Monday, July 20, 2015

iPadpalooza IN 2015 - #iplzaIN15

I attended and presented at iPadpalooza IN in Noblesville, Indiana on July 16th and 17th. It was an amazing experience. iPadpalooza IN reminded me in some ways of iEngage-Berwyn. A low key local ed tech conference. After the hustle and bustle of ISTE this was a welcome change. The swag in the conference bag was outstanding. We received a t-shirts, a travel mug, and device cleaner! 

+Jordan Garrett and I presented Integrating Tech into the Reading/Writing Workshop and Bringing PLCs to Life with Google +. Both are presentations that we have done before. We had never done the Reading/Writing Workshop session together. The Reading/Writing Workshop was a 2 hour hands on session. That means we presented for 3 hours each day. That left us time to only attend one additional session on both days. We were able to attend the opening Ignite session. +Shelley Coover rocked it and so did +Sarah Thomas. I especially like Shelley's Angry Birds analogy. We presented to a full room on Thursday morning for our 1st Reading/Writing Workshop session. It's funny I didn't feel so good about how the session went and Jordan thought we did really well. I have to say I was not that impressed with the keynote speaker Jared Stein. I was a little turned off by the fact that he was from Canvas (an LMS provider). I prefer to listen to educators not industry people. The food trucks were outstanding! Great lunch! Next we did our Google + presentation to a small crowd. I believe this was our fourth time doing this presentation together. I like this presentation because it really tells a story while talking about the power of an application. The story is a part of the story of District 100s 1:1 journey and how we use Google + as a communication platform for our staff. It is a way for staff to communicate with each other and share student work with the outside world. I am learning that the power in presenting, especially in keynoting, is being able to tell a story. After our session we ended up hanging out in the sponsor area with Bryan Bennett from its Learning. He gave us a short demo of the product. We took an usie because Jordan and I had every intention of completing the AppMazing Race. In the end we decided to forgo the Race because we were so busy presenting.


The one thing that iPadpalooza IN was missing was an evening social event. After hosing iEngage an going to them at ISTE they really add another dimension to a conference. 

On Friday I went to Jay McTighe and listened to him talk about UbD and Standards Based Grading. Even though our district is doing sbg it was good to hear the information again. I tried my hand at sketchnoting the presentation. It is clear I need much more practice. A good stylus will hopefully help. We did our presentations again. This time we felt just the opposite. I thought it was more polished and Jordan thought we could have done better. Carl Hooker's lunch time keynote was outstanding! According to him, I heard some of it at iEngage-Berwyn. To tell you the truth I was so involved in tweeting and worrying about the conference in May that I did not really hear his message. I got up on stage as a volunteer to help him out with a participation and movement exercise. Of course I messed up! 

In the end I wish that I would have been able to go to more sessions. I was glad I went to Jay McTighe's session. I was really looking forward to hearing him speak. I met John Smith @theipodteacher, and Reshan Richards @reshanrichards, saw Kyle Pearce again, @MathletePearce, and Sarah Thomas @sarahdateechur, but missed Ann Feldman @annfeldman1, Don Goble @dgoble2001, and Tammy Worcester Tang @tammyworcester. 

Food Trucks - Yum!
The conference committee did a fabulous job. You should put this one on your radar especially if you live in the Midwest. 

Here's my Storify as a slideshow. 

Saturday, July 18, 2015

ISTE 2015 - A Reflection

I attend ISTE this year for the first time in about 12 years and it has really changed. The Expo floor was amazing and there were definitely way more people. During the opening keynote, I believe that it was stated that there were 20,000 in attendance.

So I was asked, by an ed tech friend who was unable to attend, what was the big buzz at the conference. I believe that the big push is for visual literacy. What is visual literacy you ask? It is the ability to interpret, negotiate, and make meaning from information presented in the form of an image. Have you noticed the explosion in infographics and other images on the Net? It's the reason Instagram is so popular! A picture is worth a thousand words. Meaning we can convey complex ideas through a single image. In order to navigate the Net kids will need these skills to be able to read and create in a visually rich media. We need to teach these skills. Making good visuals and pairing it with reliable information will be so important to our students in the future. 

What the Journey to Success Really Looks Like - Carl Hooker

I attended quite a few sessions. Seems like I was always running somewhere. I don't know how you can work for a school district, and justify going to a conference if you don't attend at least some sessions. 

They are in no particular order. Opening Keynote: Soledad O'Brien; Digital Parenting: Carl Hooker; ISTE Ignites Round 3; The Changing Role of the Cheif Technology Officer: Kevin Honeycutt, Brad Waid, Susan Beardan, Alice Keeler, Matthew Miller, David Maline; 1 in 3 Session: Round 3; GripCase SAMR Session: Shannon Soger; Successful Parent/Educator Partnership in the Inclusive Classroom: Luis Perez, Shannon Soger, Christine Southard, Jack Gallagher: iPad: An Out of the Box Look: Tim and Kathy Yenca; Developing an Innovator's Mindset: George Couros: Closing Keynote: Josh Stumpenhorst. 

from George Couros's Session

I presented at the conference. It was a phenomenal experience. My session was called Tech Coach Therapy. The session was a Birds of a Feather. Basically, this a round table discussion format. I prepared a very short presentation about the way I feel about the power of coaching, how I coach teachers and the resources that I use to support my craft. I prepared a Google Slide presentation, but I'm not sure that too many of my 23 attendees used it. Instead they just talked to each other about their jobs. I was able to give the attendees a framework to support meaningful conversation around their job titles. That doesn't always happen when you are sitting in the Blogger's Cafe at ISTE. There is so much power in telling your story. People want to connect by their similarities and even their differences. This group was able to learn what works and what doesn't in other districts, and make connections with other educators that will support them in their mission. They can continue to connect through social media or email to share and grow. I heard and participated in discussion in all the groups. The talk was very powerful, very productive for all of them.  I was shocked when one group stayed about ten minutes past the sessions end time, especially since it was the last session on Monday afternoon. Sometimes we, as coaches, are like the therapists in a school. Even real therapists need therapists. 

The other lens in which I viewed ISTE was through that of someone who has planned and hosted an ed tech conference, ie iEngage-Berwyn. After all, ISTE is the grand daddy of them all. They do it right. I found myself looking at traffic patterns, floor layouts, signage, maps, all the small details that make a conference user friendly. I made a few notes to share with the iLead team. 

The fabulous Jordan Garrett working the Swivl booth

One final note - the social events in the evening are another great way to connect with those that you can learn from all year long! I met a lot of my #edurockstar heroes too. I wish I could follow all of the great people that I met at ISTE, but I'm in Twitter Jail. So if you have a Twitter account and you are not following me PLEASE do so, @rmbtowner_tech or click on the follow link at the right. 

Drew Minock, Brad Waid, George Couros, Kevin Honeycutt

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Summer PD Plans

I'm going to try to stick with +Michelle Brezek of Big Time Literacy  and write every day for the rest of the month. Yesterday's prompt was PD plans for the summer. This is an easy topic for me to write about.

We can start with iEngage Berwyn in May. I presented on using Google + as district communication tool. I presented with the fabulous +Jordan Garrett. Our session went very well. See this blog post for more info on iEngage - Berwyn!

Apple Action Research Project in District 100
The Team updated administrators and SAMR Model Action Research Team (SMART)
staff on the Apple Action Research Project in District 100. We are doing some very interesting things with this project. Stay tuned for more information.

Ed Tech Teacher Summer Workshops 2015 in Chicago
I assisted for one week for Ed Tech Teacher Summer Workshops 2015 at Roosevelt University. I helped educators learn how to Use Chromebooks in the Classroom and iPads with Google. I had an amazing time working alongside the wonderful Beth Holland and fantastic Shawn McCusker, but the best part of the week was meeting all the amazing teachers from all over the United States. One woman even came all the way from Thailand for the sessions. 

ISTE 2015 - Philadelphia
In June I attended ISTE 2015 in Philadelphia. I went to many sessions including the Opening Keynote by Soledad O'Brien, Digital Parenting by +Carl Hooker, Panel: The Changing Role of Chief Technology Officer with +Shannon Soger+Brad Waid and +Kevin Honeycutt among others, Panel: Successful Parent Educator Partnerships in the Inclusive Classroom with Louis Perez, Jack Gallagher, Christine Southard and Shannon Soger, ISTE 1 in 3 Sessions: Round 1, An iPad Out of the Box Look by Kathy and Tim Yenca, Developing the Innovator's Mindset by George Couros, Ignites: Session 3, and ISTE 1 in 3 Sessions: iLearn iSWAT given by Jordan Garrett. Finally, I presented Tech Coach Therapy. It was a Birds of a Feather session which is the same thing as a round table discussion. There were 23 people in attendance and I think it went very well. I talked a bit about we coach teachers in District 100 and showed them some of my "go to" resources. The rest of the time was for them to tell their story and build relationships with others in the group. I think there is real power in sharing your story with others in the group, esp for a tech or instructional coach. May times they are the only one with this job description in their buidling or unfortunately entire district.

iLearn Summer 2015 - District 100
This week I am giving 2 in-district PD sessions for the iLearn Summer 2015 series of District 100. Monday is iPad 101: What is Your One Screen? During this session we will look at 20 apps that all teachers in our district should have on their iPad. The goal of the session is to explore apps that will help students demonstrate their understanding and make their thinking visible. I am excited to give it. We are going to have a full house. On Wednesday I am doing a session on the Google Apps and Add Ons that are part of our GAFE domain. There are so many ways to use Google in our classrooms! I hope to post both of these PD on my You Tube Channel.

iPadpalooza IN 2015
On Thursday and Friday I will be presenting with Jordan Garrett at iPadpalooza IN 2015. We are presenting Integrating Technology into the Reading and Writing Workshop and Bringing PLCs to Life with Google +. I don't know how many sessions we will be able to attend since we are presenting for 3 hours on both days. I am really looking forward to doing the AppMazing Race this time around. I was unable to do it at iEngage because I was so busy.

Transliteracy 47
I am also presenting at the District 47 Transliteracy conference August 5th and 6th. Jordan and I are once again doing Integrating Technology into the Reading and Writing Workshop.

New Teacher Training - District 100
I'm sure I will also be a part of training our new staff during new teacher week in our district as well.

Thanks +Michelle Brezek for encouraging me to write more!!!