Sunday, June 30, 2013

Interesting ISTE Insights

I just returned from several eventful days at ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education) ISTE promotes the National Educational Technology Standards (NETS) that will guide teachers and students in the digital age.  Every moment at ISTE was filled with thinking, learning, and discovering! 

Here are some highlights from my educational adventure:

1.  I must first acknowledge Promethean for making it possible for me to attend ISTE.

Photo by Ms. Peyrot

Photo by Joe Talaiver

Promethean's Thank a Teacher Contest sponsored me at ISTE, and they made it possible for me to learn alongside educators from all over the world. My students submitted  thoughtful essays on my behalf, and it was an honor to be selected. To read my blog post about the contest, click here. Here is a video my principal made when she revealed I was the Thank a Teacher winner:

Educational blogging with my elementary students is something I am passionate about. Promethean invited me to speak about blogging at their booth.  Although I don't have a video of that presentation, here is a video I made with my second and third graders about the benefits of educational blogging:

Promethean allowed me to bring a fellow educator along, and I was thrilled that @JenPeyrot was able to join me! We had a grand time attending sessions, sharing knowledge, and supporting one another.  Here's a photo with Sue Wyatt, Julie Hembree, and my roomie, Jennifer Peyrot.

Photo by Joe Talaiver

During an evening event, I was fortunate enough to meet and chat with Cameron Evans, the CTO of Microsoft. I thanked him for the Microsoft Surface I was given when I arrived in San Antonio. Approximately 10,000 tablets were given out to registered ISTE 2013 attendees!

2.  ISTE was a fabulous place to meet up with friends and discuss educational interests. The Bloggers' Cafe was always buzzing with lively discussion about new apps and ways to enhance student learning.

Photo by Mrs. Yollis 
I was able to meet Andrew Vanden Heuvel at the Bloggers' Cafe and give his Google Glasses a test. Andrew was the first teacher to have a pair of Google Glasses, and he is creating lessons and sharing learning through this incredible technology.

I enjoyed chatting with @suewaters and @ronnieburt from Edublogs!  

The Bloggers' Cafe was a great place to meet teachers from the southern hemisphere!  Here's Anne Mirtschin Sue Waters, and Sue Wyatt

Many attendees set up CoffeeCues in the morning. These are informal gatherings for educators. Anyone can start and promote a @CoffeeCue and all educators are invited.  My roommate, @JenPerot, got up early and therefore got to meet ISTE's amazing keynote and EduClipper founder, Adam Bellows!

Photo by Alice Keeler

I arrived late, and therefore did not meet ISTE's amazing keynote and EduClipper founder, Adam Bellows!

Photo by Alice Keeler

Throughout the conference, there were opportunities to attend people's sessions and sometimes chance meetings occurred between presentations. Here we are meeting a forward-thinking principal from Canada, George Couros.

Photo by Joe 

At the end of the day, there were opportunities to continue educational conversations. Here I am at an event with two Ed Tech leaders, Tom Whitby and Steven W. Anderson. 

I was thrilled to meet Shelly Terrell at this conference. Shelly gives so much professional development and encouragement to educators around the world, and it was a real pleasure to personally thank her for her contributions to education.

3. The ISTE sessions were numerous and thought provoking.

I worked at a poster session promoting Sue Wyatt's  Student Blogging Challenge and Edublog's Teacher Blogging Challenge.  This provided an opportunity to share these great blogging challenges and to meet up with Julie Hembree, Tracy Watanabe, and good old Davo Devil, the traveling Tasmania Devil!

Julie Hembree shared her award-winning Kid Lit Movies!

I enjoyed many fabulous Ignite sessions. An ignite sessions is a five minute presentation using 20 images. Each slide is shown for 15 seconds and then the presentation must go on.  One session called Open Doors for Students by Wes Fryer can be heard here.   Wes Fryer encourages teachers to open the digital door for students and even encouraged me to publish a project! 

I enjoyed speaking with Wes Fryer after the presentation. 

I attended a terrific session about Evernote by Nicholas Provenzano. He writes about his Epic Evernote Experience here.  He explained how Evernote helps him with organization and access to important resources. He also uses Evernote with his students. He recommended moving slowly into a new system. 

Here is one idea he shared:  Set up a notebook called Lesson Plans. Within that notebook, make notes for each unit. Within each "Note" use headings like Day 1, Day 2, Day 3... rather than Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, so the plans can be used yearly. In addition, he adds reflections or changes to the notes in red so he can modify lessons for the following year. I set it up for use!

4. The power of play was something I have always believed in, but was confirmed here at ISTE. Children and teachers need time to explore and play and learn on their own. Teachers should not be directing everything.  Play and failure allow for discovery and mental growth.

5.   I thoroughly  enjoyed using Twitter throughout the conference. According to the ISTE site, there were 47,000+ tweets that used the #ISTE13. I used Twitter to tweet out or RT (retweet) interesting ideas or resources I was hearing about in sessions. Here are some of my tweets from ISTE:

I had a humdinger of a  time in San Antonio, Texas! Not only did I learn a lot, but the city itself was lovely. The River Walk was a beautiful addition to the city, and the Texans were most hospitable! 

I look forward to applying my learning in September when my third graders return to the classroom.

Oh, and I almost forgot...I visited the Alamo! ;-)

What did you enjoy most at ISTE?

Please share!


  1. Hi Mrs. Yollis,
    I would have loved to attend ITSE. As a fellow third grade teacher I follow your blog. I find it inspiring and encouraging to try knew ideas with my own class. Thank you for giving me a birds eye view on ITSE and some of the great projects and thinking that are going on in education!
    Clarissa Reeson

  2. Hello Mrs. Yollis,

    I am still incredibly honored that you chose me as your ISTE companion. I'm also grateful for Promethean's generous award to make that possible.

    I had such a great time learning, playing, networking and living in style with you. The evidence supporting the use of gamification was a highlight, as was learning about the power of PLN's. There were several resources I took away, but the most powerful is intangible which is the exchange of ideas, and the growth of my professional network. Even if I don't attend another conference in person again, I can reach use my PLN to continue to grow or do so via online conferences.

    Thank you again Mrs. Yollis for choosing me to join you on this adventure! I hope you have a great rest of your summer.

    Be well,
    Ms. Peyrot

  3. Hi, Linda,

    What an experience ISTE would have been. It's been quite a long time since I attended a conference but at least I have a growing online PLN and presence in classes through blogging.

    One of the great advantages of blogging is you can be a part of classes around the world without leaving your home. We can continue to contribute where we might once have felt isolated. How much great an experience it would have been to have such interactions in my first permanent teaching position in an isolated one teacher school all those years ago. :)

    Ross Mannell


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