I'm driving away from the ISTE conference in Denver, but to my chagrin I'm driving AWAY from the beautiful Northwest and INTO the mugginess of Oklahoma summer. What people sacrifice for family time, huh?
Anyhow, since Janet's driving, the kids are happy, and I have some time before my battery on the laptop goes dry, I wanted to distill some of my impressions of the conference and you fine folks seem like a good group to send these thoughts to. I'd love to converse more about any of it if it's interesting to you.
Lots of sessions on
- virtual school and blending virtual with f2f instruction
- mobile phones
- educational gaming (and Scratch/Alice)
- professional learning networks
- google apps and earth
- iPad & iPhone
I saw less of Moodle this year, and open source in general seemed to be less prominent. Otherwise it's hard to remember what is missing or less visible.
Exhibit hall and Posters (In some cases I'm including too much info in this section because I want to throw away the business cards!):
Epson--I never did get over to see this, but Kathy Schrock mentioned seeing an all-in-one, short-throw projector that was just developed and released in time for ISTE. It has touchboard capabilities built in, so that in some way (by using IR like the WiiBoard?) the projector can wirelessly communicate with your computer so that the projected surface is a touchboard! All for $1700, according to Kathy.
Curriki--This looks like it might be a Moodle-like tool for organizing curriculum across a department or classrooms.
Digispired--I liked the name . . . and the concept! It's a grant-funded summer-camp plus two Saturdays a semester program for 35 struggling middle school students. Students learn to create interactive games and develop programming skills alongside Legorobotics. The grant pays one teacher from the middle school who knows the students (but not necessarily the software), one teacher from elsewhere who knows the software, and a couple of college students to help ride herd. They have GREAT success stories about kids beginning to care and succeed where there hadn't been success before. <email@example.com>
Teamboard--A new-to-me entry into the touchboard field. For $1800 you get a 16:9 (important for MacBook users) touchboard with a built-in media controller (for pausing video or adjusting volume, etc) and a surface that is fully dry-erase friendly. Also learned that Smart has changed its licensing to disallow Notebook software on any other touchboard hardware.
Lumens Ladibug Docucam--A document camera that communicates wirelessly to the computer so that the computer can project (and record) the images. Excellent clarity and autofocus is dynamite. The portable docucam can be taken around the classroom (6 hour battery life) and then taken back to the charger for the night. $300
Xirrus--Extremely high-powered wireless access points. 500 laptops can be on one access point, and two access points can provide coverage to a medium-sized school. Expensive, but worth it?
Aventa Learning--Bend La Pine uses Aventa for our distance ed/virtual school. I want to find out what it would take to teach part time for them. <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Papershow--WOW! This was amazing! Paper with microdots and a pen with camera--as you write on the paper, your screen (and the projected image) is annotated. $250 for an extremely useful classroom and staff planning/collaboration tool. You can pass it around a conference table and teachers can add to (or erase) text/diagrams that have been drawn, similar to a touchboard but without having to stand up and go to the board. Giulia (julia) Giovanelli <email@example.com>
Learn 360--HDESD has a subscription to this resource, but I've never used it. As I talked with them, I realized that I need the student passcode so that my kids can create accounts and get access on their own from home or at school for projects.
EarthWalk--The battery "sidekicks" these guys sell are powerful. They are large (forearm sized) batteries that students bring to their desks with the laptops. The sidekicks, which output the correct voltage, make it so that the laptop can be out all day long without causing the laptop to draw on its own OEM battery. It's not good for batteries to go into so many charge cycles in a day. Sidekick batteries last 3-6 years and maintain the health of the OEM batteries.
Chalk House--A game created by the University North Texas "Improving Reading and Writing through Virtual Worlds" http://created-realities.com Intended to assist middle school learners who read below grade level.
enTourage--WOW! The right hand side of this hinged, netbook-sized "Dual Book" is an e-reader akin to a Kindle, and the other side is a full color tablet similar to an iPad but running Android OS. USB ports, 802.11g, 3 lbs. Coming this fall is 3g if you buy a sim card from a cell phone provider and a monthly data plan. All for $550. Very, very promising for student use.
TIGed--Seems like Taking It Global has a nice virtual classroom that is slicker than Moodle. Free trial with this activation code: "iste2010"
Doceri--WOW! This $250 software goes on your computer, then a free app goes on your iPad. Voila! You can control your computer (either platform) from your iPad. If your computer is hooked to a projector, then you are projecting "from" your iPad. This is something I'd like to use in presentations! Paul Rhoda <firstname.lastname@example.org> + NRC2242 (audio controller)
Panaboard--A $1500 touchboard from Panasonic with speakers, multitouch. Very attractive! Nice interface, too.
EZair--WOW! This allows you to carry your laptop from desk to desk and transmits your audio and video to the front where the wireless receiver sends VGA and stereo into the projector/speakers. Allan Jason <email@example.com> (ideas to email to Allan: 1. affiliate conventions, 2. wow-factor at presentations 3. booth setup)
LocknCharge--Neat carts and laptop storage cubes. Sold through Sierra School Equipment. Expensive, but if you go to 1:1 it's important to have good security and charging.
Genomics Digital Lab--Biology class in a box. What a neat-looking game! I'm going to do the 7-day trial with my own kids and see what it's all about. "immersive learning through educational games" spongelab.com http://www.genomicsdigitallab.com/gdl/default.cfm
QR Codes--Think bar codes that take you to a URL but much more complicated. A QR Code of your website's URL can be printed out via BEETAGG QR Generator. Then the Quickmark Scanner App can be used by a student or parent's mobile phone, and it takes the device directly to that a) website b) online video c) online picture, or d) online sound. They use this to extend learning to home, for extra helps on worksheets, pronunciation help with foreign language vocab, etc.
It could be an amazing extension for a science fair, where participants walk through and scan QR codes on displays to find out more information about the process the kids went through.
It can also be used where students make asynchronous book reports after reading a chapter or finishing the book. They would call drop.io to speak their predictions or analysis, then print a QR code associated with the link of their new online MP3. That printed QR code becomes a bookmark in the book that other kids will read, or it is posted on the wall and can be scanned by the Quickmark App.
This would also be a way to go if you're printing a book that makes frequent reference to online resources.
I came away with lots of good classroom ideas, too, but this post is already too long to be useful. Have a great summer!