Last year, I sat on the edge of my dinning room chair, anxiously following ISTE 2011 Conference in Philadelphia via twitter. I wanted to be there so badly! Fortunately, through the remote sessions, I was able to learn a lot and found some cool people to follow on twitter. So, when I found out the conference this year would be in San Diego, so close to my house, I signed up to go right away.
I had huge expectations for ISTE 2012, and I wasn't disappointed. I learned about SketchUp and how to create it to design a 3D model of a house, complete with a raised roof, window, and door. I took a class on how to make Google Treks, interactive maps, for literature and social studies projects. I also learned to make and use QR codes to share student work.
Most of all, I learned more about the kind of teacher I want to be. I learned more about who I want my students to be when they grow up.
One of the best things at ISTE was the students who presented their projects In Poster Sessions outside the Exhibition Hall. I met 4th graders from the east coast who taught me how they make daily podcasts that are broadcast at school and on their website. The little girl who explained the process to me was articulate, confident, and knowledgable. I was so impressed! Another group of high school girls from a private school in Mexico showed me how they started a Facebook campaign to collect food for those in need. The young presenter spoke in fluent English and showed us a YouTube video they had made to drum up support for their cause. I also ran into first graders who drew a monster, wrote a written description of it, and then shared their descriptions with a class in Turkey to see if those students could draw the monster from the description. How great is it that these first graders have an authentic audience in another country!
As I move forward, I will take what I learned at ISTE and apply that to my teaching. My focus will not be on tech tools or toys. It will be on creating confident, knowledgable, creative thinkers and doers. My focus will be on students.