“What is that feeling when you’re driving away from people and they recede on the plain till you see their specks dispersing? —it’s the too-huge world vaulting us, and it’s good-bye. But we lean forward to the next crazy venture beneath the skies.” – Jack Kerouac, On the Road
Massachusetts to Texas
I had to go all the way to Texas to have breakfast with my friend, Bethann Orr (@borr), Director of Technology in Barnstable, MA. Bethann and I run into each other at tech conferences around the state, but this is the first time we met in Texas! Bethann was staying at the famed-for-being-haunted Menger Hotel, so naturally we met there for breakfast. I love hanging out with Bethann to hear about tech life from her perspective as a director. I also loved hearing about what she is looking for at ISTE. We asked the server to take our photo with the hope of seeing ghosts in it later. See any?
See any on this photo of the lobby?
Yeah, me neither.
On the way to the convention center form the Menger Hotel, I stopped in to look at the architecture at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church right across the street. It’s a beautiful church, built in 1870, and literally built around by a shopping mall in the 1940s.
So of course I was curious to see what it looked like on the inside. With it’s elegant vaulting and flying buttresses, it is Gothic in style and beautiful to behold. I’m glad I took a moment to step inside.
Tools for Every Phase of the Project Cycle
Post ghost and beautiful church, I was back at ISTE for Tools for Every Phase of the Project Cycle with Suzie Boss (@suzieboss), Myla Lee (@MyTLee3) and Jane Krauss (@jkrauss).
Right away the presenters had all 150 of us in audience collaborating on a Google Doc:
And using the app, Today’s Meet, to communicate with each other about our ideas for project based learning. I was fascinating to work this way and witness so many ideas being generated at the same time.
The presenters then outlined the steps through the project based learning process.
They provided a great list of phases of the tech tools that were mentioned:
Sparking Interest – Kahoot!
Question Finding, Problem-Posing – ArcView, TuVa
Research – Diigo, Google Alerts
Working with Experts – Twitter, Google +, Hangouts
Teamwork – Google Docs, Google Sites, SMS
Field Work – Phone cameras and video, STEM apps for gathering data
Project Management – Today’s Meet, Padlet, Trello
Constructing, Refining, Presenting Artifacts of Learning – Evernote Suite, Weebly, QR Codes
Reflecting – Periscope, Edublogs and youth publishing sites like Youth Voices
Knights of Make-A-Lot: Third Times the Charm
My last official session at ISTE17 was Knights of Make-A-Lot: Third Times the Charm with Josh Ajima (@DesignMakeTeach), Diana Rendina (@DianaLRendina), Robert Pronovost (@pronovost), and Sarah Emerson (@gatethird). I enjoy seeing how others are incorporating 3D printing in their programs and this was a nice showcase. One project stood out as something my colleague, Jon Hansen (@MrHansenArt) might consider as he gets his feet wet with 3D printing in the 7th & 8th art classroom. Through a grant he is acquiring a gum ball machine (for which I am sure he has an awesome plan) yet may be interested in this project Josh showed where his students designed small trinkets to be 3D printed and then inserted into plastic gum ball containers for dispersement. How fun is this for a middle school?
It was also validating to see Robert Pronovost sharing Thinking Routines from Agency by Design (@AgencybyDesign) that I had shared in my We R Makers presentation just three days earlier. I’m glad to see the work of Project Zero Classroom’s Agency by Design become widespread.
ISTE is intense. The quantity of sessions and presentations is intense. The Poster sessions fill giant lobbies and hallways and can keep you busy for an entire afternoon as you weave your way through them and talk with people along the way. The keynotes are compelling and the Ignite sessions are fast and fascinating. You find yourself constantly checking the ISTE mobile app to see what your plans are, only to spot something else that looks interesting and try to then accomplish both sessions during the same time slot. This is the reason we did not make it to the Expo hall until the last day of ISTE, in the afternoon. And it closed at 2:00.
That, and because I wasn’t in the market for anything in particular as I had been last year when I was looking to purchase at least one more 3D printer for the classroom. Last year I visited every 3D printer company who had a booth at ISTE and upon returning home, decided to purchase printers from two vendors I had spoken with in the Expo Hall. This year I wanted to visit their booths and thank them for a solid year of 3D printing. I also wanted to thank the tech support people who had been a big help throughout the year for various reasons. When you buy a product like a 3D printer, you are also establishing a relationship with the vendor and their support team. I value these relationships and am grateful for quick answers in the middle of a dense printing period.
Because of ISTE’s excellent vendor directory in the mobile app, it was easy to find the Polar3D booth (@Polar3D) and the New Matter booth (@newmatter), which were the two vendors I had purchased printers from last year. It was great to put faces with telephone and email voices! Bill from Polar3D was showing a cool new printer that prints on a conveyor belt. Polar3D collaborated with PrintrBot (@printrbot) to develop this game changer:
I also checked in at the MakerBot booth (@makerbot) because my first 3D printer is a MakerBot Replicator II, which I received for free through a grant almost four years ago. I am a MakerBot ambassador for the MakerBot for Education program. It was great to see what this company is up to and I look forward to the day when I can purchase one of their newer models as a lot has changed in four years. I was especially impressed by the castle in this photo and cannot wait to show my 6th grade students when they begin castle design during the next school year:
Of course none of our classroom 3D printing would be possible without design apps in our 1:1 iPad school. The next stop was at the Morphi booth (@morphiapp) which the app developer, Sophia, was sharing with MatterHackers (@MatterHackers) and Ultimaker (@Ultimaker). I had seen Sophia earlier in the week, and it was good to see her in the Expo Hall and to meet her partners there.
We took a little longer at the Expo Hall, but vendors were starting to pack up. One product that I really liked is the PadCaster (@PadCaster) mobile production studio for iPads. This is a pretty slick idea that makes a lot of sense to me. I could see my students sharing their commercials for our game design unit with videos made with PadCaster.
As we left the Expo Hall fully satiated with technology for education on so many levels, there was a little sadness that the “too-huge” world of ISTE was over, yet we were excited at the next crazy adventure on which we were about to embark.
We had one more night left in San Antonio to see the things we had not yet seen. We decided to visit the San Antonio Museum of Art, and I’m so glad we did. The museum has a nice assortment of art from around the world from a variety of time periods, including a Copley (feels like home) and some bold contemporary art. What I love about visiting art museums in cities around the US is the regional art you find that you won’t see elsewhere. For example, there is a wonderful collection of earthenware tableaus by Mexican folk artists including Candelano Medrano, whose work brings me back to a visit to the Museum of International Folk Art in Sante Fe, NM eleven years ago.
This art inspired a multilevel collaboration (read about it here) at my school ten years ago as we created a world map upon which we placed tableaus of early civilizations and first peoples:
Here are some close-ups of Medrano’s work:
Another beautiful object at the museum is an archway outside in the courtyard. I was drawn to it by the mosaic work. I fell in love with it because of the peacocks:
Art-fulfilled for a little while, we left the museum, but not before spotting this mural at the rear of the parking lot:
Back at the hotel, we realized there was a swimming pool. It is over the road (literally) on an outcropping of the hotel on the fourth floor. It overlooks the convention center on one side and downtown San Antonio on the other side.
And suddenly there were bagpipes:
Awesome it was, but restful it was not! Nonetheless, with the heat in San Antonio, it was refreshing to chill in the pool. And then we went into our last night in San Antonio, savoring everything detail because we knew we were leaving in the morning.
From here we would drive to Bandera, the self-proclaimed Cowboy Capital of the World, for some rest and relaxation.
And for this:
And a rodeo:
And some quiet restful peace:
The next morning, duly “cowboyed up”, we pulled out of Bandera to spend 24 hours in Austin before flying home. I wish we had more time in Austin, and I wish I had planned ahead to catch some quality music events there. Next time!
We flew out of Austin at 6:00 pm and were wheels down at Logan airport by 11:30 pm. And it was over. We loved it. Every bit of it – from frenetic ISTE to “mutton bustin” in Bandera to Sunday brunch in Austin. It has taken a few weeks to reflect on the experience through these blog posts. In pulling together photos and notes to write the posts, I feel like I am “wringing out” the moments to turn them into memories. I am still processing the information learned and evaluating how I will apply the ISTE experience during the 2017/2018 school year. Until then there is summer to enjoy with gardens to tend and road trips to lovely places, because…: “The road must eventually lead to the whole world.” ― Jack Kerouac, On the Road