Notes from ISTE keynote speaker:

The first 30 minutes were comprised of some lady who wasn’t a very good speaker, talking about how tech savvy teachers are a must, how we gotta prepare our students for an uncertain future, how ISTE is committed to the future of education, blah blah blah. She also introduced some ‘rising stars’ – young educators who are already making an impact, said goodbye to board members, and introduced new board members (none of these people spoke – just waved and left).

Some points that were possibly noteworthy:
  • Representatives from 78 countries here at ISTE.
  • In September ISTE will launch a website at – the ‘First phase of dynamic resource ISTE learning’, an online learning community + professional development marketplace. Look for sessions, pick up info at ISTE central.

The actual keynote speaker was J.F. Rischard (was vice president of the World Bank for 7 years). Here are some of the key points he made:
  • Change is now exponential, many curves going straight up. Horsepower, computing power, bandwidth, credit default swaps, etc.
  • We’re facing problems of enormous complexity (we have no idea why honeybees are dying, etc).
  • The new industrial revolution involves the transformation of time and distance, and knowledge is the biggest factor of production (more than raw materials, laborers, capital, or exchange rates).
  • We need to do major things to avert collision with the planet’s carrying capacity.
  • We are facing global problems, things that cannot be solved by individual nations. These include climate change, destruction of tropical rainforest, biodiversity loss (we’ve lost 40% of the wildlife that existed on earth over the last 40 years), depletion of fisheries, water shortages, poverty, global financial stability, biotechnology research like creating viruses from scratch (there are no international rules). Very few of these problems have been solved, the ozone layer might be only one we’ve managed to conquer. The weird thing is, it would only cost 2-3% of world GDP to solve all this stuff. Why aren’t we solving them? Because the international system (treaties and conventions) is very slow. Big UN summits are too off-and-on and confusing (same with the G20) – they’re just reactive and superficial.
  • But there’s a bigger reason behind why these problems aren’t being solved. It’s that our planet has been cut up into 200 nation states. It’s territorial, politicians are up for reelection, their horizon is short. Global warming and diseases and stuff are the oppositve – They’re non-territorial and long-term. There is a deadly clash between the features of nation states and the features of global issues.
  • What do we do? A redesigned international system won’t work – it’s too slow. A world government overseeing all nation states would take the clash head-on, but it would take forever to set up (Europeans have worked at it for 60 years and it’s still not finished yet).
  • What we need is some kind of innovative ideas. It needs to do something about the clash, be able to boot up fast, and inject new forces that coax nation-states and their political class towards becoming more planet and long-term oriented.
  • Global Issues Network is an idea: One network for each type of crises. The network would include government, international civil society organizations, and businesses… They should all go into seclusion for 2-3 years (in a Spanish castle) and be ready to present us with an analysis of the problem and what a solution would look like (they should visualize what a single world government would do, even though that’s not the case). After 2-3 years, all those folks come home, and we have 10 years within which to recruit many more members who take on observatory and monitoring roles. The idea would be to put some pressure on the politicians in the absence of the world government.
  • New generations need to come out of school with better skills and a very different global mindset than earlier generations if we are to give some wings to any method that we can come up with.
  • This change can be created through curricular changes, but also peri-curricular changes (his word for extracurricular). Communication and teamwork need to become second nature to students… there are a few organizations already around, including a student-created Reuters-like news agency that has had an impressive impact.

Institutions of education tend to be much more change resistant when they should be the opposite (“someone please explain that to me”)

Notes from Monday, 6-28-10:

8:30 – 9:30 – Interactive Whiteboard Technology: Exploring the Next Generation
Presenter demoed an Epson Projector that makes any surface an interactive whiteboard (eliminating the need to purchase board + projector). Pretty sweet.He also very briefly demoed Google Sketch-up – Which looked pretty awesome for creating 3D shapes and then slicing / extruding them.

11:00 – 12:00 – Digital Age Teaching and Learning
This conference referenced the organization ‘Speak Up’, which does nationwide surveys about technology use in education. These are largely student surveys. In exchange for participation, schools get access to all the data. This data is also presented to congress to help steer education policy.Here are some key findings: There is a digital disconnect between students and adults. Students ‘power down’ at school and ‘power up’ at home... they are frustrated over the lack of technology is school. As another aspect of this project, they created a ‘Digital Advance Team’ of K-12 students who presented their own ‘student vision’ for using technology. It had three essential characteristics: Digitally-rich, Un-tethered (not bound by classroom walls or the deficiencies of their schools), and social-based. Students had great ideas as they tried to be 'platform agnostic' (not reliant on one particular piece of hardware or software).

Here was an idea for a pilot program: Tell students to bring any technology at all and we'll figure out how to make it work educationally... Let them choose what method to use to accomplish the same learning task.

The speaker also posed an interesting question: "Imagine you’re on a deserted island for a month. What is the one mobile technology you would need to have with you?" (There ARE imaginary solar chargers and imaginary wi-fi). Personally, I found the question a bit silly, since the two top picks (Smart Phone and Laptop) serve the functions of all the other choices except (F), which was kind of a joke. Here were the audience responses:
A. Smart Phone (1)
B. Handheld video game player
C. Laptop (2)
D. Digital Reader
E. MP3 player
F. Handheld Latte Frother


2:00-3:00 - Touch Down! Winning strategies for implementing iPod touches successfully
This session demoed some ways in which iPod touches and iPads have been implemented in the K-5 setting - basically there were 'stations' through which kids rotated - first they'd be at the iPod touch station, then the iPad station, etc.

Some key useful ideas:
  • Use Google Sync with iPod touch to keep web and iPod mutually updated.
  • 'Belkin Rockstar' 5-way headphone splitter for sharing a single device.
  • In iTunes you can share playlists or podcasts over the network... Other kids at school can check them out!
  • 'mobicip' app for security (safe browser)
  • 'Earthwalk' - Maker of open carts good for charging iPods and ipads.

3:30-4:30 - Let's Play! Incorporating Interactive Whiteboard Games in the Classroom
This session was geared mostly towards early childhood/elementary education. Had one good link:

4:45-6:45 - Technology in Espanol
Unfortunately this one was kinda lame. One useful link:

Notes from Tuesday, 6-29-10:

11:00-12:00 - Empathy: The 21st century skill.
Presenter: Alan November.

This was a fantastic session. The central focus was teaching empathy by making sure that students are finding and using resources that represent a point of view other than their own and other than our country's.
In order to get the Google results that would appear to individuals in other countries, first Google "country code" Internet and then look for the 'root zone database' to find the codes.

EXAMPLE: The Pope's harsh remarks regarding Islam - Do a search from Turkey's Google and you get total different results from the USA Google.
EXAMPLE: When teaching American revolution, have students access essays that BRITISH kids have written on the subject (the USA and the UK present these events in substantially different ways). Also, make them find the email address of a teacher (or student) in the UK responsible for that essay, and have them try to contact them. Then set up Skype interview where students can debate it the topic. He said he'd tell his students: "It was our revolution, so you guys better win!"
Here's what to type into Google to get school-related results from the UK: "American Revolution"

Another example: He told a story about an experience in Denmark talking about World War II, and said he'll never again go to a country and show a project by American students about that country, IN that country (his example was an unfair portrayal of Denmark citizens as complacent with Nazis). When having students do an assignment on Number the Stars, have them search: "number the stars" site:dk To get Danish resources... then make'em collaborate with Danish students using google docs.

Twitter search engine: 'Alan November'
This is - Alan November's Hash Tag for following him on Twitter: #NovGlob

12:30-1:30 - A Dose of Twitter
Terrible presentation. This website has all the useful info from this session:

2:00-3:00 - Digital Learning Farm: Students as Contributors.
Presenter: Alan November

Great presentation. Key ideas:
  • Learning is social. It's not about individuals.
  • Most students go to their FRIENDS for help rather than teacher. If student doesn't have friends with good notes, they're out of luck.
  • Focus should be improving the conversation between STUDENTS, not on staff development.
  • There is a difference between relevance and purpose. Doing lots of homework just to practice has relevance, but no purpose. Without purpose, there's no motivation.
  • Here's an example of an assignment with purpose: Challenge students at the beginning of the year create a tutorial covering entire curriculum. THIS SHOULD NOT BE ASSIGNED A GRADE - It should be pass/fail, 'just do your best until it's done!'. If you grade it, they'll just think "what do I need to get an 'A'?"... A grade kills self motivation.
  • Focus here is shifting control of learning from teacher to students.
  • Screencasting - Essential tool for designing tutorials.
  • Maybe have official scribes for class notes. Three students, each responsible for recording a certain aspect of lesson. Could have rotating selection of official scribes for each lesson. By end of year they're all taking notes.
  • Teacher's attitude should be "My knowledge should not be the limit of what you learn"
  • First day of school - Give students the 10 most difficult concepts of the curriculum and tell them that you need help figuring out how to teach them.
  • - Awesome site for math teachers and students... Solves all math problems, AND provides all steps. Combining this with student-created screen-casting is very powerful tool for students to design instruction.
  • Have a group of students come up with a list of all ways that cellphones can be used for learning... Then proposal pilot program to district to implement.
  • Have students build their own search engine using Google Custom Search.
  • School culture has embedded a dependency on teacher for learning.
  • Each class should have an official researcher, with a laptop in front of them.
  • Epals global community:
  • Kiva - Loans that change

3:30-4:30 - A look at the extreme future.
This presentation is available online, and is definitely worth watching. - Sign up for blog, today's presentation, lots of other good stuff.

Some key ideas:
  • We live in a time of Disruptive Innovation, where innovation takes place so quickly that it continually eliminates and replaces the previous paradigm, making it obsolete or irrelevant. Disruptive forces have consequences.
  • Can what you do be done by a machine or by someone in another country? If so, your job security ain't secure.
  • Students need: Acculturation of the individual - transfer of culture from one generation to another
  • Students need: Appreciation of the social, esthetic, philosophical, moral aspects of our life and culture.
  • Only high order thinking skills can't be replaced by unskilled labor, technology, outsourced, or replaced by software/hardware.

4:45-6:15 - Second Language Teaching.
Kinda weak, didn't stay for whole session. Link they gave:

Images from Monday's 'Digital Age Teaching and Learning' presentation: