Wednesday, August 08, 2012

It was WOOFINGLY good!

So – what was so great about ISTE?

As the Bearded Dog settles back into his usual kennel, having rinsed the final traces of San Diego sea-sand and sea-air from his hair (what is left of it) and his lungs, the question remains – what was so great about ISTE. What lessons will the dog apply this year, what skills gained and what knowledge acquired.


Without doubt, the best part of ISTE for the dog was the opportunity to meet then strangers who are now friends. As the dog always says – a stranger is simply a friend to be. And what are friends if not people of whom to take advantage? In a good way of course!

The dog considers himself to be very fortunate to have met and befriended so many wonderful people not only from the Avichai Contingency, but from the real world too. And – one of the best parts of ISTE, the “BoF” (Birds of a Feather) sessions allowed the dog to meet real people who are dealing with real Ed Tech challenges in real schools. (In the way that the dog imagines himself to be doing too!)

The dog considers himself to be “ok” with Moodle. But – as a result of ISTE, the dog has at least three real people – all of whom live in an imaginary world, with whom he can discuss Moodle questions, challenges and stumbling blocks. If ISTE provided nothing other than this – the dog would have left San Diego happily.

But what – like the Shamwow – there’s more!

The dog met many of the people who actually write – or wrote the books. Real live human beings who, up until then, existed only in the Dog’s cyber-imagination. Sir Ken Robinson (much better in the Dog’s imagination – BTW), Steve Hargadon, Karen Kator, Professor Michael Fullan, Dr Avraham Kadar (founder of Brainpop) and so many more…

ISTE offered the dog a chance to meet and interact with giants in their field.

Then, a highlight for the dog was the opportunity to participate in a real live panel on the last day of the conference.

The dog responded to a request from the Twitterverse and before you could say, “Fetch that juicy bone…” the dog had been invited to join a panel discussion around the idea of Social Media in Schools.

Arrrff! – The irony is that this very topic was reason that the Dog wanted to come to ISTE in the first place.

Led by Steve Hargadon of; Classroom 2.0; Twitter, Google+; Facebook etc fame, the panel offered its opinions on the use of Social Media in schools – and then faced questions from the audience.

The dog had a thoroughly enjoyable experience.

And learned that any one of us could be on the panel, could be on Twitter, Facebook, etc. The dog learned that, in fact – so many of the “experts” were and are ‘chalk-face’ teachers.  Actually, perhaps the correct term is SmartBoard Face Teachers. But – whatever the term, teachers who stretched themselves just a little bit and began to create a cyber presence for themselves.

Inspiring stuff!

And so the challenge remains – the dog hopes to share his experiences with his colleagues, students, faculty and community and build shared learning networks of individuals who, like those at ISTE, stretched themselves a little – and gained so much more in return!