ISTE 2011 Virtually: Day 0-1

Unfortunately, I am unable to attend ISTE 2011 in person this year but that doesn’t mean that I can’t learn and participate in the conference from home virtually. Many of the educators in my PLN are in Philadelphia at ISTE 2011 and are freely sharing what they are learning on Twitter, Plurk and on their blogs and via other Web2.0 tools. This has meant that I can join in on the fun virtually from my living room or office or bedroom or wherever I have access to a computer and here is just some of what I’ve learned so far.

Saturday, June 25th:

Had I been in Philadelphia, I would definitely have been at EduBloggerCon enjoying the conversations of the day. I, however, did some chores and ran some errands while I followed the tweets from EduBloggerCon. I was not at a computer for the Web2.0 Smackdown which was one of the streamed events from EduBloggerCon. Lucky for me though I can check out the list from the EduBloggerCon ISTE 2011 Web 2.0 Smackdown – looks like some fun sites were shown. I was able to attend part of the Keynote Smackdown later in the day and had the privilege of hearing from some amazing people. I loved Tammy Worchester‘s Quiz Bowl with Google Forms to collect answers from the audience. Kevin Honeycutt‘s reminder that we can’t cut off the digital limbs of our students by cutting off their access to their devices was very powerful. The theme of our students and the influence they can have on our world was inspiring from many of the Keynote Smackdown participants. I’m so glad I got to actually “be there” for much of this and appreciate all the Steve Hargadon gives to the edtech community.

Sunday, June 26th:

Lots of activity on the twitter stream today with the kickoff to ISTE 2011. I started my day by watching the ISTE Music Video below and checking out some of the resources posted on Live Binders by Nedra Isenberg and by Bonnie Feather.

As the day went on, I read the tweets and plurks about the ISTE 2011 Kickoff and was so happy to be able to congratulate Amanda Marrinan, who I had the privilege to meet last year, on receiving the Kay L. Bitter Award this year. You can see Amanda get her award in the ISTE 2011 Conference Kickoff Video at minute 36:

The most interesting part of the day was trying to follow the Opening Keynote on Twitter. Now, I read fast but the messages sped by at more than one per second. It was impossible to keep up but I was happy to see that, for the most part, the messages were positive and that people were enjoying this year’s keynote speaker, Dr. John Medina who is the author of the book Brain Rules. Even though I wasn’t getting most of the keynote and didn’t actually hear the speaker, I was intrigued enough to want to buy the book. Luckily I did see the tweets that said that Amazon had the Kindle version of Brain Rules on sale for $2.99 – for that price I had to get it and am looking forward to having the time to read it. You don’t have a Kindle? Neither do I but I do have a Kindle app for both my computer and my iPod Touch!

Lucky for me (and for you), the Opening Keynote is now available on ISTE’s Video Channel on YouTube.

As I watched this, I made a note of the things that made me think:

  • “The human brain appears to have been designed to solve problems related to surviving in outdoor conditions in unstable
    meteorological conditions and to do so in near constant motion. If you want to design a learning environment that was directly opposed to what the brain is naturally good at doing, you’d design a frickin’ classroom.”
  • Dr. Medina compared the human brain to roads where at the level of the Interstate Highways all of our brains are wired the same and at the level of State Highways our brains are still mostly similar but at the level of boulevards and alley ways, there are massive differences. “All of human learning occurs in the alleyways & boulevards.” You have to create a database and it must be memorized. Almost as soon as you have memorized something, you have to be given the opportunity to improvise off of it in order for the learning to become solid in the alleyways & boulevards. Any school system (or education environment) that only emphasizes one or the other is failing the human brain and we are n danger of creating robots or kids that can only play air guitar.
  • “The emotional stability of the home is the greatest predictor of success.” If there is emotional instability, executive functions are reduced. Executive functions can be increased from 20-102% with regular aerobic exercise. Dr. Medina’s perfect classroom would have aerobic workouts with islands of learning.
  • The Atlantic Monthly asked the question Is Google Making Us Stupid? Dr. Medina says we don’t know what technology is doing to the brain – yes, it’s changing the brain but everything changes the brain. We don’t know what the long term effects will be because we don’t have any long term data. One thing that we do know is that shining a blue light into your eyes just before you go to bed, disrupts cryptochromes which can affect sleep.

Lots to digest and I’m sure there will be more after I read Brain Rules.

Now, I’m on to planning the rest of my ISTE 2011 experience which will include:

Won’t you join me? How will you experience ISTE 2011?