Tag Archives: ISTE

ISTE 2015

This will be the fourth time that I have attended an ISTE conference. It is one of the biggest conferences for technology teachers and offers an amazing array of learning possibilities, professional development and networking opportunities. Each year the nature of my involvement has changed from being a passive participant attending many sessions and learning my way around this huge 15000  people plus conference, to being an active presenter and organiser. This year’s conference is to be held in Philadelphia, USA from June  Following are the sessions that I am  presenting at:

Other sessions that I am helping to organise:

  • Global PLN leadership meeting PLN networking lounge 3:30-4:30pm Tuesday 30th June
  • Communities Networking Fair Sunday, June 28, 3:00–5:00 pm
    PCC Broad Street Atrium

Other sessions that I would not miss:

Special Events


  • PLN Leaders Breakfast
    Monday, June 29, 8:00 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.
    PCC 204C
  • VIF brunch at Philadelphia Ballroom North 10am – 12 noon

Skype in the Classroom – #ISTE2014 presentation

Last minute preparations

Last minute preparations

At the suggestion of Toni Oliveri-Barton, I submitted  a proposal to present on “Skype in the Classoom” for ISTE2014. It was accepted and special online friends and members of HLW Skypers and Global Classroom group offered to be part of the presentation. They were Toni Oliveri Barton,Theresa Allen, Louise Morgan and David Karsoncak. We asked Steve Sherman (Living Maths) from South Africa and Janet Barnstable, of USA, to be our special e-guests so that conference participants could experience the nature of skype and multi video participants Prior to the session

  • A skype group was formed initially for the face-to-face participants so that we could collaborate and chat 24/7. The chat remains and will be there for up to 12 months or more. Living on the other side of the world still meant that I could read the discussions in my waking hours. (See 7 tips for successful skype groups)
  • several skype videoconference calls were made to finalize the presentation
  • google presentation Skype in the Classroom was used for our collaborative session – add slides, comments, images
  • a google document Skype in the Classroom Resources and a collaborative live binder were setup to add resources. Conference participants and others were encouraged to help crowd source the google document.
  • decided on an iste skype hashtag #iste14skype See the twitter feed

collage Immediately prior to the session

  • @murcha @dkarnoscak @toniobarton @tdallen5 @mrsmorgansclass met in the bloggers cafe to finalize our presentation
  • labelled the slides with our initials
  • tested the connection 30 mins earlier from our allocated room. Brought in Steve and Janet via video
  • positioned a webcam on the audience so that Steve and Janet could see who they were talking too.
  • enlisted Sue Wyatt aka @tasteach to be our chief tweeter and administrator. Thanks Sue!
  • Preston Morgan to be our general liaison person, photographer etc

nearly ready The challenges

  • ensuring sufficient bandwidth for two simultaneous video linkups as the 1000s of conference attendees were using the internet often with 2 or 3l devices.
  • keeping the 5 presenters all keen to talk about their exciting work, to a time limit.
  • ensuring that both Janet and Steve could feel part of it by facing laptop webcam on the audience
  • ensuring we were ready to talk to our slides so that time was not wasted. Theresa setup her laptop with the presentation advanced one slide in front of the session laptop.
  • enabling Steve to demonstrate the more complex features of skype remotely from Sth Africa.
Participants start to arrive

Participants start to arrive

After the session

  • Louise Morgan created a storify listing the twitter conversations
  • Session and document links were uploaded to the ISTE site
  • Tweeted out the links to documents and presentation

Do you have ideas, resources etc to add to our crowd sourced document:- Skype in the Classroom Resources. Please add them. Were you at our session? If so, we would love some feedback.

What’s on the Menu? #ISTE13


What is on the menu for #ISTE13 for those interested in education? Following are some of the courses offered and some of the offerings I want to experience. There is almost something to taste 24/7.

Entrees or Starters

Saturday June 22nd: The annual favourite Hack Education, originally known as the EdubloggerCon is often a highlight on the social networkers’ calendar. This is an unconference on teaching and learning and is where I would be if my flight got in early enough. The alternatives include a range of workshops and learning sessions. Check out twitter #iste13 for many of the impromptu sessions.

Sunday June 23rd: Again a range of workshops are  being offered, learning station sessions and summits. Where will I be? I will be at the Global Education Summit – a summit led by Steve Hargadon and Lucy Gray. The Opening Ignite Session is a great option. Ignite sessions offer the opportunity to listen to a number of speakers present on a chosen topic.


The keynotes are always a highlight and I am looking forward to Jane McGonigal on Epic Leadership: Beyond the Hype of Gamification and Adam Bellow as he has invited me to Change the World.  Another keynote session that I will attend is by John Spencer Education Rethink as part of the SIGMS breakfast  annual breakfast meeting. My planner is overflowing with a selection of concurrent sessions and learning station sessions. Some that are top of my list include a Birds of a Feather Session: Global Collaboration in the Flat Classroom which Sandy Wisneski and I are leading on Monday late afternoon, further IGNITE sessions, the Playgrounds – Digital Age Media Centre Learning, Mobile Learning, Interactive Videoconferencing, Digital Storytelling etc and much more.

The interactive videoconferencing playground 2012

The interactive videoconferencing playground 2012


Even when the formal sessions each day are finished, there are many opportunities for socializing, making for great desserts. Some that I will be attending include The Opening Social (last year many Mexican foods were up for tasting),  The Ed TechWomen at ISTE  dinner on Monday night and the EdTech Karaoke on Tuesday 25th. Following #iste13 on twitter will give you many options, both planned and unplanned.

Peggy George and Steve Hargadon near the Bloggers Cafe 2012

Peggy George and Steve Hargadon near the Bloggers Cafe 2012

The Sides

The places I enjoy returning to relax, in between the courses, are the Bloggers Cafe where there is the opportunity to relax, network with many and think about the next thing on the menu! The Social Butterfly Lounge is another great spot to network and coming from Australia, I shall be seeking our the International Educators lounge. Many of the Unplugged events  offer opportunities for networking on a more informal level.

Meeting Susie Nestico face to face at Bloggers Cafe 2012

Meeting Susie Nestico face to face at Bloggers Cafe 2012

The menu is such a comprehensive one that readers and participants will need to  check out the program for a full listing. Bon appetit!

Are you attending ISTE13? If so what do you suggest are the ‘not to be missed’ opportunities? Are you attending any of the sessions mentioned above?

Come see my daily journey to ISTE

Having decided to attend ISTE rather late in the piece, most of the cheaper accommodation was booked out. So, I stayed in the Little Italy Inn, a bed and breakfast in Little Italy, some 10-15 mins drive from the convention centre. This was a gorgeous, quaint area of San Diego. Here are some photos of my journey to ISTE each morning. Contrast that with my journey to school each day.

LIttle Italy a lovely part of San Diego

Breakfast complete, it is time to go to ISTE

Exiting the front door of the Litlle Italy Inn

Past the gardens

This reminded my of home – the tractor

Views to sea down the far end of street

Past my favourite Italian bakery and coffee shop

Past the older style houses

Nearly at hotel to catch shuttle bus

Tuesday 26th June at ISTE

By this time, I was getting more comfortable with the wide variety of sessions and options to be found at ISTE. Following is a summary of my day.

Evernote – a pre-booked session through event-brite  at one of the nearby hotels. This was a really interesting and practical session and included demonstrations by two teachers on classroom use.

Poster Session The Flat Classroom Projects I joined 5  Flat Classroom teachers in the great foyer. We were to take it in turns over the two hours to answer questions, but were so busy that we all stayed the full time. It was wonderful to meet face to face this network and be able to share the great learning that goes on in these projects.

“There’s an App for That! Finding Real Solutions with Today’s Apps” hosted by friend Gail Lovely. Australian teacher Chris Betcher was on the panel.

Ignite session This was a fast paced, action packed, inspiring session where speakers were allowed 20 images each showing for 15 seconds to share their topic “to ignite ours and expand horizons”.  @edusum  from Sydney Australia spoke about her students and how they had united to reduce bullying issues within their school using social media.

SIGMS Forum: Expanded Learning Opportunities – Using Social Media in the Library. This was a great session. The participants, mainly librarians were a jovial, animated group who showed passion for the use of web2.0 tools. Steve Hargadon provided the keynote and then a number of presenters shared tools that they like to use.

Networking It was with great delight that I met my great friend and mentor Peggy George on the Sunday of the conference. That night I was able to go out for dinner with her and also meet face to face Kim Caise who is another special online colleague. Peggy and Kim are c0-hosts of Classroom 2.0LIVE.

Monday continued….at ISTE

Following are brief summaries of further sessions attended on Monday 24th June.

Creating and Collecting Digital Work with Kevin Honeycutt and Tammy Worcestor Tammy and Kevin presented as an inspiring professional team, demonstrating apps that will provide urls or embed code.  These  can then be saved as links  in a google sheet in digital dropbox. From there they can be accessed anywhere for printing or further use in online spaces etc.

Google Treks with Dr Alice Christie
Innovative and effective use of google maps bringing subject matter to life, using pins that feature links, videos, audio, images, notes etc.
Birds of a Feather – Global Education with Julie Lindsay and Vicki Davis taking the lead completed the day. This was an informal gathering of like minded people sharing global projects, networking and opportunities and needs. Participants came from a broad range of countries.
The day was complete when an evening meal was enjoyed with Flat Classroom Teachers in one of the restaurants in the Gaslamp area. There is something so special about meeting online colleagues face to face!

Monday at ISTE

Following are the summaries of sessions that I attended and experiences of the first full day of ISTE12, in beautiful San Diego, where the sun seems to always shine. The day commences at 8:30am or earlier and continues through to 7-8pm each night for those who wish to get the most out of their day. Opportunities then arise for networking and enjoying meals in downtown Gaslamp area.

Approximately 45 mins is allowed between sessions as the conference centre is possibly 1 mile long (note the US measurements) and sometimes folks have to walk from one side to the other.

First session- Teach your student game design in one week with Alexander Repenning. This was a bring your own device session, means that participants bring their own device and that these sessions need to be pre-booked and a resultant ticket handed in at the door for entry! If registered participants have not arrived at starting time, those in the queue are given entry.  This game is agentsheetsinc which is still in beta stage and is a commercial package. Prior to the session, all participants were contacted by the presenter, advised to download the software on trial and test that it loaded. I was impressed with the tutorial sheets that were sent us as well and with the backup and support after the session. As to the game, it is not overly expensive to purchase a license, is a similar to scratch in its ease of use, but allows advanced graphics for those who become skilled in its use, giving minecraft type visuals.

Session 2 Personal and Professional Growth using Web 2.0

Steve Hargadon is one of my heroes and favourite presenters. His caring, passionate and knowledgeable approach, always seeking interaction from the audience is always powerful learning. Here is  a summary of Steve’s key points.

  1. Build your own personal network
  2. Develop a personal web presence
  3. Develop your own online habtitudes (Angela Meiers)
  4. Become part of the conversations
  5. Build, curate or participate in a passion project
  6. Elevate your voice or career
  7. Speak or present at  a conference or online.

Further sessions to be continued as sleep now calls!

ESL at ISTE in San Diego

ESL (or English as a second language) has been a problem for me in San Diego. My Australian strine does not connect well with many US accents. So many times, I am asked ‘pardon’. It was fortunate that when ordering my sandwich at Subway, I had Kathleen Morris with me as she was able to keep interpreting each of my requests into US speech and again interpret that US accent for me!

However, this morning really showed the extent of the problem. I popped into this delightful Italian cafe where the most delectable assortment of cakes, breads and biscuits were displayed in shiny clean glass cabinets. The shop assistant was so friendly and accommodating and in my best Australian voice I asked for a roll with ham, fetta cheese and tomatoes using the Italian name. She immediately got me some baklava. So, I apologetically, said that I wanted the bread roll, to which she asked “do you want to take out” or eat here. (I thought). I said to take away as I wanted it for my lunch. Food is not in high supply at the Convention Centre and long queues form to place orders.

She proceed out the back and soon returned without my roll. Assuming it was being wrapped for me, I soon realised that perhaps they were toasting it. Even more apologetically, I said that I did not want it toasted, but wanted a fresh roll. She very obligingly cancelled the toasting and gave me the correct food. Minutes later, I was on my way to catch the shuttle bus to the conference!

There have been so many misunderstandings etc but good humour always prevails and both sides of the English language are good at that!

All eyes on the flatclassroom conference

A flatclassroom f2f

A flatclassroom f2f

 Words cannot begin to describe the amazing experiences that we had whilst in Doha, Qatar, in January 2009 for the flatclassroom conference.

However, as part of  my reflections,  I will take  a  look at it through my eyes in respect to:-

  • Students

    VickiDavis with Omani students

    VickiDavis with Omani students

  • teachers
  • travellers
  • leaders
  • parents

 Eyes upon the students

We left amidst some angst as to the Gaza situation in Israel. (Parents had been concerned about going to the Middle East anyway, even before this situation eventuated!)  Many would see it as a high risk undertaking. The three girls from my class had not been out of Australia before. Summer school holidays meant that we had to do all our communicating online . Once at the airport, the girls soon learnt the routine of passports, security, laptops, immigration control etc. After a journey totalling more than 28 hours, we arrived  in Doha, Qatar and were transported into another ‘world’ –  a land that was white, featuring middle Eastern style buildings, crazy traffic, constant building activity  and white sand everywhere. The girls were immediately impressed.qatar-academy1

The first days were spent shadowing students around the Qatar Academy, helping with conference administration, packing the showbags  and helping  teach a grade 5 class how how to use voicethreads etc. The girls gradually became familiar with the massive, magnificent school buildings and due to friendly host families, settled in well. The school itself, had a full range of cultures, creeds and nationalities. This is in stark contrast to our school where we have a monoculture of Anglo Saxons.

How wonderful it was to see them mixing with these different groups. When anne-and-oman-boys1the conference started, there were students from many countries. They met their Omani and American classmates from the flatclassroom project of 2008. The Omani students were, of course dressed in traditional dishdasha and kommah, the African boys attired in suits, the girls from Africa in more formal gear, the Qatari girls in hijabs and the Pakistani girls in their traditional dress. Accents had to be closely listened to, so that we understood what was said. When Carly was introduced at one stage, she was immediately soniiya-and-studentcalled ‘Cauliflower” Some names we could not even attempt to pronounce and I simply called the students from Oman “Boys!” when I need to catch their attention.

The skype session with Tom Friedman was rather amazing. He wanted the students to ask him questions, which I thought was taking a huge risk. What would they ask? Would enough ask questions to fill in the time? Surprisingly,  students young and old, from all countries represented came up to the microphone and asked some amazing and incredibly mature questions.  Tom  responded immediately and appeared to have no difficulty with the many and varied accents.

When the conference commenced, my girls were grouped with students from other countries to work on a project involving an issue common to all of them eg  poverty, racism etc One of my girls, was placed in a group where the common language was Arabic. So, the Arabic had to be translated back into English for her. Another group had English as their most common language but google translator was used to translate  into Arabic for the Qatari student in the group. On the second day of the conference, a presentation had to be made by student groups, to all conference

Tarzy's group

Tarzy's group

participants. The aim was to try to convince the audience to vote their project in, to become  the next flatclassroom project for 2009. One of my girls said that she had never been “so scared in all her life.” Yet, she got up and spoke with confidence and played her role admirably to the assembled crowd. Another, had her mother

Presentation time

Presentation time

online until 1am in Australian time, helping her to cope with her nerves and stomach butterflies. All students were pushed well beyond their comfort zones, at so many times, during their stay.

We learnt about the importance of gift giving in some cultures. The students from Oman gave all schools involved small gift and provided tasty sweet Omani treats to try at the end of the conference. The conference showbags also bore evidence of Qatari customary gift giving with printed tshirts, usb drive, a coffee mug etc inside

Despite the differences, there were so many similarities amongst the students – the same passions, interests, needs and goals!

Eyes upon the teachers

How absolutely wonderful  it was to see the students who had been  involved in the flatclassroom project 2008, face to face. These included the boys from Oman and the students from two different schools in USA.  It was also great to see them all mixing comfortably and gaining a deeper understanding of the different cultures. Yet underneath this difference, were common interests, pursuits,  emotions, problems, goals and ideals.

The highlights for me were working with Julie Lindsay and Vicki Davis, the founders of the flatclassroom projects. These  two women work so well together, yet have only met 5 times face to face.  The powerful outcomes of their work are testimony to their successful collaboration and virtual teamwork.  Estie Cuellar from Texas and Salim Al-Busaidi from Oman were two teachers who I worked with in the flatclassroom project in 2008 and it was so good to connect with them face to face. Whilst in an elluminate staff meeting,  Salim encouraged us to come to Qatar, as in his words “we are a safe country”. Any fears that I had harboured were dispelled by this statement. I loved meeting face to face some of my other  twitter friends –  Anne Baird from Australia and Paul McMahon, an Australian in Hong Kong, Heather Davis, a  Canadian in Beijing and Jeff Utecht from Bangkok. Then there were the new connections with Chris Chater from Paris (whose work with online music is admirable), Soniiya  Jahangir from Pakistan and two teachers from India, teaching in Saudi Arabia and George Haines from New York. Ray who was such a kind host to us and Jill Boulanger and  Beverley Stubbs from Qatar Academy ensured that we were comfortable and welcomed at the school. The list could go on but I will stop there.

Watching my students grow in confidence and push themselves beyond all boundaries was a source of great pride. To see them have a go and present publicly to such a varied but distinguished audience, was quite uplifting. We were also  so proud to celebrate Australia Day in Qatar.

During the conference, I spent time in the ISTE sessions which challenged us regarding the leadership role that educationalists should take on in the digital age.  The conference event was made possible by the support of the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) with Don Knezek (CEO) and Lynn Nolan (Senior Strategic Initiatives Officer) coming to Qatar to lead workshops. The elective sessions using online music sites and google applications with Chris Chater and Paul McMahon, respectively, were practical, highly useful and inspiring.

On the last day, teachers were mixed in groups with educaionalists from other countries, with a student project manager, a problem based project, complete with skill challenges and time pressure.  We had to  pitch our outcome at each of the groups. By this stage, I knew just how the students must have felt.

Eyes upon the leaders

The organization was superb. Julie Lindsay worked long and hard hours behind the scenes securing sponsorship, organizing facilitators, students, teachers, programs, showbags, catering, facilities, visas, the tech team  etc.  Vicki Davis facilitated the student summit sessions. These were based on “Project Based Learning” and  empowering students with great learning outcomes.  They learnt to connect, communicate and create together. Their skills in using web2.0 tools were improved substantially with the expertise of Vicki Davis. A producer from Hollywood, tutored the students  in film making and using music under the guidance of Chris Chater from Paris. Digital citizenship and netiquette were constantly reinforced and learnt through experiencing. It was inspirational to see the students  presenting  with competence and confidence,  to the large audience, as a result of their summit collaboration.  Thank you to Julie and Vicki, our flatclassroom co-founders and the other facilitators for your great work.

Eyes upon the parents

One of the really interesting outcomes of this experience, was the involvement of parents. This was something unplanned  and unforseen, but ended up playing a key role in our connectedness. As we were on school holidays the majority of planning and communication had to be made online,. The girls had set up membership to the flatconference ning and wiki prior to departure. Before they left, the girls became ‘the experts’, helping their parents to register for the ning , join our school group and showed  them how to write messages, comments and blog posts. This meant that parents experienced the conference with us. Photos and videos were uploaded daily, with blog posts written when possible. Parents commented regularly on all our pages and activities. They were able to watch the sessions that were webcast and one parent stayed up until 1am to watch her daughter make her presentation.  They even joined in on the chatzy  back channel and could see the commentary going on behind the scenes. We received photos of the Australia Day breakfast, held in Hawkesdale as part of the Australia Day celebrations, an hour after it finished, as one set of parents had uploaded them to the ning. They became part of our learning network.

Eyes upon the travellers

We were fortunate to arrive in Qatar three days earlier. Julie took on the extra workload of organizing accommodation for us with Qatar Academy staff. By the time the conference started, we felt quite comfortable and at home at the school. Students shadowed their host students around at school and experienced a typical school day in Doha. The hospitality of our hosts was wonderful. They were kind, caring and sharing.

For four or five nights, we stayed at the Gloria hotel in Doha. This was situated in the old town within walking distance of the souqs and the Islamic Art museum. The hotel was beautifully furbished, attentive to the needs of its guests and provided wireless internet connection (which kept us all connected to those back home)

Two or three buses picked us up from the hotel door and took us to the Qatar Academy for the conference or other activities. This was a great chance to socialize, listen to the student chatter, enjoy some laughs and talk about our experiences.  I shall never forget that last night on the bus, with students from Australia, USA and Ethiopia and Kenya, singing their national anthems with pride, gusto and emotion! Then they sang songs that they all knew, one being “If I could fly” which seemed to be so appropriate.

There was a good balance of sight seeing tied in to the conference. As this country is quite different to the home country of many of the visitors, it was great to be able to have time set aside for us to do some touring. It also gave us all a chance to mix and get to know each other in a more casual atmosphere.

Ray played the patient, caring  host and took us to the souqs (when it rained), the half day desert tour to the inland sea, the corniche and the Islamic Art museum. The Sunday evening was spent at the souks again where we all scattered in various directions to find something to eat and souveneirs to purchase. The stalls selling hunting falcons were most intriguing. Anne Baird, Paul McMahon, Ray and I enjoyed a wonderful Arabic meal of dipping sauces, hommus, traditional chicken and rice dishes and fresh, warmed, unleavened breads.

The conference meals were varied and tasty. There was always a choice of dishes. The dinner on the Saturday evening , set in a formal atmosphere with the HSBC guest speaker was a fitting end to the first day of the conference. The buffet bar of the school canteen was always appealing. The weather was pleasant as it was winter time.

The final night was spent at Villagio in the new town. This is an ultra modern shopping complex, with painted skys on the roof, the best in fashionable shops,  a canal complete with gondolas providing rides for interested parties, an ice skating rink and the usual Western fast food chains.

Eyes on the sponsors

There were many sponsors involved and we cannot thank them enough – the chief one being the HSBC who sponsored the conference whilst in Qatar.  One of their representative spoke to us at the formal dinner. The Qatar Academy provided the venue, staff and other incidentals. For us personally, ACE radio helped to sponsor my students in their travel and our local Hawkesdale and District Action Committee also donated some money.

Eyes that are now opened!

How proud we were, to be Australian, when Australia Day fell on the last day of the conference! However, we came home with American tinged accents!

This was a truly amazing, life changing experience that will equip us for the flat world that of ourfuture.  We can now state that we have experienced the impact that the digital age will have in  a flat world. Thank you to all involved!


Footnote:   Skills learnt – understanding and working with different cultures, netiquette, digital citizenship skills, communication skills in an online environment, the use of many different web2.0 tools, how to collaborate and work in a virtual team, risk taking, pushing outside personal comfort zones, real life pressures of time commitments/project management and how to create effective products for online use and a global audience. How to live, work and play in a globally connected world!