Why ISTE 2013?

Next week I’ll be attending the International Society of Technology in Education’s 2013 conference.  So why spend a valuable week of my summer half way across the country inside a hotel rather than doing some vacation travel that is on my “must do” list?

This conference is designed to bring together like-minded educators in a setting that allows them to collaborate, explore ideas, and view emerging technology.

The keynote address speaker is by Jane McGonigal – click here for a link to her TED talk regarding computer gaming and her theory of how the right computer games can help transform players into virtuosos that can solve real world, high-level problems.  Our students are spending increasing amounts of time playing computer games – can we get them to create the epic win face when we have them solving problems in our classrooms?  This should be a great discussion.

My schedule includes a day-long session of best practices in Moodle Course Design.  I’ll also  be discussing flipped classrooms, global collaboration, 1:1 environments, and hearing people like George Couros (for twitter educators, @gcouros) talk about leading innovation change.  Plus, this is a great opportunity to meet all those folks on twitter that are a valuable part of my PLN.

Anyone else out there going to ISTE 13?  What are you most excited about doing during your conference experience?

How do I become a truly digital teacher?

I downloaded Evernote this week in an attempt to become more “paperless”.   I typically use Outlook or Notes on my smartphone to capture most of my quick ideas.  I take digital notes for reading material, and use hand written notes in class.  As a college student, I believe Evernote may be a great tool.

But as a future teacher, becoming paperless may be more of a challenge.  I would like to be able to post homework assignments, have students access the document and fill in the required work, then grade the document on-line to provide quick feedback that can be filed for future reference.

The Montclair Kimberly Academy incorporated Evernote into their classrooms, and here is what they say:

Here are some options I’ve considered:

1.  Evernote allows for all types of data to be stored:  documents, PDF, Jing, and pictures.  No smartboard, no problem.  You can take a picture and upload.  Cool new apps are discussed in an article 10 New Features You Should Know.  Additionally, @TheNerdyTeacher did what he called his Epic Evernote Experiment, and I was very impressed with how he has developed a system for class organization.  But I’m not yet convinced that Evernote is for everyone.  Evernote does allow for shared folders, but without a premium account you cannot edit shared notes.  Not all school districts are going to have access to this tech.

2.  Programs like Edmodo allow teachers and students to share work easily with each other and with other students.  Classroom supplementary work can be added or linked easily, like Prezi files.  I thought this to be a very effective tool in the classroom environment.  Edmodo also allow for parental viewing of student work and grades.

3.  GoogleDocs easily allows students to collaborate on team projects which can be share with anyone that has an email account, and students can give teachers access for grading purposes.

What are your techniques for decreasing paper homework in the classroom?