Upgrades are Uberfun!

In a single moth we have made improvements to and are close to unveiling 3 sets of site improvements over at IL Virtual.  Our info site, our primary LMS and our helpdesk have all gotten upgrades.

Now many people believe its magic, you simply select a feature and boom it upgrades.  This is the upgrade fairy logic.

In reality what happens is that behind that button push there are a few people like me, earning grey hairs, testing everything we can think of, and then trying to think of how a user might use it, then trying the break it.  At the end we hope that if we can’t find a way to break it, you won’t either.

It turns out though that all the end-users are incredibly innovative in their totality and inevitably they think of a view or click combination which never occurred to us.  Our prescience is limited, our prognostication flawed, and then the inevitable happens.  Things get broken.

The next phase of grey hairs begins as we scramble to unscramble the dilemna caused by the intrepid user before it becomes an issue.

At long last it all comes together, and we can breathe a sigh of relief.  Then we have to get in gear for the next one…

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.