Tue 6/26: ISTE report, Day Three
Here’s my report from Tuesday’s sessions:
This annual meeting does not usually produce a lot of thought-provoking content for me, but it is a useful time for networking with colleagues. We independent school educators are such a small minority of the teachers in the world (and at ISTE) that it can sometimes feel rather lonely. It was nice to hear that there are other schools grappling with some of the same issues that Hotchkiss is (Google Apps, 1-1 programs, iPads).
The Many Faces of the Flipped Classroom
This was probably the best session of the day for me. It was a rapid-fire set of panels organized by Aaron Sams and Jon Bergmann, the two “godfathers” of the movement. Like my Sunday session, it was interesting to see that everyone seems to have a different take on what exactly “flipping” means. There were definitely people there who take a more orthodox approach, and then there were other panelists who openly condemned that approach as bad teaching. It was also interesting that Jon said the majority of teachers who express interest in flipping are math and science teachers. It occurred to me in this session that perhaps English teachers have been using the flipped model for years. I mean, the students read the book at home (the new content) and then they discuss it in groups (the processing) the next day. Isn’t that a quintessentially flipped class?
Mobile Devices + Social Media = Engaged and Empowered Learners
In this session, the people behind the Speak Up project presented their findings from their annual survey, this time focused on mobile devices and social media. The moderator presented her slides so fast that I felt I missed a bunch of crucial information. I hope that I can find those slides somewhere else for later consumption. Overall I came away feeling that most technologies can be put to productive use by teachers if they are creative, and it is better to embrace them than it is to ostracize them.
Google Certified Teachers Share: What’s New from Google for Educators?
This was a fun end-of-the-day panel. There were 11 Google Certified Teachers who each presented something cool from Google for about 5 minutes. Some of the things they presented seemed immediately applicable to our Google Apps installation at Hotchkiss. I was particularly interested in the Research feature that is built into Google Docs. The idea of giving students the ability to do quick research right inside a Google Doc seems like an instant win.