Report from ISTE 2011

Image provided by Kevin Jarrett

After two days of attending ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education) here in Philadelphia, here are some of our thoughts. First, we’re happy that we did not have a booth. The Exhibit Hall feels like a completely different area than the rest of the space. The Exhibit Hall seems cold, noisy, tense, and commercial. The rest of the conference seems serious, relaxed, warm, and intellectual, where a 1,000+ people can hear a keynote speaker such as Steven Covey or where small groups can participate in learning station sessions. We enjoyed a group of middle school kids from Texas who showed off their video projects about Chocolate. Quite creative.

As a whole, the attendees are focused, friendly, and eager to hear new ideas. We estimate somewhere around 75% own iPads, which made our job easy in sharing the Elevated Math app. And session topics that involve iPads are very popular. The session “The iPad Revolution” packed the ballroom until there was no room for people to stand.

Social media in the classroom is the other area that commands a lot of interest. Since we’ve written quite a bit about iPads in the past few weeks, we’ll devote the rest of this blog on the notes we took on what we heard about social media in the classroom.

1.     Social networking is a tool.

2.     We need to look at the process and talk about the culture so the tool doesn’t get abused.

3.     Some people are afraid of dealing with social media in the classroom.

4.     Instead of being afraid we need to focus on teaching kids to have good relationships.

5.     What age is appropriate for teaching social networking skills?

6.     What are the consequences of not teaching social networking skills?

7.     We can’t learn without being social.

8.     Personal learning and social networking are inter-related.

9.     Kids don’t have role models for proper social networking or they have poor role models.

10.  We need to teach kids how to detect fraud on the Internet and who to trust.

11.  We need to teach kids how to be googled well; in other words, how to manage their online reputations.

12.  Kids need to learn to talk to strangers and be safe.

13.  How do we deal with improper social networking?

14.  Some teachers say their best relationships with their students come through Facebook interactions.

15.  We need to shift the discussion from whether or not we are going to allow social networking in the classroom to how we are going to do it.

16.  What do we do about a Facebook page where kids rate each other’s sexual prowess?

17.  Isn’t this debate about whether social media should be allowed in the classroom similar to the debate years ago about sex education in the classroom?

18.   The kids are going to learn it either in the school or on their own.

19.   As the Twitter feeds from Iran, Egypt, and Arab Spring have revealed, people want a voice. So do the kids.

2 thoughts on “Report from ISTE 2011”

  1. Scotti Glasgow

    Great observations of the atmosphere at ISTE, the participants, and the enthusiasm for iPads and educational apps. Attendees were there to share their success stories and to learn from fellow educators. Refreshing!
    Since the iPad has been in existence for only 14 months, it truly has become a social and educational phenomena; companies and individuals are scrambling to develop apps for effective use in the classroom. This movement is just in its infancy, so it doesn’t take much imagination to realize the tremendous impact this new device is going to have on learning in the future.
    As more and more students have access to smartphones, e-tablets, iTouch, and the iPad, the education community must become the leader in preparing youth for the responsibilities that go along with participating in social media. The list provided in Hall’s blog and being shared at ISTE is excellent. Parents are going to have to take responsibility as well in teaching their children about the dangers and pitfalls of this new social world along with the rules of etiquette. Vanderbilt and Post, are you listening?
    Great food for thought in this posting.

  2. I enjoyed this post and look forward to further discussion about each of the 19 points made about social media in the classrooms. We are planning to expand our offerings with a mobile math lab (bus) and have been researching tenets of several of the items presented.

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