Saturday, July 11, 2015

ISTE 2015 Day Three

It's already been a week since ISTE2015.

Memory from a week ago is already getting a little hazy. I need to blog as soon as possible when I go out to these conferences since there is no purpose in attending these if I forget everything I learned.

Some of my friends who participated in the 5k wanted to do a scenic bike ride at 6am on the third day. But I am one of those unfortunate ones who never learned how to ride a bicycle and I really wanted to attend one of those #CoffeeEdu sessions that I see so often on Twitter. So I went solo.

It was nerve-wrecking to get a Uber by myself. But I did it and the experience was quite pleasant. I learned that if the driver ranks lower than a 4.7, he gets kicked out of the Uber business. So unless the driver really sucks, give him a rating of 5 and allow him to put bread on his table.

CoffeeEdu with Alice Keeler and Jon Corippo was at 6am at 1500 Market St in Philadelphia. There were so many people in small groups that I felt uncomfortable leaving my little group of 5 to move onto another group. My precious find in this session was Steven Isaacs. He is a game design teacher. He uses 3D Game Lab as a platform and gamifies his lessons. I have decided on this day that I will use 3D Game Lab to gamify my summer session that will start July 13. I already signed up. It's going to cost me $10 a month for 175 concurrent students. I am currently being trained on COPPA (Child Online Protection and Privacy Act) on 3D game lab as I write this blog. More on this will come in another blog post. I learned that Steven had a session on the last day of ISTE. Of course I decided I'm going to attend that one. Steven was easy to approach and easy to talk to. He was the first one I met that I liked without knowing that he is an active presenter. But wait. How did I find Steven in that Starbucks crowded with people? I talked to people. I talked about the topics I am interested in. Global connection, gamification, blended learning and vertical classroom. And this one woman said, "Oh! I have someone you wanna meet!" And she took me to him. My advice to you out there, if you are shy like me, is to just talk to random people about what you are interested in. Then you'll get your connections. You are only weird if you shut up and stand by yourself in the corner.

When I returned to my hotel, I learned that Jon Corippo was at CoffeeEdu through Twitter. The one that I was in. But I didn't see Jon. So I had to demand that I see him. I have been bugging Jon to meet up with me and share his wisdom one-on-one since the day I heard this podcast by Adnan Iftekhar. He finally gave in on my third day at ISTE. He gave me a few hours. Basically, my third day was all about CoffeeEdu and Jon. I didn't get to walk into any of my sessions. AND THAT WAS TOTALLY FINE. :)

Shadowing Jon was great. He told me to come visit him in Room 103 in the morning. I thought he was presenting in there. I was wrong. The room was almost empty. There was some kind of podcast going on. We took a picture together first. Then he went on his interview. I didn't understand anything he said. But whatever it is, I told him I want in. It sounded like he was talking about training teachers to use some cool recording software for students. Later I learned it was a podcast with Wirecast. I like having my students create video tutorials so this sounded cool. Then there were more meetings. I heard words like "future ready" and "reporters". People kept stopping Jon to say hi as we walked the hallways for him to get to his meetings. I learned two things while walking with Jon:

  1. Don't randomly stop people cuz I think they are fabulous.
  2. Forget my first lesson and stop them anyway to give them a hug since they are used to it *wink*

I think Jon felt bad for me. He told me he'll have lunch with me! We went to the Reading Terminal to pick up food. He shared his wisdom while eating with me on the steps at the convention center. I don't know what I can share and what I cannot. He shared so much that I'm still processing. He asked me what I think about education right now. I answered. He asked me what I think about teaching math. I answered. He asked about my district. I answered. We talked about charter schools. We talked about wanting change in traditional schools. We talked about blended learning. We talked about 360math. We talked about Bootstrap in math classrooms. We talked about Dan Myer's 3 Act Math Tasks. We talked about deadlines. We talked about grades. We talked about homework. I honestly don't want to share what I learned from Jon here. I want to keep it with me.

But hey, I do want to share this about Jon. Jon is one of those guys you want as a mentor. I put a smiley face and gave him what I thought were answers I needed to give him in the beginning. But he was straight forward. He didn't do fluffy talk. My face turned serious as I listened to him. He eats fast. Soon the time he allotted me expired and he had to go. I am grateful. Thank you, Jon.

It was already 2 or so when Jon left for yet another meeting. I stayed at one of the cafes to process and blog about my second day. Then I joined my District folks to go to the Philadelphia baseball game. Don't ask me who Philadelphia was playing against. I don't know anything about baseball. There was a storm. The game started an hour and 30 minutes late. So I was a little grumpy and scared because we took the subway and there was lightning when we arrived at the stadium. But it was only my second time at a baseball stadium and the memories created that evening will be something I'll never forget. The subway felt like me exploring gamification and 3D Gamelab - exciting, scary and new. The baseball game with the lightning mimicked my feelings about traditional schools and math classrooms - gloomy and rainy but still something I wanna stay in and experience.

So for this blogpost, I want to leave you with this. I know you want what's best for your students. If you have children, I know you want what's best for your children. How do you feel about education in traditional schools? How would you teach if you were the teacher of your own children? Now what do you want to change in your classroom? What else can you do outside your classroom to make change happen? You see? You and I, we are the only ones who can make change happen. Would you kindly contact me if you are at the forefront of changing education for the better? I'm always looking for mentors and partners. Let's do this!

Monday, July 6, 2015

ISTE2015 Day TWO

Philadelphia Art Museum

I started Day Two right. I participated in the ISTE 5k with Josh Stumpenhorst. In addition to that, I got three other friends from my District to go with me. The 5k was at 6:30am so we had to use Uber.

Want to know about Uber? Click here. It's like a taxi but better since I get to see where the car is, who my driver is and my estimated fare before I even get in the car.

The course was beautiful.  More than 200 runners showed up at the "Rocky Steps" in front of the Philadelphia Art Museum. My friends and I had fun taking pictures and videos of each other running up the steps like Rocky.

Remember how I mentioned that I recruited three other friends from my district for the 5k? Well, guess which one out of the four didn't complete the entire course? Yup. That would be me. I just couldn't go up those steps in the middle of the course. I'm not talking about the "Rocky Steps". I'm talking about another set of scary steps right smack in the middle of the scenic trail. I waited for my friends and took pictures of them instead.

Other than the early morning exercise, the beautiful view and the "Rocky Steps", this activity made me feel like I belong at ISTE. It also made me realize that there are many people out there who enjoy the things I enjoy. I just have to find them. And what a great day we live in. We can use technology to connect with other people with similar interest. Josh Stumpenhorst extended an invitation to the attendees of ISTE2015 to join him so he can run with a few friends and more than 300 signed up. He announced that he had to change the venue because of the large number of signups. He estimated less than 20 participants would show up.

After that, we returned to the Convention Center and took our District photo at 9:45am. The "ASK ME" person was so friendly. She agreed to take our District photo. Her name was Louis, I think.

It was already 11am when I finally walked into my first session with Josh Sheldon on creating Android Apps using MIT App Inventor. It went on for only about 30 minutes. I really liked this session because I learned that there is a college board approved AP Computer Science Principles course ready to start in the 2016-17 school year. Click on this link for more information.

In addition to that, I got a link for more training for myself. I started coding club after the "Hour of Code" event inspired by Hadi Partovi and my high school students quickly got interested in creating apps. Here are the links.

My ultimate goal is to eventually integrate coding into the traditional math classrooms, but for now, I'm learning to code myself through my coding club.

I felt REALLY good about my learning.

During my lunch hour, I bumped into Sam Patterson (left) and I was really excited when he said that he intends on working with me so our students can interact with each other. He serves at a private school and I at a public school. It will be interesting to see how our students interact and learn from each other. I'm super excited about this one, but forgot to tweet about my excitement along with this picture and I worry Sam forgot what he said to me. Oh, this picture is me introducing Sam to my co-worker Erik. Erik ran the 5k with me earlier in the morning and was in the fastest group in the picture above. Erik started teaching a Technology course last year and is pumped up about coding and other things. Sam, being who he is, was super nice and was talking to my friend about things I didn't pay attention to cuz I was taking the dark picture above.

Developing the Innovator's Mindset was my next session by George Couros. I tweeted out notes from this session. If you've ever been to any of George's sessions, you will know that he will never disappoint. The picture I posted above from his session link is the main point. But describing his session is unnecessary here since if you look him up online, there's tons and tons of information. And as you already know by now, the only reason I would go to any session is either to learn more about the presenter or to have a conversation with one to connect in person or both. So of course I stayed after the session. He is the division principal in Canada. He was in a hurry. He had a plane to catch. And some sales lady kept on holding him. I seriously wanted to push her away to the Nether in Minecraft. I finally got him and asked if he can introduce me to math teachers in Canada since I want feedback on my students' math tutorials from students outside of the United States. He was like, "Why don't you just tweet me the link? I'll share it with the world!" George is just so refreshing. Thank you George. There are reasons why certain presenters have many followers. They are good during the presentation, but they're even better in person.

My last session for the day was with Bob Lochel. If you are a math teacher, you hunger for math content sessions. I already use Desmos in my classroom, but I wanted to meet Bob in person. He is an AP Statistics teacher in Philadelphia, so it will be quite silly to come all the way to Philadelphia for ISTE2015 and not meet up with Bob. I don't like the blurry picture above, but he was moving around the room the whole time (signs of a great teacher), so I couldn't get a better one. I know I will see him again in California for TMC2015 towards the end of July, but I wanted to say hi so I will feel more comfortable when I see him again and ask silly questions about statistics that is so common sense to him. Just so you know, common core now includes Probability and Statistics in the regular high school math pathways and a lot of teachers are re-learning these two subjects. I am finding joy in Statistics and I think math can be more fun thanks to Statistics. But I do need people smarter than I to show me the way to Statistics fun in the classroom, so Bob is a great resource for me. During his session, I learned that mapping equations to pictures is difficult. And that his student video tutorial is really great. Below is my two equations that map onto the green hat. That was all I can do during the few minutes Bob allowed us to play around. I can see my students learning so much from this. Bob is a friendly guy. I can't wait to talk to him again later this month at TMC2015.

After my last session with Bob, I joined my district friends and went on a walking trip to see the Liberty Bell. That was a lot of fun. I won't elaborate. ISTE is fun when you have great friends to hang out with.

As I write my last sentence I realize it's already July 6. I still want to blog about my third and fourth day at ISTE2015 for my own reflection, but I wonder when it will finally get done.

Oh well, ISTE was so great. So great that I still want to continue writing about my experience even though by now there is no audience for it but myself. If you get a chance, if your District is willing to support you, please attend ISTE next year. I know for sure I will be lobbying with my district so I can attend next year. Have a great evening! Day 3 and 4 will be coming... hopefully soon.