ISTE 2011 – PHILADELPHIA – Day 1 (Monday)

Last week, I had the privilege of attending the ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education) conference being held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. This is the largest technology in education conference I have ever heard about, and one that should not be missed.

One of the realizations for me at the conference was the concept that I was “with my tribe” according to Dr. Ken Robinson, author of The Element. For me, the personal connections and ability to meet with other people who had the same passions, problems, and challenges stretched my thinking in ways that if I was not physically at the conference would not have been possible.

I was going to write one blog about my whole trip but after writing about the first day, I have decided to write 3 separate posts to not take away from the important learning that happened on my first day. 


SIGDS (Digital Storytelling) Gathering– If you have never heard of Digital Story telling, this is an amazing tool to get your students into telling personalized stories with the assistance of photographs, music, and words. Kent Manning (@kentmanning) is the leader of this “SIG” (special interest group) and a wealth of information and knowledge. A few resources if you are interested in Digital Story telling that were shared included
– The Center for Digital Storytelling – – if you click on “stories”, you will find many examples of digital stories
– Digitales – – This is the webpage of Bernajean Porter (@BernajeanPorter) , a celebrity of the digital storytelling community

Math Snacks –
This a short video clips that can be used to introduce a topic in mathematics or review a topic. I personally was thinking about how they could be utilized in a “flipped” classroom model.

Curriculum 21 – Essential Education for a Changing World, Heidi Hayes Jacobs
If you have not had an opportunity to see Heidi Hayes Jacobs speak you are really missing out on something wonderful!
Her book  Curriculum 21 ( is well worth the read. Some of the keypoints of her discussion were
– children are processing information differently now
– we create knowledge
– Every school website needs to be interactive and a community
– in 5-8 years kids won’t have to come to school everyday
– The clearinghouse on her website is a fantastic tool ( for finding resources to support students in developing 21st Century Skills
– Google Wonder Wheel (which has since been taken off google) or Wolfram Alpha Searches as tools to see the symantic web of concepts
– kids need to own their own learning
– the strategic use of technology
– UPDATE – a strategic replacement
– we need to update and be responsive to kids needs
– Teacher must be public learners
– PD needs to be updated -> globalized -> interact with teachers around the globe,,
-We need to discuss what makes “QUALITY”
– Google “timeline” feature to generate discussion

BYOL Session – Digital Collaboration Tools 
At this session I was introduced to “Edistorm” 
This is a clever web based tool that allows students to post their ideas (similar to Wallwisher), however they can also comment on other peoples ideas, and vote for ideas. This webpage also allows you to change the background to have graphic organizers on display to help students organize their thinking. The price is really reasonable (especially if you get the ISTE deal). I am planning on using this next year as a “Knowledge Forum” where students can record and adjust think thinking throughout a unit. It also has some nice assessment features, like printing off all of the students interactions, and a rubric.

At this session I was also exposed to the RAN graphic organizer from Tony Stead (

After that session I attended the International Networking Reception which was a wonderful opportunity to meet some Canadian members of my “tribe” who I ended up sharing a lot of the conference with!



  1. I love the “tribe” concept. I have a question for you. I have a number of teachers who are keep “sampling” the tribe life, but won't completely engage. What suggestions do you have to get those fence sitters to try out tools like twitter or see the worth of a conference like iste?


  2. I have the same problem! I think that you have to invest a significant amount of time in Twitter before you start to see the reward. Now it is a great tool for me, but it has taken time to build. I think that we have to try to build our co-teachers networks to increase the speed at which they get the reward.
    I have been taking a “Leadership” course so it has been interesting to reflect on how you have to “lead” people. I think that it comes down to communicating clearly, and passionately, the benefits that you get from your PLN.
    As far as ISTE goes, I would love to keep it a secret so that I can go every year but it would be wonderful to have more members of your tribe that you work with! I think we need to give it a lot of thought over the coming months because the globalized network is going to become more important.


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