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:
- Don't randomly stop people cuz I think they are fabulous.
- 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!