ISTE 2017 in San Antonio was filled with learning new educational trends, networking with great educators, and sharing the successes of my students in Kansas. Monday began with the IGNITE session. I shared my passions about global collaboration and shared several global projects that my students had participated in this year through Skype in the Classroom. I then shared why global collaboration is important for students, as well as for society as a whole. In part, it exposes students to other people, points-of-view, and culture, and helps them develop empathy. That in turn, makes the world a safer place by breaking down the barriers of fear, ignorance, and the unknown.
After the IGNITE session, I held a Mystery Skype poster session with two other teachers. Many people stopped by our table eager to learn more about how using Skype and doing mystery Skypes can help students academically and socially. We were able to introduce teachers to all that Skype in the Classroom has to offer students and the many doors it can help open. I then hosted a Skype in the Classroom virtual field trip to Yellowstone National Park in the Microsoft Experience room. It was great to see the expression on the audience members’ faces who were experiencing a Skype virtual field trip for the first time. Later, I spoke at the Buncee booth about how Buncee and Kidblog can be used for student assessments and as a way to communicate with parents.
Tuesday morning I gave a presentation on alternative student assessments. I shared many student examples and discussed why it is important to give students more voice and choice and creativity when assessing what they know on a topic or standard. Overall, ISTE 2017 was a great way to gather new ideas and talk with various education technology companies and vendors. I will take many new ideas with me into next school year!