ISTE 11: First Impressions

So far, meh. For those who don’t know, ISTE stands for International Society for Technology in Education.  This is *the* conference for people interested in technology and education.  I came in bright and early this morning and then ended up skipping the first session because it looked bleh.  It was something about technology standards.  And maybe there was something worthwhile that I missed, but “meh.”  I did get to meet up with my friend Jenn and her colleague, which was nice–always good to connect with people.

My meh assessment so far comes from two places.  One, the sessions are mostly targeted at people who’ve never used Google Apps, Twitter, Blogs or [insert your tech tool here].  I could run many of the sessions.  They’re focused on tools versus pedagogy.  I’m being general her, I realize, but that’s my sense looking over the program.  I prefer, and have gotten used to, an “unconference” model where we have conversations around topics rather have people talk at us for an hour or so.  Additionally, I’m more interested in topics about computer science than applications.  The second place comes from my being new to the K-12 space so I don’t know that many people I can connect with.  That issue will, of course, resolve itself with time.

The first is just me evolving from being a user to a producer of technology, and being more interested in moving kids in that direction, too.  I did go to a session, however, where another teacher said something along the same lines, that he wished we would shift our focus a bit away from having students be just users of technology and toward having them create applications.

I’m sitting in a Python and Robots session right now, which is right up my alley, thought I’m having trouble focusing on the PowerPoint at the front.  He hasn’t said anything I don’t know.  He’s now mentioning Mr. Geeky and his programming course (IPRE), so maybe I’ll pay attention now.

Tomorrow, there are more CS-oriented sessions, so I think that’s going to be a better day for me.  Will report back tomorrow.