It has officially come to an end ISTE 2015 from Philly. For those of you not familiar with ISTE it is a large educational technology conference held every year in a different city. ISTE brings together passionate educational teachers,coaches, and admin as well as educational technology companies. It is usually about 3 days with LOADS of information floating around and thousands upon thousands of connections to be made.
Unfortunately, the price tag can be steep when you calculate ticket ( approx. $200-500), airfare (if your not local), hotel, food, etc. For a younger teacher with loads of student loan debt this is just not a possibility this year. I was totally bummed to not be attending and was more disappointed at all the information and connection I was going to miss out on. As I perused the internet I saw a friend of mine tweet about #notatiste15. I was intrigued so I followed the rabbit hole that lead me to the Notatiste15 Google+ community. I asked to join and was accepted!! There was a make a badge document that I started in on, which was fun to see all the different people in the community. Then I started doing what I do best, clicking! I started to discover other events that where taking place like: Karaoke, Door Prizes, Challenges, Hangouts, and more.
Right about now, I was having a very real moment with myself, not sure how this all worked and how much I wanted to be involved. Then I decided to troll along on twitter and attend some of the hangouts. Oh how glad I am that I didn’t just sit in the shadows. I started to get more intrigued and started to dive in more. In making the decision to engage in conversations and follow along, I was able to make some great connections and learn a lot!!
Here are three big things I learned from #notatiste15!
- PERISCOPE: I believe I learned about periscope when someone ( probably my new connection @craigyen) on the #notatiste15 feed posted a message and link on Twitter. From that click on, my view of life was blown into a new technological dimension! The video was this guy named Tony walking around looking at different Poster sessions (kinda like presentation about different things tried in classrooms, apps smashed, etc.), he had a microphone and everything. My first thought was why is it in vertical frame, and he is a journalist for a edtech company (I mean he had the microphone and all). Oh how wrong I was, as I continued watching, Tony said something about how you can not comment if you are on a computer.What you can have discussion on this thing and it’s live?! Disappointed for a second but then……. elation, as he said if you download the app on your phone you can comment. DONE! Oh my goodness as I continued to watch from my phone and comment and participate I realized, Tony was just a dude at ISTE willing to take a bunch of random people on a journey. He talked about how he is usually shy and how this was helping him to ask questions and help others. WOW, let’s just think for a moment how empowering this is, It connects people across the world together to be able to experience in real time an event many could not attend and empower someone to reach outside of their comfort zone!! I’ll wait while that soaks in………………..Ok that should be a long enough pause. By following @tonyvincent I was able to learn about app smashing at different schools, meet new people, and learn about educational technology. I was so inspired by how simple he made it look, how effortless (even though I know it wasn’t), that he inspired me to Periscope from the GAFE summit I am attending next week in Palo Alto. I don’t know if I will have a nice microphone like Tony’s but I am going to push myself outside of my comfort zone. I want to thank @TonyVincent for being such an inspiration. After I experienced Tony’s periscope I started looking for other periscopes and found an Amazing one that @edsurge did recapping each day, it became my nightly video. There are so many more amazing periscopers out there. Download the app and search for people you follow on Twitter. It is available for Android and Apple products!
- VOXER: I was originally very skeptical of Voxer. Voxer is a messaging system where you can leave recorded messages for people. I didn’t understand the purpose behind it. Why would I want to leave a voice message when I can already do that within my text messaging system on my phone? I heard a lot of people talking about how there were sessions from the conference on Voxer. I was still skeptical of the advantages of Voxer. Then, @craigyen invited to participate in Voxer karaoke. OK let me start off saying I have NEVER done karaoke in my life and never really felt a need to, but again in the spirit of ISTE I wanted to connect. So people started to sing and as they where singing I was able to message them text in real time. I finally decided to give it a go, I was soooo super nervous. I hit the little record button and as I was recording people left audio and text messaging. After that I was hooked, whether on Karaoke or Voxer we will never really know. I went on to perform many more songs and listen to the encouragement that was taking place. I also started to see how powerful a beefed up recorder could be even in today’s super technological world. You are able to get a better sense of others in the community, we listened as one member sang with her new baby boy. As a community we laughed at song choices, praised others with their voice, encouraged the timid, and just had a plain good ol' time. Voxer allows for connections to be made over various subject areas. Could you imagine using this tool as a music teacher, have your kids perform a piece for you on Voxer and then be able to give them real time hints and tips, even if they are at home sick,or on a vacation. Students could listen to lessons in real time, or go back and re-listen to something they may have missed. There are probably a 100 more ways for this tool to be useful, but it is still pretty new to me. Check it out!
- Teachercast: Teachercast is one of my main follows on Twitter @teachercast. They provide great podcast and videos about different educational topics. This year, they were able to broadcast live from ISTE. Teachercast invited different guests on to discuss products, experiences, and other interesting educational adventures.They even broadcasted live from the Microsoft booth! Even though I teach at a GAFE school and live near Seattle, I am always intrigued to see what Microsoft is going to do next. I learned that at the end of July (29th I believe) that Microsoft will be releasing Windows 10, and that if you currently have Windows 7 or 8 that the upgrade will be FREE (my favorite word)! There were many other amazing revelations about Microsoft products, I encourage you to go to their Youtube channel and subscribe https://www.youtube.com/user/TeacherCast/videos . The live broadcast was another way for us not at ISTE to be involved in the process. The live feed being on a Youtube channel allowed me to be able to project the feed to my Chromecast. Oh the greatness of technology! I was literally watching the Teachercast broadcasts, taking notes, periscoping, and tweeting all at the same time. (It was a little bit of a multitasking headache). The other great thing about the broadcast was the ability to go back and listen again to a point that resonated with me or an address,or twitter handle that I missed. Teachercast live from ISTE was another way for me to gain knowledge from amazing educators and hear talks from people I would have missed out hearing from.
There are a thousand other things that I could blog about; all the connections I made, apps that I saw, things that I learned, but the overarching message that came from all of this was how much technology brings us together and can empower us in education. Even though I was unable to attend the ISTE conference this year, I am already looking forward to ISTE next year in Denver, hoping to go and see you all there.