Wednesday, July 5, 2017

ISTE Reflection

I had the pleasure of attending ISTE this year in San Antonio, Texas. What a great learning experience as well as an opportunity to connect and collaborate with educators from all over the world! Here are some of my favorite takeaways.

While I love hearing speakers outside of education, it is always inspiring to hear from one of our own. Jennie Magiera, former Teacher and now Chief Technology Director from Chicago told us a story of … well, story.  This heartfelt talk took us chapter by chapter as we were reminded of who we are as educators, why we do what we do, how we tell our story, and the importance of sharing our story with the world. She reminded us how we as educators connect with our profession as if it is part of our being. She says, “because being an educator is now what I do, it is who I am.”
"Teachers can help you be your whole self" - Jennie Magiera
She challenged us to “go out and think about the story that you have to tell.” “Inspire students to grow and be better versions of us and themselves. Go find those stories and set them free!”

I was truly motivated by the talk and think you will be too! Read more from ISTE - Teachers are Wizards and you can watch the Keynote here.

Interactive displays
Apple Education set up the most amazing interactive display!
A blank board became a crowd sourced piece of art! Throughout the conference, attendees documented their learning with images by tweeting their image with the hashtag  #ForTheLoveofLearning. After 3,200 tweets, a mosaic piece of art was formed, built from the love of learning of ISTE attendees.
In front of the Apple #ForTheLoveOfLearning wall
Permission to use image granted by Jen Roble

For the Love of Learning
Permission to use photo granted by Apple Education
Screen Shot 2017-07-02 at 9.16.42 AM.pngHard to believe this display is made up of 3,200 images of passionate educators!

For more information visit Apple Education at @AppleEDU. You can watch the time-lapse video here!

Conference rooms
In addition to the interactive displays, many of the conference rooms modeled flexible learning spaces, a new push for our classrooms of today. Michael Hernandez, Media Arts teacher shared his thoughts as well as these images from a session he attended.

Michael says “A space like this allows for multiple collaborative spaces, as well direct instruction and the variety of furniture options lets participants choose a place that best suits their task or mood. The idea behind a learning space like this is that the environment is adaptable to the needs of the learner at that moment. This is an extension of the idea that we need to create a personalized, student centered curriculum.” He asks “Where do you best learn, research, or have conversations about new ideas and problem solving? It is probably not in rows of desks but rather in a coffee house or similar informal space that is physically and psychologically comfortable.”  Michael Hernandez @cinehead

Teachers learning from Michael Hernandez
Permission to use photo granted by Michael Hernandez

Teachers working at a variety of table types and spaces
Permission to use photo granted by Michael Hernandez

Last but not least, the sessions. Because of my leadership role in San Diego Unified School District, I focused my efforts on coaching sessions and learning how best to integrate instructional technology teachers into student centered coaching cycles. One of my favorite sessions was “The Joy of Professional Learning.”  This session was modeled on a cookbook of recipes used to facilitate professional learning. In an effort to move away from the sit and get PD, these activities get participants talking, moving and making their own understanding of material. Funny… isn’t that what we want for our students? Too often we don’t see that with today’s professional learning. This group of fabulous educators created multiple free books on the iBooks Store to help guide you when implementing engaging activities with your department, PLC, school, or district.

The Joy of Professional Learning

Teachers working together at a table

Last but not least, I had the pleasure of co-presenting with John Berray from Grossmont Union High School District. Our ‘Bring Your Own Device’ session was full of fun loving math teachers and technology coaches. We explored Desmos Teacher activities and taught teachers how to make their own! Desmos activities at are excellent tools for supporting math teachers in implementing student centered learning.

John Berray and Julie Garcia

You can view our presentation below. Make sure you go to the end, where it says Path 1 and Path 2. There are several resources for you to use with your math teams!

Path 1 and Path 2 with Desmos

Overall my ISTE experience was a complete success. Even more important than the Keynotes, interactive displays, cool rooms, and sessions, were the connections I was able to make with educators from all over the world. Talking, learning, and collaborating with like minded educators is what continues to drive me to be an educator, because as Jennie said, teaching is not what I do, it is who I am. ISTE helped me be a better me!

See you all at the SDCUE Tech Fair!

Julie Garcia

Julie Garcia spent 20 years as math teacher and technology advocate. In a 1:1 iPad take home program, she implemented the flipped classroom and project based learning while adhering to State Standards. She recently served as a technology resource teacher for San Diego Unified School district where she supported teachers and schools as they move toward a 1:1 environment. Her current role is Program Manager of Instructional Technology for San Diego Unified School District where she works with district leadership on thoughtful integration of technology. She is an Apple Distinguished Educator and has three publications in iTunes U. She has presented at SDCUE, CUE in Palm Springs, SXSW, and ISTE.

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