Welcome to ASTE 2014!

The theme of the Conference “Nature, Learning, and Technology” comes from a desire to connect students with the natural world, their culture/community, and themselves. The conference this year will explore many ways in which educators and communities are building connections to nature for students.  We so appreciate you coming to the ASTE conference this year to explore our themes of early childhood, distance learning, new Math and English/LA standards,  STREAM, and inquiry-based learning. As you reflect on our theme and what you might get from the Conference, please consider the words from Sunday’s keynote and Hawaiian sailing hero, Nainoa Thompson, in admiration of the skills of his navigation teacher, Mau Piailug:

“Vision is not so much about just looking, but knowing what to look for.”

Conference Highlights:
All the wonderful workshops on Saturday for skill building and Leadership planning on our “Distance Learning Landscape.”
Education Commissioner Mike Hanley will open the Conference at 4:30 PM, welcome state legislators visiting ASTE, and then our Opening Keynote, Dr. Steve Edwards, “Nature, Learning, Technology in 21st Century”
Be sure to drop in the return of the Ice Jam Music event with Skip Via and Chick Beckley, Saturday night at 7:30 PM to stomp your feet and make all the  wild noises only heard at ASTE!
In addition a day full of wonderful session on topics ranging from early childhood to inquiry to 1:1 programs in Hawaii, please check out the Nature & Art room featuring birch tree painting in analog and digital formats with Artist in Residence, Kes Woodward and artist/educator, Chris Selin and Constance Baltuck (Whitby Room) and the Early Childhood Technology Playroom hosted by featured speakers Gail Lovely, Elizabeth Parks, Wendy Warren, Claudia Miner, and EED’s staff (Suite 631). Both are open Sundayand Monday. Stop in and play!
There’s hardly a way to adequately describe the aloha between Alaskans and Hawaiians – especially our love for education, culture and our keiki. ASTE is lucky and grateful to have over a dozen Hawaiian educators, student, parent and leaders joining our Conference this year to present about early childhood, 1:1 programs, place-based learning, inquiry based learning, using probeware, and the Hawaiian Polynesian Voyaging Society’s upcoming worldwide sailing journey guided by Nainoa Thompson and crew. Nainoa is our Sunday afternoon keynote joined by members of his crew, teachers and student supporting the voyage so we can learn along with this amazing journey.
We also welcome Hawaii’s Society for Technology in Education’s (HSTE), President, Mike Travis, PhD, in our annual exchange of ASTE/HSTE Board members to our respective conference. A warm (Alaskan style) Aloha to Mike and HSTE members.
We are also so proud and pleased to welcome our Hawaiian friends with Alaskan culture bearer and elder, David Katzeek, and a sweet, heart warming poem read by Alaska’s Writer Laureate, Nora Dauenhauer, to welcome our Hawaiian neighbors.
Evening – Be sure to check out the Mindcraft Showcase (hosted by Alaskan and Hawaiian educators), a visit to the Apple Store, or the Nature Film “Bears of the Last Frontier” hosted by the Nature and National Geographic film’s maker, Chris Morgan.
There’s no better way to start a Conference themed “Nature, Learning and Technology” than to hear our Keynote speaker, filmmaker, and adventurer, Chris Morgan. We will be greeted by Senator Mark Begich via video, and we proudly give away Red Boucher Scholarships. Monday is full of really wonderful sessions throughout the day and winds down to our gala celebration of the iDidaContest awards Monday evening.
If you have never been or seen our iDidaContest Awards Ceremony, you are in for a real treat. For over 14 years ASTE has promoted and encouraged students and educators to share their stories, photos, songs, and documentaries via digital media. Hosted by iDidaContest Board Chair, John Rusyniak, its a wonderful recognition of the amazing talent our students in the 21st Century. This year’s special emphasis – Nature.
What’s ASTE and Nature without a world class, Alaskan nature artist and our Artist in Residence, Kes Woodward.  Kes will be keynoting Tuesday morning about his art work in nature, his advocacy for art in Denali National Park, and the work at the Art and Nature Room (Whitby Room) done by you!
The day is full of more sessions with topics from the new EED standards, Advocacy and ISTE (Hilary Goldmann), nature and technology and more.
During lunch we will have a fireside Keynote with Richard Nelson, Alaskan naturalist, author, and nature recorder,  joining us from Australia via distance. His work statewide is documented in his regular and very engaging public radio program, Encounters.  Listen to the sounds of wild critters and Richard’s engaging descriptions of their lives and habitats.
We will wrap up the day and Conference will awards, door prizes and our heart-felt appreciation for the amazing folks who support our Conference through their sponsorships and exhibitions that make ASTE what it is…. the most wonderful, longest, and engaging Conference in Alaska.
We look forward to listening, learning, and laughing with you at this year’s Conference. Thanks again for joining us!


  1. The Sunday night Keynote was powerful. Sunday night was truly too many incredible events at the same time.

    For a someone who has worked in Australia, NZ, Northern Minnesota, and Alaska to have everything tied together. I first heard about the possibility of this navigation in New Zealand while working with my Maori Family in 1995. Life does bring everything around.
    I was honored to hear Elder David and Wayfinder Thompson. Thank you. Thank you for caring and presenting everyone with honor and care. I am listening

  2. Erin Wright says

    This is my first year teaching in Alaska and my first ASTE! I have always been skeptical about the overuse of technology, but after being here these past four days, I have seen how powerful a tool it can be for the education of our students and ourselves. I still believe there needs to be a balance, but I am so excited to take some new opportunities back to my kids! We have a lot of work to do, and next year, we are entering the contest!! By the way, where do I go to view the contest winners!

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