ISTE 2016 Reflections: It's About the Sessions

So my ISTE 2016 experience was too big for one post. My first post was all about the connections. My main goal for ISTE 2016 was to meet as many people as possible. Mission accomplished!

So I have to be honest, when it came to the sessions, I didn't really have a good game plan. My husband on the other hand knew exactly what he wanted to focus on. He wanted sessions on math, assessment and flipped learning. With that plan in mind, he did go to some great sessions.

We did learn one thing about the ticketed sessions. We obviously didn't do a good job of looking at the schedule ahead of time and so Chris didn't get preregistered for some of the BYOD sessions he ultimately wanted to attend. For those ticketed sessions, they have a line you can wait in. If all of the ticketed participants don't show up to the session, they let the people in line in. So Chris managed to see several BYOD sessions without signing up ahead of time. An insider's tip for future ISTE conferences.

As a regular conference attendee I have learned that if Leslie Fisher is on the schedule, you go! In Leslie's first session, Apps, Tools, Tips + Gadgets You Can Take to Class Tomorrow, she highlighted two of my favorite tools Seesaw and Formative. But a new to me tool was PBS LearningMedia. This isn't a tool as much as it is a place for teachers to find great standards aligned, digital resources. You can do a search and filter by grade, subject and media type. Some of the resources include supporting material like background information, discussion questions and teaching tips.

When I saw Alice Keeler was presenting, I knew that was a session I had to attend! I've followed Alice on Twitter and I've given away her 50 Things You Can Do With Google Classroom book at every Google Classroom training I have done. I got a chance to introduce myself and she autographed copies of her book for me. One I plan to keep but the other two will be giveaways at my next Google Classroom training session!

Her session was entitled "Talk Less and Get More with Google Classroom." Access it here. Alice used the new Google Slides presenter tools in this session to take questions from the audience. This was the first time I had seen presenter tools used and I was impressed with the new Q&A feature.

I attended George Couros' session entitled "From Digital Citizenship to Digital Leadership, Empowering Learners Through Social Media." As always, George was inspiring and thought provoking. Since our district is participating in a book study of The Innovator's Mindset, I knew I had to have George's session on my list. I reached out to George prior to his session in the hopes that we could meet up so he could give a shout out to my book study friends... and he did! You can see his message here (I don't know why I am looking off to the side in this video - just look at George!).

One of the BYOD sessions I attended with Chris was "Boost Your Instruction With Formative Assessment Tools." This session was a fast and furious introduction to several formative assessment tools. The full presentation is available here. Many of my favorite tools were covered including Formative, Nearpod, EDpuzzle, Actively Learn and Kahoot. Lots of others are listed in the presentation.

Another session I attended with Chris was "Assessment Doesn't Have to be a Four-Letter Word." Again this was a showcase for several assessment tools. You can access the many resources from this session here.

The final session I attended was the closing keynote with Canadian educator, Michelle Cordy. Michelle's message was heartfelt and inspiring. I hope that ISTE will make her keynote available on video to everyone. She had a great message and was an awesome close to another great ISTE.

While that is not a complete list of the sessions I attended, it highlights some of the best and lets you share in some of the great resources I was able to find.