do something like this in collaboration with another school.
Soledad hit on the ideas of closing the acheivement gap with technology and allowing students to learn the way they learn best. She talked of the importance of access to to technolgoy and teaching students to be digitally literate.She said, “Technology for technology’s sake is a waste.” almost echoing something Lord Knight said earlier in the evening.
One of my goals for the upcoming school year involves global collaboration. This keynote ignited my fire for working with disadvantaged students whether it’s across the globe or in our own backyard. There are some many Catholic schools in the same diocese as my own that we could partner with to share what we are learning and doing with technology. My final note from last night was this, how can we “leverage technology to change the world.” (S. O’Brien) and use our blessings to help others.