Best of Con #ISTE2015 – Monday

As tends to be my habit here you will find my favorite finds of the conference I’m currently attending in (mostly) chronological order.

First, a shoutout to my fellow ISTE Ignite session 2 presenters.  What a great way to start the day getting inspired by amazing people with great stories of how we can all strive to be purposeful, empowered, and effective educators and people.  This is a truly impressive group who is expanding my PLN.

Next on the vendor floor two quiet standouts in small booths in the high 2000’s, easily overlooked but not to be missed are Tynker, and M3D both new exhibitors to the conference (in case you are here and playing the new exhibitor game.  Tynker stands out in a big way for it’s programming curriculum.  The beauty is the side by side functionality of its drag and drop coding interface and it’s actual coding interface.  Through color coding, and ease of use students can bridge the gap between text and visual UI.  They can develop independently or via guided means and the beginning steps are- free!

M3D is the answer for anyone who has been wanting to get started with 3D printing.  Their small economical safety rated cold process is as affordable as a standard desktop printer.  They offer 3 filament grades and easily makes this the go to starter for maker-space students and teachers.  I plan to actually buy one specifically for my son (age 9) who loves robotics but is always looking for one piece with a shape that only lives in his imagination.  It’s a perfect starter maker tool.

Next in presentations I was fascinated by The Tech Triplets Smash! presentation.  The App Smash idea is leveraging more than one app to create a useful, integrated option for kids.  Their padlet gives a primer and some ideas.

Unfortunately, a huge number of the sessions I wish I’d attended were concurrent. OLN Presents: 2015 ISTE Online and Blended Learning Extravaganza was a hit. @CandaceGirard gave a some great advice about snow day planning.  Since I work in the fully online space I have no snow days, and have not faced this challenge, but I have blogged about it before and can see how the blended environment would be enhanced by this practice.

I took a break then to go to Reading Terminal Market and wait in line for a great Salmon burger at Frank’s.  We’d done Jim’s the night before for Philly Steak sandwiches, so needed a bit lighter fare.

Hacking Keynote was another favorite as I am not native to Mac, but it’s growing on me. @adambellow and @shareski gave me a lot of food for thought and practice.

I spent a good deal of time lost in the Science and Technology “Playground”  Laura Gatto and the reinvigorated BrainPop platform which I had written off several years back impressed me enough to take another look.

I ended the day with Philly Youth Poetry Slam poetry which was a treat because it was so far from my area it gave my brain time to unwind before a whirlwind of site seeing.  My husband and I chose to run the “Rocky Steps” (well walk, and pretend we ran), Then zipped on the bus down to the Liberty Bell, Washington’s house and ended the run with the last tour of the day at Independence Hall. Where of course we were in line with all ISTE folk, so we talked ed/tech nerd while we waited for the tour to start. The amazing tour guide was a dynamic speaker who brought patriotic tears to my eyes.  The tour was free, but worth it’s weight in gold.

We arrived back to the hotel ravenously hungry and went to the modern Greek restaurant Opa.  It was delightful, modern tapas with the right mix of modern and classic Greek.  My husband and I may have adopted our waiter, we’ll know if he drops by our Illinois home.

Back to our hotel home to find my PLN expanded greatly.  Thanks to all who tweeted and or dropped by.  It’s great learning together.


No offense Chevy Chase, it’s all programming.

Have I mentioned before that coding is one of those things which separates the masses, and one of the most sought after skill sets in today’s workers.  My colleagues nearly died at a staff meeting when my optimism shined through about their nearly insurmountable pet projects and I stated something to the effect of,

“Well it can be done. Of course it can, it just takes programming.  And programming means you need to have dollars to pay to have the programming done, especially when what you are dreaming up is something that never has been done before. “

They looked at me as if I had just declared unicorns alive and well and living in Cleveland.

Now that said, I am a realistic optimist. I never said I was gonna do the coding.  But it seems that more and more in my line of work I find myself with a dreamer and I have to  either reign in the dream or dig in and be the maker.

Like today, when I learned of a dream that meant I had to imagine, test and then create this:

=SUM{ (((((((((IF{ (SUM{ ([1 – Elements of Literature – Posttest.Percent] – [1 – Elements of Literature – Pretest.Percent]) } > 0)10 }IF{ (SUM{ ([2 – Language Usage Posttest.Percent] – [2 – Language Usage Pretest.Percent]) } > 0)10 }) + IF{ (SUM{ ([3 – Analyzing Literature Posttest.Percent] – [3 – Analyzing Literature Pretest.Percent]) } > 0)10 }) + IF{ (SUM{ ([4 – Reading Strategies Posttest.Percent] – [4 – Reading Strategies Pretest.Percent]) } > 0)10 }) + IF{ (SUM{ ([5 – Analyzing Informational Texts Posttest.Percent] – [5 – Analyzing Informational Texts Pretest.Percent]) } > 0)10 }) + IF{ (SUM{ ([6 – Writing Skills 1 Posttest.Percent] – [6 – Writing Skills 1 Pretest.Percent]) } > 0)10 }) + IF{ (SUM{ ([7 – Writing Skills 2 Posttest.Percent] – [7 – Writing Skills 2 Pretest.Percent]) } > 0)10 }) + IF{ (SUM{ ([8 – Types of Writing Posttest.Percent] – [8 – Types of Writing Pretest.Percent]) } > 0)10 }) + IF{ (SUM{ ([9 – Sentence Structure Posttest.Percent] – [9 – Sentence Structure Pretest.Percent]) } >0)10 }) + IF{ (SUM{ ([10 – Usage Posttest.Percent] – [10 – Usage Pretest.Percent]) } > 0)10 }) }

Just so that a computer can count how many modules a student has shown improvement one through pre and post testing.   Yep, I taught a program to count to 10 today.  I think the world of master coders is safe from considering me competition.  But then, they haven’t seen the rest of my dreams and they’re pretty big.

it's all programming