The first few days of ISTE were a whirlwind. I got a quick start to the conference with a 7:30 – 11 am workshop with Dell on Sunday. While they were showcasing some of their new technology such as the new Windows 8 Pro tablet, the Latitude 10, the session facilitator tried to keep the focus on teaching practices. I thought he did a good job of getting us to talk to each other, sharing teaching ideas and experiences, and some of the apps he showed were as good as iOS apps. However one thing remains a challenge for the latitude 10, and other tablets, and that is projection. I don’t have a really good solution for wireless projection of a windows tablet yet, but perhaps if anyone out there has a good solution, please let me know.
The ignite speakers that preceded the keynote were excellent. Michelle Cordy taught me how to “hack my classroom” for some out of the box ideas that bring more authenticity to the classroom. I also listened to a video game designer talk about how kids don’t want to be spoon fed instructions in games as learning the game is part of the fun. Also, you can’t just “bolt” fun onto the side of an educational game, and vice versa. People who play games want to learn “through” them, not from them.
The opening keynote featured Jane McGonigal. She spoke about how there are millions and millions of people playing games today, and that game playing is a good thing. What really hit home was what people got out of playing games, such as challenge, feedback, and the joy of an authetic “win”. I wonder how I can make my classroom teaching more game-like? What can I do to inspire kids to try over and over again, and feel that learning is “levelling up?” I was impressed with some of the large scale events Jane facilitated, like getting 500 kids into the NY Public library to write a book in one night as part of a game called “find the future”.
There is something to be said for banner events – and it makes me think I need to create a banner event in my class.
More on ISTE 2013 coming in future posts, including what George Couros taught me about facilitating change in my school, as well as what I could do if I had one iPad in my classroom.