Wednesday, June 24, 2015

#ISTE2015 Before During After - the 411 So You Don't 911


ISTE is BIG. It's easy to get overwhelmed.  

Here are my tips for newbies on the PRE-DURING-POST ISTE Experience:


Pre-ISTE - getting to ISTE early is worth it!
  • HACK ED 15 Event Saturday, June 27th, 2015 from 8:00am - 4:00pm at the Pennsylvania Convention Center (113BC) use hashtags: #hacked15 or #hackeducation Expand your brain - great ideas and conversations all day long organized by great brains like @AudreyWatters and @SteveHargadon - you don't have to go all day (especially if you are going to our iPad workshop - see shameless self promotion below) See ISTE Unplugged
  • Digital Storytelling with iPad, Book Creator and Green Screen Doink App (WHO25) 6/27 12:30 to 3:30 pre-conference workshop (self promotion I know but it will be hands-on fabulousness!)
  • The Hack Education After-Party - Saturday, June 27, 2015 from 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM  Philadelphia Marriott Downtown- Grand Ballroom D FUN*FUN*FUN
  • Invent To Learn Day of Hard Fun @ISTE 2015 I went before #ISTE2013 and had a blast and learned so much from @garystager and @smartinez

  • Global Education Day Sunday, June 28th, 2-5pm
    Pennsylvania Convention Center - Room 103B/C. Another great ISTE Unplugged event!
  • Independent Educators Dinner (hopefully you signed up already - if not contact @vvrotny but it may be too late) Sunday night - can't wait to meet up with all the big brains that contribut to the weekly #isedchat every Thursday night :)
  • ISTE Communities - consider joining one or more of the ISTE communities - it's a great way to make connections in an area of interest.

During ISTE- My Top 10
  1. dress comfortably in layers - some rooms will be cold, others hot-for goodness sake - forget style - wear comfy shoes - you will walk miles
  2. bring your chargers
  3. bring lots of business cards with you to drop in all the raffle drawings you will come across in the exhibition hall - if you don't have cards - create labels (even better) that have your information - it will save you oodles of time
  4. have a plan! scope out the program ahead of time - if you are going with a group consider using a google doc or evernote to organize and share information - know who you want to see in the exhibition hall too - it can be really overwhelming if you don't know your "musts" ahead of time
  5. visit the Blogger's Cafe - great minds there - usually veteran ISTE attendees who can give you lots of tips
  6. Take a water bottle with you and a couple of snacks - sometimes you get so busy you forget to eat
  7. Visit Philly! It's a great city with so much to see!
  8. Talk to people - it's the conversations around the hallways that can really elevate your learning experience - make connections-get on Twitter - ask others for their handles-download the @Tweechme app
  9. Try not to carry too much with you! It's tempting to pick up everything you see in the Exhibition Hall but sometimes a few snapshots on your phone can really tell the story just as well. 
  10. Be open. Be curious. Have fun.

  1. Stay in touch with connections you made. Review the #ISTE2015 and #ISTE15 hash tags for things you might have missed.
  2. Read over your notes and try to summarize while fresh in your head.
  3. Think about how you can best share this information with your school community - think about creating those presentations during the summer before the school year approaches - make it a priority. 
  4. Prepare for next year!

Monday, June 1, 2015

Book Creator - The Swiss Army Knife of Apps

Book Creator is am amazing app. It is incredibly versatile much as the famed Swiss Army Knife. You can use Book Creator to create a single student story, a collaborative book, a reflective journal, a science notebook and so much more. Book Creator plays well with others so it is a snap to insert voice, music, drawings (we love Doodle Buddy for this), photos, video, Explain Everything, text, Tellagami and other animations to make your book come to life. Best of all, you can upload the Book to the iBooks store or share as a movie.

Here's an example of a Mother's Day class book. Each student took a photo of his or her best handwritten Mother's Day Poem, a photo of themselves, an audio recording reading the poem, a Doodle Buddy portrait of mother and child and a recording of a heartfelt message to mom. Simple to pull in those two pages from each student and a true treasure for any mother. It captures the student's handwriting, message, art work and a lovely photo of the child. I have a dozen large red boxes filled with my children's construction paper projects, art work, etc. but I would kill to go back in time and capture their voice and thoughts about the project at that time. Book Creator makes this process easy. 

Which brings me to my next favorite use, a reflective journal. We use Book Creator as our ePortfolio from PreK through 2nd grade. Our students have always used their portfolios at the end of the year student led parent conference but it's difficult for the little ones to remember why a certain project meant so much or what they learned from it. We still maintain all of their work done by hand but now we put it into a continual Book Creator book and record their reflection at that time. All of these projects get loaded into their ePortfolio Google Site which follows them through 12th grade. What an amazing documentation of their learning over time! 

We've also had teachers use Book Creator for nonfiction reports like our State Fair books in 3rd grade. Students love that there is no creative ceiling. They can insert license free images from the web, their own art work, all of their proofed text and then add clever placement, voice recordings, state songs and video to make their books come alive. So very different from our old big poster project. 

We love that Book Creator lets us "app smash" with our other core apps such as Explain Everything, Doodle Buddy and iMovie. Out students love using Book Creator during their free time as well. Just the other day, two boys brought in their some of their toy figures including Darth Vadar, Batman and several variations of GI Joe. They used Stop Motion Animation and created a book from a spur of the moment story imagining how their toys would interact with each other.

Give Book Creator a try today. It works for any curricular area, any grade level. You are only limited by your imagination as this app IS the Swiss Army Knife app.