Several ASTE members attended the ISTE conference in Atlanta in June. Past President Mary Wegner, ASTE President Thérèse Ashton, President Elect Bill Burr, Past President Mark Standley, ASTE member and credit course Instructor Tammy Morris, and ASTE member and past Treasurer Cheryl Bobo were some of our members there. They sent in their impressions of this event to share.
Mary: ISTE2014 was a buzz with advocacy activities hoping to influence the FCC’s proposed modernization of the E-Rate program. Therese Ashton, ASTE President, pictured with Dr. Trina Davis, ISTE Past-President, tweeted this picture in support of raising the E-Rate cap. In addition to tweeting pictures to FCC Chairman Wheeler, ISTE circulated a petition that received over 1,500 signatures, which was presented to FCC Commissioner Rosenworcel at the closing keynote. To learn more about the FCC E-Rate modernization plans, visit http://www.fcc.gov/document/fcc-modernizes-e-rate-expand-robust-wi-fi-schools-libraries and http://www.iste.org/advocacy/public-policy/e-rate.
Bill: The ISTE Buzz was the vast expansion of platform agnostic tools in technology. The movement toward use any device available to create interest in the classroom was the word from the attendees. Vastly different technology is available from schools across the country but classrooms are using what they have to vastly change the educational landscape. Online testing requirements has caused many districts to completely rethink how technology is used in classrooms. Many classrooms are losing precious computers to “testing centers” that are filled with students “practicing for the test”.
Mark: The ISTE organization has moved from “SIG” (special interest group) to “PLN” (personal learning network). There are over 25 PLN’s within ISTE all run by ISTE members and focused on special topics of interest to members. This year’s PLN 1:1 focused on sharing the 1to1 Guidebook authored by Alaskan researchers AND guidebooks from Hawaii and Los Angeles Unified SD. The emphasis on guidebooks is to create shared vision and action plans/policy using research in Alaska and across the Lower ’48. Be sure to become an ISTE member and check out if there’s a PLN that would appeal to your professional interests.
Tammy & Cheryl:
Cheryl Bobo, Ellen Hannon, and I attended the 10th Annual Online Learning Institute on the last day of ISTE 2014. We benefited greatly from the variety of topics addressed by the multitude of attendees from all over the world. We all have the same questions and concerns and appreciate the sharing of ideas related to improving online and blended learning for both students and facilitators. The connections with other online course facilitators from across the US and other parts of the world provide powerful opportunities to further the impact of online and blended learning in Alaska. Some of the topics discussed:
- Using Gamification and Virtual Environments as Professional Development Tools for Online and Blended Learning
- Essential Elements of Online Course Design
- Making the Most of Interactive and Collaborative Web 2.0 Tools to Improve Student Engagement in Online Learning Across Timezones
- Effective Strategies for Engaging and Motivating Online Learners
- Blended Learning for Meeting the Next Generation Science Standards in Primary Grades
- Finding the Right LMS
Cheryl was also very impressed with vendors. It was great to be able to talk with them in person about the most up to date resources and hardware.
ASTE would like to organize a group to attend ISTE 2015 in Philadelphia. As an organized group we can take advantage of ISTE’s affiliate housing rates and opportunities to network while in Philadelphia. Consider being part of our 2015 entourage, and contact Genie Siedler if you are planning to attend ISTE 2015.