I consider myself to be quite lucky to have had the opportunity to attend the 2015 International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) conference in Philadelphia. This was the first time I had ever been to Philadelphia and I was excited to attend as many sessions as I could while at the conference.
The opening keynote was gigantic!
Soledad O’Brien, anchor of CNN’s In America, turned educators’ attention to Google’s newest technology: cardboard!
From The Youngest Makers to The Knights of Make-a-Lot, I learned an incredible amount of information about how to design activities for learning and how to apply concepts in a makerspace.
I was most impressed by the students and teachers who travelled far and wide to present their learning. One group in particular caught my attention. The students from El Encino, Mexico combined a variety of arts experiences with technology. They had painted their faces to represent Dia de Muertos (Day of the Dead). Their booth featured an altar decorated with student-made calacas (plaster skull masks), alfenique calaveras (sugar skulls), and papel picado (cut tissue paper). The all boys’ school showcased a student-designed technology project: a video game based on this Mexican holiday and its traditions. The students explained their project in great detail – many were eager to speak with me. They gave me a mask print-out and some spicy candy to take home!
Many of the other poster sessions downstairs were quite informative. Teachers shared their projects and ideas – willing to answer questions, provide handouts and exchange contact information.
I even got to meet Peter and Paul Reynolds (author & illustrator of The Dot, Ish, Full Steam Ahead, and so many more)! The Reynolds Foundation is a pioneer of art-centered classroom technology products. They will soon launch software that fully integrates STEM concepts with the all important A = Art! I was gifted a copy of Going Places & the accompanying creativity can. The brothers graciously signed my book and posed for photos. I can’t wait for their FAB@SCHOOL Maker Studio software to hit the market!!! Check out www.fablevisionlearning.com for more info!
A conference wouldn’t be complete without the cool swag! Here are some of the goodies I brought home. I also want to thank the Arts & Technology PLN for their donation to the BF S.T.E.A.M. Club. The remaining handouts, play doh, copper foil and conductive paint from the Creativity Playground will certainly aid student learning! Thank you, Jamie Kasper!
And, finally, this experience wouldn’t have been possible if it weren’t for the conference stipend awarded to me through the Sprout Fund of Pittsburgh. Thank you, Thank you. The knowledge I have gained from this conference will benefit my students greatly. If you are interested in funding for experiences such as this one, visit www.sproutfund.org