This is my second ISTE Conference. The first one doesn't really count, because you have no clue what to really do, except find sessions with catchy titles, stay in a session the whole time so the speaker doesnt feel bad, and walk the vendor floor. I came to #ISTE13 with 3 goals. How to utilize iPads, Google Apps, and most important of all how to not superficially use technology in education to take focus off of the real challenge.
How to make education meaningful.
As an educator who is in the process of transitioning a school's technology culture from a front row facing computer lab to a dynamic mobile environment, I have to be careful not to just stimulate, but to innovate. I know it sounds cliché, as the conference was filled with the buzz words we all know and love, but I really am not looking to compete with the cool factor of technology, the hype and excitement of some tech fad that will be gone in a few months or years.
The opening keynote at #ISTE13 was on the topic of "Gamification", which Jane McGonigal artfully broke down into a meaningful and achievable way to engage, well– anyone. The entire talk was truly invigorating, experimental, empowering (here we go with the buzz words) but the one thing that really blew my mind was what I felt was the mission of an educator. A theme of the conference was the idea of a teacher vs. a facilitator. Students, or anyone for that matter do not need to listen to a person share information with them, when that information can easily be found under 30 seconds via google.com or wikipedia.org. Educators now are meant to teach students how to find that information and then guide them in a meaningful way to learn not the information itself but how it will enable them to become a smarter, better, faster, stronger individual. This is where Jane's words come back into the picture (note: this entire paragraph flashed in my head when she said the following words.) Educators are meant to create–
super inspired hopeful individuals
When I heard these words, my entire mission as an educator changed. My students are smart and have amazing potential, the same thing can be said about many others, including myself. We all need to share with each other because if we can guide our students to such a level, they will bring us with them.
Stay tuned for #ISTE13 Pt. II